Airbus380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 723 times:
I am going to be flying to Truk, an island in the Pacific east of New Zealand. I am flying from IAH-HNL, HNL-GUM, GUM-TKK. I am flying on CO regular and Micronesia. Will Micronesia ever get anything other than the DC-10-30s on long haul? Has anyone ever been to Truk and know what it is like? I saw a picture and like natives are in the airport barefoot and stuff. Does anyone know where I can find really cheap fares on any airline with any amount of connections from IAH-HNL and HNL-GUM, and I have the GUM-TKK part covered. Thanks a lot!
Adam84 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1400 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 694 times:
I doubt you will find any non-stop mainland US-GUM flights. Just stay a couple of days in Hawaii. The HNL-GUM flight is a continuation of IAH-HNL, so do you want to fly 8 hours IAH-HNL, stop in Hawaii for an hour maximum then hop on the same plane for another 7 or 8 hours? Or another option is IAH-NRT-GUM-TKK, I think NW flys NRT-GUM, or maybe JAL does.
MAC_Veteran From Taiwan, joined Jun 1999, 726 posts, RR: 7 Reply 2, posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 694 times:
I would recommend the Lonely Planet book on Micronesia, available at any good book store, a competing book series by Moon Publications writes a travel companion book for Micronesia as well, get both as they are excellent.
Truk (now called Chuuk) is a small grouping of islands within a huge atoll. If you really want to get around these islands you will need a boat. (I think these services are quite common and not too badly priced but still check around). Hotel lodging is a bit of a challenge as you need to book well in advance from what I've heard. The Truk Continental Hotel is the biggest one there I believe. There are a few smaller "mom and pop" motel establishments there too. The tourism market caters primarily to scuba diving in the huge atoll.
Truk served as a huge Japanese naval base during WW2 and was the scene of "Operation Hailstone". This US aerial attack on the Japanese fleet at anchor there, littered the bottom with countless wrecks that you can now dive on. It's a huge underwater park now. The whole atoll is a living history museum!
As for connections, "Air Mike" (Continental Micronesia) is the only game in town. I've flown them several times when I was stationed at Guam. BTW: It's sometimes jokingly referred to as "Continental Monopoly-nesia" (G). Air fares in the area are a bit high, but with some planning you'll do ok.
The long distance flights from GUM-HNL are operated by Continental, as are the IAH-HNL runs. Northwest -used- to fly the GUM-HNL wotuing but lost their rear-end in that market and pulled out. Indeed, CO operates the DC-10-30 (as did Northwest at the time they flew there)
The only real "competitor" to 'Air Mike' is Air Nauru. Their selection of flights though is much more limited than Air Mike. Their flights originate mostly from the tiny island state of Nauru and fly to a limited selection of Micronesian destinations. They've had trouble lately with their operating certificate revoked but then re-instated, be forewarned their schedule is known to be chaotic with frequent cancellations. I've heard it's competitive on a price basis with Air Mike. (if you are lucky to get a flight on them though! (G)
If you want to trek a little eastward to Majuro and the Marshall Islands, Air Marshall Islands operates a selection of flights to various atolls out that 'neck'o'the'woods' as well. Overall though Air Mike is the best bet for the heavier distance flying there and they operate a solid, reliable schedule, new equipment also (737-800s now on the multi-stop "Island Hopper" from Honolulu to Guam: which stops at Johnston Atoll, Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk, then Guam. It used to be with 727-200s and -100C's years ago.) Everything in Air Mikes system eventually winds up at GUM. They operate a brand new terminal there and is said to be spectacular. Connections there are said to be quite convenient up to Saipan (140 miles N of GUM..a nice diversion from the hustle and bustle of Guam too), down SW to Yap and Palau (a must see destination too if you like diving), and off to various Asian destinations like the Philippines, Taiwan, HKG, Japan and Bali. I really like (and miss) that part of the world, you'll love it!
I cant recommend the two books I mentioned/linked here -enough- though, They both helped me save a lot of money when it came to hotels and restaurants, etc. Made the trips I've had into these areas a lot easier.
Aviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 679 times:
Actually, Air Nauru are not as bad as what MAC_Veteran makes them out to be. They did used to have problems a few years ago when they were operating the largest route network in the Pacific, but in recent times, their schedules have pretty much run like a well-oiled machines (latest problems excepted of course). Except ON does not fly to Chuuk; the only destinations for ON in Micronesia are currently Guam and Pohnpei (Ponape).
MAC_Veteran From Taiwan, joined Jun 1999, 726 posts, RR: 7 Reply 4, posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 668 times:
My sources on Air Nauru were quotes from the two guidebooks in question and from newspaper articles published by the Pacific Daily News. So I suppose the respective authors are making that up -as well-?
I must say that it's a bit humorous to see the effort to try and debunk this when I quote sources that copyright and publish their stuff. If they are so patently wrong they can be sued for -libel- if it's so desired and worth getting into such a lather over. Funny, these books have been in publication with several re-writes saying pretty much the -same thing- about the carrier in question since their original publish dates almost 10 years ago too!.
Aviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 657 times:
A few years ago I used to work for a travel agency (tour operator) here in Australia, and we used to specialise in Pacific Island travel; Air Nauru, Polynesian Airlines and Air Pacific being the main carriers we used to deal with. We never had problems with Air Nauru....in fact....their single aircraft (737-400 VH-RON) is leased to QF when it isn't being operated, and ON also operates flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Norfolk Island on behalf of Norfolk Jet.
I hardly think they would be able to operate all these additional services if they were not reliable.
Next time you are in Guam or Manila, check in with the Air Nauru offices and see how many of their services have been unreliable in the last few years; coz in my experience it has been zilch.
ScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6442 posts, RR: 33 Reply 7, posted (12 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 648 times:
I've actually been to Truk (Chuuk) - I was there at the end of March, '99. I hope you're going for the diving, since there really is very little to do there otherwise. The airport is on the island of Moen which is the administrative center for Chuuk State (one of the 4 states of the Federated States of Micronesia), but to be honest, the conditions there are generally quite primitive. If you're going on the Truk Aggressor - you'll probably have a great time - the crew on that boat are a great bunch of people!
FYI, Truk (Chuuk) is FAR from New Zealand - several thousand miles - and it is to the north (it's north of the Equator) of NZ, not to the east. Truk also is not a single island - it's an atoll with about a half-dozen principal islands.
I don't remember checking whether or not the Trukese were wearing shoes when I was there, but it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't. Shoes aren't generally part of Micronesian culture. The airport terminal is open-air - it's roofed but has no walls; there is a small room you pass through which holds passenger screening equipment. But then the weather there really doesn't require a walled terminal - the roof keeps out the rain, and the temperature stays pretty pleasant year-round.
Continental Micronesia is indeed the only game in town to TKK - while airfares are expensive for non-Micronesians, I believe FSM citizens do get a break on the fares. CO Micronesia ("Air Mike") will probably be the last part of Continental still operating the DC-10's - depending on loads and yields, expect those to be replaced by 777's or 767-400's in 5 years or so. They were the last part of Continental to operate the 747's and 727's. Air Mike is reliable though their scheduling is a bit bizarre. I'm not sure I'd really want to fly the 737-800 island-hopper service from HNL-TKK - with four intermediate stops (MAJ/KWA/KSA/PNI) you'll be on that flight for quite a while. Dumb piece of trivia - the island-hopper leaves KSA at the same time going in both directions - jut on different days.
The Antonio B. Won Pat Guam International Air Terminal (whew!) is quite modern and spacious - basically one very long linear concourse. It's quite overwhelming to see the throngs of people in the afternoon with two JAL 747's to NRT/KIX, a KAL 747 to SEL, a 747 to TPE, CO's DC-10's to NRT and KIX, etc.