This is the final installment of a multi-part series covering my trip from Seattle to San Jose to Narita to Hong Kong and back as an ANA Ambassador. My flight was provided by ANA, but all opinions are my own. Part1: San Jose to Tokyo on the 787 Dreamliner – Part2: Connecting in Tokyo’s Narita Airport – Part3: Tokyo to Hong Kong & Back Again – Part4: A Helicopter Flightseeing Tour of Hong Kong – Part 5: Two AvGeeks Visit Hong Kong.
After another short connection in Narita (made shorter by hunting for Japanese Kit Kats), I was heading home to Seattle onboard an ANA Boeing 777-300ER. This route originated last year on July 25th, and on the 1st of October it changed over to a 787 until the grounding. On the 1st of June, the same day we flew out of San Jose, the route resumed with the 777-300ER. What it meant for me was a nine hour flight home, with the gentle strum of GE-90s.
ANA operates their older model-777s on this route, so unfortunately there was no “Inspiration of Japan” service. Sold as a 2-class flight but operated by a 3-class aircraft, ANA reserves the first class seats for their top-tier frequent fliers. How do I know? I tried to get into those seats after picking it on the seat map. I failed, but it was worth a try, right?
I didn’t need to worry as the flight was a very light load — I counted only 10 people in Business Class. I had an entire section of the two row mini-cabin to myself. It may not have been First Class, but it was just as good. The safety demo was for me, and me alone (that really means you can’t get away with not paying attention).
As we climbed out of Tokyo the crew started service. Some people want to dine and then get right to sleep on flights like this. My plan for this flight? Work first, eat a meal, more work, and then maybe a movie. I wanted to land ready to keep myself going for the remainder of the day, as I was going back early in the day thanks to the International Date Line. At the time where most passengers started to sleep, I decided it was time for the main event!
I love Japanese food, so the chance to get a multi-course meal catered from Japan was awesome! The amuse bouche (which wasn’t listed on the menu) was a bit interesting, but after that came all the amazing tastes and sensations you’d expect. The meal was carefully presented and, as is usual with Japanese cuisine, looked so pretty that you did not want to touch it. I did though, enjoying the courses slowly. The main course was conger eel, something I had never experienced before and it was extremely tasty.
After dinner I purchased from the onboard duty-free offerings (had to get rid of my last Japanese yen somehow) and then it was time to settle back down and keep working. Time seemed to fly (pun intended), and before I knew it my work was finished with two hours until arrival.
Soon it was time for some breakfast and my mind was saying “sleep,” while my stomach was saying “eat”; so I ate! ANA offers a specialty ramen dish to their Business Class guests from the famous Ippudo Ramen House. I gave it a try and the broth was tasty, fragrant, and not overly hot. The portion size was great for a snack, so I was still a bit peckish. They had a “Deluxe Cheeseburger” on the menu. I didn’t really need it, but hey… the things I do for the readers.
There were scattered clouds over Seattle as we approached (I was fading in and out of consciousness). There was a good patch of sunshine over SeaTac as we took a long circle to the south to line up for Runway 34L. Then… just like that, my trip was over.
I have to admit that the Seattle flight doesn’t feel long enough; I wish it could have kept on going. The crew was amazing, the food fantastic, and the seat, although not the same as more high-profile routes, was still quite comfortable.
After a whirlwind trip that had me away for only four nights, covering over 14,300 miles, I was sad to see all the fun end. But it was also good to be home. Athough I cannot wait until my next adventure.
| Malcolm Muir – Lead Correspondent
Mal is an Australian AvGeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.
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