Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

3 for the price of 2? RTW Babymoon to Japan, Maldives, UK (JL/EY/LH J/F/Apartment)

3 for the price of 2? RTW Babymoon to Japan, Maldives, UK (JL/EY/LH J/F/Apartment)

Old Jun 30, 17, 11:51 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arcadia, CA
Programs: Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 836
3 for the price of 2? RTW Babymoon to Japan, Maldives, UK (JL/EY/LH J/F/Apartment)

It looks like the clock has started ticking for me with a baby on the way! We are obviously elated at the news, but part of me is also saddened knowing that in a little over 2 years, I'll have to pay/redeem for a 3rd seat, making the likelihood of flying at the very front of the plane a distant memory. There will be no more luxurious trips or flying on a whim like JohnRain or Madone59, not that I was in their league anyway. This is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, and fittingly, we are going for a last hurrah. The Italian road trip I had in mind for the summer went out the window, but it couldn't be for a better reason.

On with the details and itinerary! We found out about the little one after our return from Spain, so being that the baby had already flown some miles on that trip, we are nicknaming him the baby jetsetter. He isn't doing too shabby with 13,038 miles already logged to date. With this RTW, that total will be going up significantly.

We invited a good friend of ours to come along with us, burning the last of his vacation for one week in Japan. From there, he would return stateside, whereas we would continue on to the Maldives and London before coming home. We don't even have a flight home from London yet, but there are a few LH F openings through a few cities, so I'm not too worried.



Itinerary
SAN-SFO on UA Y (CRJ-700)
SFO-HND on JL F (777)
Conrad Tokyo
Hilton Tokyo
NRT-AUH on EY F (787)
AUH-MLE on EY J (A320)
Seaplane transfer
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
MLE-AUH on EY J (A320)
AUH-CDG on EY Apartment (A380)
CDG-LHR on BA Y (A319)
Conrad London St. James
LHR-FRA on LH J (not yet booked)
Hilton Frankfurt Airport (not yet booked)
LH FCT (TBD)
Porsche 911 Rental (TBD)
FRA-??? on LH F (not yet booked)




Unfortunately, no seats opened up for a JAL flight out of LAX, so I still haven't been able to see the Qantas F Lounge and experience the salt and pepper squid. I'm not giving up hope yet, but for this time around, we will be positioning to SFO for the flight to HND. Seats from LAX were F7 a few months out, but my waitlist never cleared. As I carefully watched for patterns on seat availability, the number of F seats dropped to F3 at T-1 month, but I was still determined to get a spot. Sadly, 3 days prior to them opening up, the bucket dried up thanks to those dirty revenue passengers!





Posting this from the first international leg in JL F thanks to the free WiFi...stay tuned!

Last edited by chongl; Jul 13, 17 at 11:02 pm
chongl is offline  
Old Jul 1, 17, 6:24 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: JNB
Programs: Flying Blue, Miles and Smiles, Hhonors, ICHotels
Posts: 1,160
Congratulations on the BabyJetsetter!!
Great to teach the little one about travelling before he even arrives.
roadwarrier is offline  
Old Jul 1, 17, 1:10 pm
  #3  
Moderator, Trip Reports
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: 6km East of EPAYE
Programs: UA Silver, AA Platinum, AS & DL GM Marriott TE, Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,550
Congratulations Chongl et al!!

Very much looking forward to this TR especially this....
FRA-??? on LH F (not yet booked)
It reminds me of when I was bold and headed to Thailand with my wife without return flights - but she wasn't pregnant so you are super brave
Madone59 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 17, 9:10 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arcadia, CA
Programs: Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 836
Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Congratulations on the BabyJetsetter!!
Great to teach the little one about travelling before he even arrives.
Thank you, roadwarrier. It will be a significant change in our lives, but we welcome the challenge with open arms

Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Congratulations Chongl et al!!

Very much looking forward to this TR especially this....
It reminds me of when I was bold and headed to Thailand with my wife without return flights - but she wasn't pregnant so you are super brave
Thank you, Madone59. Your trips have inspired many, including myself, to try and piece together the "ultimate itinerary" for a report. I hope my travels can do the same for some innocent lurker on the TR sub-forum
chongl is offline  
Old Jul 2, 17, 10:06 am
  #5  
Hilton Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: DCA
Programs: Marriott GLD; Hilton GLD; Free Agent (former AA PLT/US GLD)
Posts: 1,285
Congratulations on the little one. I'm scheduled for JL1 in F later this year, but I've yet to come across a TR of the flight with the new flight time. Looking forward to this!
Beltway2A is offline  
Old Jul 2, 17, 7:03 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arcadia, CA
Programs: Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 836
With departing flight in hand, and most other flights already booked, I bought 2 tickets for the short hop from SAN-SFO on United (insert Dr. Dao joke here). We got dropped off curbside and breezed through security.





Airspace Lounge at SAN is always a decent place to wait.





Another overcast day in San Diego that caused a 20 minute-ish delay



Airspace menu on which I have a $20 credit to spend



However, the charcuterie plate seems to have received a massive downgrade from previous visits.



Roasted red pepper soup with smoked gouda



I'm sure my shirt will ruffle a few feathers



At T-10, we left the lounge and took a short stroll to the gate. Being that the flight was on a CRJ-700 was kind of nice due to the smaller number of passengers trying to squeeze on. Boarding completed quickly and we were taxiing in no time



It took a while to get in the air due to ATC still being backed up, so we sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes. Once airborne, we hung a right over the Pacific to head north towards SFO.

Stretching out my legs in PE



A quick shot over central CA somewhere



Upon landing, 20 minutes later than scheduled, there were some issues with the jet bridge. I'm sure a few poor passengers missed their connecting flights, but that quickly escaped our minds as we sauntered to grab our luggage and re-check at the international terminal.

Laying out the red carpet





Trying to clear security was a nightmare. There was no priority line even though there was a sign there, so the long lines and slow workers meant an extremely slow procession. At one point, passengers in front of us were made to walk in an oval, ending right back where they started from so that the TSA dog that had already sniffed them out could sniff them some more?



Once through, we head towards the CX lounge after reading about the mediocrity of the JL lounge.



Cue the next issue we ran into: upon showing our F boarding passes, the lounge dragon said we did not have access since we did not have OneWorld status. I told her we have F passes, and the CX lounge rules allowed us access. I was pissed, but we left to the JAL lounge where the people were much nicer and accommodating. However, it was so full of business travelers that there was hardly any room. I connected to the WiFi and pulled up the CX lounge list, and access rules, and head back to the CX lounge, determined to get in. Normally I would just let such a small thing go, but the lounge dragon also rubbed us the wrong way. After showing her the rules on the CX website, she said she was told no status = no access, but she would make a one-time exception. Scary thing was, her name tag said supervisor...

Anyhow, the lounge was abandoned and a much nicer area to relax in. Unfortunately, there would be no order of wonton mein since the noodle bar wasn't opening until 4PM.







Some cold sandwiches, salads, and small bites on offer



Interesting that JL chooses to tag carry-ons with a bright red F indicator...



At T-10 again, we left the lounge to head to the gate. I was crossing my fingers that the Porsche Design amenity kits and PJs were still available since we're departing at the tail end of the 3 month promotional period.



Finally, the good is about to begin!



Next post, the flight from SFO-HND. Currently running around Japan without much time to edit pictures.
chongl is offline  
Old Jul 3, 17, 6:17 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Geneva, Dubai, Paris
Programs: Disillusioned Cent
Posts: 1,843
Congratulations on the great news, chongl! ^
Would have loved to deliver them in person in FRA as I'll be there a couple of times over the coming weeks, but as I'm only traveling in intra-European LH J I'll be drinking beer incognito in the business lounge, while you'll be enjoying a whisky-tasting in my much-loved FCT after having completed the Porsche experience...
Have fun on this great trip!
JohnRain is offline  
Old Jul 3, 17, 7:47 am
  #8  
Moderator, Trip Reports
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: 6km East of EPAYE
Programs: UA Silver, AA Platinum, AS & DL GM Marriott TE, Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,550
JohnRain oh you're just going to pretend you didn't see chongl's T-shirt????

TEAM 44!!
Madone59 is offline  
Old Jul 3, 17, 7:50 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Geneva, Dubai, Paris
Programs: Disillusioned Cent
Posts: 1,843
Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
JohnRain oh you're just going to pretend you didn't see chongl's T-shirt????

TEAM 44!!
What T-shirt, Madone59?
JohnRain is offline  
Old Jul 4, 17, 9:03 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arcadia, CA
Programs: Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 836
Once boarding was called, we eagerly walked down the jet bridge and were warmly greeted by cabin crew. A quick left turn and we were in our seats at 1D/G, where a Porsche Design amenity kit was waiting. We later found out that we would end up 1 for 2 since the PJs were back to the old design.









My 24-70 GM taking a break while I popped on the Batis 18mm that I rented



IFE controller hidden under a panel



USB and power outlet is at the front which was out of reach unless you leaned forward excessively or got out of your seat



Free WiFi code good for 24 hours of access. Good enough to load most webpages and even a few photo uploads, unlike Emirates.



Boarding finished relatively quickly...it always does at the front of the plane. It's when you're at the back that it feels like the whole airport and its staff are streaming endlessly into the cabin. While those poor souls were getting crammed in like sardines, I had a glass of bubbly and the wife had some OJ. Pushback seemed again to occur immediately, followed by a slightly longer taxi before takeoff.

Once in the air, a pre-amuse bouche was presented, consisting of a smoked salmon tartare and shitake mushroom with blue cheese. The salmon was pretty good, and thankfully, the blue cheese was very mild, tasting more like cream cheese. A pour of Hibiki 17 was the choice of alcohol.



Full menu for the flight















I opted for the western option as did the wife. Quite a few passengers had the same thought, so they presented the wife with the option of 2 appetizers instead of the amuse bouche to avoid a shortage. Amuse bouche and garlic bread



After I polished off the Hibiki, I asked for a pour of Salon 2006



The wife's lobster



I had 2 servings of caviar thanks to the baby



The tenderloin was pretty decent. I asked for medium rare and there was still a little bit of pink. Although it was on the dry side, it's one of the better steaks on a plane



Wife had the sea bass



Cheesecake for dessert was surprisingly delicious



Afterward, I did some stuff using the free WiFi, while most other passengers had their beds made to catch some Zzzzz. Shiseido kits for men and a face mask for women were also handed out along with PJs.





I waited until a little later, but the cabin was pretty dark by then, so I didn't bother snapping a picture of the bed in almost complete darkness. I was able to choose what mattress topper I wanted in the form of soft or hard. Normally, I like a firmer surface to sleep on, but the crew explained that the soft version is better for relaxing, so who was I to question it? I got changed and the bed was turned down before I even got back to my seat. I got 2-3 hours of sleep in, before it was snack time! My wife was ahead of me and already and was chowing down on the udon. I opted for the same, as well as the slider, accompanied by some Queen of Blue tea. There was a small display of drinks and water setup by door 1L.





In the words of SFO777, showtime! The udon was delicious and really hit the spot. The warm soup accompanied by the springy texture of the noodles was perfect for me in my still slightly groggy state.





The Queen of Blue that I enjoyed quite a bit



Finishing off with some ice cream and more tea





Approaching Haneda



All in all, it was an excellent flight with very attentive crew. There was a slight language barrier and slight awkwardness in our interactions, but it was definitely among the top few we have experienced. As good as they were, they still do not hold a candle to SQ and Christine from our RTW last year...she is simply in a class of her own.

Up next: one night at the Conrad Tokyo before our friend arrives and we move over to the Hilton Tokyo for the next 6 nights.
chongl is offline  
Old Jul 5, 17, 3:20 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Portland, OR, United States
Programs: CX Marco Polo Green (hahaha)
Posts: 1,317
Originally Posted by chongl View Post
That is some serious side eye from the lounge employee

I'm booked at the Hilton for an October trip, so I'm curious to read about your impressions of the place. I had never considered it before but since I'll be with the GF, I felt like we needed a bigger room than the small places I usually stay at in Tokyo. The PH/MO/etc. are too expensive for me so this seems like a decent compromise.
kevincrumbs is offline  
Old Jul 5, 17, 8:50 pm
  #12  
757
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: St. Paul, MN
Programs: Delta GM, IHG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 372
Great report so far! JAL F looks amazing.
757 is offline  
Old Jul 5, 17, 10:41 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Disney Land
Programs: Lifetime Plat; SQ PPS; AA Platinum
Posts: 106
Originally Posted by chongl View Post
The Queen of Blue that I enjoyed quite a bit

I really enjoy Hibiki but I find its so hard to find the Royal Blue tea that I just end up drinking that most of the flight! It's really a great beverage.
dickie98 is offline  
Old Jul 6, 17, 5:25 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arcadia, CA
Programs: Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 836
Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
Congratulations on the little one. I'm scheduled for JL1 in F later this year, but I've yet to come across a TR of the flight with the new flight time. Looking forward to this!
Thank you for the kind words, Belway2A. We are very excited to have an addition to our family in a few months. It's our last day in Tokyo and I"m trying to catch up on editing photos and getting one more post up before we head to MLE.

Originally Posted by JohnRain View Post
Congratulations on the great news, chongl! ^
Would have loved to deliver them in person in FRA as I'll be there a couple of times over the coming weeks, but as I'm only traveling in intra-European LH J I'll be drinking beer incognito in the business lounge, while you'll be enjoying a whisky-tasting in my much-loved FCT after having completed the Porsche experience...
Have fun on this great trip!
Kind words from you as usual, JohnRain. I've been following along on your Easter trip to completion, so hopefully LH catering is as good for you as it is for me. I just booked my return via FRA to DFW, but will cancel and rebook if something better to SFO or LAX opens up. Pretty slim pickings on those routes so I'm not holding my breath!

Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
JohnRain oh you're just going to pretend you didn't see chongl's T-shirt????

TEAM 44!!
That's right, Madone59, Team 44 all the way! I had another shirt, but unfortunately it shrunk so I had to give it up to the wife.

Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
That is some serious side eye from the lounge employee

I'm booked at the Hilton for an October trip, so I'm curious to read about your impressions of the place. I had never considered it before but since I'll be with the GF, I felt like we needed a bigger room than the small places I usually stay at in Tokyo. The PH/MO/etc. are too expensive for me so this seems like a decent compromise.
He was actually very friendly and I just caught him in a bad moment. He glanced over and stopped so I could snap an unobstructed picture, and continued out of the bar only when I was done. Hopefully, I'll have an update before I leave Tokyo, but no guarantees. Thanks for reading, Kevincrumbs.

Originally Posted by 757 View Post
Great report so far! JAL F looks amazing.
Thank you for following, 757

Originally Posted by dickie98 View Post
I really enjoy Hibiki but I find its so hard to find the Royal Blue tea that I just end up drinking that most of the flight! It's really a great beverage.
Agreed. I'm going to look for it today at Isetan Department Store at Shinjuku Station. I asked the FA where I could buy some and she had to ask maybe the purser or some other crew member. I was advised to check there, so I'll let you know my findings. Thanks for reading, dickie98
chongl is offline  
Old Jul 6, 17, 11:35 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Disney Land
Programs: Lifetime Plat; SQ PPS; AA Platinum
Posts: 106
Originally Posted by chongl View Post
Agreed. I'm going to look for it today at Isetan Department Store at Shinjuku Station. I asked the FA where I could buy some and she had to ask maybe the purser or some other crew member. I was advised to check there, so I'll let you know my findings. Thanks for reading, dickie98
Their Singaporean website is pretty complete and lists where you can buy in Tokyo, Singapore and HK and there is a tasting room located at their boutique in Kanagawa:

https://royalbluetea.com.sg/pages/experience

The "low end" version of the tea is served on JAL F @ SGD180/bottle (not sure if JPY or HKD pricing is better). There are 3 more tiers (grand, imperial, and premium) with the top bottle going for over SGD$800 as well as several other types of premium teas going for close to SGD$1,000!

I just found this out yesterday and trying to convince myself its worth trying or at least making a trip out to the boutique.....
dickie98 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: