Greetings and thank you for reading the conclusion of my latest itinerary. This report covers the return leg of my recent trip to Washington DC and Charleston, SC. I was originally scheduled to depart on Thursday on the last flight out back to IAD. However due to bad weather over the midwest, it threw ExpressJet’s operation into omnishambles. I was going to miss my connection. I opted to go standby on a direct back to IAH but that one was oversold. I was stuck an extra night in CHS. (That original flight to IAD wound up being out right canceled.) Usually United’s good about rebooking me whenever something like this happens, but with this case nothing happened automatically. This report picks up when I’m back at the airport that next morning. Oh and the icing on the cake; my checked bag caught an earlier flight and was already in IAD. It was scheduled to meet me in IAH when I arrived the next day.
Friday morning there was an Air China 787-9 that was doing touch and go’s.
This was Air China’s 3rd 787. Somehow this bird lucked out with the reg number of B-7879.
The road to the airport passes the Boeing 787 production facility.
The Charleston airport is quite small and lacks amenities commonly found at the larger airports. Its basically in the shape of a V, with security at the base of it and two finger pier’s going out creating Terminal A and Terminal B. Terminal A is exclusively Delta’s while everyone else is in B. Terminal B is also where there is a secure area for US Customs. There is a seasonal flight to YTZ (for some reason.) The walkways from security to the gates. The short ledge at the base of the window makes a great seat for laying along the window. Only bad part is there are no outlets.
Here’s the Air China 787-9 taxiing back to the Boeing plant.
The windows make for some great planespotting. Here a DL (ex-Air Tran) 717 making it’s way to the DL gates in Terminal A.
All the gates making up Terminal A. There’s a restaurant here, and that’s pretty much it.
Here’s Terminal B’s gates. It’s a bit longer as you can see. There’s a pizza place at the far end and a Hudson News in between.
That Hudson News has the only self serve Dunkin Donuts I’ve ever seen.
That's the extent of the airport. See what I mean by small ;) Now lets start with the flight itself.
My flight to IAH departs out of gate B3.
I had to get some work done before boarding, so right as Group 2 was almost done boarding, I got in line. Standing at the end of the jet bridge I could look over the top of the small Embraer I was about to board. Here’s a fellow Embraer for AA.
I had a bulkhead seat just aft of the forward galley.
Nothing too interesting to look at.
The AA plane about to push back.
We taxied for quite a while. Here’s a gen av twin prop talking off (King Air or maybe a Cessna.)
Charleston Int’l Airport is also part military base. The airport is actually Joint Venture between the city of Charleston and the US Air Force Charleston Air Force Base and the US Navy Naval Support Activity Charleston. As such, there’s a mix of F/A 18’s from the Navy, F-15’s from the Air Force and a plethora of C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft.
This is the only was I was able to balance my media device (just an old phone that only has videos on it). It worked until we started bumping along down the runway.
Just after we lifted off. You can kind of make out the V shape of the passenger terminals. That’s the extent of the airport.
The climb out afforded me some great photos of the Boeing facility. My first sighting of a Dreamlifter.
The full 787 production facility.
Construction on a new building. This might be the assembly for the 787-10.
Here’s a full view Boeing (right) and the CHS terminal building to the left of it.
A cool retention pond with an airplane island in the middle of it.
After we reached our cruising altitude, this was pretty much the view the entire way.
I always like the tray tables in bulkhead rows. They work for me the best.
The solo Flight Attendant did a quick beverage and snack service. United recently reintroduced handing out actual snacks. There’s only one type per flight. In the morning its a Stroopwafel and outside of that it’s either zesty ranch flavor or a spicy Asian flavor.
Crossing the ‘Mighty Mississippi.’
Entrance to Lake Charles. You can just make out a tanker inbound.
Further west along the coast on our way to Houston/Galveston. Next stop is the entrance to Beaumont and the Sabine River. Tankers coming and going or at anchor.
A bit of a bumpy ride in through the cumulus clouds. You can make out IAH through the clouds.
We’re doing a westerly approach, so somewhere down there is my apartment.
About to touch down on runway 8R. Passing the perpendicular 15 L/R.
Passing a pretty vacant terminal D (The international terminal at IAH.)
After taxiing to the other side of the airport we pulled up to the south side of terminal B. I was the last one off the plane so I could get a photo of an empty ERJ cabin for this report.
The new part of Terminal B is kind of a 'cinderblock fortress'. The gates themselves are quite uninspiring but the main base of the terminal isn’t too bad. It has a Panda Express, Bullritos, and a Whataburger so it can’t be all that bad. They’re even about to open a new Barbecue there. So at some point I’ll have to try what airport BBQ actually tastes like ;). Anyways, here’s the exterior.
You disembark on these aluminum ramps that get wheeled up to the plane.
Just inside the gate area.
When I landed I got a text assuring me that my bag had made it. After a stop to a customer service area to confirm which terminal it was actually at, I picked it up and was on my way.
Charleston - CHS
Houston - IAH
After a rather difficult start everything fell into place one I was actually able to get on a plane. Charleston was a neat airport; probably only for avgeek’s though. The Boeing facility was really neat to see and fly over. Other than that, the airport is quite bare however; lacking amenities i.e. no lounges or variety of restaurants.
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