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NW17 JFK-NRT-HKG w/pix

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  • NW17 JFK-NRT-HKG w/pix

    Northwest Airlines Flt. 17

    JFK-NRT leg

    Equip: Boeing 747-400 N673US
    Schd. Time: 1425
    Boarding Time: 1325
    Date: June 27, 2003
    Gate: A4
    Seat: 56A
    Schd. Flight time: 13hrs 47 minutes

    Although NW has been known for their old, poor service, I decided to continue choose NW on this route because: (a) earn my Worldperks miles and (b) they use A320 on NRT-HKG and DC-10 on return!

    On June 27 I arrived airport at around 10:30am, NW uses the “new” Terminal 4 for their domestic and international flight. The check-in went in smoothly and because it’s too early, only a couple other passengers were at the counter. After check-in TSA requires the checked luggage be screened before send to the belt behind the counter. Again the screening went smoothly and now I had 2:30 hrs of free time.

    JFK Terminal 4 is VERY quiet during morning and early afternoon. Most of the passengers we see in the terminal are flying on our flight. After finishing my lunch at McDonalds, I spend sometime sitting around and visiting the gift and book shops. At around 1pm. I went to the restricted area. Again X-ray screening but the TSA agents treat you with respects (!)…TSA would randomly search passengers and check their shoes. The process was smooth and painless as always. After going though security I decided to do some spotting and photography, at that time only our flight is in the A wing. The Aer Lingus A330 flight did not arrive until around 2pm. I took my F707 into the first “field use” and trying to save the battery for the next 15 hrs of flight to NRT and HKG. It seems the terminal is OK with photography…only if you don’t point your camera toward the security area and mess around with agents.

    Around 2pm, the roll call begins and they begin boarding from the back rows. To my surprise I couldn’t believe I was on the same flight with same destination with one of my friend…..anyway the gate agents checked the passport and the boarding pass and I proceed to my seat.

    The flight was fully booked and many of the passengers were connecting flight to Manila at NRT (I took a peek at their luggage tags ) At about 1430, our flight pushed back…BUT as soon as we hit the parking brake again at the ramp, the tow truck towed us back to the gate again. The captain announced that there has been some luggage missed the security screening and need to be re-screened again. About 45 minutes later, we pushed back again and this time everything went smoothly. Parking next to us was N666US, the return flight from NRT (NW17) .

    We hold short at runway 31L while waiting the B6 A320 to land . As the “minibus” cleared the captain pushed the throttle all the way and we begin our roll down the runway. About 50 seconds later we were airborne and start our Canarsie climb. We flew over Floyd Bennett field and over the Rockaway beaches. We made a 270º turn and flew over the threshold of runway 31L. As we climb above 5000 feet we flew over Great neck and soon over Southern Conn. We were greeted by some huge CBs and get hit hard by the turbulence, some passengers show their nervousness on their face, while some children cheered. About 10 minutes later we were cleared of the CBs and continue our climb to initial flight level of 31000 feet. Our route take us over Northern New York state, the town of Ticonderga, NY, Montreal, Que, and finally over Hudson bay.

    As we fly over Northern Quebec we saw some of the most breath-taking beauty of thousand lakes and glaciers (Yes, there are still glaciers in the Hudson Bay in June!). Undoubtedly I took about 20 shots of them and soon the FAs served peanuts and later dinner. The dinner was either chicken or beef, with sodas/orange juice/water and of course, tea. Over Hudson Bay we step climbed to flight level 330. After we cross over Hudson Bay the IFE kicks in, The movie for the flight were: Maid in Manhattan, Just married, Shanghai Knights, and Daredevil. Again as usual FA required us to lower the shades ( ) One of the good thing that I like on this flight is that NW finally realize the importance of in-flight map, unlike some airlines they only shows the map before takeoff and after landing (which is useless!). In the middle of the flight FAs served water as well as Sandwich/Oreo to us…in my opinion I think this is a great improvement in cabin service, especially on long-haul flight.

    As the flight progress we continue to step climb to flight level 350 over Northern tip of Canada and finally level off at flight level 380 in the W. coast of AK…just west of Nome. Also I saw a contrail in front of our flight! In my opinion it looks quite amazing (and huge! ) from this angle!

    Soon after breakfast is served (sorry I forgot what are the choices) we began our descend to Tokyo, the captain reported overcast skies with fog. The descend was quite smooth, only a few Turbulence around the CBs…As we established runway 34L localizer, we began our descend though the clouds, the approach was smooth and as soon as we break the cloud we were already at around 500 feet….there were many condensation forming over the wing and the skies were very dark. We landed around 5:20pm and the captain hit the thrust reverser and speed brakes. We cleared the runway and make our way slowly to gate 23. Following us was another Northwest 744…possibly from U.S. also. We arrived at the gate next to a UA 744, N104UA at exactly 5:30pm.

    ***Connecting Flight***

    As soon as I left the aircraft I began my rush to the connecting flight to HKG. NW uses the new terminal 1 which just opened 1-2 yrs. Although the signs were clear, the security screening was horrible, there were at least 80% of the passengers from NW 17 from JFK connecting flight, and there were only 2 X-ray machines opened! I arrived at the X-ray machines and it was already 6:20pm, I rushed to my bus gate 25E, which is located at ground level 2 flights down. As soon as I arrive at the gate, have my ticket scanned, the officer asked a security check again. This time they need to check my camera (make sure it can be turned on), my backpack and my shoes. They used the handy metal detector and scanned throughout my body. After I cleared I jumped onto the connecting bus and I finally have a chance to catch my breath! We arrived at the A320s which was parked at the remote maintenance area. As soon as I board the flight, the FA closed the door!

    NRT-HKG leg
    Equip: Airbus A320-200 (reg unknown)
    Schd. Time: 1825
    Boarding time: 1725 (!)
    Gate: 30_ (not sure gate number)
    Seat: 17F
    Schd. Flight time: 3 hours 40 minutes

    Again this flight to HKG was full of passengers, about 90% are Hong Kong residents (well…at least they speak Cantonese). We pushed back about 5 minutes later and began the start up. (One little thing to mention here: If you never flown the A320 family, you will notice a funny sound on start up and the brakes, it’s kinda hard to mention, but trust me you will think it’s funny when you hear it! ) After start-up the ground crew saluted to us and we began to taxi to runway 34L. Prior to our departure there were:
    2 UA 777s departing
    1 AA 777 departing
    1 NZ 744 departing
    1 QF 744 landing
    1 NW A320 landing
    1 JL 742 (Resocha, JA8150)

    As we lined up our runway (fully lighted...under CAT I) we began our roll down the runway, the roll takes about 30 second and we were airborne. Once again condensation was forming over the wing and we were cleared of the clouds and fog at about 3000 feet, greeted by the beautiful sunset. We climbed via SID CHIBA REVERSAL 5 and continued to climb to FL330. The sky did not completely dark until around 8:30 at FL330. Soon dinner was served, some super-ultra greasy noodles that I don’t enjoy very much! One thing that I don’t enjoy about is flight is NO IFE! The flight was boring for 3 hours like this. Fortunately, the scenery outside was great (yes I know…it’s night time) with clear skies from S. Japan to Hong Kong waters. We flew over APU VOR north of Taipei and TPE airport was clearly seen. There not too many traffic at 9pm in Asia, only a few A320s in South Taiwan. As soon as we clear of the Taiwan coast, we turned further west and start our ELATO 1A STAR to HKG. Our flight did not follow the STAR completely and we were given a clear direct to 25R localizer intersection. The captain it the speed brakes quite a couple time and we descended like a rocket to 4,500 feet, the approach fix altitude. The landing was uneventful and we glided smoothly onto the asphalt of runway 25R, at 9:49:30…exactly 30seconds before schedule! We slowly taxi to gate 35, as the NH 772 followed us after we landed.

    Hope you enjoy the report! comments/questions/complains are always welcomed!

    The return report, flight 18, HKG-NRT-JFK on July 31st will be followed soon!

    Check out my photos at!

  • #2
    I enjoyed reading about your trip! I have flown from SFO to Manila several times on NW via NRT and have had similar expieriances. On my last trip (in March) we were delayed leaving NRT because we were waiting for the flight from New York. Nothing like being one of the last flights at night flying into Manila!


    • #3
      What about United Airlines or Cathay Pacific?


      • #4
        I loved reading the trip report!

        Great review.

        The photos don't work though.
        You might want to check the links!

        Pete Ganabathi
        Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

        Fly Frontier Airlines - A Whole Different Animal


        • #5
          Yes I know they don't work because I have taken them down from tripod....they said no remote linking
          Check out my photos at!


          • #6
            Oh I didn't know that. Thanks for the reply!

            Pete Ganabathi
            Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

            Fly Frontier Airlines - A Whole Different Animal