My first leg of a trip to Asia started out well. We were not full (maybe 20 of 34 seats filled) so I got a shoe shine and boarded late, then switched from row 3 to 5 where I had an empty seat next to me.
Service was quite good, but not very "warm" for some reason (the purser didn't address anyone by name).
OJ and water were served pre-departure, followed by drinks (coffee and Bailey's - glad to see it back ^) hot towels and breakfast. A choice of a fruit plate or eggs was offered. I chose the eggs, which I would call sort of a Spanish omelet:
The eggs were filled with a mixture of peppers, cheese, onions and tomatoes. Two small hash-brown disks, a slice of ham and a link sausage were also on the plate, with a small dish of red grapes, a watermelon slice and a piece of pineapple. Warm croissants were offered from the basket. The food was quite good; even the eggs had a nice, fluffy texture.
We arrived early in Los Angeles, but then a long taxi, several pauses in the alleyway and a tow to the gate made us about 15 minutes late.
Data point: there were 25 egg meals and 9 fruit plates.
I had an unusual routing to Hong Kong: LAX-HNL-NRT-SIN (stop for six hours) HKG. First leg in F, the rest in C, so I was able to visit the Red Carpet Club. Goooooooooo, TOASTER!
We had a full load on this domestic 777, but the crew was seasoned and took good care of us. I enjoyed listening to Channel 9 as the other three Hawaii-bound UA flights (OGG, LIH, KOA) took off before us.
Water, coffee and OJ were offered before takeoff. I took row 1 because of good reviews I'd read online, but I was not wowed. The views later in the flight were worth sitting in the window seat.
After takeoff I had a mimosa (a nice plus over the usual domestic service), then chose the cheese omelet over the fruit plate.
Unlike the Spanish omelet the week before DEN-LAX, this one was filled with a creamy white cheese with a few parsley flakes mixed in. The fruit bowl was also red grapes, watermelon and pineapple, nothing Hawaiian to speak of; croissants or muffins were served from a basket. The link sausage was shriveled; overall the breakfast just looked less attractive than the one served out of DEN.
After a few hours (and "The Soloist" and bits of "Star Trek" on the bulkhead-mounted monitor), I went up to galley and had a nice chat with flight attendant Jan, who was delightful and seemed genuinely interested in my travels. She offered a Mai Tai (I'd forgotten about them) and I said "sure!"
My, those are tasty! I had two. About an hour before arrival we were served warm chocolate-chip cookies and milk, a nice treat. My guess at the Halfway-to-Hawaii was off (really off, like 54 minutes); the prize is a CD of Hawaiian music and the sponsor is Hilton.
Before long we were cruising along the west coast of Maui on our descent to HNL.
We arrived about 20 minutes late (I only had a bit over 60 minutes to connect to NRT), but made it with no trouble. A nice flight!
After a quick visit to the RCC and even a breath of fresh air outside,
I was excited to board our 744 to NRT, looking sharp in its Star Alliance livery.
Water, sparkling wine (more on that later) and OJ were offered pre-takeoff. I was politely asked for a seat swap (from 16A), so I obliged. We were full, but the mixed HNL and NRT crew were in fine spirits and treated us very well. I had some sparkling wine with my nuts:
This turned out to be a bit of a faux pas as I noticed that the prosecco I was served was actually the boarding wine. I pointed this out and was served the Domain Chandon after that.
TERIYAKI SALMON WITH SESAME SEEDS, LAYER EGG SHIITAKE ROLL, JAPANESE POTATO SALAD, EDAMAME AND PICKLED VEGETABLES
FRESH SEASONAL GREENS
Creamy Garlic or Balsamic Vinaigrette
WASABI-CRUSTED FILET MIGNON WITH THYME JUS
Macadamia-nut mashed potatoes and wok fried baby carrots
MONGOLIAN SHREDDED CHICKEN AND ASIAN NOODLES WITH SESAME OIL
And grilled vegetables
The above entrée selections were specially designed for United Airlines by TRADER VIC’S
WASHOUKU ZEN SELECTION
Appetizers of crabmeat in layered eggs, salmon tamari, burdock wrapped in glazed beef, shrimp with fish eggs, seared tuna with wasabi dressing, somen noodles and simmered shiitake mushroom
A main course of broiled sea bass saikyo yaki, shimeji mushroom, ginkgo nut, simmered bamboo root, carrot flower served with steamed rice and Japanese pickled vegetables
Served with green tea
Items in this meal may contain traces of MSG
When making reservations on future flights to and from Japan, you may secure the Japanese meal by pre-ordering.
I knew I'd be getting more Trader Vic's food on the NRT-SIN leg so I went with the Japanese lunch. It was quite good, one of the best I've had on UA. The Firestone Chardonnay (I'm a Santa Barbara County kid so I'm very loyal) went nicely with the light food.
The sea bass looked like this, and tasted quite mild and delicious:
INTERNATIONAL CHEESE SELECTION
San Joaquin Gold, Le Cabrie
The cheese looked nice, and it was. I had some port as well.
and then dozed and read for a while, sipping some chamomile tea I'd brought with me. My German seatmate was out like a plank so the new C seat felt nice and private.
Our ocean crossing was mostly smooth.
The other choice for dessert didn't look great:
ELI’S KEY LIME CHEESECAKE
but the flight attendant generously offered some extra chocolates, which were quite good.
prior to arrival
PORK TONKATSU WITH CURRY SAUCE
I heard a good report on this, and it was quite delicious in a comfort-food kind of way. I saw it for sale in Narita, as well.
FRESH SEASONAL FRUIT PLATE
With creamy yogurt
Soon we were landing in Narita:
IRON HORSE BRUT 2003 GREEN VALLEY
DOMAIN CHANDON ÉTOILE BRUT NV NAPA
GEYSER PEAK WINERY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007 CALIFORNIA
FIRESTONE VINEYARD SELECT CHARDONNAY 2007 CENTRAL COAST
HAYMAN & HILL RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2006 RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
ANDEAN VINEYARDS MALBEC 2007 MENDOZA
LUCAS & LEWELLEN VINEYARDS “QUEEN OF HEARTS” PINOT NOIR 2007 SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
JINDALEE CIRCLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 SOUTHEASTERN AUSTRALIA
GEKKEIKAN SAKE IS AVAILABLE ON FLIGHTS TO AND FROM JAPAN
Sandeman Founders Reserve porto will be offered during the main meal’s dessert STARBUCKS coffee will be available throughout the flight
I got another nice view of the Star Alliance 744:
The crew even gave me a liter bottle of Hawaii Water that made it through security for me to drink in the stuffy-as-usual shower room in the RCC.
I had a couple of hours to fool around at Narita, so did the usual ritual: shower in the RCC, sake and snacks in the ANA lounge, shopping and spotting on the concourse.
Super-love for the sake bar. It's so quiet and nice back in that corner (I always visit the "far" ANA lounge, the one that's upstairs, not in the basement).
They usually have some nice soup, too (cream of mushroom), and I enjoyed a bit of "salad roll" sushi.
After my belly was full I got a spritz of some obscure cologne, some Shiseido face lotion and wondered what Japanese kelp tasted like.
Soon it was time to board 803 to SIN. It was full in F, full-ish in Y and very light in C. An empty seat next to me! ^
The crew was nice, but just a bit less polished than the awesome SIN-based crews I still miss. After takeoff I enjoyed some of the Domain Chandon (I checked twice) that was fizzing like a house on fire. I think the packaged nuts are a bit sad, though.
FRESH SEASONAL GREENS
Toasted sunflower seeds
Not much to say, but a proper appetizer is missed on a seven-hour flight.
The sunset was quite prolonged and very pretty.
TRADER VIC’S BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH BARBECUE PLUM SAUCE
Macadamia nut potato pancakes and curry glazed mushroom and vegetable medley
After a peaceful five hours or so in the transit hotel, I was rested, showered and ready for the final leg to Hong Kong/Macau. (It looks like a window behind that curtain; it's just a blank wall!)
Since I was already checked in (I had not gone through immigration and was merely transiting Singapore) I had a boarding pass and could go directly to the SQ Silver Kris lounge where I had a quick nosh (a few Asian goodies and a piece of white toast and marmalade, which was super-delicious for some reason). And they have a very nice coffee machine that makes a mean double-strength cappuccino.
We had a light load up to Hong Kong, so I had the luxury of an upper deck windows seat all to myself. Very private.
Water and OJ were offered before takeoff (no sparkling wine nor mimosas but it was very early).
After takeoff I was offered a tasty mimosa (checked that wine label carefully; it was the Iron Horse).
Your selected entree will be accompanied by fresh fruit and breakfast breads
POACHED EGGS ON SWEET CORN AND POTATO HASH WITH CORIANDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
Spicy chorizo sausage and oven roasted tomato with herbs
HAINANESE CHICKEN AND RICE WITH CHILI SAUCE
Taiwanese sauteed cabbage
I have had this in the past but this particular dish wasn't really great. The chicken was quite tough and the whole thing tasted just a bit "off." Good thing I ate in the lounge before the flight On this trip, the inter-Asia flights were the most disappointing, food-wise, although still pretty good.
The fruit, however, was up to the usual high Singapore standard.
Selection of fresh seasonal fruit, cereal and yogurt
Service was quite good; I had a good chat with the flight attendant serving the upper deck, watched the map:
and enjoyed the view of two powerful engines loafing along.
Soon we were approaching Hong Kong, where it was a beautiful day.
We arrived a few minutes early; more time to enjoy another transit, this time in Hong Kong before catching the TurboCat to Macau.
The time had come for my Million-Mile flight. It was awesome, just as I'd hoped it would be. The crew went above and beyond and really treated me like a VIP.
I had a leisurely trek to Chek Lap Kok on the Airport Express, had a nosh in the RCC (I was craving Western comfort food by this time),
and did a bit of plane spotting. Go "Le Flamboyant!"
I shamelessly pandered to the crew, with some chocolates and magazines, plus a note informing the purser of my pending MM status. Upon boarding, I met purser Vanessa, who was very cool. When she asked me if I like Champagne, I knew I was on the right track.
I also talked to the captain (Jeff McDonald, also very cool), who gave me a copy of the flight plan, then embarrassed the heck out of me with an announcement over the P.A. Well, I did ask for it. My Chinese seatmate appeared a bit baffled over the special treatment but was pretty low-key.
After takeoff I was given a nice flute of Diamant Champagne (I think I had my own bottle as it kept flowing) by Vanessa, who said "you won't be drinking sparkling wine today." Nice. I might have a bottle of said Diamant in my refrigerator right now, but I have no knowledge of how it got there. :p
HOT SMOKED SALMON AND SMOKED DUCK SLICES
FRESH SEASONAL GREENS
Creamy Coriander Caraway or Honey Sesame Vinaigrette
I'm not a big duck fan but this tasted quite nice and wasn't too fatty.
PAN-SEARED FILET MIGNON WITH PORCINI MUSHROOM JUS
Potato herb ragoût and Kenya beans with pumpkin
Of course I had to have a steak, given my desire for comfort food. It was a perfect medium-rare. The Malbec from Mendoza went down shockingly easily.
CHICKEN PICCATA WITH TOMATO COULIS
Rice pilaf with sautéed fresh spinach
MISO MARINATED HALIBUT WITH SOY SAUCE
Steamed rice and Chinese seasonal vegetables
INTERNATIONAL CHEESE SELECTION
Camembert, Red Leicester
I was a little bit lit by this point so everything was tasting pretty good.
TART AU CITRON
With caramel sauce
A couple of glasses of port and I was off to dreamland.
Warm curry tortilla wrap with Tandoori chicken and cream cheese
This was just OK, being quite dry. I had a leftover lemon tart, as well.
Garlic cream cheese, cucumber and lettuce sandwich
Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie
Twix candy bar
Lay’s potato chips
Cheese and crackers
Hot noodle soup
Hot sandwiches and noodle cups are available upon request
I slept some more, woke up groggy, watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic," (perfect for brain-dead viewing) and soon it was time for breakfast.
prior to arrival
BACON, SPINACH OMELETTE WITH COMATO CONCASSÉ
Pork chipolata and sautéed potatoes
Not outstanding, but not awful. It wasn't rubbery and the fruit was nice and sweet.
FRESH SEASONAL FRUIT PLATE
With creamy yogurt
Today’s menu features beef from New Zealand
We arrived in SFO right on time.
I give United major props for making my MM flight very special, and for still being able to surprise and delight this sometimes jaded flyer. One last souvenir was a F menu signed by the whole crew (there's another page of siggies I didn't scan). I'll keep it in a safe place.
Coming off my excellent HKG-SFO "million-mile" virginity-losing flight, I was in a great mood. I realized that my first flight as a million-miler would be on a 2-class 777, and that my first flight as a 1K back in 2000 was on the same aircraft type. Kismet, I tell you.
After a somewhat frustrating wait at the bag belt (HKG-SFO is a flight with a LOT of checked bags, including some extras from SGN) and security, I was ready to relax.
We were full in F, but the crew was quite friendly and provided some great service. The usual OJ/water was provided at the gate, then cocktails and warm nuts (hot towels, too) after takeoff. I had a nice glass of zinfandel.
A choice of a cold, salmon salad or a hot, turkey "ciabatta" sandwich was offered. I chose the sandwich, which appeared to be the less-popular option. I heard the purser apologize to several passengers who did not receive their first choice of the salmon.
The sandwich, although a bit "bready," was quite good (apologies for not photographing it better; the turkey was hidden inside); cheese and a slightly-spicy whole grain mustard went well with the chewy roll. A side of the dreaded quinoa actually tasted OK when the flight attendant brought me a lemon wedge to squeeze over the top.
After lunch, hot chocolate-chip cookies were served, along with coffee and liqueurs. A double Bailey's went great with dessert.
We arrived about five minutes early.
That's all; I have lots more airplane/airport photos; let me know if you want to see anything special, or Macau or Hong Kong.
B707forever From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 11742 times:
Kurt - what a great trip report and noteworthy travel accomplishment! United should be doing a whole lot of special stuff for you as you're a great Ambassador (remember TW?).
I'm glad they made a fuss of you and the signed menu was a nice touch. I hope you frame it as a momento. Sometimes I forget how lucky and blessed so many of us are on this site to get to travel as we do and be spoiled along the way.
United has recently, along with my love for Continental, increased their image and product in my recent past. Being based at LGA and JFK they don't make sense from a mileage gain perspective but I'm truly hoping CO makes the switch to the star alliance soon!
Congrats again and here's to your next million miles! Cheers.
HOOB747 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 476 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 11645 times:
Quoting Kurt (Reply 3): We arrived about 20 minutes early. Although the 777 seems tired compared to new C on the 747, the flight was quite pleasant in a zoned-out, groggy sort of way.
I took this same flight this past March and felt exactly the same way! After a 12 hour flight (ORD-NRT), I was very groggy on my way to Singapore. But I certainly perked up when I saw that beautiful harbor, illuminated brilliantly in the darkness. Amazing.
Congratulations on your Million Mile achievement. And the signed menu must have been a real treat. I would have been crying when they presented that to me (ha). I recently achieved my Premier Executive status with United (50,000 miles), and felt the same accomplishment, albeit not on the same scale. Thanks for taking me back to some great destinations, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, San Francisco. Always a pleasure to hear of others travels.
Kurt From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 426 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10620 times:
Thank you for your nice feedback, A-Netters. I like to share my thoughts and photos - next month we're going to Argentina on Air Canada (DEN-YYZ-SCL-EZE-SCL-YYZ-DEN), (C-class) so I'll try to put something together on that trip.