Plane: B 777-246ER
After 10 years, work decided it was my turn to visit the Paris Boat Show. Normally my boss goes as we have clients and meetings, but this time he didn’t want to go. Initially it was going to be a quick trip as I had so much to do in Sydney in preparation for the Sydney Hobart yacht race, but when my girlfriend found out I was going she decided I should take some extra time off and see Ireland – and take her with me. As work paid an economy fare, I thought I would look at a J fare to upgrade to, and found a very good JAL companion fare. A bit risky with JAL financial position, but a good way to help me retain my QF
As the flight to NRT
was a morning flight, we had to get up at our normal work time, which wasn’t so bad, and caught a cab to the airport. Checkin was pretty quick, and our bags checked all the way through to LHR
, even though we had an overnight at NRT
, paid for in the ticket price. Convenient in some ways, a nuisance in others as we had planned on having our bags at NRT
Seeing as we had no shopping and bought books before hand, we went straight to the QF
First Class lounge for some breakfast. As we were having breakfast the flight from NRT
arrived and taxied to the gate
Our plane to NRT
Of course no lounge visit is complete without the prerequisite photos of plane movements!
VH-OQA arriving from LAX
A6-EHF being towed to park until its afternoon departure
Not something you see everyday, a BA departure in the morning, with 2 other BA 744s already parked
Like our last flight, we left the lounge a little on the late side, and walked straight onto the plane and made ourselves at home. When I checked the loadings the day before, it looked like it would be a full flight both in Y and J, and it was definitely the case at least in J.
Forward J cabin
EK A380 on its way to AKL
As you would expect for a Japanese airline, pushback was right on time at 09:20, and we made our was to 34L. Nose cam was turned on and we had a good view forward.
The day was so clear, it made for some great photos as we made our way to NRT
Virgin, SQ, and the 2 remaining BA 744s waiting for their afternoon departures
A380 vs 744ER
Homebush Stadium with a concert stage
As soon as we had levelled out we were handed our menus for the flight. The morning meal had a choice of Japanese or Western. We chose the Western meal of Fillet of Beef Steak. Seems rather strange for this time of morning but it was enjoyable anyway.
Fillet of Beef alongside Smoked Salmon with Prawn, Prosciutto with Melon
After the meal, we relaxed in the comfortable but not too wide seats, and I started on my many books.
When we first sat down we both thought the seats were quite hard but soon got used to it, and found them very comfortable when in the layflat position. The only and major problem was the headsets. They were the same ones as used in economy. I was ok as I had my Bose headphones, but my girlfriend found them awful – not what you would expect in business class.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, I didn’t watch any movies, preferring to read and look out the window to see the amazing sights that passed below
About 2 hours before arrival into NRT
we were served a meal which seemed to be more in keeping with what I would have expected for our first meal, but it was tasty and I was hungry.
Arrival into NRT
was 20 minutes early, and although we ended up at the far gates and a long wait for the train, we still made good time though customs and to the bus to the hotel.
As there was no same day connection to LHR
, JAL put you up in their hotel for the night, room depends on the class you are travelling. Our room was pretty nice, but they didn’t have any overlooking the runway. Dinner and breakfast are also included in the fare, although I think breakfast only if you are travelling economy.
Plane: B 777-346ER
View from our hotel
With 2 flights to LHR
I had figured I would rather take the later one and sleep in. Also it was 77W, and I wanted some more flights on this model. With the scheduled departure at 12:00, it gave us plenty of time to have breakfast, relax and head to the airport with no stress, and also to enjoy the JAL First Class lounge. While at the lounge I checked my e-mails and found I had a few urgent ones to attended to, which was a challenge with the keyboard, but more so because using webexchange, kept giving me errors which I couldn’t understand. Ended up solving it with a phone call to the office.
With 30 minutes to go, we made our way to the gate with the usual photos of the plane we were going to fly on today.
Our 77W for today
Boarding was on time, and by class and status, which was rigorously enforced by the gate agents. J was pretty full on this flight, including a family with 2 young kids. I wont get into that debate, but will say the flight could have been more pleasant and quieter.
77W J cabin
The usual Japanese send off
We pushed back a few minutes late but made our way promptly to the active for a quick takeoff. It seemed a very long time before the seatbelt sign was extinguished, maybe there is some Japanese regulation, but it was at least 30 minutes before we could move around the cabin.
Views on departure
Fresh Green Salad served with Dill Cream Dressing
Prosciutto & Meli-melo Vegetable Terrine with Tomato Consomme, Smoked Salmon Glazed with Lemon Olive Oil on Brioche Bread
Seared Tenderloin of Japanese Beef with herb Mustard Sauce
Unfortunately it was very cloudy over Japan, so we didn’t see anything more until we reached the Russian mainland. I started watching a Mr Bean movie, but lost interest very quickly and went back to reading a book.
Fortunately for me, the headphones on this leg were much better, and my girlfriend was much happier!
Views over Russia
Darkness came pretty quickly but still had some magnificent views – ah for a better camera to take advantage of some difficult photography conditions.
For me the rest of the trip was uneventful, having may helpings of some very nice and creamy icecream and reading my book. I had an hour or 2 sleep, but didn’t want too much so that I had a good sleep when we arrived in London and reduce any jetlag.
On JAL, they don’t seem to serve you a 2nd meal, you actually have to ask for it which I found strange, but as I wasn’t hungry I wasn’t too worried, must have been all the icecream during the flight. Service was very good and attentive, as soon as we had finished a bottle of water a new bottle appeared.
We started getting more light at the top of Scandinavia, but it was cloudy until just over England, and then it started getting dark again.
On descent into LHR
I have to say both landings on JAL have been some of the smoothest I have ever experienced, barely even noticed the wheels touching the ground – was the same for the flights back to.
We arrived a good 20 minutes early – again, which is nice, but my girlfriends sister had arranged for someone to pick us up an hour after scheduled arrival to allow time to get through customs etc. Of course we made our way through customs very quickly, even in the foreigners line – which I went through as my girlfriend has only an Australian passport, to be told by the agent that I could take my girlfriend through the EU line as I have an EU passport as well. Through and out into the arrivals hall before scheduled arrival, not bad.
The next day I flew out to Paris for my work commitments, but as there have been enough LHR
trip reports, I won’t bore with the details except add this interesting rego below.
Had to laugh at this rego
Plane: A 320
The plan was for me to fly in from Paris and meet my girlfriend at T5
arrivals, she with the rest of my luggage, and we would take the train to T1. We only had 2 hours from my scheduled arrival until departure of the EI
flight so it was going to be tight. My BA
flight landed pretty much on time, at T5A, would have been earlier except for the 20 minute hold, and being in 1A I was able to make a very quick departure from the plane and through customs. My girlfriend was there waiting for me, and little anxious and annoyed with the driver that took her to the airport, not only was she overcharged, she specifically asked to be dropped off at arrivals, but the driver insisted that she was there, even though it was upper level and said departures!
Even with a 10 minute wait for the train, we made it easily to the EI
counters to check in our luggage and go through security, and find our way to the gate via the rabbit warren that is T1.
Another nice day for taking photos, which of course I did.
Push back was a little late, then we had a long taxi to 27L for our departure. Wasn’t a big load today, we had a spare seat next to us, which is always nice for my girlfriend. I am the window hog, so its always her who suffers when we get a smelly large bloke in our row.
Is UA taking over?
Clear day over UK
On descent into DUB
Wish I could write more about this flight, but it was very uneventful, and we landed in DUB
pretty much on schedule, although our bags seemed to enjoy the flight a bit more and didn’t seem keen to leave the plane. After about 15 minutes they arrived, and we made our way to pick up our rental car and enjoy 6 days of driving around Ireland.
Next: The return flights….and if anyone is interested I might do a “trip report” on the Sydney Hobart race.
Cheers and thanks for reading