The Traveling Steve's

Overnight Layover at Houston (IAH Airport Marriott) En Route to Doha

It’s Wednesday March 13th, and I’m writing this from our flight from Charlotte (CLT) to Houston (IAH) on American Airlines flight.  We started our day with a nice buffet breakfast at the Orlando Hyatt Regency where we stayed last night.  Before heading to breakfast I saw this Angelic-looking cloud formation from our runway view balcony, while saying a quick prayer for health and safety on our long journey today, as well as over the next six weeks. This Angelic cloud formation gave me a sign of peace and comfort as we headed down to the hotel’s restaurant, McCoy’s for breakfast.

After breakfast we had a 8:45am pickup by the hotel Bellman that took our luggage all the way from the Hyatt (located on the opposite side of the large terminal area) to the American Airlines Priority check-in area. Although I could walk that far (still slowly unfortunately), Steve (DOS) pushed me in our transit wheelchair we checked for the trip, just in case I needed it for long walks, or busy airport transits.

We said goodbye to Orlando Airport and the Disney-themed murals and headed to our Gate number 50 for our American Airlines Airbus 321 flight to Charlotte.

We then had a 10:37am flight to CLT, and a 2 1/2 hour connection before heading onwards to Houston. The connection time in Charlotte went by quickly as we found a good people-watching spot in the main atrium of Charlotte Airport, sitting in a couple of the rocking chairs facing the busy transit and food/drink corridors between Terminals B and C.

We actually had great service on both American Airlines flights, which these days can be truly hit or miss, even in First Class, and especially on shorter domestic flights.  We had an energetic and enthusiastic female Flight Attendant named Jackie going to CLT who truly seemed to love her job and interacting with passengers, and a younger male flight attendant named Christian to Houston who provided a nice and friendly meal service on our 2 1/2 hour flight.

Even doing my extensive check list for the trip, I forgot and left my iPad at home, (which is usually the last item I pack the day of the trip) and feel semi-naked without it!  Couple that with my Apple Watch band, which is not staying “Velcro’d” together, meaning it won’t stay on my wrist, so I feel slightly out of touch with the electronic world!  I have my MacBook Pro, but am so used to having my iPad by my side out of convenience (whether bedside, plane-side, recliner-side etc) it feels a bit lonely  without it.  While on the layover in Charlotte, DOS ordered me a regular iPad (not the pro which I have) which will hopefully be delivered by 9pm tonight to the hotel in Houston.  As for my watch, I guess it’s my fault for not taking it off (it is waterproof)  when swimming or showering, as the wristband’s velcro has weakened, although the Apple Watch itself works fine.     We couldn’t find any inexpensive watch bands in the CLT airport (I didn’t want to pay $80 for an Apple Watch band!) so I figured we can wait until Doha or even Melbourne for that.  Too bad there’s not a Dollar Store we could buy some velcro to stick it back together!  LOL!

Anyway, we’re landing in Houston in 20 minutes or so; really quick flight!  Will write more later this evening.

Later on . . .  we arrived on time to Houston, and made our way to baggage claim, with the help of an airport skycap and a wheelchair.  We brought our own wheelchair, but had checked it along with our luggage in Orlando, so had to pick it up at baggage claim.  While I can walk without it, as the distance was quite far, and I opted for the wheelchair assistance to baggage claim, and then onto the airport hotel. While the underground tram cars each held (in theory) 12 people, DOS, myself, and our luggage filled up an entire tram car just to ourselves! The skycap had to ride in another car! So much for under packing this trip!????

We stayed for one night at the Houston Airport Marriott, which is a nice, albeit older hotel, conveniently located on the IAH Airport property, and is easily reachable via the underground tram, which encircles the airport permitter, allowing access to all of the terminals.

After a friendly checkin, we went to our room on the first floor, 1012.  At first I wasn’t thrilled about the first floor, (you checkin on the lobby level) but our room was actually a great location, although without a runway view.  The Marriott complex has a tower building, as well as a spoke-like set of 3 level corridors of rooms, one of which housed our room.  There is also an elevated circular two story tower right above our corridor terrace level room, but it is for hospitality suites and meeting rooms. I had thought it was for a nice restaurant with a view, but unfortunately it wasn’t, as the restaurant/lounge was on the lobby level, along with the Concierge Lounge just down the hall from it. Here is a view from the walkway to our room, looking up at the giant circular Marriott landmark at the airport. It looks like it is on a revolving platform, but it didn’t move, maybe at one time it did?

I actually preferred this low-lying building concept as we had a slider door opening to the courtyard.  While it was technically on the first floor, it was a couple floors above ground level, and the courtyard with walkways to the different spokes of buildings, and the outdoor pool, gave this more of a resort feel to it.  In fact being in the middle of the airport it was fairly quiet outside, and very soundproof inside from the busy airplane noise.

After settling in the room, we decided to explore the hotel and backtrack to the airport a bit to find out where our Qatar Airways flight would depart from tomorrow.  Boy, are we glad we did!  It was a bit confusing trying to find Qatar and the International Terminal, and it would have been even more so if we had all our luggage with us tomorrow, without the help of a skycap to the international terminal.   Basically it was a series of elevators, walkways, taking the underground tram, and then back up to the terminal level.  At least we will know where to go tomorrow without backtracking or wasting our time, much less knowing places that are potential bottlenecks with lots of luggage.

Along the way, an inbound Emirates Airlines crew passed us along the corridor. They had just come in from an ultra-long flight from Dubai, and there must have been 20 flight attendants still looking fresh with crisp uniforms after some 16 hour flight! It must have been a 380 aircraft to have so many attendant.

After roaming around the airport in search of our check-in gate for tomorrow, we headed back to the Marriott Hotel for dinner.  We ate at the hotels lobby level restaurant/bar, which was quite large and spacious.  Like the check-in desk staff, the restaurant staff was equally friendly and very efficient.  I chatted with the manager, Andrew, for a bit before we were seated, and he said he had worked in Sydney and New Zealand a few years back and loved it, after he asked where we were heading tomorrow. had a nice Texas sized brisket platter, and a couple local IPA’s while DOS had a Margarita pizza and a Coke Zero. 

We were both tired from the day of travel, and even though it was only an hour time difference from Orlando, it seemed later than it was when we went to bed at 10:30pm CDT.  The room was amazing quiet, no doubt due to heavy duty soundproofing and windows, but also possibly due to the inside courtyard location, which no doubt shelters some of the noise even when outside walking along the pathways.

Tomorrow we have a full day of travel to Doha!  Our flight doesn’t leave until 6pm, and we arranged for a 3pm checkout, which is really helpful due to the 3 hour luggage checkin time.  So goodnight now from Houston! 

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