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A Crazy Man's Weekend - Tokyo in One Day

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  • A Crazy Man's Weekend - Tokyo in One Day

    A Crazy Man's Weekend - Tokyo in One Day

    Now for some short info about me before you read through the report. I'm a 19 year old college student attending the University of South Florida in Tampa. Both my parents work for Delta Air Lines, previously Northwest. I've been interested in aviation since I was very small so flying is always an excitement, making the flying part of this long trip fun. A couple years ago I use to write up trip reports for every time I'd fly. It got to the point though that I would just continually go to the same places (Boise, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, etc) so I stopped. Now that I'm a freshman in college I'm going to take advantage of my pass travel capabilities as much as I can until I turn 23 and no longer am allowed to fly such as I am now. So, I promise that every time I go somewhere new I'll be posting a trip report here. Some of you the hang out in the Asia and Europe forums prepare to see me somewhat often as I'll be planning trips such as this one in the future and hopefully will be able to get some great advise again. Enough about me personally, time to get to the interesting part.

    I returned from a weekend trip to Boston after seeing the Red Sox on Sunday September 23. That day I returned I told myself it's time to go somewhere new. I wanted to go somewhere I hadn't seen before. So, I began searching through all the flight loads until I found Tokyo. I had been to Narita twice before but only to connect, so I knew I needed to see the city. So the decision was made, I'm going to Tokyo for the weekend. Luckily the dates worked out great. I happened to have no class that Friday I wanted leave and would return Sunday morning in Tampa. The planning began there, I had to make sure every minute was perfectly planned for the trip as this was my first international travel by myself. I needed to assure my parents and family that something like this can be done, especially if I want to do this for other destinations in the future. So now that we know how this all came up, how it was all planned, and why I even went, let's get on to the trip!

    Tampa International Airport (TPA), Tampa, Florida
    Friday, September 28, 2012 at 6:00AM

    A buddy of mine dropped me off at TPA at about 6:00AM for my flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport. I quickly checked in and grabbed my boarding pass, spoke with some friends at the Starbucks in the terminal (tells you how often I'm there...), then made my way to the gate where my flight was going to depart from.

    Tampa's Airside E

    Delta Air Lines Flight #2135
    Tampa, FL (TPA) - New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA)
    Equipment - MD-88
    Seat Assignment - 1A, First Class, Window
    Departure Time - 6:25AM
    Arrival Time - 9:34AM
    Flying Time - 2 hours 42 minutes
    Departure Gate - E68
    Arrival Gate - 4
    Aircraft Registration - N980DL
    Status - On Time
    Date - September 28, 2012

    This flight was just what I expected. I was on the same exact flight exactly one week prior when I went to Boston with a friend. Only difference was I got first class on this one. Immediately after takeoff we were told we'd be landing early, which we did by about 20 minutes. We were then served breakfast which consisted of Cheerios and some fruit, then I fell asleep. Upon waking up the plane had begun descending into the rainy New York area. After landing the plane taxied to the Delta Terminal where my next step in the Tokyo adventure began.

    Boarding gate to LGA.

    Breakfast, consisting of Cheerios, fruit and a muffin top.

    Sunrise over Florida.

    Quite the difference from Tampa...

    Welcome to New York's LaGuardia Airport.

    I "heart" JetBlue plane A320.

    Best view I could get of my plane from Tampa.

    New York LaGuardia International Airport (LGA), Flushing, New York
    September 28, 2012 at 9:45AM

    Landing in LGA was quite similar to every other time. I was hoping it wouldn't be raining when I going to transfer to JFK, but being my luck it was pouring. I was originally going to take a bus, subway, airtrain combo to get to JFK for $9, but for $10 I decided to take the shuttle straight there. LaGuardia was busy as usual so I was in a hurry to get out of there. It took us about 35 minutes to get to JFK due to traffic but I made it. The driver dropped me off at T3 and proceeded in.

    Inside the Delta Terminal at LGA.

    New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Jamaica, New York
    September 28, 2012 at 11:00AM

    After checking in for my flight I decided to walk around Terminal 3. I had never been to JFK so it was something new for me, not that I was very impressed haha. I took a quick look around but decided to settle for lunch at Chilis Too. I had myself some soup and salad while I did some final research and double checking before leaving. After lunch I headed over to gate 6 where I saw Delta #173 for Tokyo-Narita.

    Check in for Delta at JFK.

    Checked in for Tokyo!

    Lunch at Chilis.

    My flight on the board for departures.

    Terminal 3 directory.

    Gate waiting area for the flight.

    Delta Air Lines Flight #173
    New York John F. Kennedy, NY (JFK) - Tokyo Narita, Japan (NRT)
    Equipment - 747-400
    Seat Assignment - 73K, Business Elite, Window/Aisle
    Departure Time - 1:54PM
    Arrival Time - 5:04PM +1
    Flying Time - 14 hours 10 minutes
    Departure Gate - 6 (T3)
    Arrival Gate - 17
    Aircraft Registration - N661US
    Status - On Time
    Date - September 28/29, 2012

    This is definitely going down as one of my favorite flights. For one, I was able to get Business Elite, which I enjoy every time. Not only that, I was given a seat upstairs which, to me, is even better. I'm only going to say a little about the flight since the pictures will explain most of it. Before pushback the captain came on and detailed every small bit of the flight, literally. He gave us info of what runways we were going to use, where we'd fly over, how long it would be til we got food, etc. After takeoff we were quickly served the first course, and after about an hour we had dessert coming our way. I quickly fell asleep for a couple hours at that point. Around the time we got to Alaska I woke up, watched Prometheus, which was a terrific movie by the way, then fell asleep again not waking up until we began our descent into Narita. I had some great views of the area while landing but, I had one problem. This would come to be my only complaint of Delta's Business Elite seating on the 747. Instead of having your legs angled towards the aisle, they were angled towards the window which made it very hard to see out of. Overall, I had an excellent flight that I can assure you, didn't feel like 14 hours!

    Gate 6 for Narita.

    My home for the next 14 hours... N661US.

    View of it before boarding.

    View of my great seat upstairs, 73K.

    The upper deck.

    The flight attendant, which apparently knew my mom from when she worked in Cleveland 20 years ago, invited me in for a picture of the cockpit.

    Looking at T3 after pushback.

    Lol, I get two windows!

    A Korean Airlines A380 heading to Seoul I presume.

    The view while we were slowly gaining speed down the runway.

    Delta. Everywhere.

    The nice couple I was next to on the shuttle to JFK were headed to Moscow on that Aeroflot A340 I saw while taking off.

    First form of food served, warm nuts.

    The first course consisting of "Crab Salad with avocado and cantaloupe melon and Cream of Vegetable Soup". Very good starter IMO.

    Mixed Green Salad with Asian Sauce.

    Seared Beef Tenderloin with bearnaise sauce, gremolata risotto and broccolini with garlic. Excellent dish!

    Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae and Creme Brulee Cheesecake. The cheesecake was outstanding!

    The view I had two years ago of Alaska was much better. :/

    Over Anchorage, Alaska.

    After about 7 hours we got a midflight meal. Chilled Deli Plate with beef tenderloin, seared scallops and snow pea salad.

    Watching Prometheus.

    Woke up here about 2/3 hours out from Tokyo.

    Descending into the Tokyo area.

    View of the wing while descending.

    Some nicely lit clouds.

    First view of Japan!

    The sun getting ready to set.

    Slats are down, so we're getting close!

    Some farmland while approaching.

    Just as luscious looking as I remember...

    More farmland.

    Delta 173 Landing in Narita

    Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Delta Air Lines and our SkyTeam partners, we'd like to welcome you to Tokyo's Narita Airport.

    A view of the terminal.

    Some Air Canada and United planes.

    Welcome to Narita.

    A fellow Delta 747.

    If you can see it, our plane is in the reflection.

    View of the upper deck again while getting off.

    Looking back at what I was just on for half a day.

    Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT), Narita, Japan
    September 29, 2012 at 5:00PM

    After landing in Narita I made my way to customs and immigration. knew that this could be one of my potential problems of the trip, getting in and out of customs. But, all they did was look at the passport, make me scan my fingerprints then said "Enjoy your stay". I headed downstairs and changed then found where to buy my Suica and N'EX ticket to Tokyo. She told me the train was leaving in 10 minutes so to head downstairs quickly and get on, which I did.

    Following the signs.

    Welcome to Japan!

    Again, in multiple languages.

    My Night in Tokyo

    The night of course, had to begin with me getting there. I started with taking the Narita Express from the terminal to Tokyo Station. Following that I took the JR line to Hamamatsucho Station where I stored my luggage and made sure I knew where to find the monorail. That's when the touristy part began. I'm not going to bother typing this all out since the pictures will explain what I saw. Enjoy!

    Boarding the N'EX in Narita.

    The seats.

    I came prepared....

    First view when I walked outside.

    Some Japanese signage.

    Japanese gate.

    Looking up at Tokyo Tower.

    A side street near Tokyo Tower.

    View of some stores in Ginza.

    I liked this picture. A Maserati cruising through the streets of Ginza.

    In Ginza!

    Some interesting architecture.

    Next to aviation, my second "hobby" is cars, in particular, drifting. So for those of you that don't know, the Toyota AE86 is one of the iconic drift cars. I thought it was cool to actually see one in Japan!

    The monstrous crosswalk in Ginza.

    I feel like I've seen this in a movie before.

    The entrance to what looked like a very expensive mall.

    Bullet train going through the city.

    The famous clock in Ginza.

    More Japanese signage.

    I headed over to the Sky Tree but by time I got there it was closed. This is where I planned on doing souvenir shopping too, but the stores were closed as well. Doesn't matter, it was a cool sight anyways!

    The Tokyo Sky Tree.

    Entrance to the Sky Tree.

    Overall I had an awesome time in Tokyo. I'd definitely like to go back with more money and time so I've convinced my dad and sister to come along during Christmas or Spring break for a couple days. Some of you might think it wasn't worth my time to go over there but I thought it was a unique experience. How many people can say they went to Tokyo over the weekend!? Haha. Regardless, now it's time to show the return trip to Tampa, which consisted of the last Delta flight from Haneda to Detroit.

    Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Ota, Tokyo, Japan
    September 30, 2012 at 12:00AM

    The checkin area at Haneda.

    Checking in for DL628 to Detroit.

    The shopping and restaurant area. Too bad it was all closed.

    Some lanterns in the shopping area.

    The escalators head up to the observation deck.

    The outdoor observation deck.

    The view from the observation deck. You don't get this in America.

    Tokyo International Airport

    All the airlines servicing the new international terminal at Haneda.

    Departures area.

    In the terminal after immigrations.

    The TIAT Sky Lounge. Great deal for $25, you get access to the nice sitting area, can charge your electronics, free wifi, a shower and unlimited drinks.

    Inside the lounge area.

    Walking towards the gate for Detroit.

    Delta Air Lines Flight #173
    Tokyo Haneda, Japan (HND) - Detroit, Michigan (DTW)
    Equipment - A330-200
    Seat Assignment - 2A, Business Elite, Window
    Departure Time - 6:39AM
    Arrival Time - 5:38AM
    Flying Time - 11 hours 59 minutes
    Departure Gate - 106A
    Arrival Gate - A56
    Aircraft Registration - N853NW
    Status - On Time
    Date - September 30, 2012

    Today, which I hadn't known about before until that day, is the last day Delta would be operating from Haneda to Detroit indefinitely. It was kinda cool knowing I was on the last flight and seeing all the gate crew and ground crew waving as we departed. Overall the flight was great, we took off to the north right over the city allowing for some great pictures. Directly following that was breakfast of which I was watching Big Bang Theory. I immediately fell asleep from the lack of sleep I had in the past couple days and woke up over Minnesota. We quickly were served breakfast then landed in Detroit quite early. I gotta say though, the old Northwest seats weren't anywhere near as comfortable as I remembered but that's probably because I had been in the new herringbone seats.

    Boarding gate for Detroit.

  • #2

    Finally, after so much flying in the past, I finally get to fly on an A330!

    An AA Triple7 getting ready to depart for JFK.

    Ground crew waving goodbye.

    Turning to taxi to the runway.

    View of our departure gate.

    An ANA 787 preparing to depart.

    Same sign I saw earlier, just in daylight.

    ANA 787 taxing to its gate after landing with Tokyo in the backdrop.

    An Eva Air Hello Kitty A330.

    Revving up the P&W's for the long flight to Detroit!

    And we have liftoff.

    Looking at the new runway.

    All the ships heading out into the Pacific.

    Looking back at Haneda.

    More ships.

    Looking at the outskirts of Tokyo.

    Good view of Tokyo and the Sky Tree.

    One of my favorites, all of Tokyo with Mt. Fuji in the background!

    Another view of Tokyo.

    Zoomed in shot of Mt. Fuji.

    I'm guessing we're headed up towards the Narita area here.

    View of the cabin and seats with the PTV's.

    The winglet on the A330.

    Goodbye Japan, it's been an awesome day!

    Oh joy, only 11 hours to go haha.

    The little starter.

    Some fruit and yogurt as the other starter.

    An omelet, beef tenderloin (I think) and some potatoes. Pretty good.

    What I saw when I woke up.

    Pre-arrival meal, some chicken and a chocolate tart.

    12 hours later, we have arrived in Detroit. The sun I saw rise in Tokyo hasn't risen here yet!

    My seat.

    The cabin after deplaning.

    The plane I was just on from HND.

    Detroit Metro International Airport (DTW), Michigan
    September 30, 2012 at 5:30AM

    After landing in Detroit I had to proceed through customs which was easy. They did choose me for extra screening since I was only gone for a day but they understood and I was back in the airport in no time.

    Inside McNamara, still one of my favorite airports.

    Delta Air Lines Flight #1241
    Detroit, MI (DTW) - Tampa, FL (TPA)
    Equipment - A320
    Seat Assignment - 9E, Economy, Center :/
    Departure Time - 8:36AM
    Arrival Time - 10:57AM
    Flying Time - 2 hours 21 minutes
    Departure Gate - A73
    Arrival Gate - E67
    Aircraft Registration - N353NW
    Status - On Time
    Date - September 30, 2012

    I was a little angry with what happened on this flight. Only people that fly nonrev will understand, but they cleared the other 5 standbys on the list (below me) in aisles and windows in Economy Comfort, yet I was in a center in standard Economy. I wasn't in the mood so I didn't argue. I slept this entire flight to pass the time so there isn't much to tell.

    Boarding gate for Tampa.

    The A320 I was on to Tampa.

    3 days and 15,000 miles later, I'm back where I started.

    Overall, I'd say the trip was a successful one. I'd definitely do something similar in the future. Anyone that's never been to Tokyo, I highly suggest you find time or money to go, I can already tell it's a great city and there's tons to do there, and I was only there for 14 hours. Hope you guys enjoyed this report. Next time I go somewhere new I'll be doing the same thing.


    • #3
      I have always liked your flight reviews, same goes for this one. Looks like you had a great time in Tokyo, which is also on my list of cities to visit. Great photos and lucky you, getting to travel in Business Elite with fine food and everything, usually when I go long haul to India and back it's always in economy :P. Which I did this summer btw, I'll be posting my reviews for those flights at some point, haven't had the time yet (its been a couple months since the trip, but I'll get them up at some point lol).


      • #4
        That was a great trip report. That's the nice thing about non-rev travel. As long as there is a seat open, you can take it. Japan is one of the places I've always wanted to go. I will look forward to another trip report from you!