Monday, October 20, 2014

To San José, Costa Rica and Back on United

I went to Costa Rica to go on a 9-day trip with other teachers from around the country. I left on a Thursday night from Ontario airport (ONT) on a redeye through Houston (IAH). I was able to snag some upgraded seats. The first leg was on a regional jet CRJ-700 and I literally slept the entire time. I have a really great neck pillow that actually allows me to sleep on planes. I have no idea if they served anything on that flight because it left around midnight and I slept the whole time. The flight was just over 3 hours I think and before I knew it we were landing in Houston. It was still dark when I landed and I arrived at Terminal B which required a ride on the tram to Terminal E where my connection was. 

I found the United Club in Teminal E and I actually took a shower there which was nice and refreshing. I had a really long layover and had plenty of time to kill. This is the view from the top floor of the United Club. 

My connecting flight from Houston to San Jose (SJO) was on a larger plane, a 737-800. The flight was quite full, but I was in seat 1A so I was comfortable. Below was my view.

The plane had Direct TV and the nice thing about sitting up in the front of the plane is that you don't have to pay for it. This was the lunch time meal.

Of course, coffee and cake for dessert.

It's always kind of creepy but also kind of neat to see another airplane near you while you are flying.

After crossing the Gulf of Mexico we made landfall over what I think was Merida, Mexico.

After flying over Mexico for a while, I think we flew over Belize. The water was a beautiful blue and I can see why the diving there is no awesome.

Not too much later, we were coming into the valley where the capital city of San Jose is. 

Having never been to Central America, it was really a treat for me to see all of the Latin American airlines that we rarely see in the states. Here is an Air Canada Rouge A319 on its way back north.

After 10 incredible days in Costa Rica, it was time for me to go home. I love that there's a sloth on the 10,000 note. I was fortunate enough to see several sloths in the wild on this trip and they are the cutest things.  

I couldn't get that good of a picture of my plane, but it was special because it's on of the jets with the new scimitar winglets, which look so cool. I had never seen one before and here is one that would take be back to the states. My flight was going back through Houston (IAH) again.

Once I got on the plane, I had to take some shots of the winglets and the TACA Embraer E-190 parked next to us.

In this picture you can see one of the baggage handlers laying down on the belt right inside the cargo compartment. 

Once again I was in seat 1A and this plane had the new Boeing interior with new overhead bins that look like the ones on 787s. This plane had electrical outlets and Direct TV but nothing was working. I was a little peeved especially since I saw on the United app that this plane would have power outlets and I purposefully didn't charge my phone.

They served a lunch and it was certainly filling enough. 

This is the coast of Belize again. It looks gorgeous.

Dessert consisted of little petit fours and coffee.

This is a shot of the really cool winglet as we are gliding down into Houston to land almost 4 hours after we left San Jose.

Once we landed I saw a United 787 and I'm so fascinated by these new planes. I've flown on a few of them and twice on United's.

My layover was about 2.5 hours long and since I have Global Entry getting through immigration and customs was super easy. My phone was dying/dead so I had to plug in my phone into an outlet underneath the baggage claim belt while I waited for my bag to come out. Arriving at Terminal E at Houston (IAH) is quite amazing. It's gigantic and such an improvement from what it used to be when arriving in the old international Terminal D. About 11 years ago I flew from Paris (CDG) to Houston (IAH) was the only time I ever entered the country through Houston and it wasn't a pleasant experience back then.

The only thing that irritated me about this connection was that once I rechecked my bag and had to go through security, there was no TSA precheck queue even though there was a sign for it. I've been really spoiled not having to take off my shoes and all the other garbage that comes along with security. Once I got through I headed back to the United Club at Terminal E. I considered getting some coffee, but decided to just relax in the lounge. I wasn't very hungry but I did need to charge my phone. My flight back to Orange County (SNA) was leaving out of the nearest part of Terminal C which was nice. When I boarded, I found my seat 1A on the 737-700. By this time I was so tired and the flight was so dark that I didn't take any other pictures.