A Transpacific Ride On Polar Air Cargo


Well-Known Member
ZapBrannigan said:
you should post some photos of the upper deck so folks know what to expect.

Good idea!

I wish I flew it, but I was just a jumpseater. :)

The route was Hong Kong to Los Angeles with a 90 minute stop in Incheon (crew and cargo swap).

A huge thanks again to Polar742 (though he should rename himself to Polar744) for flight information and schedules, and Polar Air itself for being so accommodating.

We were told to stand at the information desk between terminals E and F in the passenger terminal of Chep Lap Kok airport at 5PM. A girl who worked for the airport promptly met us and escorted my friend and I through customs and security. After passing through security she handed us a folder with the paperwork documents and ushered us into a van and bid us farewell.

The van drove us on a nice tour of the airport and right up to our ride home, N451PA, Wings of Change.

After a service check was completed, we departed Hong Kong. This was a three hour leg so just two pilots. They were nice enough to invite us into the cockpit jumpseats for takeoff and landing and whenever else we wanted. The back of the upstairs was vacant so they also graciously let us use the bunks to lie down and take a nap. The business class seats are nice (equivalent to a typical 757 business/first seat) but it sure was nice to lie down flat for a couple hours after an exhausting few days in Hong Kong.


Here is one of the two bunks, as we climb out over east central China.


Here we are on the ramp in Incheon, South Korea. My friend and I put our uniform shirts back on to greet the next crew which was waiting as we pulled up from HKG. We stayed out of the way as much as we could while the workers were doing what they needed to do with the airplane. We stood outside with the new crew for a bit (three pilots to LAX and one deadheading home) and then went back into the plane.


Polar, we're jealous of your new ride!

Here we are over the Pacific Ocean, sans captain who was up for a stretch and potty break. A couple hours to go until landing.


Ride's over. Here you can see the seating arrangement as we taxi from the north complex to the south complex of LAX.

Just a few hours later we were on the luxurious Continental 757-300 redeye to EWR! (hey...we both got our own rows so it was alright).


Thanks again Polar Air and Polar742!
The bald guy in the last pic looks strangely familiar?

Ha, yeah, right now he's on the last leg of a trip trying to talk his captain into sleeping in the crewroom for a couple hours before taking the first flight back to his base so baldy can have the captain's company paid hotel room for the day before he starts his next reserve pairing. Some things never change.
If you want lots of room then you'll have to ride on a BCF. They have the full upper deck but the crappy passenger bunks. The best part about the production freighters is your bedroom.
Did you have to jumpseat in uniform?

We needed to be in uniform when we met the customs girl in the terminal in HKG to go through security. Once on the airplane we could change into whatever we wanted.
Nice pictures, thankyou for sharing. I see these birds in HNL on a daily basis, always wondered what they looked like inside.:rolleyes:
Did you have to jumpseat in uniform?

Good question.

The official company line is uniforms on until Top of Climb.

The reality is you need to be in uniform to go through all the formalities of entering and leaving a country, which seems to be different than the pax side of things. Change out when the 4-striper does. If the boss isn't to busy and b-sing with you, feel free to ask.

Oh, and if one of the meals says "CAPTAIN" or any other iteration of that, don't eat it, or you might be left in Thule or Gander. ;)