Pictures from Continental 9920

Here are a few pictures to go along with my description of CO9920 yesterday. Thanks to my seatmate Stuart for allowing me to use his pictures from the flight. I kind of overslept by a few minutes, so forgot to pack my camera in a frenzy to make the bus. I’m so happy I didn’t miss the tour, though.

 
757-200


FlyerTalkers admiring the 757-200


Our lovely TSA agents


BusinessFirst seats


Our hosts telling us how awesome Continental is


Steerage


The amenity kit, Business First pillow, BusinessFirst blanket, and headset we could keep


Service beginning minutes after takeoff


Hard at work….


One of our awesome flight attendants passing out snack bags


The snack (minus champagne, orange juice, or mimosas)


Continental management working hard


Scott O’Leary, Continental’s Managing Director of Customer Experience with one of the FA’s


The cockpit during the flight


Our incredible (volunteer) flight attendants

This was a flight I’ll never forget.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Man – how awesome. I have to say – those CO 75s look pretty pristine, especially with those PTVs. Man, could you imagine UA’s rockets looking that pretty?

  2. Hi Lucky,

    I have another question. If I’m a gold member on NWA, and I use miles from my mom’s account(which is a general member), do I get an extra inventory of award tickets?

    thanks!

  3. I have spent most of my morning answering emails and phone calls from pilots who, like me, are in disbelief about another corporate showing of excess yesterday. Unfortunately this one occurred here at Continental on Flights 9920 and 9921. While I have no problem with promoting our airline and rewarding our high paying passengers, taking a couple of hundred bloggers on a couple of hour long joy ride around Texas seems excessive by any standard. At this time, with this economy and with the current public attitude toward corporate greed and excess, is this really the type of activity they think will improve our bottom line? Have they not learned anything from other companies’ bad press due their excesses with these types of events?

    The insensitivity is even greater with 147 pilots on furlough. I hope everyone enjoyed the reported low pass over Hobby. It is very likely that one or more of our furloughed brothers was washing or fueling airplanes directly below in order feed his family. If this is even close to being true, whoever approved this event owes our furloughed brothers and sisters an apology. They also owe every one of us who continues to work under a concessionary contract an apology.

    Worse, the concerns I have fielded from our Union pilots are not simply about the expenses of the affair, but also about the apparent lack of concern for cockpit security, for the professionalism of our pilots, our CBA, and the amount of alcohol consumed by passengers. Management should be aware that when they invite internet activists to an event, it does not take long for the pictures to be posted on the various web sites. Imagine my concern when I viewed a picture of a passenger in one of our jumpseats, in flight, wearing the captain’s hat and bragging about how much he had drunk. Further imagine my disgust that your management just inflicted an unpaid suspension on two line pilots for allowing a Flight Attendant to ride in the jumpseat. Hypocrisy is too kind a characterization of the company’s disparate conduct in these two events.

    No matter the expense of the event the perceptions of waste and excess far outweigh any possible benefits. I will be making the MEC’s concerns known to management first thing Monday morning. Each of us should encourage management to reconsider these types of events in the future. If not we will certainly do a better job of getting advance notice of time and location. Our SPSC guys would love to attend.

    Captain Jay Pierce

    CAL MEC Chairman

  4. Yes Gray, while the pitch wasn’t great the plane was in pristine condition.

    Adam, I believe the answer to that would be no, unfortunately. It’s all about where the miles come from, and not the status of the person traveling.

    Captain Piece, I’ll be responding to your post shortly.

  5. I couldn’t agree more with Capt. Pierce’s remarks. I have recently lost my Capt. status at the airline due to last summer’s high fuel prices and now the economic crisis we face. I understand and accept the airline’s decisions, painful as they are, in order to maintain a healthy business. I’m certainly thankful to still have a job when so many people are out of work. But, this kind of excess, when I’m taking a $60K paycut and others are being laid off, is entirely unacceptable and is troubling evidence of executives that are apparently lost in their own little bubble and are out of touch with the rank and file worker.

  6. From the Flyer Talk Forum. Since I am not a member and yet they continue to copy my posts here over there, I thought perhaps I could get a message to them as a response to one of your apparent leaders,

    “3) No FAA rules were broken on the two mystery tour flights”

    Really? Are you, sir, an FAA inspector? Perhaps you do not know that the CAL Flight Operations manual is more restrictive than the FAR’s and is, in fact, the legal document under which all CAL dispatched flights (part 91 or 121) must operate. Do you, sir, work for the FBI or the TSA? They’ve had quite a lot of interest in the flights, as well. While the intentions may be good, the videos and pictures show several blatant violations. If the FAA wants to find fault, they will. That’s the one little detail that all of the non-flyers seem not to know. In this business you are guilty until proven innocent. The FAR’s leave a lot to the inspector’s interpretation. “Careless and reckless (they define that, not us)….the safety of the flight was never in doubt (hmmm, folks in the cockpit who have consumed alcoholic beverages…) In this litigious society, 9 out of 10 times it usually falls to “pilot error.” That is why so many (and I mean at least a third of the CAL pilots–that’s about the total number of pilots who are aware at this time) are up in arms over these flights. We work very hard to prove that we are the most professional pilots in the industry. Two simple joy-rides full of bad judgment have put us under the microscope of both the FAA and the TSA. All of you who are not in the industry can speculate and pontificate, but we are the ones who will suffer the consequences. Post-911 it’s a different world. We rely on the jumpseat to get to work because, thankfully, there are so many of you. Unfortunately, that may no longer be an option. When it all comes to pass, instead of berating us for our concern, complain to your congressman on our behalf.

  7. I think they should do this event every year!

    PS. To those old jealous captains/pilots and (J Pierce yes you), you guys need to quit and being hateful and need to grow up.

    To “CONTINENTAL 737 CAPTAIN” Sorry to hear you lost your job, Grayhound is hiring a new captain position,hope this is help.God bless.

  8. Guys,

    Whether you agree or disagree with Captain Jay Pierce, you have to take a step back and look at his comments with some perspective. Some of his comments are spot-on.

    I do agree that this event was ‘fun’ for Flyertalkers (I’m a UA flyer).
    And, I’ll go as far to say the CO will get a lot of mileage out of this from it’s core group of flyers; you also have to recognize that in these tough economic times, all industries are cutting back. I speak from experience in my industry.

    In flying terms, there’s a lot of wake turbulence out there.

    Just my 2 cents.

  9. To ‘awesome’,

    Check your spelling genius – “Grayhound”.

    Also, if you know that Greyhound is hiring you must work there. Do you wash the busses or clean the toilets?

  10. To “awesome”,

    Thanks for the tip. I checked the Greyhound website. Turns out they offer BETTER starting salaries and insurance benefits than Continental offers their pilots! No kidding! Check it out for yourself. Look forward to seeing you on the bus for that 4 day ride from Houston to Cleveland. Bring own food and sani-wipes.

  11. Comments made by ‘awesome’ are precisely the reason why Continental should not have spent money on Flyertalkers. Perhaps someone can convince me otherwise, I’m not unreasonable. Opinions are like a******s, and ‘awesome’, well…

    The bottom line is that promotions are important, but this one was conducted in a disrespectful way to those who are financing well over 200 million dollars a year to Continental, the pilots. The flight attendants have also contributed millions to the cause only to see spastic marketing decisions including the Flyertalkers event. The pilots and flight attendants are not insensitive to the need for cutbacks, but they are hyper-sensitive to decisions that are seen as insulting to their pain. They don’t go around advertising what they’ve been through, but when they do they get berated by ‘awesome’ type; and that’s just not fair.

    Should the FAA or the TSA or both choose to get involved, the trouble won’t just be for the participants; the pilots and flight attendant as a whole (perhaps at other airlines as well) will suffer the consequences. That’s what I would like to impress onto ‘awesome’. Greyhound may in fact have a better employment package; but this only highlights how much the pilots and flight attendants have given back. These are careers that we’ve worked years to build and enjoy with the responsibility that comes with passenger service; it’s not something that offered lateral transfer to GE, Home Depot, or Allianz.

  12. Another point with regard to the FAA and TSA: Those agencies have the authority to revoke any pilots’ or flight attendants’ certificate without due process. I doubt that many know what conducting their careers under these circumstances is like.

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