Hello, ladies and gentlemen. This is my first report of one of my best flights ever, FRA (Frankfurt)-HND (Tokyo Haneda) with ANA's 787. I found this outstanding website through a member of www.AeropuertosARG.com.ar, an Argentine commercial aviation website, where I usually write flight reports.
I had planned this trip to Japan by July 2012, but then I suffered an appendicitis that frustrated my vacation and forced me to stay on ground for a while. Then I had the chance to fly to Tokyo for New Year's Eve, for (my) summer vacation and this time, without my appendix, nothing could stop me…
There are many options to fly from Argentina to Japan, of course not in a non-stop flight. With a stopover in Europe: Air France, British, Lufthansa, KLM, Alitalia, etc. With a stopover in North America: American, United, Delta and even Aeroméxico. Also with a stopover in Middle East: Qatar, Emirates and Turkish. Finally I chose Lufthansa and Star Alliance to get Japan, because I wanted to fly a Japanese airline with a B787 on a long segment. The journey from my country, Argentina, started 2 days before when I left my hometown, Córdoba (CBA) to Buenos Aires (AEP), with LAN Argentina (4M) in an A320. Then I moved to Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport, where wide bodied aircraft operate. The Lufthansa B744 flight EZE-FRA was uneventful and I had to spend a night in one of the most boring cities I've ever been, since Cocoon Club filed for bankruptcy, last year http://www.factmag.com/2012/09/14/legendary-frankfurt-club-cocoon-club-goes-into-administration/ (yes, I like techno music, but not as much as commercial aviation). Next morning I woke up early and took the cheap S9 train from HBF station to Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1 where Lufthansa and other Star Alliance members operate. The weather was cloudy and cold, typical in German winter. After a fast check-in, security scanning and immigration, I enjoyed spotting most of the Lufthansa's fleet aircraft. If we talk about design, FRA has nothing to do with most of mega airports in its league. Terminal 1 is mostly old, boring and dark, but it's friendly spotter with its terrace and big transparent windows.
A Lufthansa's A333
Air Canada's Boeing 777-300ER
I liked the LH B747-8i very much, a still very rare machine. I hope we can see it in Buenos Aires soon
And finally I spotted my plane: B787-800. I was really happy to watch a Dreamliner again. It was my third flight on a 787 (after an EZE-SCL round trip with LAN in October 2012).
Two smiling female FA greeted me at the door with a traditional Japanese bowing. Then I moved to my seat. The cabin was rather empty in Economy Class. It's one of the most exclusive economy class you can find today on a wide body aircraft (112 seats). Also ANA is one of the few (also Japan Ailines, that I remember) that offer 2-4-2 seat configuration on its long range 787 fleet, making an 11 hour flight a very pleasant experience. The economy seats were clamshell type but with comfortable cushion, although I prefer reclining seats.
The PTV was big enough for Economy and with good resolution
The airshow map had very good satellite imagery, like this one before take off
Before push-back started I took this picture
Once the engines start, there is an electric hum coming from the electric pumps, that you can only hear on a B787. It's a quiet plane although not as quiet as the A380. Few minutes after take off, cabin crew delivered oshiboris. Then, rice crackers and a drink were served. I chose ANA's original drink. It was one of the most delicious drinks I've ever tasted. Almost an addictive drink :P Nobody was seating next to me, so I left my empty glass on that tray table.
The B787 amazing wing
Few minutes later, lunch (or dinner in Japan's time) was served. There were two options. I chose the Japanese instead of the Western meal. Miso soup, rice, shrimps and seafood. Everything on a bento style tray. Very original. I preferred to keep the chopsticks as souvenir and use the metal cutlery. A good quality detail, very rare in Western airlines Economy classes.
Shortly after an ice cream and a hot drink were served
Almost immediately after the cups were collected, the windows were dimmed to give a night effect. Like MARATHON, I hate being forced to shut my windows during daylight… Boeing 787s don't let you rebel against unjust laws. Cabin crew dimmed the electrochromic windows for everyone, almost until landing… Darkness was a strange sensation since It was 1PM in Germany and 9AM in Argentina…
I couldn't sleep at all, so I visited a lavatory. I found an electronic bidet. I bet only Japanese airlines can offer bidets on their aircraft. A truly national symbol of Japan. Electronic bidets are everywhere in Tokyo: museums, art galleries, airports, hotels and even planes :P
Later I returned to my seat and explored the IFE. It's focused on Japanese music and movies. I don't like Japanese teen pop at all. Fortunately I discovered Asano Sho, a traditional Japanese Shamisen player. Listening to his music relaxed me and made me feel in a Japanese mood…
A few hours later, after watching a documentary about ANA's 60th anniversary (unfortunately in Japanese only) I went to the rear galley. There were fruits, chocolates and crackers available. The female FA I found there was very nice but shy, like most Japanese girls, I would say. I asked her some questions about the ANA's original drink. Sadly she told me that this incredible drink is sold on board ANA flights only… I tried to sleep a few minutes and listened to some house music. We were flying over China. I felt nostalgic when I realized I was almost 20.000km away from my hometown, Córdoba…
An hour before landing, breaksfast was served. I asked for the Japanese meal again. It was very good. Salmon, potatoes, rice, etc. And, of course my drink. I remember a male FA asked me: Sir, would you like ANA's drink? Last chance to try it.. Of course, I replied with a big smile. At that moment the whole crew recognized me as the ANA's drink addict.. :P
And a few minutes before take off the FA I was talking to in the galley brought me this:
Can you imagine my surprise? That girl spent some of her free time writing a postcard to me… I fell in love immediately with ANA, Japan and her… I have no words to express that feeling. Love at first sight…
Finally we landed in Tokyo International Airport, a.k.a Haneda. It was raining and cold (5°C).
Last pic of one of my best flights ever
Tourist bonus. I spent one of my best New Year´s Eve at Womb Club. The best club in Tokyo, if you enjoy techno music. For those who like electronic music, Ellen Allien and Apparat from Berlin were the DJs on the main floor. Great club with nice cool people that I would recommmed for single or divorced flight reporters…
Frankfurt - FRA
Tokyo - HND
ANA cabin crew is by far the best I've ever seen in an airline. The ANA's 787 seat configuration with 8 seats abreast and only 112 seats have no comparison in comfort. Meal was simply delicious, if you like seafood. Maybe they would need more movies in English language, to get a perfect Economy Class.
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