June 29, 2005
Delta Air Lines
So today was the first leg of our trip to Hong Kong. Since we used frequent flyer miles, we got the full benefit of a SkySaver itinerary, complete with an overnight stay in Atlanta. We flew out of Mobile at 3:48pm, five minutes behind schedule, on a CRJ-200, which was quite small, but well-designed: the seats didn't really seem all that cramped, and the small tray tables didn't really matter for a 47 minute flight. I was mildly surprised when our flight attendant, Felicia, turned on the emergency lighting during her pre-flight safety demonstration. I've never had the crew turn on the actual floor/exit lights: maybe I just haven't been around enough. The flight itself was uneventful, we landed on time, and our luggage was among the first out. Since my dad's a Platinum Medallion, we got yellow priority tabs on our checked bags, which may have had something to do with it. Here's the plane we took out of MOB:
Coming out of the plane in Concourse D at Atlanta, I got a picture of an AT7 parked next to our gate. And no, I'm not related to any of those people:
Our plane leaves tomorrow around 10am, so we'll leave the hotel around 7:30am.
I didn't really like checking in at ATL, since, being a Delta hub, all the lines were really, really long. To get to international check-in, the reps had us ignore all the big signs and walk in a big circle through a back corridor to end up 20 feet from where we started. The actual checking of bags was pretty fast, and we got the yellow priority tags again.
Security checkpoints at ATL were as expected, with no real hitches. None of us got the SSSS designation, so everything was cool. After I walked through the metal detector and went to get my bookbag, I turned around to see a woman carrying a black and white cat through security. After she went through the metal detector, she put the cat in a little purse-looking carry-on cat-carrier. Strange. I wouldn't want to be on that flight, especially if the cat decides to use the bathroom. We had about an hour to kill, so I walked round and took some pictures. Here's the tail of the 777-200 that we flew, taken from one gate farther down (Reg #N860DA).
I took some more pictures of planes in ATL, so here they are:
July 1, 2005
Delta Air Lines
Boarding went pretty smoothly. My dad and I were Zone 2, but since my mom had a slightly different itinerary (she's coming back later), we had to wait for her. Without the benefit of Medallion, she got stuck in Zone 7, which didn't turn out to be all that bad after all. Shortly after we took off, we were served a meal (I have no idea if it was lunch or dinner), which was pretty good. Not being in BusinessElite, we didn't have a huge menu selection, but the food was pretty good nonetheless. The first meal had some kind of noodle/seaweed/egg salad with a regular salad and chicken or beef, which came with a sort of spicy Mexican sauce and potatoes.
The interior of the 777-200:
Thanks to the EmPower plugs, I was able to plug in my laptop and watch a few DVD's that I had brought. Disappointingly, the plug under my seat didn't work, so I had to use the one under my dad's seat next to me. The Delta Horizons programming had a few channels of movies, but there were only two sets, so by the end of the 13-hour flight I had watched most of them. Phantom of the Opera, Robots, Coach Clark, and Be Cool, along with parts of another one. The Delta Horizons Compass map that tracks flight progress was slightly messed up, and it would periodically flash a screen with the flight progress in terms of percentage. Interesting touch, but it might have been more useful if it hadn't been permanently stuck at 33%. Our flight path took us into Canada and over Alaska, but our seats were over the wings so I couldn't really get any pictures. We were served a snack at some point, with some grapes, cookies, and a cucumber and egg sandwich.
Our last meal was beef or chicken with pasta, some Japanese salad, and surprisingly good fresh fruit.
The approach into NRT was a little odd: either the pilot had entered a descending holding pattern, or they began their approach too late, because about 55 miles out we pulled a 360 and the "remaining time" meter doubled. We came within 40 miles or so and did it again, which confused me a little, especially since we were losing altitude the whole time.
Weather in NRT is pretty ugly, with overcast skies and a steady drizzle. I tried to take pictures while we were taxing, without much luck.
We deplaned at Terminal 2, so we had to take a shuttle to Terminal 1. On the way, I took a few more pictures of planes, with varied success because the bus was moving pretty fast. Here are some of the better (but not great) ones. The first picture is the 777-200 that we flew in on.
Earlier, Adam and I talked about identifying plane models, and since that's something I can't really do, I mentioned how much easier it is when it's written on the body. So, without further ado, I am proud to present a JAL Boeing 767:
We stopped in a gift shop on the way to our gate, just to look around. They sell a large variety of stuff here, from cheescake squares to computer mice, kimonos, and stereos. Strangely enough, the demo stereo was blaring a rap song in English, and the uncensored version to boot. Looking around, most of the people in this terminal are Asian, which makes me wonder if 50 Cent is the latest sensation to rock the Far East. I'll take some more photos here on the return trip, and hopefully the weather will be nicer. When our plane comes in I'll take a picture and add it to the next post, which I'll write when we get to HKG.
July 2, 2005
Equipment: Airbus A330
The flight from NRT was uneventful. I missed most of it because I was asleep. We flew a Cathay Pacific Airbus A330, where announcements took three times as long because they had to read them in English, Cantonese, and Japanese. I couldn't get a picture of the or the plane because of the way it was parked, but here's a picture of the interior:
I woke up for the meal (presumably dinner), which consisted of beef, rice, some vegetables, chicken salad, and some key lime mint tasting cheesecake:
I usually enjoy CX food, especially when we'd flown from SFO to HKG directly, but this meal was not so hot. The vegetables were unidentifiable and unpalatable, and the beef was so-so. They did, however, serve green tea, which was quite good. The landing was a little bumpy, but we made it. The lines for immigration were fairly short, since we got in at about 10:30 PM, and we basically bypassed customs, so no problems there either. The Hong Kong airport is very nice, and architecturally incredible. I took a few pictures that don't really do it justice, so I'll try and get better shots on the way out.
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