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Old Jul 22, 15, 12:29 pm   #76
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Segments 7, 8 and 9: TYO-TOY-TYO-OSA

For the domestic flights I chose ANA. On earlier Japan trips I have used JL and the Yokoso fare, but they are a bit complicated to book. This time I wanted to explore Ana a bit more, and was thrilled to find their "Experience Japan" fare. It is similar priced to the Yokoso, but you can book it yourself without the use of a TA!
Domestic segments are short and don't earn that much. Like I said before, I wasn't in need of more points for my oneWorld renewal, so everything pointed in the *A direction.


7. HND-TOY NH317 B737 JA-80AN
Cabin and Seat: Economy, 12H

Priority boarding works generally extremely well in Japan and naturally with ANA too. They first invite their own Diamonds, then top tier members of ANA and other star alliance programs, and so on. Boarding is very clearly announced and sign posted and nobody tries to cut the line.

On this flight there are no Diamonds and as soon as they switch signs to Gold-boarding, I'm first at the gate. Perhaps they mistake me for a Diamond, because I get a personal gate agent to take care of me, escorting me down the jet bridge and doing a small chat. In japanese of course, and again my confidence is greater than my proficiency. She is initially thrilled by me looking like I can keep up with the chat, but she soon asks if I prefer to speak English. I do, and we soon find out that her confidence-proficiency-ratio is similar to mine. But the jet bridge is short and it is lovely company.

ANA domestic Y on such a short flight is quite no-thrills, but they are at least able to serve some drinks. I get a glass of apple juice a few minutes before the cabin has to be prepared for landing. I remember me thinking I do miss the Consommé JL serves on domestic flights.

Toyama is on the west coast, pretty much opposite Tokyo. It is a small town, with a small airport. But a little known fact is that it actually is an international airport, connecting to Taiwan, China and Korea.

Anyway, last time I was here I did all the local sights but it was the wrong season to do the alpine route and see the (great) wall of snow. Now, this being in mid June, one would think it was an even worse time, but news sites reports the wall to still be impressive 11 metres high (was 19 metres at season opening in april).

Time was short so I was forced to do a rush trip to the top of Tateyama (立山 - the mountain that stands up), turn around and head back the same way I came. Sky was all grey and it started raining and kept raining for the duration of the day, so it was actually a good thing being forced into the rush version. Now I've seen the snow wall, and I can return and do the whole alpine route (one full day of alpine travel) in another season.

The cable car, built in 1954, that pulls you up the mountain side at a steep angle.



Snow wall, melting before my eyes

It is quite strange to walk around in a snow landscape in the end of june, while people back home are celebrating the height of summer.



8. TOY-HND NH320 B737 JA-74AN
Cabin and Seat: Economy, 18C

Before I know it, it is time to return. The airport bus only runs approx. once per hour and there is no lounge at TOY. So inevitable a boring wait. The TOY-TYO flight was very similar to the outbound, and nothing more to be said.

Segment results:
BIS: 262
TP: 176 (to *A)
AP: 176 (to *A)



ANA business lounge Haneda
and
9. HND-KIX NH97 B772 JA-8199
Cabin and Seat: Economy, 21G

I am connecting to KIX the same evening, because my return home starts the next morning. Not that early (09.30) and initially I thought I would be able to connect to KIX in the morning. But that proved to be impossible. Neither any Shinkansen nor any domestic flights arrive early enough to allow for a morning connection at KIX. Something for me to remember.

I had 2 hours to spend at ANA lounge at HND but that was a bit too long, because it is also no-thrills. It is a nice lounge, but food is limited to rice crackers. The only fun thing is the draft-beer-with-perfect-foam machine, but even that gets old quickly.

So these 2 hours felt a bit long, before finally going to the gate waiting to board a 100% full B777, flying to KIX. And man, were there many Diamonds! I've never seen so many elites board ahead of me!

Still, nothing to eat and squeezed into the back of a 777 while realising this is my last night in Japan makes my mood fall rapidly.




Segment results:
BIS: 431
TP: 280
AP: 280
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Old Jul 22, 15, 1:24 pm   #77
  
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Very refreshing writing style, love it.

Kudos to your sense of humor!

You are right about the door key thing at Mercure Narita.

I love its location though.
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Old Jul 22, 15, 1:27 pm   #78
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10. Asiana Osaka Kansai - Seoul Incheon

KIX-ICN OZ115 B767 HL-7506
Cabin and Seat: Business, 1C

Well, pretty bummed last night, just like I always am when leaving Japan. I slept as long as possible, skipped breakfast and hurried to the airport, a bit on the late side. This Asiana flight leaves from the "Northern Wing" for which you need to take a train, and I am now trying to get there and grab some food in the lounge before leaving. I haven't eaten anything proper since yesterday lunch - and even that lunch was just a sandwich at coffee bar! (Damn you airlines for not keeping me fed!)

The gate area at KIX is not that large but has a somewhat unusual layout. And the ANA lounge is apparently furthest away from the train.

Finally - the ANA lounge at north wing


And finally some food!

Proper breakfast. Juice, berry-pastry and a mug of Sake!
OK, alright, there were other things too and I got properly fed.


Back on the 767 and I'm still choosing the centre seat. This time though I'm in row 1, as I usually like bulkheads best. While I sit here, I observe the crew greet everyone getting onboard. They have great language skills and, by the little I can tell, they are confident in Korean and English too.
There is a male purser, and he is great with kids, joking and frolicking a bit with every family that boards. It strikes me as pretty unusual for an Asian airline, but that might just be my prejudice.

Crew is as attentive as before, but the meal is quite disappointing.

The presentation isn't too bad, they clearly arranged the mushroom stack (lower middle) to look alive, but I guess I am not too fond of these stews.
Bread is delicious. I took 2 pieces.

Back at Incheon in the exact same lounge. I am a bit famished though and start off by mixing Eggplant caponata and deep fried chicken with vegetables. A croissant makes the mix it even weirder.

But of course I continue to raid the food section and feel better after awhile. The lunge is a bit more busy than last time, but still very far from full.


Segment results:
BIS: 859
TP: 0 (award)
AP: 0 (award)
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Old Jul 24, 15, 1:09 am   #79
  
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Very interesting. I have, in my dark past, been involved in marketing Toyama and surroundings as a tourist destination for the Korean market. It's quite an attractive spot, top Ryokan among others, maybe this report brings in more visitors...

Btw, KIX and Asiana in J , a favorite airport and airline combined. Even if the flight this time seemed less than perfect.
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Old Jul 24, 15, 3:31 am   #80
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Thanks steveman518, LeisureClassy, LH4116, TPJ, zeltergiset, Flythe96flag, Gripevo, Nevafazeme, allset2travel and all others for encouraging words. I hope to keep on meeting the expectations, even though not every part of the story can be exciting.

Next segment will be posted later today.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mosburger View Post
... I have, in my dark past, been involved in marketing Toyama and surroundings as a tourist destination for the Korean market. It's quite an attractive spot, top Ryokan among others, maybe this report brings in more visitors...
...
Interesting to know!
And indeed it is, together with neighbouring Kanazawa ('the golden swamp'), an attractive part of Japan. There is so much more to Japan than just the big cities.
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Old Jul 24, 15, 8:03 am   #81
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11 Seoul - ChongQing AirChina CA440 Boeing B737 B-5486

Cabin and Seat: First, 2A


Sometimes, everything is as expected, and regardless of high or low expectaions, the experience is quickly sailing away into oblivion. And sometimes your expectations, high or low, are not met and you are either so blown away or so underwhelmed that a few million synapses reconnects in your brain and you surely won't forget.


Initially, I didn't even know I had an Air China in my itinerary. I booked the China-Japan flights as a redemption with Aegean (A3) and while they have an perfectly fine call center, sometimes their English isn't really compatible with mine.
I had asked for one specific route on OZ, but they suggested a slightly different one due to no award seats available and I agreed. It was only weeks later I noticed one segment was on CA.

Now, I have nothing against CA. Previous experiences have been perfectly fine. A lot of delays, sure, but that is common in China. And flying Y, I have been treated very well most of the time and also have had some upgrades.

So nothing against them, but no special expectations for this flight either.

It starts badly. The flight leaves from Gate 102. Not only is that ICN concourse but it is the far end of the concourse. The very far end.




Remember, I am in the OZ lounge in main terminal, close to gate 9. First a walk to the center of terminal. Then ride escalators down for ever and ever, board shuttle train, ride escalators again, walk and walk through concourse, then another escalator and far in the distance gate 102 is visible.

And so is the crowd.

Even though it fells like it has taken forever to get to gate 102 and I'm late, boarding still hasn't commenced.

Oh, great, a delay.

No seats available in the gate area and I just hang around standing. But I am quickly singled out by a gate agent, getting asked for my BP and then told something like "OK, let's pre-clear you". She checks my passport and visa and a few moments sends me down the jet bridge. Boarding commences right after that.


I am on a business reward ticket, but on some routes, CA only sells First. First is 2 rows arranged in 2+2, with seat width 52,6cm/20,7". Pitch (at knee level) is 76,4cm/30,1".


And Air China has great pillows!


The first thing I notice when entering, is that an off-duty-staff (I'm guessing a First Officer) is seated in row 3. NB he is seated in economy, not in first. I find it interesting, because IME many airlines puts off duty flight crew in their most premium sections, sometimes even giving them more attention than paying customers. CA clearly doesn't. There are 7 empty seats in business/first, but he stays behind the curtain.

The second thing I notice is that cabin crew is very attentive. I remove my shoes, and immediately a FA arrives with slippers. Not only arrives with them, but unpacks them and puts on the floor as close to my feet as she can, for me to just slide feet in. (She actually tries to put them on my feet, but that is just too awkward.)


A pre take off drink is offered and FA is suggesting wine or champagne.
The champagne is slightly flat (is that the term?) and I guess without great character, but it tastes good and I like it.



Boarding seems complete but we're still waiting and the FA comes over and explains there is an ATC delay (I'm about to realise that I'm getting this info before everyone else. Captain announces the delay to the rest of the cabin a few minutes later). More champagne (this time I hear the cork pop) and nuts arrive soon, to ease the burden of waiting. And since we are just sitting there, I am asked if I would mind filling out a questioner about the service.

-Here is a pen for you, she says and hands over a nice looking Swarowski knock off.
-I mean a present for you, I want you to keep it, she says and I detect a soft but self-conscious tone, much in the same way a teenager talks when interacting with someone of the opposite sex. I look up into a great smile.

I realise that while CA may not have the sophisticated FAs like some "elite" Asian airlines, she sure is very genuine. Oh, I guess they are getting good grades on the questioner today!



Living on the edge (of ICN concourse)

At the far end of ICN concourse, we find ourselves parked together with a S7.



Take off is delayed some 30 minutes, but time flies quickly and before I know it, we are in the air and it is dinner time. And today I'm getting beef with onion.

Oh great, another stew.

Well, I was given a few options, but honestly it is a bit difficult to hear and understand a menu spoken onboard. Beef was really the only word I could make out so I just went for it.

- Beef will be fine, thank you.
FA shines up.
- Yes, I think you will really like it!

While that makes me feel I made the right choice, I'm still pretty sure the meal on the previous segment also was labeled "beef" and we never became friends.


"Beef-with-onion" never made me happier.

The aircraft turns and for a few moments a poetic light is shining on today's highlight!


So, expecting a stew with rice, I get pretty surprised when the meal arrives. It turns out to be not just beef but filet of beef.
A massive filet of beef. Cooked rare. With potatoes. Sauce and onion. I'm stunned.
Sure, it is not gourmet restaurant class, but I'm not kidding when I say it is the best in-air-beef I've ever had.


(Sadly the close up of the filet of beef is too blurry, but underneith those onion rings is a massive piece of perfect beef hiding.



Starter

Starter is really fresh. The melon balls are so watery I'm thinking they were made by hand in the galley.



Some other details - the butter is soft. Not because artificially made so but because it has the right temperature. I know how difficult temperature management is onboard a plane, and few airlines get it right.
And the table linen are of a really fine quality - also one of the better kinds I've seen on this trip.


Dessert

FA is very attentive, almost overambitious. In her eagerness to serve,
I get two deserts delivered while I'm still eating main course.




Coffee is instant coffee with powder milk. But after a lot of food scandals in China, I think milk powder from an international vendor is considered premium.



Needless to say, the mood is high!


Segment results:
BIS: 2021
TP: 0
AP: 0

Last edited by intuition; Nov 15, 16 at 4:35 am Reason: image relinking
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Old Jul 24, 15, 8:28 am   #82
  
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Glad Air China were on good form. I've had pretty good experiences with them too, flying J short-haul, though your food (especially that starter) look a distinct cut above anything I experienced.

I never knew the Great Wall of Snow existed. How very Game of Thrones!
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Old Jul 24, 15, 8:43 am   #83
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Nice report, I think it´s at least solid for a short haul product.
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Old Jul 24, 15, 1:57 pm   #84
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
- May I ask what that is?
Abashed I look up into the face of Ms Krabappel and I try to compose myself.
- Eh... it is a laser measure.
- Oh, that's what I though, she says, and there is no tension in the voice anymore.
- Eh, I travel a lot and just wanted to check the sizes of the different seats. (I'm still a bit defensive). They are not really the same, you know.
- Which one is you favourite, she asks playfully.
LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
In theory correct, but you are missing the fact that Finns invented the text message, deciding 160 chars would be more than enough to cover any kind of conversation
They were right, just ask Twitter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firstclasser View Post
Had you added the word terrorist in any form, the scenario would have been quite different and possibly involved ripped pants and handcuffs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Intriguing suggestion, but she really wasn't my type.
ROFLMAO!
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Old Jul 26, 15, 3:50 pm   #85
  
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Really really good trip report.
It is one of those reports were you just want to read more and not only just have a glance of the pictures.
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Old Jul 31, 15, 3:25 pm   #86
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Preamble

The idea for this trip came from my FT friend
I am coming in quite late to this. Sounds like a great tip and I see your organization skills are super human.

All pics visible to me from the get go.

I had two quick questions out of curiosity:

What mapping tool did you use to show your flights?
"of a discoteque when playing an un-danceable song." - would a danceable song make you start dancing in the "premium" lounge..
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Old Aug 1, 15, 2:58 am   #87
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The map comes from openflights.org - I use it to store data for all flights I've ever taken. There I can subset a certain trip and get a map in 3 different styles.


And - I was hoping a danceable song would move some of the more gracious animals to the floor, thereby luring the bar-lions away and giving me full unfettered access to the champagne bottles...
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Old Aug 1, 15, 3:39 am   #88
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ChongQing interlude

After last flight mood is high. Not a perfect flight but far above my expectations. This is the kind of flying where time passes quickly and you just enjoy it without thinking too much about anything. That is also quality in my book.

The metro connects only to the domestic terminal and I decide to take the free transfer bus between the terminals. The bus is at the station but there is no driver. Onboard is another westerner anxious to get going. He leans out the open door and asks "kuŕi diǎn" ("hurry up" - my level of mandarin just about covers such phrases) a few times and the driver arrives and gets the bus going.

Between the terminals is just a few hundred meters as the crow flies, but the bus needs to take a really long detour because of the complicated road system. We are both aware of this, and this is how we start chatting. He's an American, flying on China for 15 years. We find some common ground and have a small conversation until we split up at domestic terminal - he is connecting and I'm going down town. Anyway, it is a nice chat and a welcome detour from the lonely traveller routine.

Metro downtown takes over one hour. Luckily it is easy to get a seat at the airport station. Soon the car fills up and I'm glad I am only brought a cabin bag on this trip.

Getting off at Lianglukuo station, I discover it has started to rain. I only have a short walk and I try to sneak up close to the buildings to shelter a bit from the rain, but it is the kind of rain that gets you wet anyhow.


ChongQing isn't my favourite place but getting a really nice room at Hilton for 73€/80USD helps. I get greeted by the door by a bellboy, who insists on carrying my small bag to the desk. I finally accept this offer, because I have a lot of items waiting for me the at the concierge (stuff bought online on Taobao to bring home with me, using my generous checked bag allowance)

The bellboy is a girl, and while she is not too experienced with the luggage cart, we and all my cardboard boxes arrive at the executive floor and she is very anxious to get me comfortably settled in. And just as she is leaving, she remembers one last thing - she comes back into my room, opens the closet and says
- And here is an umbrella for you, if you want to go out later!

I usually get quite annoyed at all "services" provided at finer hotels, but her interest in making my stay a perfect one feels very genuine.


Now, this is probably everyday stuff for most of you, but my personal travel policy says "fly business but stay cheaply" - I have no hotel memberships and usually just book something cheap at the most convenient location. So this is way above my regular stays.


Room at the executive floor, with some tacky cardboard boxes visible on the right. Apparently boxes have been arriving all week. Now I just need to figure out how to make them into three items, all within the size allowed for checked luggage. A kind of 3D-tetris!










Next morning
Nervous of missing the flight due to delays in the transport system I decide to get up really early, skip the metro and get a taxi. Naturally, this morning there is no traffic at all, the driver floors it up the hills to the airport and the same 26 km that took over an hour on the metro yesterday, now takes 22 minutes - arriving to the airport almost 3 hours before takeoff!

Even though I clearly asked for international terminal, he drops me off at domestic. I decide to make no fuss about it, the walk between terminals will actually help me kill some time. But I can't help but thinking how lost I would have been if this was my first visit to ChongQing.

I've done OLCI, so the visit to the check in desk is just a formality. CKG is one of the outstations that uses the landscape-branded boarding passes. I must have a million of theses, but I still think they are nice.



Winter landscape and Birch leaves, two varieties of Finnair paper boarding passes.


While I was passing thorough the domestic terminal, I made use of the packaging service. Of course they don't speak any english and we do a little mime theater to get my different cardboard boxes morph into something that nicely fits into the hold.
If you ever find yourself in the same situation (really at any chinese airport) there always are great packaging services - but usually only at the domestic terminal! I guess, for international travel most people pack in suitcases, but domestically, imagination is the only limit to what to bring with you to the airport.

Anyway, my now wrapped cardboard boxes are accepted as checked luggage without a flinch, and I proceed to the lounge for a relaxed breakfast.

The ChongQing interlude has come to an end. Mood still is high!
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Old Aug 1, 15, 5:22 am   #89
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12 Chongqing - Helsinki AY56 A330 OH-LTP

Cabin and Seat: Business, 2A

Boarding is somewhat chaotic- Staff tries to do priority boarding, but there are many not knowing / wanting to stand in line and also quite a few people with standby BPs hogging the desk trying to get their situation fixed.
(CKG is sadly one of those AY destinations that periodically is oversold )

Seat 2A on Finnair new J is the favourite for many - and I agree on a day flight. It is a single seat, with two side boards, giving you a lot of private space and comfort. But I always thought it to be too narrow for night flights, so I usually not in this one.

Seat width is same as all other seats, but the space between the two tables are generous - 56,1cm/22,1". The manhole (where your feet goes when horizontal) is tiny though, so for sleeping I still have some doubts. But this is daytime and I'm perfectly happy.

Purser comes over and I get a little welcome chat. Now, elite recognition is not standard-operating-procedure on Finnair, and I guess most of their customers are fine with that - they don't want to be singled out as someone above anyone else.

The purser carefully avoids any reference to my status (or phrases like "welcome back", "one of our best customers" et.c.) but she clearly has read up on me and my trip details. She finishes the chat with
- Well Mr intution, you have a very long day ahead of you. We will try to make it comfortable for you!"

While elite recognition is a purser initiative on Finnair, taking food orders from elites first is supposed to be mandatory. Now, that also varies from flight to flight, but today it works perfectly. I get a sneak peak at the passenger manifest and I see that I am marked with red, another passenger is marked green and the rest unmarked. I guess there is a Gold around here somewhere!


Starter

I opt for the soup starter, which today is a thick potato soup, and it gets dressed with some parsley at the table.


Salad

The salad is great. It looks a bit simple, but is fresh and tasty.


Main

My main is Lamb and it looks nice. I'm a bit disappointed though, it is bathing in sauce and the meat is quite fatty.

Cheese

Finnair used to offer cheese as a main meal ending and then offer desserts after that. Now they have moved to a "Cheese or dessert" menu, but when I'm in the mood for cheeses, I always ask for both. Haven't been turned down yet. Todays cheese selction is nothing to write home about.


Dessert



Below us

North of ChongQing black and dark green mountains are looking interesting.



Coffee-break

Between services, Finnair staff are almost never touring the cabin, but they do offer on-demand snacks, and I decide to get a cappuccino. It is served in the soup bowl (Gilmore girls would love this airline) and accompanied by a warm cinnamon bun. I know they usually carry these buns, but I forgot to ask for one - I'm really happy they brought me one unsolicited!



Second service

On daytime flights, there is lunch served 90 minutes before landing. I chose the 'Seafood noodles' and didn't like it at all.



Exiting the flight, the crew does the normal goodbye-greeting at the doors. I'm just focused on getting to the lounge and not paying attention but the purser notices me and says
- Have a great next flight, Mr intution!

It might be a silly thing, but I really appreciate these small gestures. I whish Finnair did it more often, but when they do, it is just a bit more personal than the automated speeches you'd get from CX eg.



Segment results
Double award points on this route, so again a great result points-wise!
BIS: 6 722
TP: 18 750
AP: 33 750
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Old Aug 1, 15, 12:24 pm   #90
  
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The Chinese airlines are invariably so cheapskate that they'll only pay for the furthest (and presumably cheapest) gates in ICN.
Also, I think it's quite common that they have a staff member (in uniform or not) seated in at least one of the aisle seats in the 1st row of economy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Cabin and Seat: First, 2A


Sometimes, everything is as expected, and regardless of high or low expectaions, the experience is quickly sailing away into oblivion. And sometimes your expectations, high or low, are not met and you are either so blown away or so underwhelmed that a few million synapses reconnects in your brain and you surely won't forget.


Initially, I didn't even know I had an Air China in my itinerary. I booked the China-Japan flights as a redemption with Aegean (A3) and while they have an perfectly fine call center, sometimes their English isn't really compatible with mine.
I had asked for one specific route on OZ, but they suggested a slightly different one due to no award seats available and I agreed. It was only weeks later I noticed one segment was on CA.

Now, I have nothing against CA. Previous experiences have been perfectly fine. A lot of delays, sure, but that is common in China. And flying Y, I have been treated very well most of the time and also have had some upgrades.

So nothing against them, but no special expectations for this flight either.

It starts badly. The flight leaves from Gate 102. Not only is that ICN concourse but it is the far end of the concourse. The very far end.




Remember, I am in the OZ lounge in main terminal, close to gate 9. First a walk to the center of terminal. Then ride escalators down for ever and ever, board shuttle train, ride escalators again, walk and walk through concourse, then another escalator and far in the distance gate 102 is visible.

And so is the crowd.

Even though it fells like it has taken forever to get to gate 102 and I'm late, boarding still hasn't commenced.

Oh, great, a delay.

No seats available in the gate area and I just hang around standing. But I am quickly singled out by a gate agent, getting asked for my BP and then told something like "OK, let's pre-clear you". She checks my passport and visa and a few moments sends me down the jet bridge. Boarding commences right after that.


I am on a business reward ticket, but on some routes, CA only sells First. First is 2 rows arranged in 2+2, with seat width 52,6cm/20,7". Pitch (at knee level) is 76,4cm/30,1".


And Air China has great pillows!


The first thing I notice when entering, is that an off-duty-staff (I'm guessing a First Officer) is seated in row 3. NB he is seated in economy, not in first. I find it interesting, because IME many airlines puts off duty flight crew in their most premium sections, sometimes even giving them more attention than paying customers. CA clearly doesn't. There are 7 empty seats in business/first, but he stays behind the curtain.

The second thing I notice is that cabin crew is very attentive. I remove my shoes, and immediately a FA arrives with slippers. Not only arrives with them, but unpacks them and puts on the floor as close to my feet as she can, for me to just slide feet in. (She actually tries to put them on my feet, but that is just too awkward.)


A pre take off drink is offered and FA is suggesting wine or champagne.
The champagne is slightly flat (is that the term?) and I guess without great character, but it tastes good and I like it.



Boarding seems complete but we're still waiting and the FA comes over and explains there is an ATC delay (I'm about to realise that I'm getting this info before everyone else. Captain announces the delay to the rest of the cabin a few minutes later). More champagne (this time I hear the cork pop) and nuts arrive soon, to ease the burden of waiting. And since we are just sitting there, I am asked if I would mind filling out a questioner about the service.

-Here is a pen for you, she says and hands over a nice looking Swarowski knock off.
-I mean a present for you, I want you to keep it, she says and I detect a soft but self-conscious tone, much in the same way a teenager talks when interacting with someone of the opposite sex. I look up into a great smile.

I realise that while CA may not have the sophisticated FAs like some "elite" Asian airlines, she sure is very genuine. Oh, I guess they are getting good grades on the questioner today!



Living on the edge (of ICN concourse)

At the far end of ICN concourse, we find ourselves parked together with a S7.



Take off is delayed some 30 minutes, but time flies quickly and before I know it, we are in the air and it is dinner time. And today I'm getting beef with onion.

Oh great, another stew.

Well, I was given a few options, but honestly it is a bit difficult to hear and understand a menu spoken onboard. Beef was really the only word I could make out so I just went for it.

- Beef will be fine, thank you.
FA shines up.
- Yes, I think you will really like it!

While that makes me feel I made the right choice, I'm still pretty sure the meal on the previous segment also was labeled "beef" and we never became friends.


"Beef-with-onion" never made me happier.

The aircraft turns and for a few moments a poetic light is shining on today's highlight!


So, expecting a stew with rice, I get pretty surprised when the meal arrives. It turns out to be not just beef but filet of beef.
A massive filet of beef. Cooked rare. With potatoes. Sauce and onion. I'm stunned.
Sure, it is not gourmet restaurant class, but I'm not kidding when I say it is the best in-air-beef I've ever had.


(Sadly the close up of the filet of beef is too blurry, but underneith those onion rings is a massive piece of perfect beef hiding.



Starter

Starter is really fresh. The melon balls are so watery I'm thinking they were made by hand in the galley.



Some other details - the butter is soft. Not because artificially made so but because it has the right temperature. I know how difficult temperature management is onboard a plane, and few airlines get it right.
And the table linen are of a really fine quality - also one of the better kinds I've seen on this trip.


Dessert

FA is very attentive, almost overambitious. In her eagerness to serve,
I get two deserts delivered while I'm still eating main course.




Coffee is instant coffee with powder milk. But after a lot of food scandals in China, I think milk powder from an international vendor is considered premium.



Needless to say, the mood is high!


Segment results:
BIS: 2021
TP: 0
AP: 0
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