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Moving Back To The USA - Part 1 (NRT-MNL)  
User currently offlineUSAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4111 times:

TRIP REPORT
FLIGHT: Northwest Airlines NW27
ROUTE: Tokyo-Narita (NRT) --> Manila-Ninoy Aquino (MNL)
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 747-400
DEPART: July 25, 2003 19:10
ARRIVE: July 25, 2003 22:25

I had just finished up my employment in Japan, and it was time to return home. Since the prices of one-way tickets back to the USA from Tokyo are sky-high, I thought I would travel back to the USA by heading west. In any case, the first part of my trip would take me to a country that I have not seen in 12 years. I had always wanted to see my relatives there and this would be a perfect time to do it.

Anyway, after a night full of meetings in Tokyo, I headed to the Tokyo Narita International Airport via JR Narita Express train. Arrived at the airport around 1300, and went through the ID check before reaching the check-in counters of Terminal 1.


CHECK-IN:
As this ticket had been purchased at a discount travel agency, I first had to go to the designated group tours desk to pick up the ticket and check-in for the flight. In my previous experience, you could both pick up your ticket and check-in at the same counter, at the same time. Apparently not this time. While checking my passport and onward flight details, the counter staff did weigh my bags - so I thought I would be checked in then and there. Then they told me to go to the NW counter to complete the check-in process.

I dragged my bag over there, where upon weighing the bag told me I was 10kg overweight. So I had to take out the computer I was carrying to Manila for a friend, and asked them for a box so I could carry it on. The NW staff said they would charge me for a new box, but was nice enough to check if there was a used box lying around. Luckily, there was, and taking out the computer brought the bag back down to the 20kg limit.


PRE-DEPARTURE:
All of these events meant that the hour flew by and before I knew it it was 18:00. Said goodbye to my friend, then cleared the checkpoint. As I was leaving my residence in Japan, I had to turn in my alien registration card at the desk, and it was time to look for gate 26.

Interestingly, last year I also used this gate for a UA flight to SFO. Recently NW moved in to the old UA gate areas at NRT, when UA moved to their new areas. This flight did look full - judging by all the people waiting in the area. Boarding commenced around 18:15, with the plane being loaded from the back. There were representatives holding up signs that denoted which seat rows would board.


THE FLIGHT:
The flight left the gate a few minutes after 19:00. Taxi took a while because of the rush of flights departing Narita at that time. Takeoff was a bit slow and we used up almost all the runway. A full plane does make things rather sluggish at times, but we did take off.

This flight was fully booked, and I was not able to change the assigned seat of 40B. Even so, when I found the seat, it turned to be not so bad. While the man to the left of me slept most of the time, I had a nice conversation with the lady taking 40C. She was coming back from a nutrition conference in Nevada, and wanted to get home to her house in Manila - she was dead tired from two plane changes (this was her last flight of the day).

I was surprised to see JetBlue tags on the blanket in my seat. I showed the woman my discovery, and she checked her blanket. That blanket said Northwest. Probably these two airlines use the same style of blue blanket.

For a flight that departed from Japan, there was surprisingly little Japanese used. Flight announcements were made mostly in English and Tagalog. However, for the inflight movie, it was English with Chinese subtitles. About the only Japanese you saw were the voices during the safety video.

An initial drinks service was done shortly after takeoff. Since it was a full plane I only got my requested drink and not the whole can, along with the Spinzels. After reaching cruising altitude the crew gave out the dinner service. Choices were curry rice or seafood noodles. Unlike other airlines I have previously flown out of Narita, there were no pre-meal hot towel or napkin service.

Inflight entertainment was very basic. In the main cabin, "Maid in Manhattan" was shown. However, for my seat, the audio entertainment did not work at all. As it was a short flight and I was sleepy, I didn't mind it too much. But it would not be acceptable for a transpacific flight to the USA.

The flight arrived in Manila shortly after 22:00 Philippine time. We arrived at the gate a few minutes before the scheduled arrival time of 22:25. When I got out of the jetway, the heat reminded me of my last trip to the Philippines 12 years ago.

I was met by a PNP (Philippine National Police) official, who happened to be a friend of my uncle. He helped me sweep by the immigration and customs formalities, and I soon became reacquainted with my relatives. Thus began my week-long stay in the Philippines. My cousins joked that the coup the next day was 'my welcome party.'

Next leg - Manila to Singapore - coming soon!

6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNorthwesta319 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4036 times:

Excellent Report! I really liked all the details you put in. Good Job!

User currently offlineTrickijedi From United States of America, joined May 2001, 3266 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3996 times:

Whoah, you got the middle seat! Luckily it didn't turn out to be all that bad for you... that situation could have been a hell of a lot worse.

I used to take that flight to go back home to MNL from ORD back when it was ORD-NRT-MNL. I remember it being very average flights with minimal to mediocre service. The stop at NRT also only involved a quick one hour or so fuel stopover where we didn't have to leave the plane but had the option to get out and stretch via the attached stairs. Aaaahhh, the old Northwest Orient!

For a flight that departed from Japan, there was surprisingly little Japanese used. Flight announcements were made mostly in English and Tagalog. However, for the inflight movie, it was English with Chinese subtitles. About the only Japanese you saw were the voices during the safety video.

Sounds like they were trying to satisfy every crowd on the flight. I wonder if this was standard operating procedure. What percentage of the plane were Filipinos you think? It's a popular flight for tourists and immigrants to and from the PI.

Also, how long was the flight time?

I was met by a PNP (Philippine National Police) official, who happened to be a friend of my uncle. He helped me sweep by the immigration and customs formalities, and I soon became reacquainted with my relatives.

Your flight gets in at around the same time as a CX flight from Hong Kong, also full of Filipinos so I can imagine how crowded, slow and tedious immigration was. Lucky you in bypassing the line... you just saved yourself about 45 minutes!

Nice report!



Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
User currently offlineUSAJPNflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3878 times:

Trickjedi,

I would say probably 75-80% of the passengers were Filipinos... there were a handful of Japanese, but most of the people I saw in the departure lounge and in the cabin were Filipino. I did not see any Chinese, which made me wonder why there were Chinese subtitles on this flight.

As for the flight crew, I was able to look at the crew manifest on the desk in the departure lounge (it was in plain view) - I was trying to change that 40B middle seat, and was waiting for the gate agent to show up. It showed the crew names and nationalities. The cockpit crew were all American, but the flight attendants were almost all Filipino, except for one from South Korea.

Flight time was scheduled for about four hours and fifteen minutes. But we got there in a little less time than that - I would say almost four hours...


User currently offlineKevin752 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 725 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3805 times:

I am glad that you liked Northwest airlines. I have not heard anything good about NW at all. But I do know that hey do a lot of short haul service within Asia. Great report.


"Keep Climbing"
User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3799 times:

Comments:

- NW’s Asian flights are stocked with dedicated translators, more so than any other USA-based carrier… I’m surprised there was little Japanese spoken on the flight as that certainly hasn’t been my experience – maybe there were only a few Japanese-language passengers…

- The movie had both an English and Japanese soundtrack.

- Hot towel service has been suspended due to SARS but should return before the year’s over… there’s packaged oversized moist napkin service on the actual transpacific flights.


User currently offlineSq_ek_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1628 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3803 times:

Great Report! I can relate to your middle seat assignment...I was stuck in 64E for JL 061, my 10 hour JAL flight from LAX to NRT yesterday...I thought it would be hell but it wasnt so bad.

My JAL flight (JL 745) got in an hour late last night at 22:30 Manila time because we were trying to avoid storms en route and because we left the gate 20 minutes late waiting for late pax...and when I deplaned I realized that an NW flight had just got in as well...and damn was the crowd for imigration long! Im glad I had an escort to whisk me through otherwise it would have been an hour atleast!




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