Review of Etihad Airways flight Abu Dhabi Nagoya in Business

Airline Etihad Airways
Flight EY888
Class Business
Seat 9K
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 11:20
Take-off 30 Mar 15, 21:30
Arrival at 31 Mar 15, 13:50
EY   #7 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 233 reviews
NGO85
By 6853
Published on 15th May 2015
Background:

After a brief hiatus, we return to finish this series covering the final segment from AUH to NGO with a technical stop in PEK. This report will cover both segments to give the full “fifth-freedom” experience and since there aren’t a whole lot of pictures (this was a red-eye flight). I will apologize that I somehow did not manage to get a picture of my plane for this flight. AUH was dark and not spotter-friendly, and on arrival in NGO I just wanted to go home. As a reminder, the routing is as follows:

Part 1 – NGO-PEK [EY 889, Airbus A330-200, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-9850.html
Part 2 – PEK-AUH [EY 889, Airbus A330-200, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-9878.html
Part 3 – AUH-FCO [AZ 853, Airbus A330-200, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-9914.html
Part 4 – FCO-BRI [AZ 1607, Airbus A320, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-9934.html
Part 5 – BRI-FCO [AZ 1616, Airbus A320, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-9968.html
Part 6 – FCO-BEG [AZ 592, Airbus A320, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-10012.html
Part 7 – BEG-AUH [EY 72, Airbus A319, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-10036.html
Part 8 – AUH-PEK-NGO [EY 888, Airbus A330-200, Business] – You are here

Pre-flight:

After passing through the empty international transfer security check points at AUH (I’m not kidding, there was not another passenger in sight), I am faced with this rather useless FIDS monitor. Four monitors, all showing the exact same information…

photo 1

Thanks to the 50-minute early arrival from BEG, I now have 30 minutes before my scheduled boarding time. It’s not much time, but it does mean I can quickly stop into the Etihad Premium Lounge in Terminal 1. So we head off in that direction. It’s only 20:00, but the airport is pretty quiet at this hour.



After darting through the duty free mall, we arrive at Terminal 1, which is home to one of the two EY Lounges at AUH.

photo 5

Hmm, this looks like a pretty non-descript entrance, but we’ll follow this lady into the lounge…

photo 6

Well now… this is definitely looking sketchy. I grip tightly onto my wallet and cautiously proceed down the hall to what will hopefully bring me to my death or a lounge.

photo 7

Turning the corner, we see a whole bunch of construction and this sign; I can breath a sigh of relief. I get into the elevator and head upstairs. The elevator opens and there is an elevator-full of people already waiting at the front desk to check-in. I hand over my boarding pass, and she scribbles down 20:45 in my boarding pass telling me I need to leave for the plane at this time. Turning into the lounge, I’m immediately stopped by an agent who takes my bag of omiyage and hands me a luggage claim tag. The lounge here is really congested so they clearly don’t want people bringing in any more stuff than they need into the seating areas.

photo 8

Another visit to an EY Lounge at AUH and another zoo experience. The buffets were just swarmed with people, there were dirty tables everywhere and there was no place to sit. EY needs to get their act together, fast, because I’ve never seen a lounge as crowded and noisy as this one. I give up trying to fight my way into the buffets, so I just grab a cup of coffee (which was insipid tasting) and a bowl of fruit and find a stool to sit on next to a table that hasn’t been cleared yet. The table is cleaned shortly after I sit down and I can take a picture of my dismal offering. I also grab a corporate screenshot using the free WiFi in the lounge, which is fast. Boarding pass picture (taken on the plane) on JU cardstock as well. No lounge photos since it was too crowded.



After sitting in that hell for 20 minutes, I had to get out of there. The travel weariness was beginning to set in and I couldn’t stand the lounge environment. I reclaim my bags and head back into Terminal 1. Here is the staple Terminal 1 architecture shot.

photo 11

Walking down the walkway to my gate, I see that they have a magazine rack on the side, which is nice.

photo 12




——————————-

Etihad Airways, EY888
Equipment: Airbus A330-200 [A6-EYN, delivered June 2007]
Departure: 21:30 (ATD: 21:52)
Arrival: 08:50 (ATA: 09:13)
Flight time: 7:21


The miniscule waiting areas they have at Terminal 1 are a mess. There was a flight boarding to Chennai at the same time, so there were two wide-bodies worth of people jammed into a small area. Boarding was called late at 20:45 (same as the agent at the lounge had said, so kudos for that), there were no priorities respected. The gate agents were overrun and they could be heard yelling: “economy on the left and business on the right.” On a flight to China/Japan, the number of passengers that would be able to understand that command when yelled in a crowded room is next to none, so EY takes full blame for the boarding debacle. I was maybe the 50th-60th person to board and head down the jetbridge.

photo 13

We only boarded through 2L, I was half-heartedly greeted entering the plane. Once they saw I was business, they actually smiled and escorted me through the galley and into the forward cabin. Mood lighting was already in full effect, so I apologize for the photo.

photo 14

I take my seat and notice that they had already started to distribute the pre-departure bananas.

photo 15

That must have been a crew-members snack, because that was casually picked up a couple of seconds later by a FA crossing between galleys. Shortly after settling, a pre-departure drink was offered, it will be champagne to start numbing the nerves for a good night’s sleep.

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On the ottoman is already located the blanket, menu, amenity kit, and headphones. Amenity kit stock photo showing the relatively modest contents, nothing special other than the bag itself.

photo 17photo 34b

As I sip on my champagne, I peek out the window and see that the flight to Chennai will be operated by our big sister, an A333.

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After inhaling the first glass of champagne, the FA comes back by and offers me another glass. I also request a glass of water. At this point the cabin still looks pretty empty. Oshibori are also distributed.



While we wait for boarding to finish, let’s take a look at the seat contents. Safety card, check. April issue of E-Box? Hmm, slight problem, it’s only March 30… Jumping the gun there, but I guess this plane won’t be back in AUH until April 1 so they were being preemptive. No newspapers or magazines were offered pre-departure, but maybe that's not surprising for a night flight.

photo 24photo 25

This FRist screwed up again and didn’t take the menu photos right away so no menu shots (they were trashed in PEK and we were given new menus). There were four options for main, then there was an a la carte breakfast menu for pre-arrival in PEK. I’ll discuss the options later one when we get to meal service, but orders were taken at this point.

Boarding finishes and it will now be a 100% full J-cabin, but there are 8 passengers that look suspicious filling seats that were previously empty on the seat map. Turns out, they were all pilots deadheading to PEK (they changed into uniform pre-arrival). We push back late and have our standard prayer to Allah.

photo 26

Our taxi to the runway takes us past all of your typical EY heavies (B777s and A330s) parked at remote stands.



The mood lighting comes on as we arrive at the runway threshold. We have no wait tonight and immediately head out on our eastern departure.

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We lift up giving a nice aerial view of the new terminal under construction. We then pass over Ferrari World and the outskirts of Abu Dhabi before disappearing into the Gulf.



As we continue our ascent, let’s take a look at the new EY pillows and blankets. I like the two sided blankets, but the plush side was way too warm for this flight.

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After leveling off, the FAs are released and begin aperitif service. It will be a ramekin of warm mixed nuts and a Stella Artois for me as I start watching E-Box.

photo 41

Dinner service starts at this point as we begin our run into Pakistan. I ordered the Chinese starter (hot and sour soup) as well as the vegetarian Chinese main (stir-fried noodles and tofu). The soup is presented first. This was a very pleasant surprise since it was EY catering with flavor! I really liked this soup, it had a nice kick. A really interesting observation: the rolls that EY provides are ying-yang quality. They are actually half whole wheat and half white.



After finishing off my soup, my main is brought out. This was completely bland and was not a very good meal. The noodles were cold and were not appetizing. The tofu was rubbery. I wasn’t very hungry since I gorged myself with two meals on the JU flight from BEG so I just ate the vegetables, the bok choy was good. I told the FA to pass on my dessert since I just wanted to sleep.

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After cleaning up in the lavatory, which was very clean and contained the Korres products found in the amenity kit, I settled into my bed somewhere over central Pakistan. Here is a picture of the seat in full recline. As you can see, the ottoman is about 2cm lower than the seat, which bothers me a little bit when sleeping.



After 4.5-hours of sleep, I wake up somewhere north of Chengdu, with about 2-hours to go. The rest of the cabin is still fast asleep.

photo 50photo 51

A peak out the window shows morning light already so I decide to flag down a FA and request my breakfast. She returns with an oshibori for me to freshen up and double checks my breakfast order.

photo 52photo 53

I selected a modest breakfast of a fruit plate, smoothie, yogurt with granola, and pastries. Presentation on EY is always nice. Fruit plate wasn’t spectacular, but the passion fruit was actually a pleasant surprise (not a common airplane fruit). The pastries were all warm and flakey. I really like their granola that they serve with yogurt. The smoothie was okay, nothing special. Overall, a perfectly fine pre-arrival breakfast. I could have ordered more if I wanted more, but this was all I wanted since I had now been flying for close to 20-hours.



The rest of the cabin was now up and taking breakfast. Outside, we are still over cloudy China.



The cabin is prepared for landing and we begin our descent into PEK, approaching from the south. As we dip down below the clouds, we can see Beijing is cloudy and rainy.

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We touch down in wet weather a little bit behind schedule.

photo 63

The taxi back to T3 is short and we can do a little bit of spotting on the rain-drenched tarmac. We cross by only two planes: a sexy CX B744 and a CA A333 before we take our gate.



We pull into our gate and a peak out the window shows the ground crew ready for a quick turnaround on this plane.



Deplaning is done through both 1L and 2L, but this time Y passengers do not deplane through the J-cabin. FAs efficiently block off the forward cabin (there are only 4 passengers continuing on to NGO from AUH). After everyone is off, the FAs do the head count and double check the baggage in the overhead bins, then let us roam around to stretch our legs and use the lavatories. They also take orders for pre-departure beverages at this time.

The crews swap out and we get a new crew entering the cabin. They don’t seem as panicked as I had seen on the outbound flight. They quickly get to work giving instructions to the ground cleaning crews who sweep through the cabin, wiping everything down, replacing all the blankets/pillows, etc. This is always fascinating to watch since you don’t normally see an airplane get prepped for a flight as a passenger.

photo 76photo 74

A look out the window shows that we have a new neighbor, a BA B744 just arrived from LHR.

photo 75

Once the cleaning crews departed, the FAs then passed through and introduced themselves and double checked our pre-departure drink orders. I was brought my quite unorthodox pre-departure drink: a coffee (served with a small chocolate). Trust me, I needed it…

photo 77

The catering truck is now gone, but the window is now covered in rain making the BA B744 almost impossible to photograph.

photo 78



——————————-

Etihad Airways, EY888
Equipment: Airbus A330-200 [A6-EYN, delivered June 2007]
Departure: 9:50 (ATD: 10:17)
Arrival: 13:50 (ATA: 13:39)
Flight time: 2:22



The new passengers come on; the cabin will also be 100% full on this short PEK-NGO hop. The FAs pass through with newspapers, I take The Times, unfortunately this was yesterday’s newspaper… shame on you EY. Oshibori were also distributed.



Menus were distributed and orders were quickly taken (priority was given to continuing passengers, which was interesting…). The lunch service has three mains or the Japanese kaiseki. I’m not super hungry, but go for the kaiseki. Drink list is the standard EY offerings, nothing spectacular. This is when the crew started to look really flustered, they were clearly trying to follow protocol, but were short on time and seemed to be rushing people while ordering and seemed very impatient with Chinese passengers with poor English ability (no crew in J could speak either Chinese or Japanese on a flight from PEK to NGO, very poor by EY).



We push back, which helps clean the rain off the windows giving a better glimpse of the BA B744. As we turn to head out to the runway, we can see two special liveries! The AY A333 in “Marimekko” special livery and the LH B748 in “Siegerflieger Fanhansa” special livery.



We then cross by a bunch of CA planes parked at T3.



Heading to the runway, we can see this one for Kevin, an AA B772 bound for DFW in the distance.

photo 87

Reaching the runway, the FAs are still trying to take lunch orders with confused Chinese passengers, there is no wait and we are immediately succumbed to mood lighting and begin our rainy run down the runway. It’s a cloudy rise up out of PEK.



I’ll take this time to introduce the seat. Seat pitch is of course good, but I find these seats slightly hard to get out of (the plus side is that they are super private). Here is a detail of the fabric and the Poltrona Frau leather headrests.



The tray table folds to the side. USB and power outlets are located below the tray table, not the most practice placement since they booby-trap you in your seat and cords can easily get in the way trying to get out. The AV, audio, remote control, and seat controls are all located in the center console. You get 2.5-3 windows.



E-Box is good with an excellent selection, but I hate the fact you have to watch advertisements at the start of every show and can’t fast-forward through them. I think I saw this Al Zahia ad at least 20 times on this trip, and each time made me less interested in buying real estate in the UAE.

photo 99

The FAs were released and the meal service commenced, but no aperitif or nuts were provided? Very strange protocol, but this might be because the FAs are still trying to communicate with passengers that can’t speak English. I will state this again, why does EY not have a single FA in J that can speak either Chinese or Japanese on a flight from China to Japan??? I was the only westerner on this flight, so I had no problems.

Finally, my tray arrives as we look out over a sea of clouds. It will be the kaiseki served with sake. I’m not very hungry, but pick through the seafood on the plate. The sakizuke and mokozuke were both good, the main plate (zensai) was very cold and not so appetizing. Presentation is of course excellent.



The second tray is then brought out. The beef and chicken were both very good and flavorful. The miso soup was good, but the rice was pretty bad for Japanese standards. I poked around the vegetables as well, which were all okay. The meal overall maybe would have been better if I was hungry, but it just didn't sit well on a full stomach.



I declined the fruit plate and just asked for a cappuccino to sip over a cloudy Sea of Japan. Meal service took forever and we didn’t finish until we were halfway in between South Korea and Japan.



I watched E-Box until I saw a really animated conversation going on up front. The FA was trying to explain to a Japanese passenger that his luggage was not on the plane. The Japanese guy couldn’t understand a word he was saying so the FA kept repeating the same thing over and over (at least 5 times, getting louder each time, with more animated hand gestures) that a NH agent would meet him at the gate and explain everything. It looked like a game of charades. [For the record, a NH agent was on the plane to meet this gentleman as soon as the door opened, so that aspect was handled very well] This just looks bad for EY, I felt bad for the Japanese guy, it’s how I used to feel on NH flights, lol, where an FA would just keep repeating something in Japanese over and over again and I have no idea what they are saying to me.

We then cross into Japan in Fukui Prefecture.

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This beautiful city below us is Tsuruga (??), someplace I haven’t been yet.

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We then continue into the Japanese Alps as we begin our final descent.

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A sight for sore eyes, the Kiso River! This is the main river that runs north/south through Nagoya so it means we are now lined up for our final approach. We follow the river down into Ise Bay. At the tip, is a small peninsula with Nagashima Spa Land (an amusement park). Just a little Nagoya tourist information for you all.



A ship docked out at sea. I know this isn’t as impressive as SIN.

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Whew, we cleared the sea wall!

photo 123

A smooth touchdown at Chubu Centrair ahead of schedule. If you look in the grass in this picture it says “CHUBU.”

photo 124

We turn off the runway and taxi back to the terminal. Centrair’s international terminal is a ghost town mid-day, except for a lone CA A321 parked off in the distance. We pull into our gate, and this guy gives us a thumbs up.



We engage at 1L and 2L, doors are opened and deplaning commences. Time to head through immigration, baggage claim, and customs, which were all very efficient. My bag was the second off and I’m on the train home within 25 minutes of touching down.

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That concludes this tiring series that had some highs and some lows.




—————————-

Due to popular request, I’ll fill out the report with some of my favorite pictures from Rome.

No trip to Rome is complete without a stop at Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, early morning in Piazza San Pietro before the arrival of all the tour buses.



Inside of the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, highlighting La Pietà and the dome.



Piazza San Pietro viewed from the top of the Bascilica.

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The tomb of Pope John Paul II.

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The Castel Sant'Angelo with my namesake proudly standing on top. From the top of the Castel, beautiful views of Tevere can be seen.

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A hike up to Gianicolo Park provides breathtaking views of all of Rome. There is also a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi and a plaque with the inauguration address of Vittoria Emmanuele II following the unification of Italy.



For all the French FRists, here is a tribute to you. A stop at L'église Saint-Louis des Français. Inside is a memorial for all the French soldiers that died in the Mediterranean campaign.

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We will wrap up this brief bonus, with Tevere at sunset….

photo 215

…as you consider life on the Appian Way.

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Thanks for stopping by this series, and please tune in to the next one!
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Verdict

Etihad Airways

7.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering7.0

Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge

6.8/10
Comfort4.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services7.0

Abu Dhabi - AUH

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Nagoya - NGO

9.2/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

This was another ‘good’ experience with EY long-haul, but not a great experience. This flight ticked all the required boxes that I consider to be important: good cabin comfort, on-time performance, and good IFE selection. Where this flight failed was below average crews and continually underwhelming EY catering.

Cabin comfort: The window seats are great; I really like the privacy and that it is a forward-facing seat (non-herringbone). They are a little hard for my taste, but I still got 4.5 hours of sound sleep so I’m not going to complain too much. The cabins are generally cramped feeling with narrow aisles, but I like the airy feeling of having no center overhead bins.

Crew: So, we are rating two crews here. First, the crew from AUH-PEK. I had very little interaction with this crew since I wanted to eat quickly and sleep. Welcome on-board was a little cold, but once I was in the J-cabin, they were all up to their normal protocol. I really can’t complain too much about this crew, they kept my drinks refilled and were very polite and smiling. I’d give them an 8.5/10. Second, the crew from PEK-NGO. This crew started off great, but then they ran into a brick wall when they couldn’t communicate with 90% of the cabin. Although this didn’t directly impact me, the fallout was that they seemed flustered when talking to me too since they were definitely out of their comfort zone. Service was fine, but overall professionalism was not great. This crew was a 6/10. Overall, I’d average it out to a 7/10.

Meal and catering: We had plenty of food: a dinner service, smaller breakfast, and then full lunch service. I wasn’t overly hungry and was travel-weary so maybe my impressions weren’t completely impartial. However, for the dinner, I felt the soup was very good, but the main was just tasteless and unappealing. The breakfast service was fine, what I would expect for a continental offering. The lunch service was very good, there were parts of the kaiseki that were ‘blah,’ but overall it was a good meal. Presentation was good throughout by EY. I just feel like that catering is mediocre and has been hit the most by cost-cutting measures.

Entertainment: E-Box is great with plenty of selection. Even though it was the same as the outbound flight, there was enough variety to keep my entertained. No press offered in AUH, but press offered in PEK (although a day old newspaper).

On-time performance: Left Abu Dhabi late, arrived in Beijing late, left Beijing late, but made it to Nagoya early. So, looking at the big picture: we arrived early so I don’t really care what happened in between.

Overall conclusions of EY: This was my first time flying a ME3 carrier, not really useful for me since I fly between Asia and the US the most. Was it a fantastic experience? No, but it was a good experience. I felt that overall, the cabin comfort was great and the crews (albeit the last one) were very good. Catering was so-so, but entertainment is strong. All my flights were on-time with EY, so no problems at AUH. The lounges are abysmal so take that into consideration until the new terminal is built. Dealing with their customer service has been disgusting. I complained about the AZ incident (see Part 3), the short response after a month wait: “It’s not our problem” (I won’t post the real e-mail for legal reasons). If EY wants to force passengers onto “partner” airlines, then they need to start taking responsibility for their “partners.” I got what I wanted from this series, 60,000+ miles to burn on NH/AA domestic flights so I’m not going to complain too much, but unless the price is right, I'm not going to go out of my way to fly to them.

Related

27 Comments

  • Comment 136723 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    I grip tightly onto my wallet and cautiously proceed down the hall to what will hopefully bring me to my death or a lounge.
    - You like to live dangerously, don't you? One thing is for sure, you were deadly disappointed with the lounge experience.

    The buffets were just swarmed with people.
    - I have a vivid vision of vultures circling over a carcass.

    I take my seat and notice that they had already started to distribute the pre-departure bananas.
    - LOL. Hey, bananas are rich in potassium which is essential for the body. A big oops moment here for the crew.

    ..but there are 8 passengers that look suspicious filling seats that were previously empty on the seat map. Turns out, they were all pilots deadheading to PEK (they changed into uniform pre-arrival).
    - You must have felt safe in case of an emergency. 8 pilots deadheading?

    After inhaling the first glass of champagne, the FA comes back by and offers me another glass
    - A proactive crew is always a pleasure to fly with. I don't blame you for inhaling your first glass, after that awful lounge experience.

    I ordered the Chinese starter (sweet and sour soup)
    - Never heard of sweet and sour soup. Are you sure it was not hot and sour?

    I selected a modest breakfast of a fruit plate, smoothie, yogurt with granola, and pastries.
    - Nice continental breakfast! Tasty and well presented.

    ..and seemed very impatient with Chinese passengers with poor English ability (no crew in J could speak either Chinese or Japanese on a flight from PEK to NGO, very poor by EY).
    - This is quite thoughtless. What would happen in case of an emergency?

    I was brought my quite unorthodox pre-departure drink: a coffee (served with a small chocolate). Trust me, I needed it…
    - It's nice to go against the current from time to time. Was it a Ferrero Rocher dark chocolate?

    Your kaiseki meal looks very good. Too bad you were not very hungry.

    Beautiful bonus of Rome. Bravo! and thanks for sharing this last segment of your series.

    • Comment 316312 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      You like to live dangerously, don't you? One thing is for sure, you were deadly disappointed with the lounge experience.
      - I have a knack for finding dark alleys in airports. Maybe EY lounges are nice if there is no one in them, but both times I was in AUH, I should have called the fire marshal to check to see if they were over capacity.

      I have a vivid vision of vultures circling over a carcass.
      - Yeah, they were already fighting over the eyeballs by the time I got there.

      LOL. Hey, bananas are rich in potassium which is essential for the body. A big oops moment here for the crew.
      - Yeah, but at least there wasn't a crew member taking a nap in my seat. I wish airlines would offer pre-departure bananas on flights, that would be a really good idea for morning flights.

      8 pilots deadheading?
      - I had a long conversation on the outbound flight about this. The AUH-NGO flight is very personnel intensive. It needs 4 crews. The crews swap in PEK, but the crew that does PEK-NGO does not do NGO-PEK. Since the plane sits in NGO for 8 hours, the crews would go overtime. So the crew that does PEK-NGO, spends 24 hours in NGO and then does the PEK-NGO the next day, spends 24 hours in PEK, then does PEK-AUH the following day.

      I don't blame you for inhaling your first glass, after that awful lounge experience.
      - It was a very stressful experience between the lounge and boarding. At least immigration was flawless, that would have been the cherry on top :(

      Never heard of sweet and sour soup. Are you sure it was not hot and sour?
      - LOL, oops, thanks for the correction; can't fool a foodie like you! Freudian slip? Must have had sweet and sour pork on my mind. This is what happens when I don't have the menu with me.

      Nice continental breakfast! Tasty and well presented.
      - All I wanted and everything tasted alright. I didn't really want the smoothie since I was getting the yogurt too, but thought it was worth trying.

      This is quite thoughtless. What would happen in case of an emergency?
      - There had to be Chinese/Japanese speaking FAs in Y, so why they didn't just grab them for a minute to translate, who knows. It was just very unprofessional and as you say, dangerous in the case of emergency. The outbound flight had a FA that was fluent in Chinese and Japanese in the J-cabin.

      Was it a Ferrero Rocher dark chocolate?
      - I think not. I remember the label was quite generic. Given the cost cutting elsewhere, it was probably a doppelganger.

      Your kaiseki meal looks very good. Too bad you were not very hungry.
      - EY presentation remains very strong. Some parts of the kaiseki were still ice cold, which is not good. It should be chilled, but not frozen.

      Beautiful bonus of Rome. Bravo! and thanks for sharing this last segment of your series.
      - As always, your comments are always appreciated Adan. The Eternal City is always beautiful, it makes photography easy. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Comment 316315 by
      jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

      I wish airlines would offer pre-departure bananas on flights
      - Not that early in the morning. You want a pre-dept. snack, not a laxative.

      I didn't really want the smoothie since I was getting the yogurt too, but thought it was worth trying.
      - You unselfishly took one for the team and wanted to photograph the breakfast in its entirety with all the different components. A big thanks. :P

      Given the cost cutting elsewhere, it was probably a doppelganger.
      - Made in China perhaps?

      The Eternal City is always beautiful, it makes photography easy. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      - So are your FR's and when they are that compelling and great finding time to read and comment is always a pleasure.

    • Comment 316317 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      You want a pre-dept. snack, not a laxative.
      - Some of us need all the fiber we can get!

      Made in China perhaps?
      - I'm still alive, if it's any consolation... they must have left out the lead paint.

  • Comment 136801 by
    indianocean SILVER 6579 Comments

    I personally think that EY has a better product than QR. Seats look comfortable and the catering looks quite nice.

    Nice report, so thank you for sharing.

    • Comment 316313 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you very much for your comments.

      I agree that EY hardproduct is better than QR. Although, as 007 points out, the new Cirrus seats on QR might be better, but I dislike herringbone seats so would prefer the EY window seats. QR catering appears like it is stronger than EY from the reports I have seen (never flown QR so can't speak from personal experience).

    • Comment 316303 by
      Numero_2 SILVER 9378 Comments

      Very nice choice of flight number for a flight to China :) -> The LH flight NRT-FRA has a funny number, too : 7 11 ^^

    • Comment 316314 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for all your comments 007!

      Finally the last EY legs
      - Now I will go back and finish the other series. I wanted to try and break up the MU series so it wouldn't be so monotonous.

      Very nice choice of flight number for a flight to China :)
      - A very lucky number indeed!

      So I can guess that you never saw a LH SEN lounge in FRA ;) Anyway this lounge is a disgrace
      - Can't say that I have :) but the EY lounges are pretty bad at AUH. They are not large enough for the number of passengers that pass through there. People have complained about the QR lounge at DOH, but as far as I can tell, that is at least much more spacious than EY's old lounges. It just feels like they have given up on the old airport and are just going to put all their money towards the new one.

      With such a mess at the boarding I now understand why EY became an AZ shareholder lol
      - That's what is most shocking, the AZ flight from AUH-FCO actually had a very well-organized boarding where priorities were strictly respected!

      I prefer the QR seats of 787s, A380s or A350s
      - Cirrus is very good, but I have only tried the DL Cirrus product on a B744 and it was cramped on the upperdeck with pleather seats. I have a CX TPAC this summer so will get the real experience (although am dreading the catering now, lol).

      That's becoming a very bad habit
      - I promise it won't happen again. Even though I didn't get to keep the MU menus, I snatched them out of the FAs hand and photographed them so I wouldn't get scolded by the community again.

      At least the soup was tasty but it didn't look appetizing, the main wasn't good and I'm not surprised when looking at
      - Yeah, looks very plastic in the pictures, but I can assure you the taste of the soup was good. I can also assure you that the main was inedible ;)

      I prefer Bircher Muesli than Granola : SQ's is very good

      the food offering not the best quality and often tasteless
      - That is my conclusion too after flying with them. It's not bad (better than what you'd get on a US carrier), but not up to the standard you should expect from a carrier that throws its name around like EY.

      A pleasant tourist bonus (your signature)
      - It's just a small thank you to the people that can make it through my reports, lol.

  • Comment 136809 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 10625 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    Finally the last EY legs

    Very nice choice of flight number for a flight to China :)

    because I’ve never seen a lounge as crowded and noisy as this one
    So I can guess that you never saw a LH SEN lounge in FRA ;)

    Anyway this lounge is a disgrace

    With such a mess at the boarding I now understand why EY became an AZ shareholder lol

    I take my seat and notice that they had already started to distribute the pre-departure bananas
    I still prefer a Turkish delight

    I prefer the QR seats of 787s, A380s or A350s

    This FRist screwed up again
    That's becoming a very bad habit

    At least the soup was tasty but it didn't look appetizing

    The main wasn't good and I'm not surprised when looking at

    I prefer Bircher Muesli than Granola : SQ's is very good

    The wine list is a major EY weakness and the the food offering not the best quality and often tasteless

    Japanese meal looks great as usual when it comes about the appearance

    A ship docked out at sea. I know this isn’t as impressive as SIN.
    I can't say that you're wrong lol

    A pleasant tourist bonus (your signature)

    See you soon for another report

  • Comment 136839 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 9378 Comments

    Thanks for sharing !

    Another not-so-bad experience with EY. ;)

    The major weakness of this flight is indeed the super crowded AUH terminal and lounge.
    The crew could have better foreign language skills, especially on flights to China and Japan, where other airlines always hire local FAs in all classes to secure the pax who are flying a foreign carrier.

    Btw it's sad that LH didn't offer good prices / mileage earning for a Switzerland-NGO trip on June, I had to choose an LX roundtrip to SIN in place of it, which had a much better cpm ratio...

    See you !

    • Comment 316316 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement!

      Another not-so-bad experience with EY. ;)
      - Yes, the in-flight experiences with EY are generally very good (great seat, crews, and entertainment). Only the catering needs to be improved.

      The major weakness of this flight is indeed the super crowded AUH terminal and lounge.
      - AUH was not designed to handle EY's expansion. The boarding areas are so small and barely have enough seats for a small regional jet, much less two wide-bodies worth of passengers!

      The crew could have better foreign language skills, especially on flights to China and Japan, where other airlines always hire local FAs in all classes to secure the pax who are flying a foreign carrier.
      - I completely agree, there is no reason why EY can't 'buy' FAs that can speak foreign languages better.

      Btw it's sad that LH didn't offer good prices / mileage earning for a Switzerland-NGO trip on June, I had to choose an LX roundtrip to SIN in place of it, which had a much better cpm ratio...
      - The FRA-NGO flight is always very full, and LH prices are some of the highest out of NGO. I had this problem when I tried to book an award ticket with UA miles to FCO, which is how I ended up with EY (great cpm). But you just were in Japan last week, why would you want to come back so soon? Reports coming soon? I can tell you are already back home unless you are waking up at 4am on vacation in Japan ;)

    • Comment 316322 by
      Numero_2 SILVER 9378 Comments

      The FRA-NGO flight is always very full -> Maybe because LH and NH have strong codeshare agreements.

      But you just were in Japan last week, why would you want to come back so soon? -> Because Japan is fun ? Or maybe I just need mileage to requalify my SEN Status. Lol
      Reports coming soon? -> I'm resizing and blurrying pics which need to. ;)
      Well I was in Tokyo for three days, definitely not the longest stay possible but still better than nothing. ^^

    • Comment 316349 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Maybe because LH and NH have strong codeshare agreements.
      - NGO has a strong domestic network with NH, so maybe. But AY is also always full and JL only has four domestic destinations from NGO.

      Because Japan is fun?
      - Maybe fun to visit, but definitely not to live in^^

      Well I was in Tokyo for three days
      - No rain?

  • Comment 136848 by
    airtraveladdict 119 Comments

    Hello NGO85, It was great to read your report.
    So many pictures! and I have experienced the AUH lounge before, 2 years ago, and during peak times, I couldn't find a seat.
    EY needs to upgrade their lounges in AUH to keep up with the capacity.

    At least those staggered seats are new, when I flew EY, it was the old turquoise seat. They were comfortable, but just didn't look nice. Luckily I did travel hack, so I didn't pay full fare of $8,000 between Australia and Europe :)

    EY's food presentation looked good though. Plating up food in the galley and serving individual passengers makes a huge difference and feels more personal.

    But its strange how they didn't have a Chinese or Japanese speaking crew member? LOL I've flown EY 4 times now and everytime I am onboard they always show off, we can speak 16 languages on this flight - chinese, indian, arabic, swahili. I guess all those crew want to work on the uber destinations like NYC, Paris or London.

    • Comment 316353 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you very much for your comments!

      EY needs to upgrade their lounges in AUH to keep up with the capacity.
      - They'll probably just keep them as is since it will just be a money sink, they need all the money they can get for the new terminal. This terminal is just a lost cause for them.

      it was the old turquoise seat. They were comfortable, but just didn't look nice.
      - What were they thinking with those seats? Those were hideous.

      EY's food presentation looked good though. Plating up food in the galley and serving individual passengers makes a huge difference and feels more personal.
      - And even though it is served on a tray, it doesn't really look like 'tray' service.

      I've flown EY 4 times now and every time I am onboard they always show off, we can speak 16 languages on this flight
      - They did the same thing on this flight, but the Chinese/Japanese speaker(s) must have been in the Y cabin. On the outbound flight, we had a Chinese FA that was also fluent in Japanese in the J cabin. There was a Chinese speaking FA on the AUH-PEK sector, but when they did the crew change in PEK, all of the FAs that came on were Anglo and did not speak a lick of Chinese or Japanese.

  • Comment 136911 by
    socalnow GOLD 924 Comments

    Thank you for yet another great report.

    The lounge and ground experience seem dreadful. Is the superior flying experience on the ME3 more hype than substance? Kind of like Southwest has the lowest fares...

    The food presentation is very appealing. Your photos do it a great service I'm sure.

    • Comment 316488 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments.

      The lounge and ground experience seem dreadful. Is the superior flying experience on the ME3 more hype than substance?
      - When I called EY Guest, it was a very good experience, but trying to e-mail them over something as simple as getting mileage credits on AZ flights or complaining about the AZ experience, takes at least a month for any sort of canned response. I'm an EY Silver after this one trip, so I expected at least a little better response times. EY hard product is very good, but not good enough to cover up the deficiencies in customer service.

      The food presentation is very appealing. Your photos do it a great service I'm sure.
      - Presentation is always very good on EY, where it falls apart is taste. Generally the food was tasteless and the products weren't anything special.

  • Comment 136982 by
    pititom GOLD 10248 Comments

    Thank you for this report.

    Again a nice flight on EY but they used to be so much better. Especially crew and catering, the two points lacking here. At least they still have very nice glasses and keep them always full ^^

    The problem with the lounge is solved by a brand new and large one, but at Terminal 3 only.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Comment 316487 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci pour vos commentaires!

      I found crews to be generally good, only the PEK-NGO segment had a bad crew that lacked professionalism and protocol. Catering was consistently 'average' throughout.

      At least they still have very nice glasses and keep them always full ^^
      - I think I always had at least 2-3 refills for pre-departure drinks^^

      The problem with the lounge is solved by a brand new and large one, but at Terminal 3 only.
      - I went to this one after my NGO-AUH flight, but found it just as crowded and overrun. I was there at ~8am when all the AUH-Europe flights were about to leave.

  • Comment 137052 by
    cobra 3651 Comments

    Thank you for this report Michael^^

    Not a bad flight on EY, as usal, but not perfect of course !
    I really love the seat, and even for a strong man like me, it is confortable.

    catering is ok, a bit disapointing ex AUH, i really prefer the japanese meal on the PEK-NGO part :)

    Tsuruga is good gate to enter Fukui prefecture, and the San-in coast between Tsuruga and Tottori is wonderful !

    You not only show the Kiso river but also the Ibi river, just separate from the Kiso by a thin line of land, until the end ^^

    I'm in Kyoto now, i have a though for you !:)

    • Comment 316623 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Cobra!

      even for a strong man like me, it is comfortable
      - For a twig like me, it is never a problem ;) The window seats are very nice since you get the extra 5-8cm between the seat and the window. If you were stuck with an aisle seat, I think it would be a much less comfortable experience.

      catering is ok, a bit disapointing ex AUH, i really prefer the japanese meal on the PEK-NGO part :)
      - Dinner service ex-AUH was very poor, but the lunch service they offer from PEK-NGO is phenomenal. The only other non-stop competition on this route is CA, whose lunch offering is typical single tray service. Also, there was no ebi so you wouldn't die ;)

      I have taken the train through Tsuruga once on my way to Echizen, but did not get off^^ Last time I flew to ICN, we exited Japan over Tottori (I have an aerial picture of the airport in one of my reports). Recently, I have been more interested in travels to Kyushu or Hokkaido.

      You not only show the Kiso river but also the Ibi river, just separate from the Kiso by a thin line of land, until the end ^^
      - Home of many delicious eel^^ Nagoya is famous for its unagi (hitsumabushi)^^

      Have a safe trip on AZ back to CDG^^

  • Comment 137200 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4948 Comments

    How about that...I tweeted this report a few days ago, but apparently forgot to comment...silly me. So are these the famous screwed up night shots you were talking about. They look fine to me. The colors are interesting.

    An overcrowded crappy lounge....had EY become a victim of it's own success? Too many people in Business for not enough space. I can't even imagine what it would be like if EY were part of an alliance and had Elites from other programs/airlines in their lounge. I'm guessing the construction is to expand the lounge? But then again, why would they be doing that with the new Terminal being built. I'm sure there's a good reason, just don't know enough about EY and AUH in general.

    Mood lighting was already in full effect, so I apologize for the photo. The pic looks good to me. I like mood lighting.

    Too bad you didn't get a pre-departure banana...it's all the rage these days.

    I think it's kind of sheisty how the crew was indifferent when they greeted you and then was now once they figure out you were in Business class. How about just being nice to everyone!

    So they didn't have a single crew member who spoke Japanese on the Nagoya leg? That's just nuts. Even all US carriers make sure to have several LOD (Language of destination) speakers on International flights. A major customer service fail on EY's part IMO. I am impressed, however, that EY arranged for an agent to meet the pax at the gate in Nagoya.

    Overall it sounds like the EY partnerships don't work very well...EY has a lot to learn about how alliances work. In a way you can't blame them since they've never been in an alliance, but they should have done their homework before investing in all these random airlines and then forcing them into a half-*ssed alliance. I'm actually shocked that you didn't have any problems having your miles credit from all these partner flights. Maybe since you bought allflights from EY directly? I'm sure it it were the other way around, it'd be a different story.

    Thanks for this lovely series. I still don't know what to think or EY despite all these segments. The product looks really good overall and certainly the most consistent of the ME3 since both QR and EK have a hodge podge of different J products. I really want to try one of the ME3 and I this that it would be between EY and QR since both earn AA miles. I'd most likely take QR though, for First class lounge access with oneworld Emerald status, though EY is tempting. It would sure be an interesting and higher mile-yielding was to get to Asia from the US.

    • Comment 316774 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      If they don't figure something out to stop this lounge disaster before the new terminal opens it could seriously impact their reputation as a premium carrier.
      - I can see EY melting down real soon since AUH is well over-capacity as it is and there is no quick fix for this problem. I'm looking forward to seeing an A380 get deplaned by paxbus :)

      I have woken up with a charley horse in the middle of the night on a plane before and it hurts like a b*tch...plus it made it even worse that I tried to be discrete about it. Normally I'd jump out of bed screaming and try to stomp it out...not when you're in Business class, lol.
      - I try and stay well hydrated to avoid this problem. I've been lucky to avoid this embarrassing moment thus far, but I get them regularly at home so it's bound to happen at some point, lol.

      I don't think I dress bad
      - LOL, sure you don't... I know what you mean, in Asia, most J passengers are all business men in black suits or older couples. I don't dress like a slob, but I normally wear comfortable clothing when traveling (especially long-haul), so maybe I look like I don't belong. I agree, if someone stops you and asks to see your credentials because you look like you don't belong in the line, then that is offensive. Fortunately, this has only happened once in Japan (checking in with EY), most of the time they are just too terrified of the Westerner and will let me do whatever I want to avoid any confrontation.

      Happy Memorial day! Even though I'm sure they don't give you the day off in Japan.
      - Didn't even know it was Memorial Day until you pointed it out, oops. I'll be sure to wear my American flag tie-dye t-shirt with a giant bald eagle on the back today ;) #Murica!

    • Comment 316631 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Kevin, thanks for all of your belated comments ;)

      So are these the famous screwed up night shots you were talking about. They look fine to me.
      - These were the best from around 50. They are only slightly repulsive ;) The landing shots at HKG in the next report will be more rough around the edges.

      I'm guessing the construction is to expand the lounge?
      - Not really sure, but it makes for a very ominous lounge entrance, lol. The new terminal isn't expected to open until 2017-2018 so they got to do something to stop-gap this tragedy. Their route map is only getting bigger and that means even more people going in and out of AUH. Even the bigger Terminal 3 Lounge that I went in after NGO-AUH was train wreck (just a larger version, lol).

      Too bad you didn't get a pre-departure banana...it's all the rage these days.
      - I really could have used that potassium, didn't want to wake up in the middle of China with a Charley horse :) As I told Adan, why not offer bananas pre-departure on morning flights? I'd be impressed...

      I think it's kind of sheisty how the crew was indifferent when they greeted you and then was now once they figure out you were in Business class. How about just being nice to everyone!
      - I get the same thing when doing paxbus boarding. When you board amid Y passengers, they never give you a warm greeting. Yes, in theory, all passengers should be welcomed the same, but in the back of their minds, they know who to butter up in order to get some more $$$ (or should I say ¥¥¥) in the future.

      So they didn't have a single crew member who spoke Japanese on the Nagoya leg?
      - Not in J, there had to be one in Y since they had their cheesy, we have crew on board that speak 14 different languages monologue at the beginning and Japanese and Chinese were both listed. NH and EY are code-share partners (this flight has a NH number too), as soon as the front door opened, the NH agent was on board greeting him so it was handled very professionally in that regard, but the lack of language skills just makes it look really bad. The FAs even threw him together some amenity items (which is probably not so useful), but was at least a nice gesture that they are taking responsibility for the inconvenience. It was also impressive that this information was relayed to the crew in PEK that his bag missed the connection in AUH.

      I'm actually shocked that you didn't have any problems having your miles credit from all these partner flights.
      - Everything was booked through EY on EY flight numbers. The AZ domestic flights were booked separately, but I just took pictures of the boarding passes and e-mailed it to them and they were logged within a week with no problems.

      I still don't know what to think or EY despite all these segments.
      - If you can get a QR with the new Cirrus seats, that would be awesome way to get a ton of miles enroute to Asia (or really exotic routing to Europe, lol) with a fantastic product. As we have discussed before, the new EY J-product is not really much of an improvement at all. I'm not going to argue with the EY hard product, it was very good (along with crews). The catering could be better, but is still much better than the US carriers. Was the whole AZ issue their problem? Not really, but I expect them to take more responsibility for that. I'm sure if that happened on an EY-operated flight, the situation would have been handled much differently and I would have bittersweet taste in my mouth. Since I'm leaning towards AA in the future, I would consider flying them again if the price is right and it isn't out of my way.

    • Comment 316650 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4948 Comments

      Not only is EY's route map getting bigger, they've got more capacity with the A380s coming in. If they don't figure something out to stop this lounge disaster before the new terminal opens it could seriously impact their reputation as a premium carrier.The lounge experience is very important and even more so in an airline's hub. You just expect a hub flagship lounge to be your best lounge of the system. This is something EK had gotten right years ago with their ginormous DXB lounges.

      I've been offered pre-departure bananas a few times...well, it was a snack basket but it had bananas...and both times were on US Airways believe it or not. I have woken up with a charley horse in the middle of the night on a plane before and it hurts like a b*tch...plus it made it even worse that I tried to be discrete about it. Normally I'd jump out of bed screaming and try to stomp it out...not when you're in Business class, lol.

      The thing is that crews often judge based on appearance and especially age. A lot of crews and ground personnel assume you're not flying a premium cabin if you're in your 20s or early 30s. This is something U.S. carriers are better with than some foreign carriers. I think US carriers are more used to having younger FF Elite pax (mostly consultants) flying up front. Personally, I find it offensive if someone looks to assume I'm not in a premium cabin, however they base that judgment (I don't think I dress bad so it must be age, especially since it's happening less and less--oh no I'm getting old! lol). How you are greeted upon boarding usually sets the tone for the whole flight IME.

      And QR had these awesome 2-for-1 fare sales all the time. Between the class of service bonus and the 100% ExPlat bonus, you could easily rack up 60K miles on a creative US-Asia routing for a good price.

      Have a good weekend! Happy Memorial day! Even though I'm sure they don't give you the day off in Japan.

  • Comment 137319 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR! Really liked it :).

    The airport experience at AUH didn't look to be good. The lounge experience seems to be very disappointing, wonder when the new terminal is completed. I'm not surprised by the chaos upon boarding, have heard many reviews of AUH that it can be overcrowded very easily.

    The seat looks comfortable on this flight, it's nice that it offers a good amount of privacy.

    The starter looks pretty appealing, but the main seems to be pretty disappointing. Especially the noodles look pretty bad for a J flight.

    Unfortunately the weather and visibility wasn't the best at PEK but I still like your shots from PEK in these conditions, looks cool in some kind of way.

    And there we have one of my favourites! The Fanhansa 'Siegerflieger' 748!

    Not a single chinese or japanese speaking FA in J? Thought it was normal to have at least one or one of both these flights. Have experienced the same though, on a flew flights to DAC (on TK and QR) with not a single Bengali-speaking FA. It did cause some frustation for many pax (it was in Y though).

    Catering on the PEK-NGO leg seems to be good, even though the zensai wasn't the best. Presentation is really nice at least.

    That CA 321 got some company at NGO after being lonely for a while, lol.

    Thank you for the bonus from Rome :).

    • Comment 316778 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you very much for your comments :)

      The new AUH Midfield Terminal is not scheduled to open until 2017, which will probably turn into 2018. They are going to have big problems soon since the airport already feels at capacity and more flights are being added all the time.

      Especially the noodles look pretty bad for a J flight.
      - That dinner was not very good at all. I would be disappointed to be served that food in Y. The noodles and tofu were all very rubbery. The vegetables were the only good part of the meal. The catering from PEK-NGO was very good, I just wasn't hungry after flying for 20-hours at that point.

      And there we have one of my favourites! The Fanhansa 'Siegerflieger' 748!
      - I promised you I would include pictures of it, even if it was in rainy/grey conditions :)

      Not a single chinese or japanese speaking FA in J?
      - Very poor customer service by EY, there were FAs in Y that could speak Chinese and Japanese, but were probably not senior enough to be put in a premium cabin. If I was Chinese or Japanese, I would be very upset with this type of premium class service.

      That CA 321 got some company at NGO after being lonely for a while, lol.
      - Most of the planes don't arrive until around 16:00. Most airlines have two flights per day at NGO, they will have a morning and afternoon/evening flight. 9-10 is really busy, then 17-19 is really busy. Mid-day, there is usually just one or two Chinese or Korean planes at the airport.

      Italy is always beautiful :)

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