Northwest Airlines RAP-MSP-LGW-MSP-RAP
Since this was my first time on a long haul transatlantic, I could hardly wait to get to the airport and soon be on my way to London and visit my friend for my Thanksgiving break. I had never been to London, flown on an A330, or flown Northwest (I’m a United guy through and through, im flying on UAL 1426 writing this). Anyways, I got to the airport at about 9AM, since my flight was at 11:15, and the only ride I could get was early in the morning, because everyone in my fraternity had class later on. It was a cool November morning, as I walked in to Rapid City’s little regional airport, There were some people at check-in in front of me, using the automated kiosk, I waited until a Gate Agent was free to tell her I was going international, so that she could check my passport and what not. Last time I went International was to Mazatlan for spring break in March, it seemed the gate agent at Frontier airlines in Denver took for ever looking and verifying my passport. I kindly asked the Gate agent what I should do, she told me simply swipe my passport through on the self check-in kiosk, and it checked my all the way through to LGW
. I was amazed how quick and simple it was, I went through security as uneventful as ever and then proceeded to sit down and wait for my plane, There were no planes at the terminal, so I couldn’t spot much, and mostly CRJ, Dash-8, and EMB-120 usually frequent the airport. I had forgot the NW
operates DC-9’s and 319’s out of RAP
, I took a shot of my gate, but forgot to take a shot while the CRJ was there, I was a little too excited.
Date: Tues, Nov 21
The flight went great, it went very quickly and we got a nice tailwind, I didn’t feel like snacking or drinking anything so I politely declined any services. I snapped a quick photo over South Dakota, sat back and listened to my iPod.
We got in 20 mins ahead of schedule. As we taxied I took a shot of what I thought to be the International terminal, which housed the NW
A330s, and the NW
747, that was just about to push back for the Long Haul to NRT
I had never been to MSP
and I had about 4 hours of waiting to do before they began boarding my flight, I had never seen a A330, so I made my way to gate G5
, to see what I thought was going to be the rig that I would soon spend 8 or so hours on. I then realized this was NW
plane, this was a brand new 330 and it sparkled in the sun, I just was wishing my was as new and beautiful as the machine was
I wondered around, got a sandwich and plane spotted, just domestic flights and finally came back to me my gate to lie down and watch the only channel that is televised at airports CNN. I sparked up a conversation with a very friendly Indian man who had just boarded his mother on the AMS
flight who would be connecting to Delhi, we also talked to a lady who had to help some African Christian missonaries off to some town in Africa, I forgot the name. Just as the AMS
flight was pushing back, I a silver blur with a red tail land behind, it, I was mainly focusing on the A330 beauty, so I didn’t’ catch what it was, I assumed it was a 757 in their new livery. As the NW
flight was pushing back it stopped and in came what looked to be an almost brand new 330. MY
PLANE!!!! Hooray, I thought that a 330 pushing back and pulling in was a rare sight for a traveler like me, so I snapped a few!!!
Before I knew it, more and more people started to gather around the terminal for this long haul to LGW
, and I became more and more excited,They then called for Business class to board, and I was soon next to board and off to my coach seat which I had gotten for a RT price of just under 400 for the whole trip!!! I got butterflies in my stomach as I walked down the jet way with the excitment of boarding a widebody double aisle aircraft, as I have only flown on single aisle aircraft in my many years as a passenger!!! As I saw the 2-4-2 arrangement each seat with a blanket, and a pillow nicely laid out I became giddy as a school girl, and wished that no one came and sat next to me, but from what I understand, at holiday travel times like this and an International flight, I just hoped it was someone friendly enough to talk to and was bearable.
A short and slightly pudgy Englishman sat next to me, who had a Guinness Shirt on, and a Harp Tattoo on his lower leg. We were then soon on the runway powering up the Bus’s two powerful engines.
Date: Tues. Nov 21
(Next Day) 09:00
About an 2 hours into the flight, dinner was served, where I was given a chicken of either vegetable lasagna, or chicken, Since I cant stand vegetable Lasagna, I ordered the chicken, It came with a nice salad, a dinner roll, Green beans, mashed potatoes, cookies, and of course the chicken It was delicious, My seatmate offered me his dinner roll and desert, I said no thank you, but he insisted, so, I ate it, and enjoyed it very much. I washed it all down with a complimentary Red wine, which the F/A offered me, and me being 20 at the time accepted!!!!! I doubt the Air marshal on the flight was really looking to bust a flight attended for serving a minor, even though I look older than 21. The flight went without incident and we got a very nice tailwind pushing us across the Atlantic. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, but luckily Northwest’s new PTVs were really nice and I ended up watching Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift and Pirates of the Caribbean.
It was really nice to watch the sun come over the Atlantic, I could only see the light, not the sun, but I’m sure the pilots had an amazing few like usual. Me and my seatmate started talking and it turned out that he owned a few pubs in north London, I told him I was coming to London to visit a friend over my thanksgiving, break, He asked me what in the world is thanksgiving, he told me he heard a lot of people talking about it in LAS
where he had originated his journey, We soon landed into LGW
on a wet and cold morning (Big Surprise), and I was off to customs, while my seatmate wished me good luck and went through the European Union Line. I got out my passport and went to the immigration officer that called me through, all the people in front of me were primarily, wife and husbands traveling, and a few families, As a young male in my 20’s traveling alone I was interrogated with very personal questions, and after about 10 minutes of questioning the immigration officer simply knew I was in London to party and have a good time stamped my passport, not to hurt the queen or anything. I then boarded the Gatwick Express, and off to the streets of London to meet up with friend.
I must say I really enjoyed flying Northwest Airlines International, Domestic is as good as it can be, but I was surprised how nice the new 330 was that I flew on, and how friendly everyone on the airline was. I highly recommend the new 330 routes, I’ve never flown on a DC-10 but I can’t imagine it being nicer than what I flew on to LGW
My Return Trip!
After 5 days in the Queens England, it was time for this Yankee to go home and continue his studies.
I left downtown via Edge ware Station, to Victoria, then once again in the Gatwick Express. I arrived very early, in order to spot some international carriers that I’ve never seen. Security in the morning was a nightmare and took a good hour from the time I stepped foot off the Gatwick Express. Finally I was through, and decided I would walk around for a while, and do some duty free shopping for my mum and sisters, I bought some supplies, and walked around spotting planes like a kid in a candy shop.
I then thought it was time to go see my good friend Mr. A330, parked next to a broken VA 744, that was suppose to be enroute to HKG
Virgin Atlantic was in the process of rebooking people and giving them the refund options, I decided instead of hearing 300+ people yell at VA agents,
I would go enjoy a nice Pint of Stella and a nice breakfast croissant, I simply waited while drinking my wonderful beer and delicious croissant for the plane to board.
Finally I boarded and sat on the plane talking to my friendly American seatmate about what wonderful holiday we each had in London.
I snapped some photos while on the taxiway, and while taking off.
Date: Mon, Nov 27
I was once again excited to fly NW
because of the outstanding time I had on my outbound flight. I sat back enjoying my PTV, and waiting for dinner to be served, the choices were a Chicken Salad, or the Vegetarian dish- Spinach tortellini, I ordered it expecting green tortellini in a tomato sauce or something. I was disappointed when I took off the cover and saw a creamy sauce with spinach leaves thrown about. I ate my salad, dinner roll, and then braved the spinach tortellini, which wasn’t the best. I then was excited to eat what I thought was a carrot cake with cream cheese topping, It was not carrot cake, it was some terribly moist pound/walnut/chocolate/I have no idea what it was, I took one bite and that was it, Luckily I wasn’t going to go hungry, as I had brought a brie, tomato, lettuce baguette sandwich which I had bought at coffee shop before I boarded, It was absolute heaven, I love Brie, and this was very delicious, Down it went, and off I went to sleep, I was really tired as I went out the night before partying and not sleeping. I woke up someone over Greenland and snapped a picture just as we were leaving the west coast of Greenland with stray Icebergs floating off into the Atlantic.
I then decided to play the Quiz game against many seatmates, and let me tell you, those guys and the very rear of the airplane are really good! The rest of the flight without incident and we were soon on final to MSP
. We had a smooth landing, de-boarded, and then proceeded to customs where it took the usual hour to make it through and back to the main terminal.
I slept for a few hours and then boarded my NW
319 back to RAP
, I don't remember anything of the flight, because I was out cold just after take off, and woke up, just as we were touching down.
Date: Mon, Nov 27
Hoped everyone enjoyed my Trip Report and hope that some of you get to fly on NW
Thanks for any comments