A bit of a preview of this trip. Both my parents come from Luzon, the largest island, one of the many 7,107 islands (during high tide, 7,108 during low tide) in the Philippines. Thus, we always fly into MNL and have done various combinations to get from IAH to MNL. Before the CO/UA merger I actually liked doing IAH-HNL-GUM-MNL-GUM-HNL-IAH on CO. My venture into attaining higher frequent flyer status started with NW doing HOU-MSP-NRT-MNL-KIX-SFO-IAH on NW flying on the upper deck of a 742. I've flown a couple of times on CO's IAH-EWR-HKG in Y and then connect to CX HKG-MNL in J to check out CX's "The Wing" Lounge. The longest I have traveled is IAH-DME-SIN-MNL-SIN-DME-IAH in Y on SQ where they had started new service to IAH, and it's still my favorite way to Asia because I just love flying in SQ!
We rarely look into flying PR to MNL because of bad experiences my parents and I had the very first time I visited the Philippines when I was just a young boy back in the 1980s. They lacked any customer service skills, and some jokingly say they still do not today when compared to other ASEAN members such SQ and today GA and MH. Also for us, the idea of doing US CBP at LAX via TBIT just never seems pleasant.
When planning for this trip, we wanted something with good mileage earning potential, especially on Star Alliance, and the faster way to Manila. Initially I saw a great deal on the UA website for 950USD with 70% miles earned on A3 based on fare code for IAH-NRT-MNL-NRT-IAH. I also looked at SQ and for 125USD more than UA, we would earn over 21000mi for one of the longest routes to Manila in Y. Yet since we had already taken SQ, they did not want to do that super long flight again.
While looking my mom just asked how much the fares would be on PR in J and relaxed the rules a bit connecting from either LAX or SFO. The only other times they have taken PR have been on domestic flights such as MNL-KLO-MNL and they said it was not bad. I checked to see what they would be especially with the recent approval into Stage 1, PR would bring their 77W to LAX and SFO. However, their J seats remained angled lie-flat and just not comfortable enough, along with having no real frequent flyer partners to maximize the accumulation of miles. Yet the price seemed attractive at 2950USD.
I did check fares to on CA and KE since they have started services to IAH. Many Filipinos we know in Houston have started taking KE because of the better service. Too bad they're part of SkyTeam rather than OZ. As for CA, we were just not sure how the free visa would work and how easy to get around especially at the time the flight arrives and then a rather lengthy layover in PEK.
I went back to the UA website and while the IAH-NRT-MNL flight in J was rather expensive, the cheapest J fare was IAH-DEN-NRT-MNL-NRT-DEN-IAH which includes the 788 for 3900USD
Finally I checked out NH. I had only flown them once on NRT-MNL in Y and it was a nice flight. Now I was curious how service would be on a much longer flight. When checking J fares, they had a great deal from their 3 California destinations with LAX and SJC being cheapest options. It boiled down to the price of the connecting flight from IAH. For the roundtrip on the NH portion, we paid slightly over 2850USD/person.
The NH, like the SQ website, is a bit labor intensive to purchase a ticket; the UA website from the old CO platform is the best on the web. It does let you check seat maps to get an idea of how full the flight is at the time of booking. Later on before giving credit card information, you can select desired seats. If you fill out all the required information with a required email address and an NH Mileage Bank account, the airline will automatically check you in for the flight. Going in private or hidden mode made it a bit easier, especially to guarantee price. But it was annoying that I would have to retype the same information a couple of times because it did not follow the proper order or could not be recognized yet they followed the correct form. Finally I received an email confirmation that I would get to enjoy our very first J experience in NH and I could compare them with other Star Alliance carriers.
Since the booking, I would check our itinerary daily and figure out which side to sit on based on other trip reports because of late I enjoy taking videos of my take offs and landings when possible. NH has a staggered 1-2-1 arrangement in their J cabin for their 77W and 788 flights to Europe and North America similar to OS's layout in their 763s. In terms of seating, any A or K seats will always be a window depending on how they name them; one row could be A-EG-J and the next row B-DF-K.
Also the days leading up to our departure, I'd check to see the menu offerings for the flight, poss ble movies, and anything interesting in duty free. I was curious of the various Japanese and international menus to see what I could and could not eat. It seemed I would be able to alternate from international to Japanese during the various meals. In terms of duty free, I was disappointed they did not have anything cute relating to the airline such as a Pokemon-themed model plane or anything NH-branded except for one item, a doll dressed into the new uniform.
At the 24hr mark before departure, I received a couple of emails checking us in for the flight. Included in the email were PDF versions of the boarding passes. I also checked in via the NH app so I could get a Passbook boarding pass. Yet once I completed the process, they only made the NRT-MNL flight available on Passbook.
Just after our arrival at LAX, we deplaned from Gate 76, the farthest gate in Terminal 7. Once in the terminal, we actually headed to Terminal 6 rather than heading down to baggage claim at Terminal 7 because we thought you could exit at the same level into the check-in hall rather than exit from baggage claim and then go up to departure level and walk to TBIT. Yet, Terminal 7 offered no way out from departure level. Once at T6, we walked out to a nice cool LA morning. As we headed to TBIT, you could not help but notice a lot of construction going on.
We did not wait for the shuttle to take us because it was easier to walk and allow us to stretch between flights. I remember the old, unfunctional TBIT and how cramped it used to be. Now, there’s this huge structure that actually looked decent. Around the lower TBIT gates, I could see a LA 788 waiting for its flight to SCL-LIM. Once we got to TBIT, you could immediately notice the difference. At departure drop off, they had electric signs to let you know which entrances to use. The first entrance nearest to T5 led us to the NH check-in counters.
The departure hall buzzed a bit with a couple of airlines checking in passengers to various Asian destinations such as NRT, ICN, PVG, and even MNL to name a few. NH shared a check-in row currently checking in flights to MNL on PR and PVG on MU.
I noticed the check in desks with the large 7'-8' tall floor signs for the different traveling classes. When we approached the relatively quiet check-in desks. An agent stood in front of the J queue to ensure people entered the right queue. We confirmed we would fly J and she immediately escorted us to an available agent with no wait. Ms. Nina would be handling our check-in today; today, Ms. Nina handled checking in passengers traveling in F and *G members. I approached handing over my passport and letting her know we checked bags in from our UA flight over to LAX. She said that would be no problem and then asked for my mother's and father's passports while she would check us all the way to MNL. While she did that, my father started to take pictures to document this event in J. Ms. Yume approached him and at first I thought she would tell him no pictures would be allowed right now. However, she graciously asked if she could take a family picture while we waited and standing in front of the desk. That gesture was very thoughtful and proactive on her part. We thanked her very much for doing that and said it was her pleasure. That gesture would start all the subtle ways NH staff that would make the flight highly memorable.
After going over the pictures, Ms. Nina let us know she had finished checking us in and made sure we would see our bags in MNL. She handed our passports over and I handed my parents theirs. Then she dealt our boarding passes per person rather than per flight. She even mentioned subtle differences between our boarding and said the darkened ANA logo was for the NRT flight and the stenciled ANA logo indicated the boarding pass for our MNL flight. She had a map to show us our seats for the NRT flight, and then she showed us a map on how to get to the Star Alliance lounge once after security. She asked if there was anything else she could do for us. We could not think of anything. She wished us a pleasant and enjoyable flight and then bowed while saying ありがと. I replied in kind. As we collected our stuff, and made our way, Ms. Yume also wished us a pleasant and enjoyable flight and then bowed to say ありがと. This would definitely be an awesome flight!
Flights departing that day from TBIT.
With the check-in counters having undergone their update, the upgrade process focused now on the landslide shopping and concessions. This closed off one entrance to reach the central security area. I did not mind because I would get to see which airlines used which counters. Also, they had agents verify someone had a boarding pass to proceed to security, and then once there, whether someone could use the priority line or not. I kept the cardstock boarding passes for printed paper ones from home.
This FIDS needs a bit of an update.
View of the check-in counters below.
While we went through the priority line, one of the queue monitors alleviated the general boarding queue and let some passengers use the priority lane. Yet I led a long line of priority passengers and he stopped the queue. It took us about 10min to get through. A TSA agent noticed my SQ batik shirt and asked if I was working and why didn't I use the employees/crew lane. I chuckled a bit when I told them I wished I worked for SQ but I just picked up this shirt at SIN and it's the same print as their uniform, which is one of my favorite prints.
Post-security, you walk this plank-like crosswalk to get airside and the TBIT departure level. Below the crosswalk at the lowest level leads to the arrivals area going to USCBP. The central departure area is just amazing; its expansive the LED screens with the high ceilings is amazing! I say it's amazing compared to what it used to be, a piece of crap!
The upper level heading to the main departure level. Down below, USCBP.
They appropriately placed signs indicating location of gates as well as the location of the lounges. Star Alliance had, what seems like, the largest lounge at TBIT, which includes an outside terrace area. We walked to the stoic lounge dragon who manned the scanners to allow entry into the lounge. As she scanned our home-printed passes, she informed us that we would need to speak to the agent at the welcome desk. The agent, dressed in NH grounds crew uniform had just finished helping out a customer when we approached. She welcomed us to the lounge and saw us carrying our paper boarding passes. She kindly requested our paper boarding passes and our passport. At first my mom wondered what would happen and then I told her in Tagalog she would print us a second set of boarding passes. The agent asked if we came from a connecting flight and if we had checked in bags. I told her we did and handed her our baggage tags. I watched her verify all the information already on her screen and watch the boarding pass machine come alive and spit out 6 boarding passes, 3 of which had the darkened ANA logo to indicate our NRT flight and the stenciled logo the boarding pass for our MNL flight. She could sense my mom wanted to check the lounge out so she handed me the stacks of passports and boarding passes and wished us a pleasant stay in the lounge and let anyone know if there is anything needed.
Now it was off to find a place to sit and eat. Slightly annoying, solo passengers would take big sections of the central sitting areas. In the end it did not matter because we found an area playing fun music and had plenty of electrical outlets. Now I had thought I had taken a bunch of pictures inside the lounge, but most likely had been erased accidentally during the transfer process.
The first place I checked out was the outdoor terrace and hopes I could see plenty of airplane movements, especially the PR flight headed to MNL. Because this was winter, they did have some places covered, a water feature as well as a heated table turned off. Also, in terms of view, you got a small view of the front of TBIT which include T1, T2, T3, and then some uncompleted lower TBIT gates at the front. The very high ceilings blocked the view of the back gates.
We arrived towards the end of breakfast service with plenty of various breakfast options available. It cannot compare to the offerings at the LH F lounges in FRA or the TK lounge at IST, but I think it ranks up there. Around the corner, I found a noodle bar where you could make your own soup with noodles. I was set for round one.
After enjoying a bit of nibble, I realized I needed a drink. I perused the other areas I had not visited. Next to where we sat was an area that overlooked the departure level. While nice, it felt a bit stuffy because it relied on main terminal cooling rather than cooling system of the lounge. Going back inside I noticed another noodle bar station. This actually turned out to be the package ramen noodle station offering only a spicy option. I had seen plenty of Asian customers buy this particular brand at the local Asian markets such as 99 Ranch and Super H Mart. I figured I might as well try it here and see if I liked it. I prepared one bowl up and let it "cook" while walking around the lounge a bit more.
I now noticed that they had changed from breakfast to lunch. They had a few things that looked good, but I knew I would be enjoying some noodles as well as what would be served in flight. In terms of a drink, thanks to SQ, I love a good juice spritzer and did an orange spritzer. By the time I returned, my noodles were ready! These were tasty and spicy, perfect for a very cold day!
The one area I wish I could have checked were the showers. Since I did not have enough time, I figured I'd do it another time. Also they do no verbal announcements in the lounge. They did do for the OZ A380 flight to ICN announce the flight with an OZ ground staff holding a sign indicating they had commenced boarding for that flight. I did not stay in the lounge long enough to see if the NH agent on duty did that for our flight.
By 11:00, we packed our stuff up and headed to Gate 159, the farthest gate on the left side of the terminal. They mentioned boarding time would be 11:05 with a late departure, yet an early arrival. I took a couple pictures and noticed that same stoic lounge dragon in a better mood doing a silly pose while I took pictures. I laughed and thanked her for letting us visit. She in turn wished us a pleasant trip.
I wished we had a bit more time. I did not really care for the Fred Segel located in the very center. I just wanted to walk from end-to-end and check out the gate areas and do a bit of planespotting.
You do have to admire the different scenes played out on those LED screens that includes the walls that cover the elevators to the various lounges. Kudos to LAWA for a brand new TBIT!
As we headed to the gate, the agents for MU called for last call for the flight to PVG. They had started to take down their tall, vinyl floor signs. Actually, that remained a common theme, at least for the Asian airlines. KE had set up their signs at the gate next to MU. They had separate floor signs and locations for those sitting in certain sections of the A380, and passengers waiting patiently to board. Leaving the same time, at the next gate boarding another A380 to ICN, the OZ ground staff had passengers wait in front of similar floor stands. It seemed interesting to compare the two flights to ICN leaving that day at the same time. KE had more elderly passengers as well as more non-Asians, while OZ had a bunch of school-aged children and young adults returning home from a group tour, probably around California.
Walking a bit more, I noticed an empty gate for the JL flight to NRT just getting ready to open. Also noticed a NZ 77W in Hobbit livery, which I last saw in AKL heading to LAX. Finally, I could see our gate in the distance and noticed the NH agents had the same tall, vinyl signs, one in red for passengers in F, one in blue for J and *G, and the third in green for Y+ and Y. As we approached the gate from a distance, I could hear that they would commence boarding at 11:10 rather than 11:05 while the crew finishes preparing the plane for the flight. There was not much to do but join the J queue and wait it out. My parents waited in the queue while I took a couple of pictures, including our 77W, plane JA780A, that would be our plane to NRT. It was odd that they did not use a jetway at 1L, only at 2L as Gate 159 is one of the A380 gates.
True to their word, five minutes later they start the boarding process with the 4 male passengers in F/Diamond members (3 Japanese and 1 Anglo), who were all personally escorted into the plane. After giving those passengers a comfortable cushion to get situated on board, one of NH ground agents moved the J/*G sign next to the F sign and invited us to board. We slowly made our way to get our boarding passes and passports verified. Ms. Yume invited me over and handed her my stuff and thanked her again for taking our picture. I noticed her glancing down and looking at my name to say "My pleasure Mr. C!" She scanned my boarding pass, tore off the longer part and handed me my passport and boarding stub before wishing "Have a pleasant flight Mr. C!"
"いらっしゃいませ!" is what I think they said when they greeted me. I replied "ありがとうございます." I felt giddy when I stepped on board the plane. This was my first time to fly a Japanese carrier to NRT from the many combination of IAH-MNL and the second time to fly NH, ever. I feel this report I will be comparing NH to the other airlines I have taken. The last times I felt giddy were during my last trip on SQ and NZ, basically anytime I board a foreign airline because they are rare occasions.
I turn that immediate right and I see M. Yuki wearing her pink/purple top and scarf standing by seat. I point to where she is standing and I believe welcomes me with "よこそ!" and my usual answer is "ありがとございます." Like SQ, she is there to help my mother and I place our stuff in the overhead bins. Again I reply "ありがとうございます." Along with Yuki-san would be M. Ishigawa in her blue uniform.
After I put my bags up in the overheads bins, I notice my seat, which contains the sleeping pad, blanket/duvet, pillow, slippers, and an amenity kit. To my right was the magazine holder that not only included a copy of Wingspan, but a copy of the Duty Free magazine, entertainment guide, and a guide on how to operate the seat.
To do a bit of comparisons on other airlines. Compared to my recent experiences on LX and OS, the NH staggered configuration feels very private. Among the three, NH provides all seats with direct aisle access in a staggered 1-2-1. The private feeling comes from high dividers where it feels like you have a mini suite, but nowhere as massive and personal as SQ’s current and new J seats.
Bulkhead J seats where there is an extra “hiding place” for stuff in the side bins.
Peaking on my side, there’s a noticeable gap between the seat and the wall.
Initially when I would check the seating chart leading up to the flight, it appeared to be rather open until the day of check-in and all the open seats towards the rear of J filled up quickly. On the day of the flight, J would be 100%, which includes the mini-J cabin just after F. The majority of passengers on this flight would primarily be Japanese; true to Japanese form, they orderly boarded the plane within twenty minutes prior to doors closing.
As passengers continued to board, FAs walked around the cabin to help passengers get situated. Yuki-san offered pre-departure drinks followed by the menu for today’s flight. The Lead Purser/ISM gave her welcome on the PA first in Japanese and then in English. She then announced that doors had been closed. Following this announcement, she showed the latest flight safety video featuring IOJ - Innovations of Japan seats and look.
During the safety video, I could see the jetways being retracted. Once we finished the video, we started our pushback and made our way to Runway 25R. Yet after we pushed back a couple of meters, we stopped due to relative traffic on the taxiways. I got to do some interesting spotting along the way.
Jetways retracted at Gate 159, an A380 gate.
An NZ 77W in the latest livery.
First time seeing an AA A321.
An NZ 77W in the “Lord of the Rings” special livery.
A UA 752 chasing after a CM 73G. The CM flight would end up waiting for us to leave as they would be the next plane to use our gate.
A JL 77W at Gate 154 and an SQ A380 at Gate 150 waiting to head to NRT and SIN. In the background, an SV flight to JED and RUH awaits at Gate 134.
I think this is the same AA A321 I saw waiting for a gate to open up.
Two UA 788s waiting to head to NRT and I believe PVG or PEK.
Twenty minutes after pushback, we barreled down 25R and started our journey over the Pacific Ocean to NRT. I configured my seat to the recline position to enjoy our ascent.
Around noon, Captain Takahari gave his welcome, first in Japanese and then in English. He gave us a bit of details on the flight. He expected to make up from the delay from our departure and an early arrival into NRT due to favorable conditions. All announcements made, except for automated ones to fasten seat belts, sounded rather weak that I would normally guess what they would mention. After he finished his welcome, I decided it was time to check out what would be available on their IFE. While I was checking out the IFE, service began with hot and nicely scented oshibori. After passing out the oshibori, the cute and young Ishigawa-san asked if I would like to partake in the meal. She had a cute way of asking, gesturing the motion of eating and then rubbing her belly. She had a good grasp on English to converse with me, but the added gestures made it cute, something typically Japanese.
Testing out the seat-to-seat messaging with my mother, but she did not know how to message me back.
After checking out the IFE and with the seatbelt sign off, I ventured into the lavatory by 3R to change and get rather comfortable during the flight. A nice perk of flying J with NH, a bidet. I thought it was nifty that SQ adds little steppers for the trash bin inside the lavatories. Yet, with Japan’s love for the toilet seat bidet, an actual bidet on the plane made this almost heaven! When I returned to my seat, they had started placing down white linens on top of tray tables.
Control panel for the fabulous bidet.
After Ishigawa-san had taken orders and then placed white linens for passengers in her section, it was time for the lunch service to begin fifty minutes after takeoff. First up, the drink service. On my very first flight with NH from NRT-MNL a few years back, I saw they offered a drink called “aromatic kabosu”. This is refreshing citrus drink made from kabosu fruit, similar to a lemon, from the Oita Prefecture and served only on NH flights. It has now become my go-to drink on NH flights similar to an apple spritzer on SQ flights. Along with the kabosu, I ordered an umeshu on the rocks.
Nankobai-no-Kodawari Umeshu from the Oita Prefecture on the rocks and Kabosu straight up.
My drinks along with the amuse bouche of Vegetable and Shrimp a la Grecque, mini Quiche Lorraine, and Prosciutto and Melon Tartlette
A close-up of the amuse bouche served from the galley.
The amuse bouche, served an hour after takeoff, was your standard fare. You cannot go wrong with prosciutto and melon. The shrimp cocktail pieces were nicely done, not over cooked. The miniature quiche I could have passed on mainly because I prefer frittatas over quiches. The FAs allowed passengers to take their time. Once most had finished about fifteen minutes later, the FAs wheeled down trolley carts containing the lunch set up followed by a light salad with lobster.
The butter, oil, salt, and pepper tray.
Lobster Salad with Caramelized Endive, Blood Oranges, and Baby Lettuce
I did not order the Japanese meal for this flight as it contained seafood that I have mild allergies towards. Instead I ordered the beef filet from the Western meals. Rather than individually picking up salad plates once they are done and then bring out the main entree, the FAs wheel down the food trolley. They take the used salad plates and place it at the bottom. Then they check their manifest and serve the appropriate ordered entree. It reminds me of how EK served their entrees on the short HKG-BKK-HKG hops I took many years ago. After serving the meal, they did top off any drinks they could place atop the trolley cart.
Filet of Beef with Potato and Black Chanterelle Mushroom
This beef filet was the best beef I have ever had on a J or F flight. It was a sizable piece, nicely seasoned, cooked to my liking, and enjoyable to eat. This definitely was a memorable beef meal along with the beef meal served in Y on TK from ZRH to IST. I took my time to enjoy this entree, being among the last. While they waited to pick up salad plates until it was time to serve the main entree, the FAs picked up the main entree plates along with the set up once a passenger finished his or her meal.
Once I had finished the main entree, Yuki-san asked if I would like anything for dessert. Both sounded good, especially the Black Sesame Joconde and Sesame Brulee, which was an ANA original dessert. I did have to ask if the dessert have any other nuts other than the sesame. When Yuki-san confirmed that it did, I went ahead and tried the Vegan Tropical Fruit Verrine. I will usually go for anything mango. While serving desserts from the galley, the FAs did walk the aisles offering coffee, earl grey tea, or matcha tea. I chose the matcha and was served with a small piece of Royce chocolates.
After the complete meal service had ended, almost two hours after departure, it was time to get comfortable. The FAs collected the remaining items from the meal service as well as distributing out bottles of water. By the time they had finished, we had passed by the Juan de Fuca Ridge and approached near the Alaskan coastline. FAs has set up the galley aft of the J cabin as a snack bar as well as provide some additional amenities such as sleeping masks, lotions, mouthwash, and even aromatherapy sleeping spots that you place on your temples. A couple of Japanese passengers requested sweaters to wear. I should have asked for one, but I felt it would have made me too hot as the cabin was a bit warm for my liking.
Partial galley by 3R/L that would now serve as the snack bar area.
Some snacks and even amenities offered such as facial masks and aromatherapy sleeping spots.
NH offers Philten sleeping pads that could be used for a bit softer sleep. I had set up my bed with the pad and enjoyed about 4hrs of sleep. The pad did make a difference because it smoothed out the seat gaps. Also the fabric used for the blanket actually cooled me down. It was a nice nap making me wish the flight was longer so I could have slept longer.
“Do not disturb” light
I did not fully sleep till the time of the second meal because I wanted to try the inflight snack. In J, NH offers two soups, one from the popular Ippudo restaurant. I had been looking forward to trying the Ippudo udon, especially since I had planned to visit their branch in the Philippines. Yuki-san had been making the rounds in the cabin and saw that I had waken up. She asked if I would like anything. I decided to ask for the Ippudo udon, but I guess she just heard only “udon”. I later discovered while reading that I should have said ramen rather than udon. Thus, she had brought me the udon with “dried sea lettuce”. Before receiving my udon, she informed it would take about ten minutes and I told her it was ok. To cool me down I asked for my usual kabosu on ice.
While I had wanted to have tried the Ippudo rich-tasting miso “Daichi” ramen, this udon did hit the spot. There’s something about enjoying mid-flight ramen or noodles on flights to Asia. I liked the flavors of the broth and the dried sea lettuce as well as the chewy texture to the udon noodles. While it is appropriate to slurp when eating ramen or udon, I did not want to be too loud for those trying to get some sleep. Once finished, the same FA returned and collected my tray and then I returned my seat back into a bed for another short nap till the pre-arrival meal.
My side table
I woke up as I heard the FAs quietly preparing for our pre-arrival meal. At this point, I did not want this flight to end because this had been such a relaxing one. Also, it had been years since I had been on a flight US-Asia flight that took less than 11hrs.
Tablecloth placed along with a cold, scented oshibori.
Lights had slowly turned on with 2hr20min left in the flight. For those awake, the FAs came through and placed white linens down on the table along with a cold, scented oshibori. Once Yuki-san had finished the first round of laying down linens, Ishigawa-san took my meal and drink orders. This time I opted for the Japanese meal along with my usual umeshu on ice and my favorite kabosu. She took all order in her section before returning to the galley and getting orders situated.
My Japanese meal
Inside the Kuchidori: Braised Brown Algea in Soy-based Sauce, Grilled Chicken with Yuzu-Citron Flavored Pepper, Simmer Sweet Potato in Lemon Sauce, and Japanese Omelet.
Today’s shusai: Grilled Sablefish with Soy-based Sauce
The Japanese meal really hit the spot. This was the first time I had taken the Japanese meal among the many flights taken to and from NRT as well as the lone flight out of KIX. I had never had fishbait, but it had no taste to it. Also, I believe this was the first time I actually had fish on an airplane mainly avoiding it because of the classic comedy, Airplane. The only complaint was the presence of some fish bones.
After the meal had ended, I headed to the lavs early to change back to my regular clothes and freshen up. I watched the FAs tear down the snack galley and fill in the extra empty carts with trash and used items. On the way back to my seat, I noticed a bunch of passengers in the rear portion of the J cabin kept on sleeping while we approached the Japanese coastline.
Staring out among the sea of “cotton balls”.
Rather than enjoy the little time left on the flight laying down, I put my seat in a recline position. Now like the LX and OZ J seats, I wish the recline position had a bit of a tilt for a cradle feel, rather than feeling like you are seated on a low chair. I perused the reading material next to me as the rest of the passengers freshened themselves up. Going over my menu, I saw they had ice cream available as a mid-flight snack. I will have to remember that on the return.
As the FAs finished up their preparations for arrival, we entered final approach into NRT. The chief purser started her pre-arrival speech in Japanese. At that time, the FAs went onto the aisles in different areas, and when the chief purser was near the end of her speech in Japanese, they all bowed, much different from grumpy UA FAs and their lack of service and at times respect.
Before I knew it, the seat belt sign turned on, and then minutes later the double chimes indicating touching down on Runway 34L at NRT.
We enjoyed a nice smooth landing and made our long taxi to Gate 43. I remember back in the early 1990s, Concourse 4 home to gates 40-48 were the main gates for NW along with AZ and the old SN-Sabena; concourse 1 handled some domestic JL flights while concourse 2 handled most of JL’s international flights. Today, Terminal 1 is the home of most Star Alliance and Skyteam airlines while Terminal 2 houses Oneworld flights and the new Terminal 3 for the low cost carriers.
Once we docked at the gate, we collected our stuff and started to make our way to the transfer area to connect to our next flight to MNL. Before exiting, Yuki-san manned 2R. She and a NRT ground personnel stood next to the exit. When she saw me, she said “Thank you Mr. C. for flying with us.” In turn I replied “ありがとうございました” as did they with a bow.
The Los Angeles Business Lounge (oneworld) - TBIT
Los Angeles - LAX
Tokyo - NRT
While I am not sure if the NH agents at LAX are actual employees or contract employees, they truly started this trip off well!
I know you have a choice in trip reports. If this is your first time, thank you! If you are a repeat reader, welcome back! Thanks for reading so far and please comment!
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