Trip Overview: Miami Spotting Trip on a Delta Air Lines 747

Trip Overview: Miami on a Delta 747

(Traveled on March 3-8, 2017)

This article is an overview of a trip to Miami that I took recently. Detailed articles about some of the parts of the trip will follow – the articles I will write are listed at the bottom of this one. I will add the links there as I publish the posts.

Back in January, Delta Air Lines offered flights from Tokyo and Osaka in Japan to many cities in the United States for less than $300 roundtrip. I missed out on a similar offer the year before, and so, this time I made sure to take an advantage of it.

Google Flights

The cheap flights were widely available between February and May.

The destinations offered included Phoenix, San Diego, Boston, Dallas, and Miami among others. After considering some of the cities, I decided to book a trip to Miami in March to do some spotting there.

Price

Breakdown of the sub-300 dollar price of my ticket.
Itinerary

Itinerary of my trip.

Later on, I also decided to apply for the Japanese version of Delta Amex Gold credit card as it comes with a complimentary Gold Medallion status and they were offering a mileage bonus for taking an international flight out of Tokyo on Delta in the first couple of months of membership.

Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?

If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.

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Getting to Miami

The trip started on March 3, 2017. Instead of heading to the airport just in time for my 5:45PM departure, I decided to go in the morning and spend the day at the airport. Besides doing some spotting, I also managed to visit the Museum of Aeronautical Science adjacent to Narita airport.

NCA 747

Nippon Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-8 seen from the Terminal 1 observation deck at Narita.
Cross Sections

Cross sectionsof 747, DC-8, and YS-11 at the museum.
Aero Commander 680

An Aero Commander 680 displayed at the museum.
Hikoki-no-Oka

Hikoki-no-Oka Park located just a ten minute walk from the museum.
Singapore Airlines 777

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300 arriving on runway 34L.

After getting back to the airport, I quickly checked in for my flights, and headed to one of the two Delta Sky Club lounges that Narita offers, courtesy of the Gold Medallion status.

Hinamatsuri

Japanese dolls were displayed near the Sky Club entrance.
Delta Sky Club Narita

The buffet in Delta Sky Club No. 2 at Narita.

The first flight of the trip was from Tokyo to Detroit onboard a Delta 747. I was glad to be able to try the Delta Jumbo before its retirement later this year. I will not write a full report on this flight, but rather about the return leg. However, below are some pictures.

DL276

My plane – N670US – at the gate in Tokyo.
DL276

Flying above the Great Lakes region.
DL276

Nose section business class cabin of the 747.

As I only had about 1 hour and 20 minutes to transfer at Detroit, and it took me a bit longer than I expected to clear the immigration and recheck my bag, I did not have time to visit the Delta Sky Club there.

Instead, I went directly to the gate for my next flight, DL2289 to Atlanta. The one and a half hour long flight was operated by an A320, and was fairly uneventful. As such, I will not write a full report on it either, but I will post some pictures here.

DL2289

An unidentified Nashville airport about 30 minutes out of Atlanta.
DL2289

Atlanta shortly before landing.
DL2289

Approaching the airport in parallel with a Delta 757.
DL2289

The A320 resting in Atlanta after bringing me in from Detroit.

Upon our arrival in Atlanta, I was amazed by the size of the airport. The rows and rows of aircraft waiting for their flights at the gates made it clear that I was at the busiest airport in the world.

My flight arrived at Concourse D, and after getting of the aircraft, I took the automated train to Concourse B where my final flight of the day, to Miami, was departing from. I had about three hours to spare, and so I went to what turned out to be the newest and second largest Sky Club in the network.

Delta Sky Lounge

The bar area of the Sky Club.
Delta Sky Lounge

There are Coca-Cola bottles on the wall – we must be in Atlanta!

The late night flight to Miami was operated by a Boeing 757-200. Initially, I was upgraded to Economy Comfort (seat with increased seat pitch), but eventually I ended up flying in first – once again thanks to the Gold Medallion status.

DL333

A Delta 757 ready to take me from Atlanta to Miami.
DL333

First class cabin of the 757 after landing in Miami.

Finally, after arriving in Miami, I hopped on the shuttle bus to Days Inn Miami International Airport hotel which was my home for the four nights of the trip. While not the best in terms of facilities, the hotel is located just a five minute walk from the best spot at Miami airport.

Days Inn Miami International Airport

My room.
Days Inn Miami International Airport

A rather retro-looking game room of the hotel.

Spotting in Miami and Fort Lauderdale

As for my stay in Miami, I had three full days. While the weather forecast was looking bad before my departure, luckily, day one and day two of the trip were sunny most of the time. The third day was mostly cloudy, but there were still some sunny moments that got me out of the hotel.

Most of the time, I spent spotting at Miami airport, capturing the diverse South American traffic among other aircraft that could be seen at the airport.

El Dorado

My first moments at “El Dorado” – one of the two main Miami spots.
Avior A340

Avior A340 ready to depart to Barcelona… In Venezuela, not Spain.
American Airlines 757

American Airlines 757 landing on runway 09.
Delta Air Lines 757

Delta Air Lines 757 landing on runway 12.
Virgin Atlantic 787

Virgin Atlantic 787 landing on runway 09.
Tampa Cargo A330

Tampa Cargo A330 freighter lining up on runway 12 for its morning departure.

However, on the second day, thanks to two German spotters I met on the first day, I was also able to spend a couple of hours at Fort Lauderdale airport – adding a bit more variety to the photos.

Bahamasair 737-500

Bahamasair 737-500 arriving from Nassau.
American Airlines A319

American Airlines A319 taxiing for departure.

Going Back to Japan

After three days in warm Miami, it was time to go back to the still fairly cold Tokyo. I took the 5AM shuttle from the hotel to the airport in order to catch my 8AM flight to Detroit.

As I had over two hours to spend at the airport, I did some lounge hopping. First, I visited the Avianca VIP Lounge. Second, I went to VIP Lounge by LATAM. Both of these are located in Concourse J, and are part of the Priority Pass network.

Finally, I went back to Concourse H where my flight was departing from, and paid the Delta Sky Club there a visit.

Avianca VIP Lounge

Avianca VIP Lounge.
VIP Lounge by LATAM

VIP Lounge by LATAM.
Delta Sky Club

Delta Sky Club.

I left the Delta Sky Club just as the boarding for my flight to Detroit was scheduled to start. When I got to gate H5 a minute later, I was glad to see that there was no aircraft change, and that an MD-88 was at the gate.

The flight to Detroit took 2 hours and 45 minutes, and once again, I was lucky to be seated in first.

DL2308

A new type for my log book – an MD-88.
DL2308

After take-off, great views of Miami could be had.

Even though I only had an hour to transfer to my flight to Tokyo, I still managed to visit one of the four Delta Sky Clubs at the airport to be able to review it.

Delta Sky Club Detroit

Nice seating area next to the lounge’s reception.
Delta Sky Club Detroit

One of the seating areas inside the lounge – love the stock tickers!

Then, it was off to gate A50 to take flight DL275 to Tokyo. The flight was, again, operated by a 747 – in fact, it was the exact same aircraft that brought me in. The most interesting part of the flight was, perhaps, the passenger in front of me – a Siberian Husky!

DL275

Delta Air Lines currently operates the 747 from Detroit to three (Asian) destinations – Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo.
DL275

The dog did not bark a single time during the 12 hour flight!
DL275

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A quick peek into the cockpit after landing in Narita.

List of Articles Related to This Trip

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