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24 Hours in Tokyo

24 Hours in Tokyo
24 Hours in Tokyo 
via JAL and ANA First Class
January 2023

Off to Tokyo... via New York and Vermont

This morning I'm off on a quick business trip to upstate New York, and then a day in Tokyo.  Say what??  LOL.   Another beautiful Colorado morning.

Denver to Newark
United UA 627
757-200 (lie flat)
January 19, 2023
Boarding time and nothing is happening.

OK, the plane arrived at 6am from Lihue.   Delay excuse #1...


Delay excuse #2...

Welcome to United, where half the plane is Group 1, which is really like Group 6 after Global Services, families, military, handicapped and 1K.

Finally onboard, our comfy lie flat 757.

Pretty good snow removal considering we had an 8" snow fall the day before.

United's Breakfast Frittata.  Not bad, but please dump the inedible Chobani.

Welcome to rainy Newark.

With a 3+ hour connection, plenty of time to head over the Terminal B and a PCR test for Japan...

... Japan wants 3 jabs or PCR.

30 minutes later, I have my negative result and headed back to Terminal C.

Terminal B PreCheck.  Seriously?  The CLEAR line was even worse.

Still plenty of time for the United Club.   Cool automatic entry by scanning your boarding pass.

Huge new and attractive United Club.


With a reasonable food spread... so much better than an Admirals Club.

We really need to remind people??

I rarely use EWR but had to laugh at all the gate changes on my connecting EWR-BTV flight this afternoon.  Fortunately, I can monitor the gate action from the attractive UC.

Time to head out for my flight to BTV.

Newark EWR to Burlington BTV
United Express 
5:19pm-6:35pm (sked)
6:20pm-7:35pm (actual)
January 19, 2023
I'm at the correct gate, I think.


Our captain tonight decided that the crew had worked enough today as he announced that "due to severe turbulence all the way to Burlington, I've asked the FA to stay seated for the entire flight". And of course, other than one 5 second mild chop, there wasn't a hint of turbulence during the flight.  And on approach, the front cabin FA started walking down the aisle with a trash bag just as the rear FA announced "due the turbulence, we won't be collecting trash today..." 

Welcome to Vermont.

My home for the next two nights, the comfy Residence Inn Colchester.

Time for dinner and this was the closest place on a snowy night.

Not bad and the fries were great.

The next morning.

Residence Inn breakfast.

Off to the Grand Isle Ferry and New York.

This was pretty cool and cut up to 30 minutes off the drive.

My Instagram story of my long day of travel today.

After a long night and another ferry ride across Lake Champlain, I wound up getting 3 hours of sleep before heading over to BTV and my 6am jetBlue flight.

Burlington BTV to New York JFK
jetBlue 233
January 21, 2023

While waiting to board, this guy put on quite a show trying to stuff a leather jacket into a bag he was going to gate check.

Instagram video of the action.

Since I paid $15 for an exit row, I got to board first.

And lucked out as I had an empty seat next to me.

Not sure I want to watch a green screen today.

Mandatory de-icing today after more snow last night.

My jetBllue breakfast snack from a hardworking crew as opposed to my UAX crew from EWR.

At JFK, I hopped on the JetBlue/American shuttle bus to take me to T-8 to try out the new AA/BA lounges.

Was unsuccessful in getting into the Chelsea Lounge as that is currently just for AA and BA First passengers.  Hopefully that will change when other One World partners with First Class cabins move to T-8.   So I was relegated to the Soho Lounge, for Business Class and One World Emeralds.  Pleasant enough but decidedly Business Class.

After breakfast, I headed landside for the trek to Terminal 1 where JAL currently operates.

Unfortunately, construction has closed the T1 AirTrain station, so shuttle bus it is.

Yeah, that's pleasant.  LOL.  Not sure why our driver took the long and winding route.

Inside a pretty ugly Terminal 1.

Check-in was easy.

After third-world like security, I was at the Lufthansa Lounge which JAL sadly contracts with at JFK.    It's a basic Business Class Lounge with a 2nd "First Class" level which is just another floor of Business Class.  The third floor First Class Lounge was just for Lufthansa and Swiss passengers.  


Great tarmac views especially when Air France arrived.



New York JFK to Tokyo Haneda HND
Japan Airlines JL 005
12:45p-5:20p +1
January 21, 2023
Departed 8/8

Welcome to another a wonderful Japan Airlines First Class flight, today from JFK to Haneda. Despite a full cabin, our First Class cabin crew was extraordinary with flawless service and the ultimate in pampering. 


My home for the next 14+ hours.

And away we go...

Today, the inbound-to-Japan feature champagne was no longer Cristal and not even Krug. Although it was a respectable 2007 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas Francois, there was just one bottle despite the much lower price point. After I asked our FA whether they loaded more than one bottle, she apologized that no it was just the one bottle. Talk about service though. I was on my third glass but was confused because the bottle still looked pretty full. She confessed that only two of us were drinking the Billecart and she had purposely recommended the backup 2012 Drappier Grande Sendrée to all the other pax. LOL

Today's menu...

Today's amuse-bouche.

Showtime, JAL-style.

Nap time...

Yikes.  Seriously?

A little later, round two...

Great scenery as we approach Japan.

Gorgeous sunset and a bonus Mt Fuji sighting.

Despite the long trek to passport, everything was pretty efficient as long as one completes the pre-arrival registration and gets the requisite QR codes.  And not a long wait to clear passport.

And my Instagram video of my JAL flight to Toyko.

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

I arrived at the MO less than an hour after we pulled up to our gate.

Main floor entrance.

38th floor lobby.

My 34th floor room...

Time for a drink before dinner.

Love this gin.

And a nightcap after dinner.

Instagram video of the Mandarin Oriental.

Teppanyaki Akasaka

Dinner tonight is at Teppanyaki Akasaka on the 37th floor of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel, a short 10 minute taxi ride from the Mandarin Oriental. What a great show and great food from a delightful and entertaining chef.


Fresh abalone.  Delicious.

Fabulous wagyu.

Instagram video of my wonderful dinner at Teppanyaki Akasaka.

Morning walk around rainy and chilly Tokyo

WIth a couple free hours this morning, I braved the Tokyo rain and +4C chilly temps to headed out for the Imperial Palace grounds. Sadly, the rain didn’t let up and the Palace East Gardens are closed on Mondays (and Fridays)

Instagram video of my talk around Tokyo and the Imperial Gardens.


What a treat to have lunch today at Sense, the MO’s wonderful in house Cantonese restaurant. Exceptional service and great views from the 37th floor location...

Very nice Sicilian Chardonnay.

Stir-fried Diced Seafood with Vegetable in Lettuce Cups.

Deep-Fried King Prawn with Mango Mayonnaise.  Outstanding.

Snow Crab and Shimonita Leek Soup.

Steamed Kinmedai Filet with Fish Soy Sauce.  Delicious.

The Braised Pork Spare RIb with Black Bean was outstanding.

Fried Jasmine Rice with Braised Abalone.

Almond Pudding with Lychee Honey Syrup.

My Instagram video of my lunch at Sense.

ANA First Class to Los Angeles

Happy to be heading home today in ANA First Class especially since ANA released one First Class seat a few weeks ago.  Even better that it only cost 55K Virgin Atlantic points.  

My Uber Black, complete with shower curtain LOL, was very comfortable and less than half the price that the MO quoted.  And only 55 minutes from the hotel to Narita.

Excellent private check-in and adjacent private security where I was the only passenger.   

But after that, ANA Suites Lounge is nothing special with limited serve yourself options although you can scan the menu bar code and order some rather uninspiring options. 

The best part of the ANA "First Class" Suites Lounge..

Tokyo NRT to Los Angeles LAX
All-Nippon NH 006
777-300ER (77W)
January 23, 2023
Departed 1/8 

Sadly today’s plane was ANA’s strange old cube suites that block easy views out the window. The good news was that I was the only passenger in First Class. Service was generally good although we got off to a rocky start as my FA tried to serve cheap Champagne on the ground. And no menu until airborne.

Once in the air, today's menu...

And wine list.  Other than the Krug, not much to get excited about.

OK, napkin wrapped 10 piece utensil set was comicallly impressive.

My foie gras starter was excellent.

As was the delicious wagyu fillet.

After a nap, I sampled a couple of other dishes.    Udon noodles with chicken.

And the Awaodori Chicken & Mushroom Curry.

We landed on time and pulled into our gate a few minutes later.  Yay. I see my P/S ride.

Instagram video of today ANA First Class flight from Narita.

P/S VIP Service and Private Terminal at LAX

Amazing VIP airport transfer service recently at LAX with P/S. Personal meet and greet at my arriving ANA flight, elevator down to the tarmac and a private limo to the gorgeous P/S facility. 

A few minutes later, we're at the other side of LAX and the private P/S terminal.  But first, private CBP for the easiest immigration and customs clearance. 

Beautiful lounge with complimentary food and beverage service. 

LOL.  Only in LA.

Checking out one the private suites for our May trip with Mrs. SFO777.

Then limo service back to my connecting United flight to Denver. P/S is the only way to deal with LAX.

Instagram video of my P/S LAX experience.

P/S to United to Denver


Heading home on the final leg after a great quick 4 day trip to upstate New York and Tokyo. What a treat to experience P/S at LAX, meet and greet, limo service around LAX, private CBP and TSA and driving me right to the plane. 

Damn, I could get used to this.

Up the jetbridge stairs to pre-board before GS and 1Ks.

And a beautiful day to fly with sunny skies and spectacular scenery on the two hour flight home.

Very cool to see a plane on approach to LAX.

Dinner time.  My pre-ordered United Burger.

Yikes, that looks pretty gross.

But tasted better than it looked.

And a new version of the Pie in the Sky.

Another me and my shadow pic back in snowy Denver.

But a cool sunset on E470.

My Instagram video of my United flight back home to Denver.

What a fun 4 day trip.  Thanks for following along.