Before I start out, just know that this is actually a repost from a trip report I did about a month and a half ago. A few days after I started the TR, I realized I had used the names of some of the crew on board my flight without having asked their permission (oops), so I asked that the mods remove the TR for the sake of their privacy. So, here is the TR reposted in a "sanitized" format. If any of you happen to remember any names, I kindly ask that you don't post them here.
Thanks!! Now with that out of the way, here's the TR:
14 February 2008
Block Time: 14 hours, 10 minutes
747-451, N667US, Fleet# 6307
Seat: 77A, Top Deck World Business Class
World Business Class: 90%
Photo © Ed Fleming
The point of this trip was quite simply to get on one of my dad's flights. My dad has been with NW for 25 years now, and will be coming up on retirement in a few months to a few years (hopefully the latter!!) Anyhow, I wanted to be sure I got in one last trip as "the captain's son". My last trip with him was back in 1994 on a 727.... geez, time flies, haha. So for quite a few weeks before the Valentine's weekend, I was checking the loads for all the 744 flights out of DTW: NW25 to NRT, NW11 to NRT, NW71 to NGO, and NW69 to KIX. Out of the four, NW69 to KIX seemed to have the best/lightest load factor that I could get on, so I made sure my dad was able to pick up the trip.
I actually flew into DTW on the night of 13FEB, after class, since NW69 left DTW relatively early in the afternoon on the 14th. So on the morning of the 14th I met up with the rest of the crew, the other three pilots and the 14 FA's (I think it was 14 of them). Before the flight, I made sure to ask a HUGE favor of the other captain on our flight, to take a bunch of cockpit pictures and videos during the flight. He said he'd be glad to, and even offered to let my dad do both the takeoff and the landing while he filmed them. What a nice guy!!
My dad (on right) and the other captain for our flight to KIX, seen in flight-planning
As the clock neared time to board, I asked the lead gate agent if I could pre-board with the crew. I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst. To my huge surprise, she actually let me pre-board with the crew, and gave me window seat 77A in World Business Class on the top deck. Exit row too, with huge legroom.
Our gate in DTW, NW69 to Osaka-Kansai
I've done international trips in premium cabins on NW, AA, and UA, and of the three my favorite is by far NW's World Business Class. AA's new NextGenBiz has a really nice seat, but their IFE isn't near as nice as NW's. And UA... that's a whole other story. Their SuiteDreams cabin upgrades are much needed!!
Top deck of ship# 6307 prior to boarding.
Top deck again, different view. My seat is 77A in the exit row, with the gray laptop bag on it.
I guess I didn't realize really quite how early I pre-boarded, because I got to spend easily 30-40 minutes hanging out in the cockpit and cabin of the plane before anyone else got on. One thing that I got to see firsthand in my few minutes on board the plane alone was the massive logistics involved in preparing an international flight. All the paperwork, galley catering, aircraft service and maintenance, pre-flight checks, etc etc. There is a LOT that goes on behind the scenes before those transpac flights!!
Preflight in the cockpit. My dad is in the captain's seat, the 2nd captain (who took the pics/vids) is in the jumpseat.
NW boards 744's 50-60 minutes prior to departure. Since the load factor for our flight was expected to be very heavy, they began boarding a full hour prior. I eventually went back to my seat after they finally closed the cabin door and brought the gate back. I ended up being incredibly lucky in that the only empty seat on the top deck was the seat next to me. What are the odds?!? Anyhow, before the cockpit door was closed, I left my camera up in the cockpit for the rest of the flight, completely unaware of what to expect when I got it back.
Engine startup after pushback in DTW. NWA Airlink concourse visible in background.
Our dispatched takeoff weight was 865,000 pounds, only 8,000 pounds below MGTOW for the 747-451. So, needless to say it was going to be a heavy and long takeoff run. A near fully-loaded 744 still gives you one hell of a ride though, especially with the eternally cool sound of the spool-up of the PW4056's