Well, another random NRT
adventure. It's been a bit of a random personal goal of mine to fly every NRT
-US city pair there is, at least those on NW
, and DL
. The last two remaining were SLC
- both newly added routes to the NW
/DL network. Unfortunately, this won't be as long as my normal reports as quite a few of my pictures were accidentally deleted off my camera. But, I do at least have a takeoff video from the SLC
flight on the A332!!
Final Itinerary for the trip:
04 July 2009
Block Time: 11 hours, 50 minutes
A330-223, N852NW, ship# 3352
Seat: 3J, World Business Class
Anyhow, again I don't have too many pictures from either of the flights due to a lot of the pics being accidentally deleted while xfering them from my camera to the computer. Some of the most important ones I'm missing are those of the meal services from both flights
For this trip, I was traveling with a buddy of mine and we were going to spend a few days out in NRT
- go see downtown Tokyo and such, which I've never actually done despite having been to NRT
nine times now, haha. Anyhow, we both flew into LAX
on the 3rd and met there, and is why I didn't just fly DEN
directly. On the morning of the 4th, we took a SkyWest/UAX CR7 up to SLC
, then the A332 onward to NRT
on the now 1-month old SLC
Gate podium for NW9 to NRT
As an aside, the SLC
has been slow to get decent load factors, but the traffic is picking up. The load factors were so remarkably low on 04JUL due to it being the perfect storm of a international flight on a Saturday in conjunction with it being a typically non-traveling holiday weekend. So, it was not just SLC
that ran incredibly light that day, but near every NRT
flight across the board, including other airlines as well.
Ship 3352 (N852NW) at gate D2 in SLC
. The inbound flight arrived 40 minutes early.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous to be taking this flight. In the wake of the AF
crash and there being a few other in-flight instrumentation failures subsequently (one of them on NW
), I did have half a mind to just do LAX
directly on my favorite 744's instead of the LAX
to get on the new route. But, in the end, getting the new line on FlightMemory prevailed
Both myself and my buddy were nonrev'ing the flight. We were #1 and #2 on the waitlist, so we were cleared about 2 hours prior to departure, given the extreme light load in business class.
Forward Business Class cabin during boarding
In addition to the fwd-J cabin being a ghost town, the aft-J cabin was blocked off completely - to be used for supplemental crew rest during the flight. I was kind of hoping we could sit in rows 5 or 6 in the aft cabin to get a good view of the wing and engines, but i was fine sitting in row 3... still a decent view!!
Cockpit of ship 3352 about 20 minutes prior to departure for NRT
The crew seemed a bit busy when I went up to the cockpit but the captain was a friend of a friend so I went up briefly to introduce myself before the flight. Real nice crew though, I enjoyed talking with them for a few minutes before I went back to my seat.
Crew posing for quick picture. Again, real nice guys!!
Given the extreme light load, we were going to depart about 20 to 25 minutes early. The gate agents were able to get the doors closed at the early departure time but we waited nearly 35 minutes on the ramp, still loading the plane - causing us to depart about 10 minutes late.
View out the window of 3J just prior to pushback in a rather rainy SLC
Departure out of SLC
was rather interesting. We used runway 34L, taking quite a long takeoff roll despite being really light. Immediately after takeoff, we made a turn to near due west to climb, not heading directly into the mountains north of the field. Once we climbed to a sufficient altitude, we turned back to the north-west to begin the great-circle "tracks" across the Pacific.
The dinner service went rather quickly given the light load up front. During and after dinner I watched that Clint Eastwood movie "Gran Torino" which I thought was really good - Clint Eastwood is one BAMF.
Again, I'm sorry I don't have any pics to post of the dinner service or arrival snack service.
Menu for SLC
and the brand-new Delta A330 safety card
07 July 2009
, Operated by Delta Air Lines
Block Time: 12 hours, 40 minutes
777-232/ER, N860DA, ship# 7001
Seat: 3J, BusinessElite
As for the flight home, my buddy was flying onward to LHR
and I was flying back to DEN
. Again, as we were both nonrev'ing, JFK
seemed to be the best city for both of us to catch flights home to our respective airports. We considered taking AA
is my favorite airline to take internationally. However, AA
is scheduled to arrive at 605p while the DL NRT
is scheduled to arrive at 305p. So, we decided to take DL
as it was scheduled to arrive substantially earlier.
Ship 7001 (N860DA) sitting in remote parking prior to being towed to the gate
NW798 got off to a bad start in NRT
due to quite the gate shuffle, as all gates in NRT
are common-use. Our plane was finally towed into the gate only about 45 minutes prior to departure, with the crew still needing to board and preform all pre-flight duties.
Our plane to JFK
being towed to the gate, already about 30 minutes behind schedule.
To the crew's credit, they were very quick to board and prepare the cabin for passenger boarding. As myself and my buddy were the only two nonrevs on the list, we were again quickly cleared at the gate and given seat assignments together in J-class.
View out the window from 3J. The UA
bird next door, N782UA, I believe was going to IAD
. For those of you that know UA
, seeing (N7xxUA) 777's on routes north of 12 hours is rather rare.
Aft BusinessElite cabin during boarding. There were only 3 or 4 pax in the aft J-cabin.
View from 3J looking forward. Amenity kit and slippers in the seat pockets.
Fwd J-class cabin - sorry about the glare. Again, J-class was a ghost town on this flight, only 15 of 50.
In addition to getting off to a bad start with the gate swap issues, after the doors were closed they had to be reopened to let maintenance on-board. Apparently some non-deferrable ETOPS maintenance item came up at the last second, adding another 15 minutes departure delay.
Soon enough though, we were finally on our way to JFK
Number 5 in line for departure from NRT
A332 and DL
744 visible in background.
Takeoff out of NRT
took a surprisingly long roll. I guess I had forgotten that we were scheduled on a 12:40 blocktime where I'm more used to the much shorter flights to the west coast. Further to that, little did I realize that we were tankering an extra 2 hours of contingency fuel for the forecasted storms over JFK
at our expected time of arrival.
Turning toward the north-east after departure from NRT
, coast of Japan and the Pacific Ocean below.
Again, I'm very sorry I don't have any pictures of any of the meal services. I will say though, DL
's international catering is quite impressive. My favorite is always the soup, salad, and bread course they serve. Always very good!!
Initial cruise at FL350 just prior to sunset over the Pacific Ocean
On the way back home, I didn't watch any movies, instead just watching a few episodes of "The Office" and "The Simpsons" as well as some audio on demand. I did also watch the moving map quite a bit, as I was interested to see that we were doing a mid-Pacific track back home as opposed to the bit more typical great-circle track. The jetstream winds must have provided a huge tail-wind for us given this far longer routing.
Just prior to approach into JFK
, already one hour late. Note 7000 mile distance
On initial approach into JFK
, I was quick to realize that ATC put us into holding. Foolishly before leaving NRT
, I didn't check the weather forecast for the NYC area. As Murphy's Law would dictate, we were given a clearance to enter holding with an expect further clearance time of one hour.
Holding for 1 hour over the storms above the NYC airports
After approx 1.5 hours of holding, we were finally able to complete the approach and land in JFK
. Little did I realize, there was one hell of a traffic jam on the ground in JFK
, and we had to sit for another 30 minutes while we waited for the traffic to clear and we could taxi back to our arrival gate. All in all, we ended up arriving a full 3 hours late at 605pm.
Slats out on final approach into JFK
In retrospect, it almost would have been better if we had taken AA
, as they only arrived two minutes late at 607p compared to their scheduled arrival time of 605p.
After arriving in JFK
, I luckily made my connection onto B6
without too much trouble. Given how JFK
was still in ATC flow control, we had a departure delay of nearly two hours, but I did *finally* get home!! I was just thankful the flight to DEN
didn't cancel altogether.
Menu for NRT
777-200 safety card (for both ER
Well, thanks to everyone for reading. A final apology for not having the pictures of the meal services on either flight!! Thanks for reading, though, and all comments & feedback are appreciated!!