Barcelona and Transatlantic Cruise 2008 – Day 1 – Air Time

Today, our family vacation of 2008 began. This year, we are taking a Transatlantic Cruise from Barcelona, Spain to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prior to the cruise, we would be spending almost 4 days in Barcelona. But first, we had to get from Tucson to Barcelona.

It’s kind of sad, but our airfare, from Tucson to Barcelona, and then from San Juan back to Tucson cost almost as much as the cruise itself. I much prefer flying American Airlines more than any other airline, but for this itinerary the tickets would have been almost twice as much as on Continental Airlines whom we ended up getting our tickets with.

Continental also had an extra route than if we had gotten tickets with American. Our first leg was from Tucson to Houston. The plane left on time and arrived on time which is good. The plane was one of the little regional jets so not the most spacious, but I will take uneventful over spacious any time.

The second leg, from Houston to Newark also left on time and was uneventful. The equipment was a 757-200 which is not my favorite equipment as it exemplifies the cattle car concept packing in the coach fares in to the back in a 3×3 arrangement. And it’s where I miss American as they have significantly better leg room than any other airline that I have flown on.

The one nice feature is the in-seat entertainment center on each seat back so we were able to kill the time of the 3 hour flight watching movies and playing games. Kudos to Continental for making that system free of charge to passengers. The service was friendly at best. I don’t think I have seen a cart move that fast down an aisle as they gave folks their snack lunch and beverages. It was very production line. Again, uneventful flight so we arrived in Newark happy.

Our final leg to Barcelona was about a 7 and half hours. The equipment was once again a 757-200 and it was my first overseas flight in coach in something like 12 years. I travel occasionally overseas on business but I am lucky enough that my company pays for business class travel overseas. I really missed it on this flight.

The seats were much less comfortable and a glass of wine with dinner cost money. And speaking of dinner, the fast, efficient production line carts were at it again. Dinner choices were chicken or beef, no more details. I really missed the nice meals of business class – yes, spoiled.

Savannah did a good job of sleeping getting maybe 5 hours. She was the only one who really slept. The rest of us got maybe a couple of hours. The seats were again very compact and this was probably the bumpiest flight I have been on. We were constantly moving around in the turbulence. Many times and for extended durations, it was quite excessive. Still, it was nice to arrive on schedule in Barcelona about 9 am despite leaving Newark almost 45 minutes late.
Our vacation is underway…