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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:58 am

Hi there Blaž, Marc, Braniff747SP, flymia, Jetblue777, Ryanair!!!, AA787, EWRkid1990, Alexeu, TWA757, Wbodyroga, arkas1, ThePalauan, Mexicana757, Beeweel15,

Thank you all so much for the very kind words. I do appreciate you guys stopping by and am really glad you enjoyed the report.  
Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 37):
LOL. Your typical Filipino/a! As a Filipino, most of my fellow people would not care if they had to connect in Somalia or Suriname, as long as they can save a few bucks..they'll go for it!

My dad actually flew from MNL-GUM-HNL-IAH-EWR plus the 2hr commute from Newark to our home in New York, just to save 30 bucks! 

Hahaha... wow that's quite a routing to save a few bucks! But conversely, you would have been prepared to pay extra for more stops, right?  
Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 37):
And I get to say again: YOUR TYPICAL FILIPINO!  Or in general, most Eastern Asians  
Filipino Rule # 1 : Always bring an umbrella, rain or shine

LOL you're right there. And the sun is always the greater evil - with rain, all you get is wet.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 38):
There's something I love about HNL which hasn't changed much since I last visited. The wailing jets and blasts of jet fuel in your face, unabated, unadulterated... and all that just from standing at the terminal concourse! I LOVE IT. And those rattan furniture, that supposed "Hawaii look" reminds me very much of Golden Girls.

And... cue music!

Thank you for being a friend...
Travel down the road and back again...
Your heart is true, you're a friend and a confidant....

Hahaha... I knew that looked familiar. Wow, that's an old sitcom - and now I can't get that tune out of my head.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 38):
Gosh that looks like some vantage point for guerilla rebels to hide out at some South American jungle-surrounded village town being claimed by rivalling cartels.

Yeah, definitely not the most appealing building to see on a pacific island. I was in Beirut in the months following Rafic Hariri's assasination and there's a building on the waterfront that bore the brunt of the car bomb that killed him. That came immediately to my mind when I saw this.

Quoting AA787 (Reply 39):
I lived for 3 months on Majuro before completing the rest of the Island Hopper (and even on to MNL like you). The Marshallese people are the nicest you will find anywhere. Living on Majuro is not as easy as it might seem, but for anyone who wants to experience something incredible, I would recommend it.

Wow, I envy you having done so. It must have a great learning experience. Having learnt a bit more about the Marshall islands during and following this island hopper trip, I'm certainly hoping I'd get a chance to stop at these places for longer than 35 minutes.

Quoting AA787 (Reply 39):
That big island is Enoko a popular overnight "getaway" from the urban vibe of Majuro. Yes, people like to "escape" from what others already consider paradise.

Thanks for this info! This must be a gorgeous place at sea level.

Quoting alexeu (Reply 42):
Is it possible to do the island hopper while visiting at least 2 of these destinations? For example, flying HNL-Majuro, then spending few nights in Majuro and flying to e.g. Chuuk and spending few nights there? It seems very expensive to spend 1000 bucks while not being able to travel around these beautiful islands!

The prices go up if you include stops. But a new Star Alliance airpass is probably the best way to go if you plan to stop. It's looking tempting even for me now...

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
I took CO 956 on March 11 of this year when disaster struck Japan. On that flight, I was traveling as a non-rev passenger the whole way after being bumped off the non-stop (they blocked 15 seats due to en-route weather). The flight was 2.5 hours late due to a mechanical issue. I'm guessing somewhere between PNI and KSA is when the earthquake occurred but no one knew the situation until we landed in KWA. I was told to get off the plane there and in that boarding lounge, a shaky reception of CNN showed us the situation and the tsunami threat. For about an hour, all the passengers going to MAJ and all non-revs were held as word got out that the airport there had closed under the tsunami warning. As I started to wonder about staying the night at KWA and making the trek back to GUM the next day, they boarded only KWA-HNL passengers and then finally cleared only non-revs heading to HNL while all going to MAJ (non-rev or not) would stay the next few days. I missed my view of MAJ but thanks to your trip report, I can see what I wouldn't have even been able to make out at night.

Thanks ThePalauan for all the really useful additional information you have provided for us. It certainly helped me better understand this unique CO route. Thanks also for sharing your trip here - it must have been quite a journey! I'm not surprised though that MAJ was closed following the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Hopefully you get to stop at MAJ next time. The takeoff from KWA for HNL must have been pretty powerful considering the short runway.

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
Aircraft 240 is still with Continental titles but will probably be sent to HKG in the next few weeks for the inevitable.

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
Another flight attendant told me it's because of a lack of suitable laundry facilities in the islands to clean the blankets as well as additional weight to carry on board.

That makes sense. Another mystery with the island hopper solved - thanks.

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
The author, Joe Murphy, was the editor for the Guam paper Guam Daily News (today's Pacific Daily News) from its start (if I recall right) in the 70's until the early 90's. After he retired, he wrote weekly columns for the PDN and wrote papers about life in the Pacific. He passed away in 2009/2010, I believe, but his legacy in journalism is still remembered by many.

Thanks for this. I did read a posthumous tribute to him and he seemed like a very interesting character indeed.

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
Coming in from GUM, this flight is even heavier and the braking is so intense, the ground staff need to bring in high-velocity fans to cool the main gear rapidly.

Wow, that must be quite a sight!

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
CO956/957 (or rather now it's 172/154) carry extra crew for the entire journey. One extra pilot, one extra flight attendant and one mechanic. All crews are GUM-based and for the pilots in particular, they're specially qualified for these routes.

Yes, I did notice the presence of the third pilot on our flight.

Quoting ThePalauan (Reply 47):
The Island Hopper is not just the most amazing plane ride you may ever take, but it's also a major artery for the people of both the FSM and RMI.

Very well put! I can't agree more. Thanks again for sharing.

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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:36 pm

Having been on for a while now, you come to understand the writing styles of many of the contributors here, and I have to say and have probably said it before, your style is undoubtedly in a class of it's own!! Totally mesmerised with this report and you took me on a journey on a far away land, almost seemed like a dream where the scenes are in such depth, but they change quite quickly too!! I guess I just said it all.
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:48 am


I thought I had commented on this awesome report of yours.. Read it enough times to make me feel as though I'd commented on it I must admit.. (and apologies for fishing it out of the archives!)

What a great way to.. err.. just about complete the RTW voyage!   You've really got me wanting to try this milk run out. It just looks like so much fun. And I have to admit that I'd be pretty scared about landing on an atoll the width of the runway! I can imagine sinking to what would seem like a watery end when looking out the window on some of those stopovers!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
"It seems you need a transit visa for Majuro,"
Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
She takes a quick look at my Malaysian passport and asks if I have a valid U.S. visa

Well you're in HNL, aren't you? How could you not have a valid US visa (unless it had expired.. which would be pretty bad in itself)? But either way, I suppose I'd want to know about this whole visa thing in Majuro before I do this milk run!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
My seat pocket holds two inflight magazines. The December - and penultimate - edition of the Continental magazine and the autumn 2010 (and probably last?) edition of the airline's Japanese language "Continental Airlines pacific" magazine that's very Guam hub-focussed.

Funny, they've already drawn in AKL-IAD!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
Hoping we'd have something in common, I ask May if she's on this flight for the unique photographic opportunities along the way. "Ugh, not really... this is cheaper than the nonstop flight," she says.

Haha, everyone's got their reasons!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
But three months to install air-conditioning? Crikey.

Island time man! Work for 5 mins, rest for the rest of the day   Probably fast in their terms as well! haha.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 1):
The only F&B outlet is 'The Hangar', a snack bar that sells everything from chewing gum to Chivas Regal.

Wow, call that a convenience store!

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
This is almost intriguing enough to be a story in The Marshall Islands Journal...


Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):

Our climb out of Kwajalein brings into view an interesting settlement on the next island along. This place seems rather attractive at first glance, and there appear to be some low buildings here. It seems like the perfect place to house a luxury resort, but this island most certainly isn't one. Look more closely and you'll see the tiny boxes are actually dwellings in a very crowded, treeless shanty town. Amazingly, more than 10,000 Marshall islanders call this home: some estimates put the number as high as 15,000, making this one of the most densely populated areas in the world. With the unenviable title of 'slum of the pacific', Ebeye island is, in fact, an unmitigated disaster.

Woah, that's insane.

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
There's little room for error here - roll forward any farther and we'd be rolling in pacific surf. Under these trying circumstances, the pilots have done amazingly well today.

Something I'd be a little scared about myself.. Though not actually knowing the distance and the fact that the 738 does it all the time is somewhat relieving.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 2):
An announcement from the crew asks transit passengers seated at the A-B-C side of the plane to disembark for the obligatory security sweep. (Those not wishing to get off can stay on board for the transit but must shift across to the D-E-F side together with all their belongings.)

Most unusual! And these security sweeps are rather interesting seeing that the plane doesn't change between HNL and the rest of the islands.. And how/why can/would it?

Thanks again for this most enjoyable read and I shall endeavour to follow in those footsteps of yours even if it's a whole day of exhausting flying!

It's all about the destination AND the journey.
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:40 am

wow! Simply stunning and VERY unique for us A.netter's and for those who have traveled it.

How did you feel once you finally got to MNL!?

I think this trumps my list of "got to non-rev" locations once I get a job with UA!!!
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:26 am

This is easily the coolest thing I've read on this site. Does anybody know if it's possible to stay on some of the islands along the way (besides that vile looking RS Grand Hotel, oy)? I just priced out a business-class ticket and it was over $6,000 RT ex-HNL, but I suspect with some effort I could blow a bunch of miles--happily--and make this a major adventure. Absolutely fascinating.
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:58 am

Excellent report. Loved the photos.

Was starting to get sick of the usual Singapore etc reports, but this one made me stop and read it.

Closest I have to this I have done was an island hopping flight in a DHC 2 Beaver in Canada.
The Beaver Goes Island Hopping In The Gulf Islands (by ryan h Sep 11 2011 in Trip Reports)

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 37):
Ah, how can you resist with a view like that? I got scolded by an ignorant first time flyer on a recent UA flight but that didn't stop me from taking pictures! (Well I could have took more pics but I wasn't really in the mood after she told me that I could not use my camera..note: the seat belt sign was already turned off)

I would put it away if the crew asked me to, but another passenger?. No way.

[Edited 2011-12-09 03:59:22]
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:23 pm

Great report, airpearl.

I flew between HNL and PNI in 2003 courtesy of a client... a trip I won't easily forget. Unfortunately my camera shorted when I stepped onto the tarmac at MAJ, so my trip report had no pics. I think the sudden change in humidity killed my poor device!

Sadly, I think you missed three great food items at KSA, assuming they had been on sale - (1) green tangerines (absolutely the best I have ever had); (2) chilli-lime sauce (sold in used plastic water bottles!); and (3) some kind of shellfish preserved in brine. Eating the shellfish dipped in the chilli-lime sauce was heavenly! I also saw cooked mangrove crabs on sale at PNI - taste-wise, these monsters beat any of the crabs you find in Singapore and Malaysia, and you know that is no mean feat!

I also recommend reading J. Maarten Troost's Sex Lives of Cannibals, which details his sojourn in Kiribati.

And, finally, thank you for taking such a keen interest in the history of the Marshall Islands and the circumstances under which they live today. My partner and I took in a Marshallese foster son three years ago (he's actually descended from Bikini Atoll) and it has been quite an up and down ride. A lot of his issues can be attributed to the breakdown of family and societal norms/values that came about from the destruction of their land and their subsequent dependency on handouts. But, that is of course a story for another time and place.
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:11 am

Absolutely incredible and unique, thank you for sharing and giving us an insight into such a route,

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:22 pm

I have always dreamt of doing this entire milk run and so am grateful to live vicariously through you. I came close in 2007 (, but ended up just visiting Yap and Palau ... which is kinda funny because it is the two places your plane did not land at. I would actually recommend visiting both for tourism as they really are incredible places.

As others have mentioned, the best part of your report was the infusion of personal anecdotes, and your highlights of local history. Some of us at A.Net get lost in the aviation part instead of recognizing the larger society it all fits in. For that, thank you.

Keep flying,
Live, and let live.
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:22 pm

One of the best reports I have read. A fantastic journey that I too, hope to make one day. Thank you for sharing!
733/4/5/6/7/8/9, 319/20/21, 752, 744, 772/W, 332/3, 343/6, E70/90, AT43, AR85/1, D38, D10, M82
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:34 am

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading your trip report! This is a route I have always wanted to take since I saw a video of a Air-Mike 727-100 landing on a coral runway with huge clouds of ash bellowing behind it. It was a great read and all your references bought this TR to life. I'm very sorry that things did not work out for you with May  Thank-you so much for sharing, it was such a pleasure to read!

All the best! Will
Boeing 737 sunjet service
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Hey airpearl! All I have to say is just... wow! Absoloutly loved the TR, the pics were just so stunning! I wish one day to do the island hoping like yourself.

3 words... I Love Aviation!!!
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:15 pm

Very educational, very well written and entertaining! First Trip Report I have read word for word.

[Edited 2011-12-20 15:25:43]
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:42 pm

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
She takes a quick look at my Malaysian passport and asks if I have a valid U.S. visa - which I show her immediately - in that case, "it's okay," she tells my gate agent. I am given the green light to proceed. You can't imagine how quickly I rush down the jetway to board my flight, lest someone changes their mind. That was one hell of a scare.

Yikes! I am flying this segment, although in the opposite direction, originating in MNL next month. Is this something I have to worry about?

Quoting airpearl (Thread starter):
learn that my seat mate is actually traveling from LAX to MNL, and her entire journey will take in excess of 30 hours (!) - and involve 7 transit stops en route. (That's 3 more stops than Pan Am's China Clipper between San Francisco and Manila in the 1930s, by the way).

Yeah, well I am ongoing from HNL to LAX, SFO, SEA then MSP and ORD. I am going to be VERY challenged  
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:03 pm

I have to take this trip. Saving up the money now.
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RE: A Lone 737 Across A Vast Expanse Of Blue

Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:55 pm

I think this is the best TR I had ever read, great pictures and very well written! thanks for shareing!!

Jorge Meneses

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