I had been looking forward to this trip for weeks. Even while I was flitting around the U.S. doing other things, I longed to get out of the country and go somewhere new.
I can’t say I was particularly looking forward to nearly six hours in a domestically configured Boeing 737-800, but it didn’t matter, I was going to Colombia.
I got to the airport early, as is my custom. I wasn’t checking any bags, so it was just a quick stop to pop out a boarding pass at the kiosk, and I was on my way to security. Once through, I paused at the window to snap a photo of an (I believe) Boeing 737-900 in Continental retro-livery, and then I made my way to the United Club.
It feels strange admitting this in print, or anywhere outside my head for that matter, but in the United Club near the int’l gates in Terminal C, I have a favorite cubicle that I like to post-up at while waiting for my flight (it’s #7). It was available, so I dumped my gear, grabbed a water from the bar and some cubes of cheese before popping open my laptop to grind away the time until boarding.
About 15 minutes before the expected boarding time, I packed up my electronics and went down to the gate to snap some photos of our equipment before boarding began. There was just one problem, the plane was not at the gate. Due to a late inbound (I think from BOG), we would be delayed nearly two hours.
This was a problem for me, not because I had a connection, but because it killed any chance I had to do even a little sightseeing in Bogota.
Since the UA EWR-BOG flight gets in so late, there is no possibility to connect on to CTG the same day. So, I had planned to try and see a bit of the city before going to bed and catching the early AV BOG-CTG flight. With this delay, we’d be getting into BOG so late that there wouldn’t be much time for anything other than maybe a quick dinner, then bed. Such are the perils of commercial air travel.
I went back up to the United Club to charge my phone until the new boarding time.
I returned to gate C128 at the appointed hour to find that UA 1068 to Bogota was now ready for boarding. I stowed my bags in the overhead and dropped into seat 1A, I was hoping the bulkhead would provide a little extra room for my 6’4” frame and make this long glorified domestic sector a bit less painful.
The F (Oh i’m sorry, J) cabin was full for this flight. Despite EWR-BOG being an international flight, United frequent fliers are eligible for complimentary upgrades to the front based on status and all the usual parameters. As such, I don’t think this flight ever goes out with empty seats in the pointy end.
There’s not much more to say about the flight itself…it was sitting in a domestic seat on a narrowbody aircraft for nearly six hours. The meal service was better than the slop you generally get domestically, but nothing to write home about. The only noteworthy thing about it, was the fact that the main course option I selected was a mixture of chicken AND beef, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before either aloft or on the ground. Usually whoever designs the menu picks one or the other…oh well, it wasn’t bad.
Once we landed at BOG it was rather late, and the airport was dead. As the contents of our plane spilled towards immigration there wasn’t much backup, and I was through the border in short order. Since I had no bags, I was quickly out into the dark Bogota night, in a car and on my way to the JW Marriott to get some sleep so that I could be back at the airport in the morning.