Well, yes, but before we start, I have to acknowledge some things. Work was crazy the last week, and I was putting in 16 hour days to have any chance of pulling this trip off. At the last minute, thanks to supportive management and coworkers, I was in a place to actually consider this trip as long as I could put in a few hours each day remotely. But then, I started thinking…a trip like this isn’t easy. It’s a lot of time on planes (even in first) and it’s stressful on the body. Plus, didn’t I say I would travel less after I hit every country?
This is when I was reminded I have amazing friends. I leaned on a handful of friends pretty hard to talk through it, and ironically they all ended with the same advice: whichever decision you make, to stay or go, you won’t regret it. Just do what feels right. So, when a decision is 50-50, there’s only one way to decide… Sacajawea I stay, Tails I fly I away…
With that, I flipped it across the room at 3:30 am… (yes, I’d been torn on this decision up until the very last moment)
Tails. I go. Better hurry up and pack and get to the airport. No sleep for me tonight!
Got to DCA about 45 minutes before the flight, no wait for security, so time for a quick “breakfast” in the United Club. Check out the napkin, guess they know where I’m going:
Time to board!
United Express flight 3637, operated by Republic
Washington DC National (DCA) to Chicago, O’Hare (ORD)
Depart 6:00, Arrive 7:20, Flight Time: 2:20
Embraer ERJ-175, Registration N731YX, Manufactured 2015, Seat 2A
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 612
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,365,013
Pre-departure beverage. Anything was on offer, water was all I wanted. Gotta pace myself.
In flight snack basket. Diet Coke and Caramello Latte biscotti – not complainign, I’m addicted to these things.
Landed O’Hare a few minutes early, and having been up all night needed more caffeine. Of course, they got my name wrong again.
Made it to the United Polaris Lounge, and they now have a cooked to order menu. Veuve Cliquot and eggs benny. Life is good.
Because once you start you can’t stop, the Latin American Paper Plane cocktail. Talked to the lounge manager, and the mini paper planes that usually get clipped to the rim he orders from some lady on pinterest, and apparently she can’t make them as fast as he needs them.
Veuve and ambiance.
Hallway to the showers and washrooms – I like the “stars” on the ceiling.
Then, it was time for today’s main show. First of many, many flights in first this trip.
ANA All Nippon flight 11
Chicago, O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo, Narita (NRT)
Depart 10:45, Arrive 15:10 next day, Flight Time: 13:25
Boeing 777-300ER, Registration JA731A, Manufactured 2004, Seat 2K
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 6,886
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,371,287
My suite for the 12+ hours to Tokyo. The only downside is that it blocks the windows, making it a little hard to look out if you’re not super tall:
Long trip, trying to minimize luggage and washing clothes, so looking excited in my ANA PJs. Super comfy!
The post-takeoff Krug has arrived
Amuse bouche of smoked salmon and scallop tartar in bouchée pie, pumpkin gnocchi with cheese sauce, risotto wrapped in roast beer, and cheese pepper bar. The roast beef was especially tasty.
Mushroom bavarois with caviar and cauliflower soup. Sad to see they cut back on on the caviar.
Beautiful presentation, however.
Salad with bacon and more Krug? Don’t mind if I do!
Fillet of beef with shallot cream, escargot sauce. Yup, I risked the beef.
A perfect medium to medium-rare. Best cooked steak I’ve ever had on a plane.
Cheese! Gorgonzola, camebert, piave vecchio with a glass of Petaluma Shiraz.
Warm hazelnut bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious.
Post-dinner chocolates and a glass of Hibiki 21 Japanese whiskey. It was amazing….
Eventually, staying up all night the night before caught up with me, and I passed out. For eight solid hours. It was glorious.
Not five minutes later, there was hot tea waiting for me.
Snack time! But first…more Krug!
Japanese set snack. Kobachi (deep-friend scallop with grated daikon radish sauce), Shusai (Saikyo miso-grilled Spanish mackerel), steamed rice, miso soup, and Japanese pickles. She offered me Natto (fermented soybeans) and I wasn’t going to play the weak westerner so I went for it. Taste was just ok, but they were sticky and gluey, and really hard to eat!
“This is special shellfish for help digest the alcohol.” What are you saying here…
More cheese was found to finish it off….along with a glass of shiraz.
The perfect ending – vanilla and caramel ice cream and a few glasses of the Hibiki whiskey. It was amazing.
Facebook filters show just how enjoyable the Hibiki was…
Landed 10 minutes early after a suburb flight. Our gate was right next to transfer security, and right next to the ANA Suites lounges. Can’t get much better than that, after my 1000 meter dash across the same airport in December. View from the lounge:
After a shower I felt amazing, and it was time to continue the trip. ANA hit a home run in all areas pretty much, and can’t wait for the chance to fly them again. At the end of the trip, I’ll post a side-by-side comparison of all the first products.