Well, time for another random international trip!! Awhile back, I put in for a transfer at work which I ended up getting. I go to training in a week, as well as starting the summer semester at school, so I wanted to get a quick trip in before I'll be undoubtedly tied down for quite a few weeks with training and trying to drink from a fire hose with the classes. Anyhow.... I've been trying to talk a.netter CAP2008 into doing a TransPac flight on the 747-400 for awhile now and we finally found a time that worked for the both of us. I ended up doing a quick ATL-NRT-DFW while CAP2008 did a far more marathon trip of ATL-NRT-HNL-ATL. Since we shared the ATL-NRT segment though, I'll only post a few pics and do a highly abridged report on that part, instead leaving that to him, so check out his TR for it!!
Final itinerary for my portion of the trip was:
DEN-ATL: FL 73G
ATL-NRT: NW 744
NRT-DFW: AA 777
DFW-ROW: AA ER4
Incidentally, I'm writing this from a hotel room in ROW right now - back to back vacations, haha. Anyhow, hope you enjoy the TR
16 May 2009
DL801, ATL-NRT, operated by NWA
Block Time: 13 hours, 50 minutes
747-451, N662US, ship# 6302
Seat: 11B, main deck World Business Class
Photo © Allen Yao
I was really looking forward to ATL-NRT, what would be my 3rd longest 744 flight in regard to blocktime - 13:50, behind DTW-KIX at 14:10 and SFO-SYD at 14:38. Unfortunately though, the whole experience turned out to be a major SNAFU. From the CS agents in ATL to the on-board experience and ending with disease quarantine in NRT, it wasn't the best of international trips I've had!! Again, see CAP2008's TR for all the info on the flight. Here are a few of the pics I took, though:
Ship 6302 (N662US) sitting on the E concourse prior to the long flight to NRT
Ship 6302 again, at the gate
World Business Class cabin during final boarding. J-class was a ghost town on this flight
Aft main deck J-cabin, again, nearly empty
About 7-8 hours into the 14 hour flight, somewhere near the north pole
Out over the Arctic/Pacific Oceans
Landing and max-blast thrust-reverse into NRT
Again, for more details, pictures, and info on the ATL-NRT flight, please see the trip report by CAP2008!!
Couple quick impressions about the ATL-NRT route. Overall, it seems to be a very poor performer. Initially, DL upgraded it to twice daily while simultaneously reducing DTW-NRT to 10x or 11x weekly. Since then, DL has reduced ATL-NRT to 10x weekly and then subsequently completely terminating the 777 service on ATL-NRT, leaving it as only a single daily 744. All the while, DTW-NRT remains as 10x-11x weekly and runs with consistently higher load factors than the ATL-NRT. I, obviously, do hope the route continues to run with a 744, but I do also enjoy an occasional "we told you so" moment, that ATL is most definitely not the end-all be-all hub that some think it to be
18 May 2009
Block Time: 11 hours, 30 minutes
Seat: 12J, NextGen Business Class
Photo © Orrico Emmanuel
I was especially looking forward to my flight on NRT-DFW on AA. The route, NRT-DFW, seems to be quite the cash cow for AA as it consistently runs full in the premium cabins. Coupled with typically high nonrev numbers, it's a hard route to get J-class on while nonrevving. So, when I saw the light (relatively) loads in premium on the way home, I had to jump on it.
Departures board in the check-in hall of NRT Terminal 2
Given AA's rather ridiculous system of time-stamp priority for rank-ordering nonrevs, I showed up to the terminal about 3 hours prior to the flight to check in. Incidentally, it was my first ever time in NRT's Terminal 2, as all my other previous flights into and out of NRT have been at Terminal 1 on NW and UA.
N755AN being pulled up to the gate after sitting overnight in NRT
I was paged about 30 minutes prior to boarding and given seat 12J in NextGen Business Class. On a random note, this was my first ever flight in AA's NGBC on a 777, and was only my 3rd flight on an AA 777 at all, with the rest of my 777 flights being on all UA birds.
Aircraft servicing prior to boarding
NGBC cabin during final boarding
To my surprise, I got the window and aisle seat, 12HJ, to myself. Rather rare to have that happen in business class, especially on the rather premium-heavy route of NRT-DFW.
Welcome screen of the PTV system with AVOD
Bose noise-canceling headsets. Always a very nice touch by AA.
We ended up getting off the gate in NRT about 5 minutes early, which I was very happy about as I had an extremely tight connection in DFW, only a scheduled 45 minutes from arrival of my NRT flight to clear passport control, customs, security, and then get to the gate for my connecting flight.
Just after takeoff from NRT, turning toward the northeast for a great circle routing to DFW
ETOPS feet-wet, just over the coast of Japan
One of my favorite parts of flying in AA's premium cabins are their meal services. While they didn't have my first choice of the chicken entree, AA never fails to impress for me.
Appetizer and salad. I forgot to take a picture of the starter of warm nuts and my favorite cranapple juice
Beef entree. Excellent meal - loved the vegetables
Dessert of vanilla ice cream sundae with raspberry sauce and graham cracker topping
During the meal service, I watched the movie "Frost/Nixon" which I found to be very good, I really enjoyed it. The format threw me a curveball, but I still really enjoyed it.
After dinner and the movie, I was dead-tired from the built up jetlag. I also had a full day coming up the next morning, so I reclined the seat and slept for as long as I could - about 8 hours solid - going all the way until breakfast service about 1 hour out of DFW.
Hot breakfast option. I was going to get the cereal until I was told they didn't have my favorite Raisin Bran
View of the Rocky Mountains
Moving map of our route of flight
I was actually somewhat surprised to see we were doing a great circle routing for the return flight to DFW. Lately, given seasonal winds, most eastbound TransPac flights have been using mid-Pacific routings. I guess given the winds that day though, we were filed on a great circle routing.
Top of descent into DFW
Descent into DFW just prior to flaps 1 extension
Turning final into DFW. DFW airport visible in top left corner of pic
On the ground in DFW, another AA 777 at Concourse D
We ended up arriving at 850a, 10 minutes before scheduled arrival. Luckily, I was able to clear customs & immigration very quickly and made my connecting flight to ROW with a few minutes to spare, arriving to the gate area at about 915a for a 945a departure. Here's official thanks to DFW13L for all his explanations, help, and info with arriving internationally into DFW
Thanks to everyone for reading and any comments/feedback appreciated!!