The Robi & Jeff Indochina Adventure 2013 travel blog


I'm leaving on a jet plane! A 777 in first class!

January 7, 2013 

Monday

Well I certainly could get used to this very quickly. We used a bunch of points left over from when I owned the animal hospital to book first class flights from Chicago O'Hare to Tokyo Narita. The points were about to expire so this was a very good use. 270,000 points with AA. Unfortunately it is not first class all the way through to Bangkok. It would have been more than twice the points with United.

We were first to board the plane and we have our own little cubicles with fold down beds! We were greeted with a choice of beverages and of course chose champagne even though it is only noon. We were given pajamas that are very sweet that we get to keep plus a nice little pouch with an eye shade, earplugs, facial moisturizer, hand cream, lip balm, pen, romance card, screen cleaner, socks, tissues, toothbrush and toothpaste, and towelettes. We have a choice of 4 newspapers. I'm like a kid in a candy store and the flight attendants are getting quite a kick out of me. Had to take snapshots of my cubicle and the menus and all.

Our dining service is exclusive to first class and we can choose any combination to be served at any time we wish. The starters are a bacon wrapped scallop with jicama corn salad and cilantro cream or Thai chicken with grilled 5- spice pineapple, watermelon and Asian style mint dressing. The soup is corn chowder and the salad is composed of seasonal greens with fresh vegetables, feta cheese and pepperoncini. The choice of dressings are creamy pickled ginger dressing or premium extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We also have assorted gourmet breads. If that isn't enough we also get a choice of 4 entrees. Grilled beef fillet with a tomato chile sauce, roasted onions and broccoli poblano gratin, or Yakisoba noodles accompanied by sautéed shrimp and vegetables and red pickled ginger, or Mochi chicken offered with teriyaki sauce, roasted sweet potato mash and baby bok choy or Orecchiette pasta with a choice of 5 sauces. Then dessert....

We can help ourselves to a mid-flight snack any time after the main meal. The choices are an Edo-style mini bento box of vinegar end rice wrapped in a bean curd skin, rolles sushi and Japanese pickles served with miso soup or Sesame chicken with an Asian salad and plum vinaigrette.

Later there is the light meal of salad and pumpkin bisque finished with fresh ginger or Uno's spinach and garlic pizza served with fresh fruit. This time dessert is a choice of freshly baked cookies.

Of course before the food we get a freshly steamed towel.

There is an extensive wine list. Champagne- Gosset Grand Reserve, white wine- Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve or Prinz Von Hessen Riesling, red wine- Volver Tempranillo, Zolo Reserve Malbec or Chase's choice, specially selected by Ken Chase the wine consultant. The other beverages include Absolute, Beefeater dry gin, Bacardi rum, Canadian Club Reserve, Dewer's White Label, Jack Daniel's,Nijmegen Beam, multiple beers, carbonated beverages, still and sparkling water, coffee, fruit juices, tea and milk. Whew. 

The flight is 13 hours long. We left Chicago at 12:30 p.m. And should arrive in Tokyo at 4:37 pm on Tuesday because they are 15 hours ahead of us. The distance is about 10,000 km or just over 6000 miles. Air temperature is approximately -54. 811 km/hr.

By 3 pm I'm  in a food coma and I haven't even had my dessert or after dinner drink yet. Choice of Baileys, Courvoisier, Amaretto, Kahlua, Emilio Lustau Sherry, Graham's Vintage Port, Choya Umeshu Plum Liqueur, Gekkeikan Horin Daiginjo Sake. Desserts are a choice of various sundaes, toppings, cheese plate or grand mariner fruit salad with lemon sorbet.  I'm getting too tired to itemize. Haven't even been on the plane 2 hours and a food/ drink coma is setting in.  Good thing I have a bed...

So, speaking of the bed. The oh so very nice flight attendant makes it up for you with a duvet underneath you, 2 blankets ( summer and winter) and 2 pillows. You can recline fully or partially. All I need is someone to feed me grapes...The 6 hour economy flight to Bangkok after this is going to be painful.

Time for a pre-dessert nap and read. There are also many new release movie choices, tv, music and of course Bose headphones to use. Those we don't get to keep.

Approximately 12 hours later first class service is over and we become plebeian again. Since our bags were checked all the way through we only had to go through security- no immagration/customs- at Tokyo (Narita) and it went pretty smooth. Thankfully I asked at O'Hare if they could give us our boarding passes for Narita. We had to wait in an extra line in Chicago but it saved us a lot of hassle at Narita. Of course Jeff had to get thoroughly patted down as usual ever since he had his hip replaced. Then we had to hop on a train shuttle to our gate but everything took way less than the hour and a half we had between flights.

The JAL flight was quite the let down after the first flight. Economy class and the smallest, narrowest seats I have ever flown on. Plus a crying baby across the aisle from us. mediocre food but very nice attendants.  A little over 7 hours later and we are in Bangkok. As soon as you step off of the plane the heat and humidity heats you, even at midnight. We made it through immigration, baggage claim, and customs and found our driver to the hotel in less than an hour. Good thing we already had our Thai Visas or it would have taken much longer. The cars are all right hand drive. Midnight here, 11 a.m at home. We are in our room at the Bangkok Centre Hotel by 1 a.m.  25 hours of travel. Cute little run down "boutique" room.

Wi-fi is incredibly expensive here 565 baht per day. So dear readers it may be a long wait for you to get the first installments of my journal. (Addendum added 01/12: I just found out that we were supposed to be given a wi-fi code free to use in the lobby when we arrived. We leave in 15 minutes so that doesn't do me any good)

In the car on the way to the hotel we saw a medium size dog all by itself taking a stroll. It crossed a busy street at the intersection with the stoplight!



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