Just before summer began, my dad had a bad fall playing tennis and needed surgery. He couldn't travel for 4 months, so the holiday we had planned to Europe went flying out the window. My mom and I decided once the surgery was done, and he could walk around independently, it'd be nice to take a short trip to somewhere in the region. So we shortlisted Tokyo and Hong Kong. We decided on Tokyo because we had never been to Japan, and I wanted to try Delta's 77L, which replaced the usual A333 operating SIN
There are plenty of airlines which fly between Singapore and Tokyo (SQ, JL
) with a choice of 7 daily flights. But I had already made up my mind - I wanted to try Delta's 77L. So we booked tickets using Jet Airways miles (which turned out to be a long and annoying procedure), but were told there wasn't any availability for the return, so we were booked on a CX
flight via HKG
with the HKG
segment wait listed. When we were a week away from the start of the trip, and had no confirmed return, I booked UA
J for the HKG
(which was just $200 more expensive than SQ
Our final itinerary:
22nd July 2010, Singapore - Tokyo Narita, Delta 777-200LR
28th July 2010, Tokyo Narita - Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific A330-300
28th July 2010, Hong Kong - Singapore, United 747-400
Thursday, 22nd July 2010
Delta Air Lines
Flight # 280
] - Tokyo Narita [NRT
] - Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson [ATL
B777-232LR [N706DN, Delivered: 1/31/2009
STD: 0545, ATD: 0615
: 1400, ATA: 1340
Flight duration: 7 Hours, 13 Minutes
Load: Y/60%, J/60%
We left our home in central Singapore at 3 10 AM
for a 5 45 AM
departure. Traffic was light at the early hour and we were at Changi Airport's Terminal 1 in 20 minutes.
En route to the airport.
Quiet curbside. Terminal 1 is being renovated to keep it on par with Terminal 2 & Terminal 3, hence the white boards
The iconic Changi ATC.
A glance at the good old style departure board showed mostly Jetstar's regional flights at this early hour, followed by Asia-Pac flights on JL
(who's Frankfurt flight had an excessive delay).
Delta had 5 open check in desks, but before you could get to them, you were asked some security questions and documents were checked at the multiple podiums that were set up. It looked like a pretty scary setup with security guys in uniform, etc. They were friendly though. There was no line for the 2 Business class counters but there was a short line for Coach. There was an internet check in line too. DL
handles check in themselves and their staff wear the same red uniforms that the FA
's do. It took a good 5 minutes to check in even though I checked in online the night before. We were given our boarding passes and the lounge invite. After leaving the counter, I took a picture of the check in area but was spotted in a flash and was made to delete the picture because it had 'uniformed officers' in it. Jeez!
Anyway, immigration was quick and we were through into the eerily empty airside, which was pretty much covered up because of the renovation. We headed to the lounge which was quite far away, and took a while to find. Everything was closed this early except Starbucks.
uses the Skyview lounge in SIN
which is also used by CX
, and other airlines. It was a good size lounge with some nice views of the tarmac (although it was too dark outside to see anything), but the food is limited to breads, cereal, cheese & crackers, muffins and soup. There was ample comfortable seating with dividers every few meters which allowed for some privacy. It also had a few PC
's and overlooked terminal below. I got a croissant and some coffee. It was at this time I noticed a man drinking his fourth beer, which later made him verbally swear (loudly) at a passenger using one of the computers, but none of the staff said anything to him, despite him causing such a racket.
Escalator up to the lounge
Nice water feature at the lounge entrance
's (I'd prefer Macs :P)
Seats and the dividers
Coffee and Croissant
Nice view, but nothing to see
My boarding pass
We spend about 45 minutes in the lounge which started to get pretty full, so we left to get some Yen at the Travelex and headed to the gate after a quick stop at the restroom.
On the way to the gate. Before renovation on the right, after renovation on the left. Which do you prefer?
There were more 'uniformed officer outside the gate so I didn't take any pictures. Something I noticed was that all the FIDS in SIN
showed the flight's destination was Orlando, although it was Atlanta via Tokyo. They should probably fix that.. it could confuse some travelers.
Soon we head a loud, booming voice with a heavy Texas accent, and sure enough Mr. Drunk had managed to find the gate. We mentioned he was drunk to the officer, who said it would be up to Captain to decide whether he would fly. Security was quick without removal of shoes, etc and it seemed like most passengers were already in the gate hold.
It was too dark to look outside but I could just about tell 'N706DN' was to operate the flight to Atlanta via Tokyo.
N706DN, Boeing 777-232LR, Delivered new to Delta on 1/31/2009.
Boarding soon began at 5 15 AM
with priority queu's enforced and it was followed in an orderly manner. I walked down the jetway and boarded thru door 1L where I was greeted by an elder American gentleman who looked more like a pilot than a F/A. This was my first time flying the herringbone configuration and the seats looked quite inviting, though the aisle was a tad narrow. I settled into 7D where I found a big pillow, blanket, amenity kit, slippers, noise canceling headphones and menu. The seat was well padded and wide with plenty of legroom and ample storage.
The cabin slowly but steadily boarded. Most of the passengers were Americans with a few Asians.
An Asian (Singaporean, I assume as she didn't look Japanese) F/A offered me a pre departure drink of OJ or Champagne in a real glass. And after that, she handed out HOT
View from 7D
I noticed the first officer walk through the cabin into the aft J cabin, and back two minutes later followed by Mr Drunk being escorted off the plane by security. Doors were closed at 5 45 AM
and the Captain came on to welcome us. The flight was to be 6 hours and 50 minutes. Most of the passengers in J were sitting in the forward cabin, with just 5 or 6 in the rear J cabin.
My glass and towel was collected and soon after, we pushed back from Gate D41 at 5 50 AM
as the safety video began playing, although you couldn't see it because all our screens were stowed! The sounds and vibrations of the massive GE90-110B's filled the cabin. Boy, how I love engine start ups! We slowly made our short taxi towards 20C past sleeping SQ
777's. At this time, the FA
's came around to take breakfast orders. There were 3 options this morning - An omelet, Asian style noodles or Cereal. I decided on the omelet with apple juice. We got to the holding point and held short for 15 minutes, no reason given.
Cabin during taxi
ATC watching us
At 6 15, the thrust was pushed forward and the screaming GE
's accelerated us down the runway and into the dark sky after a 50 second roll.
We flew straight into clouds and the strobe's almost made it seem we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. We maintained the runway heading for a few minutes before eventually making a couple of lefts towards Japan. It was a good 20 minutes until we reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign went off.
I began to explore the seat controls and IFE until breakfast was served. Delta offers a touch screen AVOD system on their 777's. It had an excellent selection of movies, tv shows, HBO special's and music. The touchscreen wasn't really accurate, and I found using the controller was easier. The quality was good and the noise canceling headphones worked well.
Not as intimidating as it looks
Noise canceling headphones
The seat was very comfortable and could be adjusted to your preference. I particularly liked that the headrest could be electronically adjusted forward and backward. The pillow was big and fluffy and the blanket was large and thick, it didn't feel cheap like on a lot of other carriers. I made myself comfortable and started a movie.
Reading light, not an air nozzle!
Extra storage, only for seats 7A & 7D
About an hour into the flight, the FA
's came around to set up the table. I found it very difficult to get it out as it needed you to pull hard to get it out. My breakfast was brought in a tray and was a decently sized portion and had metal cutlery except the knife which was plastic. It was only luke warm. The omelet was pretty good as was the hash brown but I found the vegetables and bread hard. The meal was supposed to include a sausage as per the menu but it didn't. Oh well.
serving drinks and bread
One thing I didn't like was that the FA
's seemed to be in a real hurry and tried to take away my tray twice though I wasn't done eating. In fact, the third time I gave in and let them take without having eaten my fruit and yogurt. Maybe I'm just a slow eater?
Post breakfast, I tried to get a couple of hours of shuteye. It was pretty bright outside now so I closed the window shade. The bed again was wide enough and comfortable to sleep on, with the bends and folds hard to feel.
The bed (not all of it pictured)
Cabin after breakfast
Rear J and a peek at Y
Reflection of the airplane on the engine
This flight is a piece of cake for these monsters
I slept a couple of hours and woke up just as we passed the Philippines.The cabin was pretty dark now, with most passengers sleeping or using the PTV although Y still had lights on.
Just passed the Philippines
I made a visit to the restroom which had nice wooden flooring and was pretty clean, but it didn't have any amenities which is alright since the amenity kits were well supplied.
On the way to my seat, I asked the older American FA
if it'd be possible to see the cockpit after landing and he said it wouldn't be a problem. He was the best of the cabin crew IMO as the Asian crew seemed to just want to get everything done as fast as possible, though they did manage to throw a couple of smiles here and there.
I started another movie and before I knew it, we were closing in on Japan. The lights came on and the FA
's began preparing the pre arrival snack. There was a sandwich, chips, candy and fruit. I skipped the sandwich as I was still pretty full from breakfast. 7A & 7D are served by the same FA
's that serve the rear J, so I was served first. I noticed that the forward J FA
's had set up table's with tablecloth's while the rear J attendent's didn't. Not a big deal but just little observations which tell you about the motivation levels of the crew.
More Apple Juice
I slipped in an episode of the Simpsons by which time we were 10 minutes from landing.
Cabin as we descend
The captain came back on the PA to tell us about the weather and thank us for flying Delta. I noticed that there were a lot of hotels with good views of approaches to Narita, like the Hilton.
Spoilers as we slow down
Canal or a River?
We made a gentle landing on 16R at 1 40 PM
, 10 minutes behind schedule. We taxied towards gate 15, passing some interesting traffic on the way. We docked among the herds of other DL
aircraft (you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in ATL
), and that brought an end to my Delta 77L experience.
I took a quick peek at the cosy cockpit and was surprised to see that the Captain and the first officer were pretty young. I thanked the FA
and made my way out of the aircraft, a little sad to be leaving so quickly, but excited to be visiting a new country.
Overall, I was very impressed with Delta and I think they offer a very competitive product (on their 77L at least). I certainly would consider them on future trips to the US. I hope they start a nonstop flight to SIN
once they get more airplanes. And what can I say about the 77L? It's simply a beast!
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. My next TR
is probably going to be SIN
on the TG
77W, which will also in a herringbone configuration, and will be an interesting comparison.
: I apologize about the quality of the photos - It was dark and I didn't want to use flash.