Well, my stay in Hong Kong was wonderful! Talk about service! The hotel was great and the food was even better. Just one question, do people from Hong Kong just love Thai food or something? Everywhere I went, there was a Thai section on the menu. I loved it though.
Well, a car picked me up from the Ritz-Carlton and took me back to Chek Lap Kok for my afternoon flight on UA 02 back to LAX. It was a really pleasant drive to the airport. When we arrived, I could see several planes that you just don't see in the states. I saw a Singapore 777-300, very long plane, and I saw a Cathay A330 landing. You know, I never really liked any Airbuses, but the A330 is just gorgeous. The wings bend way up and it has a sleek look to it. Well, when I got to the aiport, I was taken to the Ritz-Carlton hospitality desk, (I guess that's what it was). A very nice guy from the desk came over and took me to the check-in counter and had me checked in all the way to OKC, he took care of my bags, and escorted me to the area where they were looking at passports before we went into the departure lounges.
After passing through the checkpoint, I noticed a group of people all having yellow bags with Air France tags on them. When I looked out the HUGE windows, I saw the Concord sitting out on the tarmac. This must have been one of the round-the-world charters. My Grandparents did that last year and went to Hong Kong, so I figured that was what it was doing there.
I made my way down the departure lounge to the area where it "Y's" and took a right towards the United Gates. Two UAL 747-400's were sitting at the gates next to each other. The first was bound for SFO at 11:45 while the next one was my flight for LAX departing at 13:25. Right next to my plane was the Spirit of Hong Kong 747-400 of Cathay, bound for Vancouver I think.
I was pretty early to the airport so I went to eat, and watch planes take off. Finally, it was time to board my flight. The flight to SFO had already taken off and made a smooth left turn heading for the states when they called my row number. I made my way to the 747, gave it a pat on the side of the fuselage, and entered. I took my seat and though for a while that I was going to get 33 A,B, and C for myself, but at the last minute, a business traveler came on and sat in C. Damn it. Actually, he was a pretty interesting guy to talk to and very understanding whenever I needed to get up. Flying time was supposed to be around 12H30m. We took off after a 54 second roll-out. Those 744's seem to rotate in slow motion, but once they do, they get on up there. Humid air was condensing on the wings to the point that you couldn't see them at all, only the winglets. It was pretty cool.
Through the course of the flight, we flew directly over Taipei, and past the east coast of Japan. I guess we were taking a more southern route through the pacific. On the way to Hong Kong, we didn't fly over the Ocean that much, just up through Alaska and down through Russia and Northern China.
Right off the east coast of Japan, we hit some pretty severe Turbulance. The FA's were yelling for everyone to sit down and the plane felt like it fell for 10 seconds, then it would shoot up again. It did that 3 times, then smoothed out some. Kinda made me nervous to see those wings flopping around so much, and believe me, on a 744, they flap like a bird during turbulance. What was wierd was the noise that the engines made during the turbulance. It was like they would rev up then come back down again. Well, it smoothed out a bit and the flight was pretty niceall the way over to California. We watched 4 movies and they had the airshow going between the movies. At one time, we were flying at 610 MPH. Is that normal? Does anyone know the Mach?
The landing in LA was quite nice. We flew for sometime at a low altitude through cloudy skies finally descending out of it and making a baby smooth touchdown, without the use of the reversers.
The 744 was very nice on the inside. Very new looking and clean. I was impressed with the spaciousness of the thing. I like the 777, but nothing beats the majesty of the 747.
Upon leaving the aircraft, I gave it one last look through the airport windows and the proceeded to customs where I had to pay a 200 dollar tariff.
My flight for Denver was on a 767-300. I got put at the 3rd to last row of that plane. It is amazing how after being on a 747 or a 777, everything else seems tiny. The wings on the 767 seemed so small and thin. I knew that they weren't, but when compared to the 747, they were small! The flight to Denver was quite uneventfull, but pleasant and quiet. I got some sleep.
The flight from Denver to OKC was something different. We boarded the 727-200 an hour late and I could see the building thunderstorms to the east highlighted by the sunset. I took my seat next to some real Bible Beaters and we took off for OKC, dodging thunderstorms all the way up to 28,000 feet. Suddenly, we hit some turbulance and were shaking all over the place. The pilots powered back quickly, threw up the spoilers and put us into a sharp decent. We went down about 5,000 feet to smoother air, but there were still thunderstorms around. In approaching the OKC area, there were build ups to what I guessed to be about 40,000 feet all around and we were heading straight for them. Great, all I needed was this after being in the air for 24 hours. So we entered into the thunderstorms and that 727 was shaking a rolling all over. We then had to hold over OKC for about an hour so the big thunderstorms could pass over the airport. At one time, they told us we may have to divert to Tinker Air Force base in Eastern OKC. Man, I could feel the wind really testing that 727. It would shudder all over. Let me tell you, I was praying. I have never been in worse weather in a plane. The flight attendants were really nervous too. Well, the pilots did one of those dive numbers again and we were on our way down. They put down the flaps and we slowed up, then they put the flaps back up and we powered up, but we weren't going around, I couldn't figure out what the deal was. Well, they put them down again and we descended. We were over the threshold and about to land when a gust of wind blew us to the right and we went wing low on the right side. Now, if you know a 727, there isnt a lot of clearance on those wings. They sat the plane down anyway and I breathed a sigh of relief when we touched down. They hit hard on the brakes and thrust reversers. Then, what was really weird, is that we did a 180 in the middle of the runway. I have never had that happen before. We turned around and headed to the gate. They then told us that we had to get off the aircraft as quickly as possible because the area had just gone under a tornado warning. We got off, let the weather pass, then got back on and got our carry on luggage. I hate Oklahoma storms while I am flying. Well, that's my trip report, sorry if it was long and boring. I also have a question. What is the best Business school in Hong Kong? I would like to do some graduate work there. Thanks guys.