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I didn't intend to post a report but the refurbishment of the TU lounge in Tunis has convinced me to publish.
My final destination is Hokkaidō island (北海道), the most northerly of the four main islands of the archipelago of Japan,
and second novelty to me it will happen during the Kōyō(紅葉) period , the autumn equivalent of cherry blossom.
The choice of the company has met several criteria / constraints.
TK's fares, the company I used most frequently, became unaffordable from TUN
and with booking classes providing very few miles.
So I opted for MS for a trip to Japan in June.
The experience was very satisfying and I had two long haul flights that were among the best
that I had in eco: recognition of the status on board, correct catering,
amenity kit, hotel provided (with a buffet dinner) during a long transit, and so on …
The bad side is security check at the gate in the CAI bazaar.
Unfortunately for this trip the only availabilities were in booking classes Y and B
at prohibitive prices.
These two eliminated, the * A possibilities from TUN are limited to … LH.
I take a look without complacency but I immediately find an advantage:
unlike MS or TK that would have forced me to buy additional NH tickets costing between
170 and 200 € return to get from TYO to Hokkaido, LH rates are the same
whatever Japanese cities you are flying to and open jaws are possible without restrictions.
Only constraint the stop overs more than 24 hours at TYO are increasing the fare.
No problem for this trip the 24 hours are enough for me.
I avoid the 2 am redeye flight to stall me on the late morning one.
Then I have the choice between a LH flight and a NH codehare flight.
The LH flight will allow me to try an aircraft that I probably would not have
the opportunity to try later, the 748-i.
Moreover it arrives around 12 o'clock at HND which suits me.
I will take the codeshare NH for my inbound flight: with all the "benefits" of a codeshare, no reservation
Communications with NH is a nightmare, as often with Korean or Japanese companies.
After many emails and phone calls I was able to book my seats on the domestic flights
but not for the NH flight(LH codeshare) "because it is in a LH booking" I was told.
But domestic flights too …
Let's go ahead for the description of the second flight of this routing entirely ***** Skyhoax:
Looking at my booking, I found that LH had Buy on Board Meals options.
This FR has not a lot of pictures because I did not intend to publish a report
After disembarking from my previous flight by airbridge (yes, yes, an airbridge in FRA!)
I head to the Z doors where my flight for Haneda is departing.
Entering the lounge I am surprised to see the two dragons with fans but I will quickly understand why.
My BP is not readable, I've been asked my card.
I will later print a new one at the LH desk inside
Immediately I'm feeling the heat inside the lounge and I understand why the dragons had fans.
There is a kids' corner that I find nice.
The lounge is as usual very busy but I find a table that has just been released.
The food offer includes many hot dishes but there is no cold cuts.
The B Gates lounge "City Lights" with its bar is much nicer
Teas, fizzy sodas, draft beers and spirits
Wines and sparkling wines
A little further there is a salad bar not very attractive to me
Waters, coffees and various salty and sweet snacks
Next to the salad bar beer bottles and fruits
My first choice
The breaded chicken is ok, the Goulaschsuppe not to my taste (and usually I like that), the Leberkäse really not memorable and the Knödel better to forget.
Second attempt with squash soup. I took some more breaded chicken with the Knödel mushroom sauce
I try the Bouvet rosé but I could not finish the glass and it is not snobbery because there are many Crémant I prefer than average Champagne.
The time to board is approaching, I'm going to take a shower.
It is hot in the shower room as in the lounge and I come out sweaty.
But now it's time to go to the gate.
I was able to get a free seat at the OLCI in the mini eco cabin located before the Premium Eco cabin.
I saved 50 €, the fee LH is selling that seat, which is really expensive in my opinion for a normal seat
Approaching the gate I panic!
The eco pax are more than 95% Japanese so there are endlessly queuing in perfect order.
No time to take a picture I'm afraid to find myself at the end of the queue.
The boarding of priority pax has already begun, there is almost no one left, so I rush in the priority lane.
The aircraft of the day is D-ABYL, first flight was on 03/01/2014, almost 5 years.
I'm heading to my seat.
The legroom is not so bad, I was expecting much worse
The boarding of pax eco is beginning a few seconds after I'm seating.
The cabin fills up quickly in a perfectly ordered ballet.
The PTVs are already functional but I'm only watching at the geovision
The tray table with its useful two parts
Goblet holder and magazine rack
The remote control in the armrest, not necessarily the most practical
The bulkhead seats that I had hesitated to choose and that I do not regret
View on the Business Class
A blanket is available
And a headphone. Not useful for me as I'm using my own noise reduction headphone
The menu is distributed. It is flattering. It reminds me SQ's one.
The boarding is complete since a long time.
It was too fast with all these disciplined Japanese pax.
It took about fifteen minutes while the flight is almost complete in eco.
We will wait a long time.
After take off the meal service is starting with the distribution of an oshibori.
Here again we find the SQ protocol.
Aperitif is offered : the snacks are not really to my taste
Then choice between a western and Japanese meal.
Japanese meal for me, of course
There is a lot food compared to the meals served on other long haul LH destinations
Buckwheat Noodles with Wasabi and Chives
Mixed seasonal Salad with Italian Dressing
The usual LH salad but XXL size
Chicken Leg with Sake, Spring Onion Sauce, mixed Mushrooms and Vegetables,
Japanese Rice with Egg
There is also bread, butter and a little chocolate on the tray.
Metal cutlery and disposable wooden chopsticks.
The hot dish was excellent.
I'm not crazy of cold sobas but they were good.
The salad …. It was a salad!
Then there is a passage for tea or coffee
It will be a green tea for me
The FAs are nice, there are also Japanese FAs.
There will be several passages to offer water during the flight.
I'm watching geovision and with my noise cancelling headphone I'm listening to my smartphone's music program.
Time flows by.
I walk many times in the cabin: in the galleys there were beverage, cakes and the best for me, onigiris that I really like a lot.
A bit more than 1h30 before the arrival the breakfast service begins
it starts with an oshibori
Then the tray
I agree that the presentation of the main dish is not the most appetizing but it was good.
There is also bread, butter, jam and fruit.
Plastic cutlery with this meal.
My beverage's choice is a green tea and sparkling water
Everybody is quiet
We are slowly getting closer to our final destination
Landing and long taxi before arriving at the gate
It takes me a long time to clear immigration and then I have a full search of my hand luggage at customs
Teasing for the next flight
During my transit time in Tokyo, the evening of my arrival, I had the chance that a local acquaintance serves me as a passepartout for some places that are not always obvious to visit for a tourist (sometimes they are not allowing foreigners ).
It will be Shinjuku Goldengai whose map can give you the idea of concentrating small bars in a few narrow streets.
In order not to make him feel uncomfortable I did not take pictures of the streets or food from what we visited.
We started with Takoyaki: they are dumplings, similar to pancake batter, containing pieces of octopus.
They are cooked in molds like waffles.
Then we ate a tonkatsu (which is a Japanese Wienerschnitzel) with a curry sauce.
Then we ate a tonkatsu (which is a Japanese Wienerschnitzel) with a curry sauce.
For the visit of Kabukicho, the hot district of Tokyo, I completely refrained from taking pictures.
Then we went to the side of Omoide Yokochô (known for its famous lane piss Shomben Yokochô), to eat in izakayas.
A first, rather specialized in okonomiyaki (yaki 焼 き = grilled).
These are piles of ingredients cut into small pieces cooked on a plate.
For us first squid
Then it will be my Natto deflowering.
Natto is made from fermented soybeans.
It often looks repulsive because of its sticky texture and strong smell (reminiscent of cheese) but its taste is not as bad as one might think.
For my first time it will be cooked in an omelette.
It was white Natto.
In Hokkaido I ate black Natto, with a more pronounced taste.
I accompanied him with sake (rice alcohol)
My friend was him at Hoppy: a beer flavored drink with a very low alcohol content.
Then we ate an okonomiyaki
Our second izakaya is specialized in yakitori
We find the yaki which means grilled. The Yakitori literally meaning grilled bird are skewers.
These will be the most traditional since chicken based.
We will eat differents parts of the chicken, the heart, the tail, the liver and the gizzard.
There is also a salad and I washed it all with Umeshu (plum brandy)
The next day I left for Hokkaido and my first stop was the small town of Biei
An excellent flight with LH.
I was afraid of the comfort of the seat but finally the legroom was decent, there was no IFE box
to prevent me from stretching my legs: a good surprise.
The FAs were all nice and smiling, German as Japanese.
The catering is the second very good surprise: not only was it a lot
more substantial than what I used to see in the LH long haul reports but it was good.
The onigiris were also a big plus because it is nourishing (and I like that a lot)
I'am not watching IFE except for geovision but the content seemed to be ok.
The lounge was way too hot and I found the food offer insufficient and
of mediocre quality.
Anyway I will not grade it severely because it can be a matter of taste.
FRA's transit was ok.
Especially as I was able to use the fast track.
There are still important distances to walk.
I had a long time to clear immigration and a full search of my hand luggage by customs.
Not the best airport for the public transportation, nor the informations displayed