I had to go to Chicago for work, so I did what any a.nutter would do, and picked the 777 flight to get me there. I went on a Saturday, to have a bit of a weekend before I had to go to work. I told someone my plans at work, and they suggested I go Saturday morning, to have an extra day in ORD. They didn't understand why I would wait until 1:00pm for the 777 flight. Oh well, some people just don't get it!
I had already checked in 23hrs and 30minutes before departure (the earliest is 24 hours) in hopes of upgrading to first class. Then at 10:00pm Friday night, I printed my boarding pass on a Self-Service machine and was able to select a seat in the business section, which is sold as coach on this flight. I got seat 12J and was very happy! I didn't manage to get the upgrade on the flight. Incidentally, I checked in as I had just arrived at the airport after flying down to IAH for dinner after work on Friday. I flew an AA MD80 and sat on the very last row, and flew back on Continental. The highlight of the trip was standing on the Terminal A parking garage and watching Emirates' 777-200 LR take off for DXB.
As I had a leisurely morning, I finished up packing and headed to the airport at about 10:30am. I went to the terminal first, because, for once, I actually had luggage to check. I was going to be in ORD for up to 8 days, and I hear they get Arctic weather here, so I packed really heavy. Being from DFW, I start to shiver when it gets below 75 degrees.
So I went to the Terminal D self-service machines and selected the "check bags only" option and then went to the counter. A very friendly agent asked me why I was traveling. She wanted scoop on what I was doing travelling on a company business pass. So I told her and then we had like a 15-minute conversation. I had plenty of time, as my luggage tag shows a time of 10:59am stamped on it. My flight was 1:00pm.
So then after we were done chatting, I went to my car and moved it to a more remote lot, which requires a shuttle to bring you back to the terminal.
At about 11:30am I was back where I started and went in to the security checkpoint. At DFW, and at only the D30 security point, they have an experimental machine where you can leave your laptop in its bag (also liquids and everything else that they usually require you to remove) so I always go to that security checkpoint if I have the option to do so.
Unfortunately, that line was closed. And it was the first time I've ever seen it closed. So I was annoyed, but there was no crowd, being a slow Saturday. I had my own area to get my laptop out and didn't have to wait at all.
When I got through security, I was putting my laptop back in my backpack that I keep it in, and realized that I had forgotten my laptop power adapter! I was going to Chicago for a week, and would need my laptop daily for work. It was now 11:40am and my flight was at 1:00pm! What a horrible feeling!
So, I immediately decided that I had to have my laptop operational and I'd have to go home to get the power adapter. I went back outside and saw a shuttle waiting (DFW Express Parking) and got to my car quickly. I live close to the airport, so I managed to get home at 11:57am. I was back in the car with my power adapter at 12:00pm. I was parked at 12:15pm and back through security at 12:25pm. I got to the gate as they were boarding!
My plans of eating at Tigin Irish Pub and then hanging out at the DFW Club were shot, but I still had my seat on the 777! It was lucky that my "recovery" went so smoothly! It was fortunate that my usual lane at D30 was closed, because if I had gone through security without removing my laptop, I would have discovered that my power adapter was missing in Chicago!
DFW-ORD (continuation to LHR)
Load 70% full (Saturday)
My Plane at gate D23.
My view. Look where I was on the center of the wing. The 777 is very tall! I love how the jetbridge actually angles upwards when boarding on this aircraft.
I sat down and stowed all my stuff in the overhead bin. I read on a.net somewhere that if you don't have anything at all on the floor, you can maximize the usage of the new seats. So I had my electronic book (Amazon Kindle) and my Bose headsets, and that was it. I stuck them in a cube that was inbetween the seatbacks in front of me. Later I realized that was an area to place your shoes.
A husband and wife sat down, both taking opposite aisle seats. I've always thought this a strange configuration for couples. Many times during the flight they would lean in to each other in the middle of the aisle to talk about something. Neither one got up to use the restroom or anything.
I looked through all the areas of the new business class seats, as this was my first time in business on the reconfigured 777. The magazine stowage is in a tiny area below the TV, which I thought was a bit small, but I was able to put things like my book and my cell phone in there, so I found it functional.
My video monitor was broken. It had a video issue that I can't really explain, but it meant I couldn't see the moving map (which they periodically broadcast on the main screen), but I was able to listen to music, so I listened to some background classical music as I read. In ORD, as I was deplaning, I reported the problem to a flight attendant, and he thanked me, and told me he would let someone know.
As our departure time came, we didn't push, but I heard the first engine starting up. It is hard to miss a RR Trent spooling up on a 777! I thought that was strange. Then a few minutes later, the other engine started up as well. I didn't figure it out before the captain told us the APU was out of service and we bottle started.
Then we taxied, but didn't get far because we ran right into a traffic jam. Most planes can taxi behind the MD 80 in this picture, but the 777 is too wide, so we had to wait for it to move and it was waiting on a gate.
But, soon enough, we were on our way to the East side of the airport. I was the only one on my side of the plane (in business) with my window open. So the cabin was a bit dark. The engines spooled up to an impressive whir as we taxied across the bridge connecting the east and west sides of DFW.
When we approached the runways, I noticed that all the planes were taking off from the wrong runway. As it turns out, Runway 17R was closed. I don't know why. I took off from that runway on an AA MD80 just the previous evening!
The X showing it is a closed runway.
I did the takeoff and landing videos slightly different from my normal. I pointed them straight down the wing, since I was on the middle of the wing. My hopes were it would show the wing flex and also any bounciness. I think it shows both. The downside is the glare from the sun diminishing the video quality.
And we climbed up to 39,000 rather quickly. The flight attendants rolled out their beverage carts quickly and offered drinks plus some buy-on-board snacks. As I didn't bother with breakfast and didn't have time for lunch I was hungry, and purchased the cheese and crackers that comes with some mixed nuts plus raisins for $4. They didn't offer the sandwiches on this flight. I was going to go all out with a sandwich or wrap plus a cookie for like $9, but only got the junk food mix. It was of decent quality.
The flight attendants were pleasant, but in my area they were both male and looked like they were full time bodybuilders rather than flight attendants. It really didn't lead to a professional image, but it would intimidate any terrorists, so at least it serves a purpose. They were nice and professional in behavior, so no problems there.
After having my snack, I started playing with the seat and got into a nearly full recline. I stayed propped up a bit because I was reading an interesting book.
Here's the route of flight.
Here's the look of the new business class. Sorry for the blurriness. I was trying to do it "on the sly" where my neighbor wouldn't notice.
Here's the view outside just before we started our descent. What a huge wing!
And here is the landing. On the original that's on my computer I can see a British Airways 747 fly through the tip of the wing at the very beginning of the video. But once I put it on youtube, the quality is diminished and I can't see it any more.
We landed 04R, which I always enjoy when I'm sitting on the right side, because I get a great view of the International terminal. I was not disappointed. Here are the pictures of what was there:
G-WWBB to MAN
OS-LAX to VIE
OY-KBN to ARN
I-DEIL to FCO
G-CIVY, which landed right behind us. As we were on final to 04R, I saw it above us and it "flew through our wing" landing behind us on 04R.
The view from our gate, K12
BA and UA heavies coming in.
My plane at K12 getting ready now to depart for LHR.
Look what will be at K16!
An A340 really fills those windows! EC-GLE
I stayed at the Hilton inside the airport. I asked for a good view and they put me on the top floor! Here's a shot from the next morning as three heavies get ready to fly across the Pacific. Both the UA 744 and AA 772 were going to PVG. The ANA 773 was going to NRT.
I enjoyed the 777 immensely and also the view from the room at the Hilton. The next morning, after taking that picture, I had to leave. I rented a car and drove to the suburb of Lombard, IL where I'm writing this. I'm staying at a Residence Inn all week. I'm not sure if I'll go straight home this weekend or do something more creative.