Review of Japan Airlines flight Chicago Tokyo in First

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL009
Class First
Seat 2A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 13:15
Take-off 10 Mar 14, 11:15
Arrival at 10 Mar 14, 14:30
JL   #4 out of 112 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 99 reviews
lagentsecret
By 31349
Published on 6th April 2014
Thanks to JetSetPanda for the great help for the translation

Following my itinerary culminating with this ORD-NRT flight on JL F.

Tunis (TUN) - Istanbul (IST) Turkish Airlines (Eco, B737-800)
http://flight-report.com/en/report-6346.html
Istanbul (IST) - New York ( JFK) Turkish Airlines (Eco, A330-300)
http://flight-report.com/en/report-6497.html
New York (LGA) - Chicago (ORD) American Airlines (Eco, B737-800)
http://flight-report.com/en/report-6510.html
Chicago (ORD) - Tokyo (NRT) Japan Airlines (First, B777-300ER)
Tokyo (NRT) - Istanbul (IST) Turkish Airlines (Affaires, B777-300ER)
Istanbul (IST) - Hong Kong(HKG) Turkish Airlines (Affaires, B777-300ER)
Hong Kong (HKG) - Seoul (ICN) Asiana Airlines (Affaires, A330-300)
Seoul (ICN) - Istanbul(IST) Asiana Airlines (Affaires, A330-300)
Istanbul(IST) - Francfort(FRA) Turkish Airlines (Eco, A320)
Francfort(FRA) _ Londres(LHR) British Airways (Eco, B767)
Londres(LHR) - Paris(CDG) British Airways (Eco, B737-800)
Paris(CDG) - Istanbul(IST) Turkish Airlines (Eco, A330-300)
Istanbul(IST) - Tunis(TUN) Turkish Airlines (Eco, B737-800)

This mixture of paid and reward tickets produced in return 800 euros in revenue tickets, 106,500 Avios, 52,500 miles and 273 euros in taxes and fees for issuing award tickets.
I will travel 34,245 miles (or 55,111 km) or 1.38 times around the earth

After a pleasant evening with my host who introduced me to this excellent wine from Oregon, I am excited to be on my way to the airport.
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The JL counters are located next to AA.
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One counter where an employee attempts to enforce the rules with great difficulty
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This would have been a quick registration if it were not for the agent who asks me how I will leave Japan since my ticket is one-way (I travel with seven different tickets).

After this minor set back I was promptly given my boarding pass along with a tag for my cabin luggage.
photo 201403NYC_0405photo 201403NYC_0404

Heading to security where there is no fast track.
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But there are only few people in line and I am in the secured side quickly.
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I don’t see signs for the Flagship Lounge so I follow the ones for the Admiral's Club where they are usually found next to each other.
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Some spotting along the way.
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Here I am !
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I am nicely greeted and told that I can go to the Flagship Lounge that is next to my gate where there is a full bar!

Upon leaving I spot this NH plane in the process of arriving.


Here I am at my gate.
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My 77W in OneWorld livery, JA732J whose first flight was on 24/02/2003, was facing the opposite way where the arriving passengers disembarked.
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A 772 from AA passes by regally


On the right side there is this
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And the entrance to the Flagship lounge
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Warm and cheerful welcome from the dragon
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The rest is just like any US domestic lounge
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Isn’t this a comprehensive offer of alcoholic beverages : the full bar that I’ve been promised ;)


American sparkling wine ? Nein Danke ! I like the one waiting for me onboard better ;)


I find the continental breakfast really poor.


Newspapers’ offer.
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My selection
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This deserved a wiping.


Like LX !
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Corporate picture
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It will be difficult for me to do better than these two pictures at this angle because of the position of bridge
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I'm impatient and I prefer to turn around the gate rather than stay in the lounge
Boarding is announced and I head down the jetbridge.
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To discover this nice but unexceptional cabin
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My seat 2A
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Next is 2D
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In the back is Business Class
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A small gesture to regain my emotions.
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The control with the express seat options.
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The control with more features.
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Views from the seat.
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The pitch
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The slippers.
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The Bose noise reducing headphones.
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Presentation of onboard wifi.
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Safety card
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Seat instructions.
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Seat pocket contents.
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Some traces of usage.
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The individual light.
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Other views of the seat and cabin.


Here it sits ;)
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but on a small paper napkin: not posh for two cents
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Distribution of reading materials, majority in Japanese.
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And a blanket!
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This blanket was given to me unpacked, the door was still open, so at first I thought it was only used as a blanket during this phase of the flight but no other blankets were offered later.
I confess that I was surprised at its quality (rough and coarse to the touch) and condition.
It made me think of a blanket for animals.
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Storage space.
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Old Style control and telephone.
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New style control.


Electrical outlet multi standard RCA video
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Slippers
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Comfortable size screen.
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Security video.
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Spinning and rolling: I'm (gently) scolded for taking pictures so it will refrain myself and switch to a hiding mode during this phase.


A private plane


Headphone details.
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Take off


Distribution of pajama
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Visit the toilet to put on my pajamas: nothing special to share except for the toothbrushes available and of course the Japanese toilet
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Distribution of a hot towel that will stay with me for quite some time before being retrived.
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And menus.
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Wine menu.


Menu


Amuse bouche : I very much like the endive for its originality.
Corn Blanc Manger, Grilled Scallop with Caponata, White Meat Fish Brandade with Saffran Flavor
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More champagne, Sir ? ;)


I cannot get tired of these waves.
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Zatsuki
Shrimp, Scallop and Yam with miso sauce


Caviar
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I'm not usually fond of these but I found this one great
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Tribute to Flight- Report and especially to Leadership
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Afterward the Japanese Appetizer
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You will notice the still present oshibori


Kobachi
Simmered Beef with Potato Sauce
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Soybean Milk Tofu with Sea Urchin Soy Sauce
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Simmered Spring Vegetables
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Tsubo
Wakame Seaweed & Young Sardines with Grated Radish
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Shiizakana
Squid Sushi with Mashed Potato/Duck Roll with Welsh Onion/Simmered Greenland Halibut
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Mukouzuke
White Meat Fish Sashimi Style
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Dainomono
Grilled Sablefish Miso Flavor/Mini Beef Steak
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Soup
Japan Clear Soup with Steamed Shrimp Mousse
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Hanmono
Seasoned Steamed Rice with Chicken & Burdock
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Japanese Pickles
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In order to taste the two kinds I take the
Hanmono
Steamed Rice (Koshihakiri Rice)
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All these delicacies are sublime against the landscape below


The FA then passes with a basket of snacks where I select these
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She then offered me the cheese course: I'm not in the mood but to be able to take a picture for the report I accept
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The corporate picture at this time during the flight.
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Japanese Sweet
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Which I accompany with green tea
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FlyingJapans : what is this for ?
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The always snowy landscapes that follow each other


Something intriguing that I really wanted to taste: Royal Blue Tea
For more information http://artandentertainme.blogspot.com/2011/01/royal-blue-tea-jewel-of-japan.html


Distribution of a bottle of water
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I check if I can use this marvel of technology or if I should use my best smile for a snack;)
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This will be the second option
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In addition the choice of music is really restricted:(
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A FA asks me if I want my bed to be turned down: I suggest that 2D is used for this purpose
At least like pititom who has a seat and a bed;)


There is a soft side and a hard side to the mattress
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For the moment I am connected but there are long periods without any connection.
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The price of 21.95 usd would be fine for a 13 hour flight except for the drops.
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I also ask for the amenity kit which was not offered to me.
Afterwards I understand why
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A plastic pouch with cheap contents : particularly the toothbrush :(
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At least it has some products
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We are here then
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The bed which in itself is comfortable enough without too many extras and could be really emphasized.
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The headphone with its specific plug. I end up using mine.
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I need a little lift: let’s test the Margaux!
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Rather good!
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A snack basket with more conventional items are offered in comparison to the previous one.
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We are not moving faster and it suits me well to have a second glass of Margaux.
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By default the IFE is in German !!
Perhaps due to the brand on the glasses : Riedel
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Preparing the table for my snack


Always a nice view to enjoy the snacks

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Garlic bread : we are far from SQ which is always my source of reference for garlic bread
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Foie Gras stuffed Chicken Breast with Morel Sauce
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A big disappointment : fortunately I have chosen the Japanese option !
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The meat is very dry
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The sauce without any taste
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And the foie gras stuffing ? what foie gras ?? The taste is overwhelmed by the herbs de provence if there was any foie gras
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Fortunately a small dessert will make me forget this disappointment
Orange Curaçao Cake & Ice Cream
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Always passing through beautiful landscapes


A PNC brings me a bottle of white Japanese wine : I have not asked (for once!)) but in order to not appear ungrateful I thank her with a big smile and taste the wine.
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I am not a fan of white wines, except for sweet ones, so this does not excite me
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Then came the PNC back and she apologized profusely, I forgive her showing great indulgence

We are almost there
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I listen to my own music
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The available films are always blockbusters
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I do not get tired :)


But when we approach Anchorage we experience some heavy turbulence (FAs sit down !)
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That last close to two hours
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I console myself by listening to Ellie Goulding who wiggles along ;)


After this shaky interlude it's time to test the menu starting with snacks
Japanese Vegetable Keema Curry with Steamed Rice
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Sprinkled with Salon, it is simply the best curry I've eaten
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Seared Salmon & Salmon Roe with Grated Yam on Steamed Rice
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We are here
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I receive an email with a picture of the FR gathering in NYC
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Time covered
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Time is passing by slowly :(
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Sensing that I was probably about to succumb to hunger, the PNC improvised a nice interlude
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Attention to the baguette holder from Business class
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I finished writing the first FR of the routing and publish it in stride
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It is still possible to test some dishes
Portabella Mushroom Gnocchi with Vegetable Cream Sauce
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This dish confirms my predilection for Japanese options when flying on JL

Japanese Hot Udon Noodles with Seaweed
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And I will not leave this cabin without sampling the coffee “ceremony”
Coffee pump is supplied with an hourglass: you must press the pump when the grains have passed
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In fact despite the ceremonial procedure the coffee was not that great !

And afterwards a little sweet
Ice Cream
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This time we start our approach


Landing


On time arrival, disembarking and unfortunately a long wait without fast track
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See more

Verdict

Japan Airlines

8.8/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment7.5
Meal/catering10.0

American Airlines Flagship Lounge

4.9/10
Comfort4.5
Meal/catering4.5
Entertainment6.0
Services4.5

Chicago - ORD

8.2/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Tokyo - NRT

7.5/10
Efficiency4.0
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

My expectations were huge on this flight
In fact I have not been disappointed in terms of comfort : a classic cabin with comfortable seating, full flat bed and adequate privacy since we were 4 pax, each one per window. If the cabin was full my feelings would have been different.

The bed could have been better but it was good enough for sleeping and lounging.

The amenity kits, just like the pajama, are of average quality, not worthy of First

The FAs (all females) were adorable and surprisingly much more communicative and less shy than I expected.
Several times a FA stopped by to discuss with me my Japanese choices, surprised that a Westerner would choose raw fish. The service was smooth and amicable, and for sure without excesses.

A wide selection of catering: I loved the Japanese options, though I'm not really an expert, western options were rather disappointing but given the choice it is always possible to find something to eat

Entertainment is a big disappointment for its lack of variety even if I mainly use Geovision because music is an essential component to a good flight for me.

Punctuality: nothing to say except that JL could offer a fast track to its premium pax.

Informations on the route Chicago (ORD) Tokyo (NRT)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Chicago (ORD) → Tokyo (NRT).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is Japan Airlines with 9.1/10.

The average flight time is 13 hours and 17 minutes.

 

5 Comments

  • Comment 104852 by
    jetsetpanda 2164 Comments

    Thank you for sharing the English version of your magnificent trip report.

    Impressive pictures throughout this report. Too bad that the Western choices were somewhat disappointing.

    Look forward to reading your next trip report. I bet it is going to be around your neck of the woods ;)

      0
  • Comment 104853 by
    Caribel 113 Comments

    I enjoyed the attention to detail in writing this travel essay. I was surprised to read the check-in agent did not offer an escort to the Flagship lounge. Motorized carts are easy to summon via handheld radio.

    I wish somebody would have corrected the FA pouring vintage champagne at 90 degrees vs. 45 as is supposed to. The excess bubbling reduces the bouquet and subtle flavors.

    The forgotten hot towel may have been meant to double as a clean-up rag for after frisky time alone:)

    Superb dish presentation. I would have loved to try a flight of sake tastings to compare the differences of diverse Japanese regions. The lack of Kobe beef, toro tuna, handmade chocolate truffles, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and Japanese home grown fruits suggest cost cutting measures.

    Looking forward to many more FR! Maybe one day our paths will cross 007. I'll use the secret phrase: Ants in France strut with elegance :).

      0
  • Comment 104888 by
    eminere™ 248 Comments

    Stunning flight report and all those food pictures! Amazing.

      1
  • Comment 104935 by
    KévinDC TEAM 3919 Comments

    Beautiful report, from the planespotting to the cabin pics, to the catering pics to the aerial views--just stunning! Champagne and Caviar...that's the true First class experience! Definitely a classy way to return home from the NYC meet-up.

      0

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