Every year I take a 9/11 semi-run. It has the dual purpose of getting me out of town and making a decade-repeated statement that I don't think anyone pays attention to. This year I got my buddy Anne to join me in Houston and come home with me. CO1232 BWI IAH 1119 1328 738 21C I didn't clear the upgrade list on a Sunday, that day being a supposedly particularly light travel day. I had the scant consolation of being #1 in line from the formation of the list to the boarding of the aircraft. Checked in with the gate agent, who offered the observation "sometimes not everybody shows up, but today they did." I did get the exit row aisle, though, which offered all the legroom and seat width I needed and which would have been quite comfy indeed had not some 300-lb guy changed from the later flight and set himself in the middle seat next to me (the last empty on the aircraft). He was pleasant enough, anyhow. We pushed back right on time, and about the time I would have expected us to take off, there was the dread announcement. Here any announcement other than "flight attendants be seated for takeoff" is dread. This one started "well, folks," and you know something had to be wrong. At least it wasn't wrong with the plane, exactly. What had happened. The airport had closed all the runways but one for some reason (claimed: maintenance), and the open one was the shortest one, and we were too heavy to take off from it, so we had to burn off half a ton of fuel, this to be accomplished by sitting off to one side and wasting gas for an hour. Why on earth would they not (plan A) taxi back to the gate and siphon off half a ton of fuel, saving time and money; (plan B) taxi back to the gate and kick off half a ton of passengers, saving time and aggravating 6 people to the gratification of 150; or (plan C) race around the airport for 20 minutes instead of sitting in the penalty box for three times that. Further: why the coincidence of this runway closure happening in the 15 minutes between our pulling off the gate and our getting in line for departure. This all leads me to imagine that CO's operations management is even worse than UA's. The announcement was made that, because of the inconvenience, we were going to get free ... and my spirits and expectations leaped ... DirecTV ... and my expectations of spirits fell again. The offerings were the usual boring weekend morning junk mixed with a salad of 9/11 commemorations. I snoozed fitfully without the availability of free Courvoisier, that best of sleep aids. We took off and landed an hour late. During the flight, they offered a cheeseburger or various other things for 8 smackers. Surprisingly, there appeared to be some takers. CO 33 IAH MSY 1530 1637 739 3EF Despite the delay, there was still time to catch up with Annie at the club for a couple glasses of wine before our flight. The wine was bad, the company good. The bartender allowed passengers to charge their computers and phones on her powerstrip, also good. Continental's IT is as bad as anyone's, and on this flight 3E and 4B were traveling together, and 3F and 4A were traveling together. It was not a rocket science switch, and not being rocket scientists, we switched. A perfectly fine little flight, during which I drank nothing, on the theory that I would have plenty to drink in New Orleans. We were met by some random guy offering taxi service. He seemed to be on the up-and-up, and his vehicle had a medallion, so we got into his taxi. As might be expected, he got us to our destination speedily, directly, and at the standard price.