The end of our vacation came on January 5th, 2009, and we were headed back to Vancouver from Hong Kong. For the cheapest fare, we went through Tokyo and Portland. It was hell. Here are the details:
HKG-NRT - Northwest Airlines
Departure Time: 8:30am
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
We checked in online the night before, and got left at 5:30 for the 8:30am departure. Security was quick and fast, and we were soon at the gate. (Hong Kong airport is amazing in efficiency and design, by the way)
On the way to the gate:
(I noticed this on both my Northwest flights - they board really early! 55 minutes early to be exact. But, that lead to an early or on time departure on both.)
The aircraft was on an aged 747-400, but still comfortable with sufficient legroom. The flight was almost full. An almost all-Chinese/Japanese cabin crew. Very polite service, and there was an omelette breakfast for the 3 hour flight - wow! I'll let the pictures do the talking for a little bit...
We arrived early, and docked at the gate. Too bad there was no time for me to explore Tokyo...
Upon arrival, we were surprised - there was a long winding line right after we left the jetway, to another security check! But all connecting passengers were there, and 30 minutes later, we were at our next gate. Tokyo's airport is all very...Japanese. All announcements in English are speech-automated.
In bound flight was delayed, but we still managed to depart on time.
Service was satisfactory, announcements were made clearly, food exceeded my expectations (in terms of taste, not size), and we had menu cards handed out. Didn't get too much to try the entertainment system - I was greatly tired, I just stared out the window or watched the map when every once in awhile. A smooth ride.
We arrived in Portland about half an hour early - and thus, we were stuck on the plane as the jetway operator had not come into work yet. Thankfully, we did not have to wait long (about 10 minutes), before we got out, and went through US Customs and Immigration. Long winding lines at a greatly understaffed airport for international flights. After that, guess what? Pick up our luggage, recheck it, and then go through security - for the third time in less than 24 hours now. The TSA process involves taking off your shoes too, and the more strictly enforced liquid ban. Anyway, lucky we were like the only flight on that side of the concourse, and the lines were short.
Trek all the way over to the A concourse, where we wait the 3 hours for the flight to Vancouver.
The flight was delayed about 30 minutes waiting for paperwork and late passengers - but we were soon on our way for the 1 hour flight back into Vancouver. Arrived at 11:30AM, very dishellved.