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New Mexico to Azerbaijan, the hard way

New Mexico to Azerbaijan, the hard way

Old Feb 17, 11, 1:55 pm
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New Mexico to Azerbaijan, the hard way

UPDATE- link to my blog with my last trip using my SWU on united to upgrade to Business class on Lufthansa. Mostly just pictures of the food that was served for those that like airplane food picture posts.

http://bennijiggsblog.blogspot.com/?spref=fb

Welcome to my first trip report. This trip is my typical journey to work in Azerbaijan from New Mexico. I work offshore on a drilling rig in the Caspian Sea. 28 days on and then 28 days off. (Video I made of rig life at the end of report for those that care)

My trip begins with a 1 hour drive to Durango, Colorado to catch my first flight. It is a nice area to visit if anyone is inclined. Anyways, the United Express CRJ200 is fueled up and ready to depart for Denver on time. I grabbed 8A which is a window exit aisle. Good leg room for a regional jet. The flight is a very short 45 min, barely enough time to drink my Coke Zero.








View of the Rockies from 26,000ft


After landing in Denver I immediately made my way to the Red Carpet Club in terminal B. The RCC was quite busy. I grabbed a few snacks and a free Segrams and 7up and sat down to relax.



I was looking forward to the 2.20 min flight to Chicago in First Class as my UDU cleared 4 days previously. 30 min before I was to board the UA 757, the board showed a delay. The GAs tell us 1 hour for mechanical. I am not too worried as I figure I will still get to ORD with about 1 hour to make my connection to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Wrong! As it turns out all UA 757s nationwide are grounded by the FAA for a software related issue. Here is a picture of our broken chariot lookin like a ghost town.



The customer service desks were a mad house. Right when I realized I was not going to be getting on my Turkish flight, I had the RCC agent rebook me at the first available. I was put on a next afternoon flight on Lufthansa to Frankfurt and then Frankfurt on to Baku, Azerbaijan. I was given a very nice hotel room in Denver and a measly 15$ food voucher. They told me I could wait about 4 hours to get my bag or they would just transfer it for me. I made the mistake of trusting they would get it transfered for me, more on that later.

The next morning I woke up with a massive headache due to the amount of alcohol I consumed to ease my pain. I hung out in the hotel until they kicked me out around noon. I arrived at the airport and checked in with Lufthansa. Everything was on time. Our plane was a very nice A340-600.



I took 26A which is a bulkhead. I had the seat next to me empty as well.



The first meal served was chicken and mashed potatoes, or so they claimed. It was pretty bad.


Last edited by bennijiggs; Apr 19, 11 at 8:03 pm Reason: wrong air plane listed
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Old Feb 17, 11, 1:56 pm
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The in flight entertainment system is very nice on Lufthansa's a340. Wide selection of TV and movies, games, etc. I watched the movie Red with Bruce Willis, don't really recommend it but it did pass some time during dinner.



I then popped a sleeping pill and slept soundly for 6 hours and then was awaken to breakfast. When I say awaken i mean awaken. I find the Germans really structured and some what harsh on their flights. "You vill eat now!" You vill put your vindow shade down immediately or you will be whipped!" Anyways, breakfast was horrible. Cold bread, and awful tasting eggs. I actually took 1 bite and that was that.



Upon arriving in Frankfurt, I went strait to the Senators Lounge. I had a coffee and a pastry and sat down to try my luck at some poker on my laptop. Won about 25$, so I wont be quitting my job just yet.










Of course a picture of the self cleaning toilet is a must.



View from the lounge of a SQ 747 just about to be pushed back



Before leaving the lounge I wanted to check with the desk about where my bags are now that I had been re-routed. They assured me they were in a container. I asked where, she just said, don’t you worry young man, they are safe. I have heard that before. I went over to the Hugo Boss store and bought a 35$ pair of under wear, 20$ pair of socks, and a 60$ T-shirt with the company credit card so that I could change into something once I got to Baku later that night, as I was going on 3 days now in the same clothes and I was not counting on my bags making it.

Boarding the A340-300 to Baku was done via a bus and stairs, so I snapped a few pics when boarding.












The flight was quite empty so I moved from my assigned bulk head aisle to the rear of the plane where I could have 4 seats to my self and make a bed for the 4 hour flight.


Here is a picture of the worst smelling man I have ever smelled. I was forced to move to the other side of my 4 seats before take off.



Soon after take off food was served. Beef stroganof or Pasta was suppose to be the choice, that is until it got to me. Pasta is all we have says the FA. No thanks I say politely, I would rather not eat. She ended up getting me some chicken dish with mushrooms from B class, I thanked her and told her she really didn’t need to do that. She said that if I had not been polite in the first place she would not have done what she did. Here is a pic I took before she found my other meal. Sorry no pic of the entree, not much to it anyways.



Arrived in Baku at 9pm and cleared immigration quickly. As expected, my bags were no where to be found. I sat there for 1 hour and filled out paper work with the only LH agent in the airport. Told me it could be 2-4 days before my bags make it. Lovely. Good thing I have my new Hugo Boss Undies and T-shirt. Anyways, I am at the hotel now, its 1am and time for bed. I leave you with 2 pics of my room here in Baku. Video at the end is just a video I made a couple years ago of my life offshore.





Thanks for reading my first trip report.
BEN

Offshore Video-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy6M0II_I1A

Last edited by bennijiggs; Feb 17, 11 at 2:24 pm
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:38 pm
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Thanks for posting! I actually came across your youtube video a few months ago and enjoyed watching it.

Out of interest, how did you become a mud man? Something you had to study for? I'm quite interested in working offshore, at least for a few years if I don't get addicted to the money!

28+28 has gotta hurt Need to get yourself to Norway for 14 on, 21 off.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 2:42 pm
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Very interesting trip report and line of work you have. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 4:02 pm
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Cool report and video ^

So, are you responsible for paying your own way to and from BAK every month, or does the company pay for it?
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Old Feb 17, 11, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by g_leyser View Post
Cool report and video ^

So, are you responsible for paying your own way to and from BAK every month, or does the company pay for it?
Thanks!

Company pays for everything. Flights, Hotels, Taxis, Food, Tips, and unforseen expenses.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by bennijiggs View Post
Thanks!

Company pays for everything. Flights, Hotels, Taxis, Food, Tips, and unforseen expenses.
Awesome!

Nice TR!
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Old Feb 17, 11, 5:00 pm
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Thanks for post. Interesting and different TR. (+ nice job on the video ... i wish i knew what everything was that I was seeing!)
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Old Feb 17, 11, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by bennijiggs View Post
Thanks!

Company pays for everything. Flights, Hotels, Taxis, Food, Tips, and unforseen expenses.
But it's a shame they make you fly Y. Can't say I would put up with that unless I got a day or two off in Baku before doing "work".
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Old Feb 17, 11, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by fs2k2isfun View Post
But it's a shame they make you fly Y. Can't say I would put up with that unless I got a day or two off in Baku before doing "work".
Yeah, it sucks. There was a day when C class was the norm, but now almost everyone gets Y. I do upgrade when I can with miles and or my SWU.

As far as days off, you usually get only 1 night upon arrival and 1 night on departure. Some times like right now, I may get 2 weeks off in Baku without actually going to the rig.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 7:38 pm
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Nice report. Thanks for posting it. I am surrounded by gas rigs where I am.
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Old Feb 17, 11, 8:28 pm
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Great stuff!! I hope we get more TRs about your travels in the oil business; I look forward to learning more!!
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Old Feb 18, 11, 1:00 am
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I agree. Brilliant TR!!! I'm glad that you just barely make it there. How lucky that you flew on LH instead of going to flying on TK. Because your flight is delayed or cancelled from DEN-ORD? Because the entire 757 is grounded for the days due to computer problems. One of UA responsible that you missed the flight from ORD-IST. Hope see you when you come back home.
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Old Feb 18, 11, 6:33 am
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Here is an update in hopes someone may be able to help me get some better compensation.

It is now Friday night here. I have not seen my bags since Tuesday. Filed a claim with LH on Thursday. Went to see them today and they said they would only give me 50% of receipted price for clothes and shoes. They say my bags still appear to be in Chicago and they are just waiting on United to transfer them. ...! United was suppose to transfer them Tuesday. Tried to call 1k desk, but they just transfer me to baggage claim people. Baggage claim people cant do much because technically it is on Lufthansa's system now. I think this is bull and not LH fault. They never got the bags from UA. I need friking clothes.

This is a big smelly inconvenience for me. What is the best way to get some good compensation later on? I have never complained to UA in my 15+ years with them.
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Old Feb 18, 11, 6:36 am
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Originally Posted by N830MH View Post
I agree. Brilliant TR!!! I'm glad that you just barely make it there. How lucky that you flew on LH instead of going to flying on TK. Because your flight is delayed or cancelled from DEN-ORD? Because the entire 757 is grounded for the days due to computer problems. One of UA responsible that you missed the flight from ORD-IST. Hope see you when you come back home.
The 3 hour delay from Denver to ORD due to the 757 issue caused me to miss my connection, so the UA agent just let me stay in DEN over night and fly LH the next day.

I actually think Turkish is a better experience then LH. The food on LH is horrible in my opinion. Food on TK is great. taste like real food as opposed to microwave dinner style on LH. Planes are comparable as they both fly newer Airbus.
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