CAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 3 Posted (4 years 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 13266 times:
I’ll start off by saying that the purpose of this trip was to get that illusive first transpac under my belt. For such a feat I decided to enlist the help of anet member Transpac 787. I have to give transpac787 a lot of credit because he did 95% of the research for this trip, which consisted of checking loads and connections for every one of my flights and suggesting a days with perfect loads for nonreving.
I started my trip in DTW and he started his in DEN, we would meet in ATL, then fly to NRT together, then he would fly on to DFW then to ROW, and I would fly to HNL then to ATL and then DTW. I flew as a Northwest nonrev on this trip, which ended up leading to a few problems, which I will discuss in the following report. I couldn’t just go direct DTW-ATL, and make the ATL-NRT connection to DL802 which left at 1410, because all the direct DTW-ATL flights were oversold in my time frame, so transpac (a master of both deltanet and radar-the nonrev systems for NW/DL) found me a three leg itinerary on DL down to ATL. Other than the DTW-ATL direct flights, ever other flight was open and my itinerary ended up being DTW-CVG-GSP-ATL-NRT-HNL-ATL-DTW.
I’ll just add that this day was one of the the biggest SNAFU days I’ve had nonreving to date, that did not result in me missing one of my flights.
My trip started bright at early when I woke up at 0445 on 16MAY to make my 0640 departure out of DTW, and ended up getting to the airport an hour before departure. I had requested and claimed the zed tickets NW nonrevs are required to have to fly on DL (until 23JUN) ahead of time, so I got in line at the original DL counters (even though all counters at DTW are marked DL now, you have to use lines 1-12 if you’re flying on a DL flight, confusing I know) Once I waited 20 mins in line, I got to the counter and the agent printed my seat request card for ATL-NRT, and DTW-ATL but not DTW-CVG-GSP-ATL. I said “but I need a seat request card for DTW-CVG-GSP -ATL, because the DTW-ATL is oversold, and I will miss my connection to NRT if I can’t go DTW-CVG-GSP-ATL.” She told me that the paper tickets I had didn’t have the exact city pairs, so I would have to go to the NW counter (marked DL) and get new paper tickets so I could get a seat request card to CVG…, I tried to explain that the domestic paper tickets are all free and thus transferable for any domestic flight, but she disagreed (I found that each station I went to that day, the agents followed a different set of rules) So after wasting 30 minutes there, I go over to the NW counter to get new paper tickets to fly on DL, where they told me to call reservations (where I spent 10mins on hold), and finally got my new paper tickets with the exact city pairs for my DL flights down to ATL. As the tickets printed out and I explained the situation, the NW agent at the counter said “I have no clue why they’re making you do this, all the domestic tickets are free and transferable so the city pair on the ticket don’t even matter, they just give the nonrevs a hard time over there (the DL counters).”
So after I get the new paper tickets and by the time I get back to the DL counter to get my seat request card to CVG… they tell me that they can’t print it because its closer than 30 minutes to departure, I reply “but I have to get on that flight or I’ll miss my connection to NRT.” Their reply “Well sir its 0618, the boarding door closes at 0630, it’s a fifteen minute walk to gate B18.” For some reason they printed me a seat request card for DTW-ATL when they printed my ATL-NRT card, even though I didn’t have a paper ticket for that city pair??? At this point there was really no method to their madness so I was just grateful to have the DTW-ATL card to get through security, even though I had no clue why the agent printed it in the first place.
After those kind words from the DL agent regarding my transition to gate B18, I literally sprinted from the ticket counter to security (which by the grace of god did not have a soul in line), made it though security in about a minute after slipping my semi-formal shoes back on and just dumping my belongings from the x-ray tub into my duffel bag. Then I hauled ass down the escalators and through the atrium, ran through the tunnel, booked it up the escalator and all the way through the B concourse to B18, where my watch read 0626, HA MADE IT!(though out of breath and dripping sweat in my nice clothes for the NRT flight in a few hours)
The gate agent was kind enough to let me on without trouble, considering I didn’t have a seat request card.
Once I got CVG, I was amazed by the sight of so many RJs and so little mainline A/C, I only counted two 737’s on the whole ramp. I made my Flight to GSP without delay, and once in GSP my connection to ATL was on the same A/C that brought me in from CVG. Without a boarding pass on to ATL, I had to deplane in GSP, and since a place like GSP doesn’t get many connections I’m assuming, once you deplane, you leave the sterile security zone. So, noting the usual 20 minute turn time for a CR2, I book it up to the security checkpoint, where they wouldn’t let me through due to my lack of a seat request card, so I was forced to run back down to the DL ticket counter in GSP and obtain a seat request card down to ATL, luckily the friendly South Carolinian agents enjoyed hearing of my adventurous commute down to ATL to go to NRT, and gave me a seat request card, and called up to the gate to make sure to make sure they didn’t close the door a few seconds ahead of me. Once I ran back to security, nobody was waiting in line and I was through in less than a minute again! Then I had a 100 yard dash to the gate, where had I arrived a minute later, I would have had to wait another hour and a half to catch the next flight to ATL. The agent was really nice, he just told me to run down there and get on the plane, sit anywhere don’t worry about a seat assignment. So after that little adventure I was finally on my way to hotlanta.
Once in ATL, I met up with transpac, and we grabbed lunch before the flight to NRT.
I would just like to add that all the DL gate agents in DTW, CVG, and GSP (and the rampers in GSP) were extremely polite and some of the kindest agents (and rampers) I’ve ever come across.
1410-1700+1 Block time 14:50
747-400 N602US Delivered MAR 1989 *Second 744 delivered to NW
Seat 11A Gate E12
Load: J-40% Y-50%
This flight was extremely empty, hence the reason Transpac and I decided to take it to NRT. To set the record straight, I really hate bashing the employees, but both of us agreed that the two CS agents working this flight were absolutely abysmal, I honestly had no clue how they still had jobs with the company. To start, even though the load was less than half on this flight they didn’t start boarding until about 40 minutes to push. Then, after basically everyone had boarded they started clearing standbys, the fact that they didn’t clear us till the very end wasn’t a problem with us at all, it was the way they cleared us. First we are called up to the counter, “where’s cap2008, where’s transpac787?”, we go up “right here”…stand at the counter for 30 seconds, she calls another name that doesn’t show up…”where’s cap2008, where’s transpac787?”, we’re still standing right at the counter “right here”…thirty seconds go by, then she hands transpac a boarding pass for the guy that didn’t show up to the counter a minute ago. His reply “ughh, this Isn’t me”, her “oh well than who are you?” (after we already told her who we were twice before)….then the process repeats for another 2 or 3 cycles. Literally we were standing there for close to 10 minutes waiting on seat assignments. All this happened with only a half load of pax and less than 10 standbys. Even one of the F/A’s on the flight said one of the agents in question was one of the worst out there.
Once that mess was over we got seats 11A and B, which really do provide the best views of the wing. I was shocked to see how light the load was on this flight in the aft business cabin, only 5 of 23 seats were occupied, including transpac and I. The crew on this flight was awesome to say the least. All the International crews I had on this whole trip were some of the best I’ve had on any of my International flights. My guess is that the 360 or so NW F/A’s in the ATL satellite base are so happy because they only have five trips to bid from: AMS, FCO, HNL, NRT, or LGW.
The seat was a little shabby
I was glad to see that the new DL blankets and pillows were used on this flight, a nice upgrade from those brillo pads NW had been using in J for the last few years. Preflight beverages (champagne, water, OJ) were served and menus, headsets, and amenity kits were distributed as well. The menus were very nice, they had the old constellation on the cover, and were very well-prepared. I forgot to take a picture, and now as I was searching for that menu as I was writing this report, I now realize that I left that menu on the plane, damn! Perhaps transpac could post a pic of it.
Another thing I noticed was how bad the DL sky magazine was for the NW flights. The sky didn’t even list the movies on the NW AVOD system, and It advertised DL’s new mojitos and margaritas, which weren’t served on NW flights until June 1. I think they axed the world traveler magazine too early, the sky is really causing the NW F/A’s a lot of extra trouble from pax who expect everything advertised in the sky to be on their NW flight.
From what I understood, there are only two gates in ATL that can fit the 744, the one we were at and the neighboring one that the KE 744 was parked at, the other DL 744 to HNL later in the day was out at the parking stand.
Once the door was closed, we had a nice scenic taxi.
I’d just like to apologize for the quality of the pics over this whole trip, I know compared to some of my other reports the number of cabin shots and such have decreased in this report, just feel free to reference the AMS report if you’d like to see cabin shots of the 744/333
Once we took off, I noticed that the moving map on the projector went off, thought nothing of it. Then 20 mins after takeoff, when I went to see if that stupid airobics video was over, I found that the PTV was blank. Hmmmm, that’s unusual, then a few minutes later over the PA “Ladies and Gentlemen, we regret to inform you that the aircraft’s electrical system controlling the video entertainment system is malfunctioning. For the next two hours the crew was in contact with maintenance in MSP trying to attempt an Apollo 13 style fix, but nothing could be done.
In the meantime, Dinner was being served I went for the seafood option, but since I gorged myself on panda express in the airport I didn’t eat as much as I wanted to . All the food was pretty good, really nothing to complain about, I’ll just let the pics do most of the talking, sorry I forgot to take a picture of the main course-It was some type of shrimp pasta.
We ended up flying right over TVC (Traverse City, MI), I just thought it was funny cause I used to live here, and I was standing on this beach two days before this flight.
After dinner, there really wasn’t much to do with the AVOD offline, and since I was running on 3 hours of sleep, I decided to hit the sack. I didn’t try to but I ended up sleeping basically for nine hours, I only woke up once the decent had already begun.
Right after the pilot called out that we were over the north pole, transpac got this pic
Luckily one of the F/A’s was kind enough to offer me breakfast in the short amount of time remaining, I just chose cold cereal over the quiche.
I’d just like to note that the window shades on this 20 year old 744 didn’t really block out the light 100%, it didn’t really affect my sleep, but I just thought It was a bit annoying that light was still showing through the closed shade.
On approach, I got my first view of the pacific on this trip, as well as my first views of Japan.
Once at the gate the Japanese govt. required that each passenger be checked for the swine flu, by having 8 guys dressed like this:
Who boarded the plane and checked every one with a thermograph to check for a fever.
Ship 6302 after the long flight from ATL
Customs in NRT was a breeze(very efficient) and we were outside in no time, (I recommend anyone going to Japan exchange money in Japan, rather than in the US, the rate in Japan was much better).
The next morning transpac headed off to DFW on AA, and I hung around Narita for the day before heading back to the airport for my 2000 flight to HNL.
Here’s a few pics from my day in NRT
Probably not the best symbol to use for temple
Didn’t really know where they were trying to go with this translation
Stuff like this makes me glad to live in the states
2000-0805 Block time 7:05
A330-300 N805NW delivered OCT 2003
Seat 2C Gate 27
Load Factor J-80% Y-75%
Dead tired from walking around all day, I headed back to the airport about 3.5 hours prior to departure. NW has a huge operation at NRT, and I was pretty surprised at the number of check-in counters, there were another two rows in addition to the row pictured
Just felt like being random and taking a picture of the AZ counters
Here are the NW counters, to the right are the WBC counters, to electronic kiosks are to the left.
The Japanese agent I spoke with spoke decent English, and all of the NW staff at NRT were very efficient and friendly.
Having about three hours to kill in the airport, I just killed time and paid 500 yen for a shower in the room across from gate 26
Once the time for boarding came, our plane hadn’t arrived yet and the NW 752 to Busan hadn’t left the gate yet(delayed), so they changed the gate. Another 45 minutes passed before our plane arrived. What I saw in the next 40 minutes shocked me, the ground crew in NRT legitimately turned a 333 in 40 minutes, that plane was deplaned, catered, cleaned, fueled, and boarded, and pushed back in 40 minutes. Don’t ask me how they did it, but the cabin crew had less than five minutes on the plane before pax started coming on. I must say the Japanese are remarkably efficient.
Boarding line: right line is priority boarding, left line is general boarding
I was also surprised that this flight only had 6 Flight attendants (plus 2 interpreters), I had no clue NW did short crew on an international 7 hr flight. The crew was also American, with the exception of the interpreters. I also couldn’t believe there was no free meal served in Y, from what I heard on the PA, the only food offered in Y was a snack and food for purchase.
We only ended up leaving NRT about 20 minutes late, despite the plane getting in 45 minutes late. The only minor problem I noticed was that catering forgot to load menus, but that’s not really important (for the average pax, not the anetter :P)
Once in the air, the crew did a beverage and dinner service as quick as possible, since this was a red-eye.
There were 4 dinner options: seafood, chicken, beef or Japanese. I went with the beef, which ended up being pretty good.
However, I did not eat this
After dinner, I watched slumdog millionaire before getting a couple hours of sleep, I ended up sleeping late again and waking up only after the crew completed the breakfast service. They were attentive though, and as soon as they saw I was awake, asked if I would like breakfast, which I did not turn down. This was the same breakfast served on all my eastbound TATL flights.
The pax on the left side got a nice view of Pearl Harbor, and Hickam AFB, but I was stuck in the middle and couldn’t get any pics on approach.
Customs in HNL was a bit inconvenient, because of the system which required boarding a bus to take you from the gate to the customs hall, but we were the only international flight arriving, so it wasn’t too bad.
3305 in HNL after the flight from NRT
Since NW standby’s priority (between all NW standbys of the same travel code) on DL flights is currently based on time of check in, I choose to hang out in the airport, until the DL ticket counter opened at 1000, to be the first to check in for the flight to ATL five hours later. This would turn out to be a very good decision…
As soon as I was checked in for my flight to ATL at 1515, I jumped on a bus to Pearl Harbor. I had just enough time to check out the visitor center, and make it out to the Arizona memorial before catching the bus back to the airport. I really wanted to see the Mighty Mo and the Bowfin as well, but just didn’t have time.
Once I got back to the airport, I had about 2 hours until my flight left. So, I just walked around and killed some time, doing this I saw the 707 Omega Tanker, this is just funny cause it was the third time I’ve randomly ran into this bird all across the country. And when she took off, man did she lay down some smoke compared to all the 757’s, 767’s and 330’s.
Outside of baggage claim in HNL
My 744 to ATL was right behind the CO 764 to IAH
Look straight up from the tail, you can see all the smoke trail put out by the 707
This flight ended up going out really full. There were a metric ton of standbys on this flight, which caused first to go out full. I was really glad I checked in early, because there were some standbys below me who weren’t as lucky to get F.
A nice touch by NW is to offer Mai tai’s(with the little umbrellas), water, and OJ as preflight beverages. I was a bit disappointed that on this flight, since it was “domestic first” (but WBC seats), despite the block time longer than NRT-HNL and most TATL flights, the pillows and blankets as well as the meal service were stripped down. But still comfortable by all means. I would still definitely choose the longer HNL-ATL or HNL-MSP in first due to the WBC seats and the long flight time, over HNL-west coast-ATL/MSP in F on a 757 any day.
The Domestic pillow/blanket used in F
We took off to the west, which required us to do a 180 after takeoff, and despite my (left side) window seat, I was still denied an airplane view of pearl.
753 in DL cls that landed right before we took off
On the taxi out, funny to see the guy on the golf cart plugging his ears when we were only at idle going by in the 744
With a full load of 65 in F, and a 95%+ load in Y, and only 12 cabin crew, a good 2.5+ hours had gone by before the dinner and dessert service were completed. There was a free meal served in Y on this flight as well, per DL’s new rules on meal service to/from Hawaii (one free hot meal, then food for purchase afterwards).
The Delta on Demand system (the same NW system, just with a DL logo), only a quarter of the movies in the system were listed in the sky magazine, I really hope they fix this problem soon, because there are so many different systems right now.
There was only a choice between pasta and beef for dinner, I went with the pasta, it was pretty tasty, followed by a Ice Cream sundae dessert.
Dessert, and Ice cream sundae served on a DL placemat, with NW silverware.
After dinner, I watched Frost Nixon, which was really good. Sometime during, I happened to open my window shade (which did actually block out all light unlike the older N662US) to catch this pacific sunset. After the movie was over, I was dead tired, and slept until I we were on final to ATL. I missed breakfast again, but didn’t bother troubling this busy crew with a last minute request.
We left HNL on time, but ended up getting into ATL about 20 minutes late due to re-routing because of turbulence. This caused me to miss my connection back to DTW, not really a big issue, just a quick call to reservations, and I ended up getting on the next one and hour and a half later without issue.
Once back home, I went straight to bed and slept until 1700, which threw off my body clock for the rest of the week, a small price to pay for flying 16500 miles in three days lol.
From this trip, I got my first transpac, trip to the land of the rising sun, and first visit to the Arizona memorial. Plus, a massive case of jet lag and many great pictures. And most importantly, a set of authentic Japanese bamboo chopsticks for my girlfriend to put in her hair.
All the flight crews on all legs (even the domestics) were very proficient and friendly, quite the opposite from the stories I’ve heard on anet about the NW transpac crews. The ground staff in both NRT and HNL were just as good if not better than any of the staff I’ve encountered on the mainland. All in all, this was a great trip…despite my terrible luck for the first part, and I’ve got to say I’ve got over the initial Anti-Delta stage, and am ready for this integration to just be over- if you can’t hate it you might as well embrace it!
DFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 12912 times:
What a cool trip! One thing you really caught here (besides some jetlag!) is a great picture of the small details that need smoothing out as NW merges into DL. For example, the gate agent issues and the inflight magazine being discontinued, so now the NW plane advertises the DL system, which is not available on that plane.
Great pictures and descriptions! It's inspiring me toward doing a transpac run, which I've still yet to do.
I asked the old man about that whole thing after the fact and he explained it to me but most of it flew clear over my head. In any case, it probably was the right decision to not attempt a restart of the bus in flight.
OffshoreAir From United States of America, joined May 2009, 177 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (3 years 12 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 11522 times:
Haha, great report guys, thanks for that. When I non-rev'd ATL-NRT-ATL (as an intern) last summer, I had an awesome experience - except for the check-in agents at NRT when my friend (on a buddy pass) and I were heading back to ATL. The people they had contracted this job out to didn't really seem to be too familiar with whole computer system. Right before we left the hotel to head to the airport, I checked the loads and BE was less than half full, and coach was about half full, with about 5 of us on the stand-by list. When I checked in at the airport, the gate agent told me in pretty broken English we would not be making it onto this flight not only because the flight was absolutely full, but we were 45th and 46th in line on the NRSA list. I quickly went to a pay-for-internet terminal to check the numbers again on the Delta Net and saw they were just as I left them in the hotel room. After an hour of nervous fretting (I was quite worried we would miss the day's flight back to ATL) we went back to the gate where the same girl promptly issued us our BE tickets. When we boarded, all of the other NRSA pax were assigned coach, while my friend and I got BE. There was about 7 of us in the BE cabin, and the NRSA seasoned regulars quickly spoke with the agent at the gate and got it sorted out. This moved the total amount of people in BE to about 10. It was interesting. Good to hear the NW crew now does the ground stuff!
CAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 3 Reply 7, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 10975 times:
Quoting DFW13L (Reply 2): It's inspiring me toward doing a transpac run, which I've still yet to do.
I would definitely recommend doing a transpac run, the 13+ hour flight time really is a great time in J. I would however recommend getting plenty of sleep before the westbound leg and staying awake on the plane, cause you usually arrive a few hours before bedtime, which is much better to arrive tried rather than wide awake after sleeping 8 hours on the plane.
Directorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1569 posts, RR: 12 Reply 8, posted (3 years 12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10759 times:
Great TR-I really enjoyed reading it.
A real shame aout the way DL/NW treat nonrevs. I hate the bureaucratic way in which they operate, and it would just about drive me crazy not knowing if I could make ATL-NRT in J because I was 3 minutes late in getting to a despicable GSP-ATL flight.
Jetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2021 posts, RR: 1 Reply 10, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10214 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW FORUM MODERATOR
Great TR! Makes me want to try and tag along when my stepdad flies out to NRT. I don't know what is with NW on the flight from HNL. Its is basically an international flight. If they were going the same distance to Europe Y would get a meal. Glad to see the IFE worked from HNL. I've heard NW domestic turns off the screens.
Professor Foltz: You push down on that yolk, the houses get bigger, you pull back on the yolk, the houses get bigger.
I wouldn't really say they treated us poorly, all the flight crews and most of the ground staff were nice and very helpful. Its just the few bad eggs here and there (ticket counter agents in DTW, and gate agents in ATL) that give you trouble. Plus I really don't have any room to complain, since I only had to pay $150 for this whole trip.
Actually, I think NW has a rule where they have to show movies on all the HNL-Mainland flights. I know that's why they kept the video screens on the 753's, for use on the Hawaii flights, then I've heard (don't quote me on it) they pull a breaker in LAX, SEA, PDX, etc., so the entertainment system can't be used on another (non-Hawaii) domestic leg such as LAX-DTW. Which is really stupid if you ask me. But, yes they do keep the entertainment system on in Y for the HNL-MSP flight on the 333.
The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
KaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12027 posts, RR: 43 Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 9581 times:
Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 7): I would definitely recommend doing a transpac run, the 13+ hour flight time really is a great time in J. I would however recommend getting plenty of sleep before the westbound leg and staying awake on the plane, cause you usually arrive a few hours before bedtime, which is much better to arrive tried rather than wide awake after sleeping 8 hours on the plane.
I did both. I slept on the plane, and still fell asleep that night way earlier than I wanted to (which included waking up at 4am the next morning wide awake..lol)
Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 11): Actually, I think NW has a rule where they have to show movies on all the HNL-Mainland flights. I know that's why they kept the video screens on the 753's, for use on the Hawaii flights, then I've heard (don't quote me on it) they pull a breaker in LAX, SEA, PDX, etc., so the entertainment system can't be used on another (non-Hawaii) domestic leg such as LAX-DTW. Which is really stupid if you ask me. But, yes they do keep the entertainment system on in Y for the HNL-MSP flight on the 333.
Lately they have been showing movies on the 753 even on west coast-MSP flights