Traveling from New York City to Guam in a single day is a challenge, to say the least. The good news is that Continental offers a pretty reasonable schedule that can get you all the way there (and on to a few other out-lying areas if you’re so motivated) in a single day. The bad news is that it is nearly 24 hours of travel, and that’s assuming the best-case scenario for the connections.
For me the itinerary is pretty simple. Start off at the ungodly hour of 4am with an alarm clock buzzer that causes shock and awe, but not in the good way. From there, it is a fight to grab a cab from the Club Kids who are just wrapping up their night out on the town (I lost a couple rounds but eventually won) and then the quick ride to LaGuardia. The Presidents Club lounge is not yet open so any dreams of a Bloody Mary or a granola bar are dashed, but at least the line at security was minimal.
The flight from LaGuardia to Houston was uneventful, mostly because I was asleep the better part of it. Arrival into Houston was right on time and a 45 minute connection to the Honolulu flight was easy to make, though not so much in terms of time to visit a Presidents Club there, either. I was “late” to boarding which put me a bit in the middle of the zoo that is loading up ~200 passengers for a flight to the islands, and for some reason the gate agents were insistent that there was no priority boarding for elites this morning. My face showing a dumbfound incomprehension of why that should be was met with a reasonable agent (not the one I first encountered) and eventually I boarded the flight.
Oh, there was also the part where they told me that I had to change seats to help keep a couple together (something I generally do without objection, though I prefer to be asked not told). But then they weren’t really sure where i was supposed to actually sit or where all the other parties were supposed to be. Given the list of seats in play I managed to figure it out, but not before the folks on the plane had already done so. Needless to say, when I got to my seat and tried to start shuffling all the other players who had already moved themselves they were very confused.
Continental’s service up front from Houston and Newark to Honolulu may be considered a modified version of the BusinessFirst offering but the seats are still pretty good for a daytime flight and the food is still one of the better options available headed to the 50th state. Lunch is a five-course marathon, starting with a salmon appetizer and ending with an ice cream sundae. The truly shameful part is that that coach cabin has only food for purchase available on the 8.5 hour journey. Had my upgrade not come through I would’ve been in big trouble trying to find a decent meal or two for the second segment during the short connection.
As I wrapped up my ice cream sundae (caramel & chocolate, plus whipped cream, if you’re curious) along with my traditional beverage side-car I happened to look up at the moving map screen. Nearly two hours into the flight and we’re still in Texas; just short of El Paso, it turns out. I know Texas is big, but damn. I was not expecting to still be here.
Overall, a relatively uneventful trip so far, which is really the best one can hope for most days. With any luck the rest of the 23-ish hour journey will be similarly smooth.
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