Category Archives: Airline Trip Report

Finally, my vacation is here!

After much planning, I am finally embarking on my vacation on Viking’s Homeland Cruise. First, I have to get to Stockholm to board the Viking Star. My flight is on a Boeing 747-8i, a fairly new plane that is the longest commercial jet by a few inches. I have a special place in my heart for the 747. My first overseas flight alone was in a 747. Back then, there was a smoking section and while I asked for a non-smoking seat I had no idea about planes and seating arrangements. Needless to say, my non-smoking seat was one row ahead of the smoking section. I think it was from that experience that I became obsessive about my seat assignment.

Lufthansa 747-81
Lufthansa 747-81

But back to my flight to Frankfurt. I snagged seat 1K and I was told that it’s the front-most seat and that I will be arriving into Germany before anybody else, LOL! Since I was sitting by the curvature of the nose, I had amazing views from both sides of the plane as we were taking off. The engine noise sounds quite distant. It’s the guy next to me snoring that’s keeping me up. Makes me kinda wish for engine noise to drown him out.

The flight was a smooth and uneventful and the flight attendants were super nice and helpful. I hope this good start bodes well for the rest of my vacation. Up next, embarkation in Stockholm.

Gourmet dining at 30,000 feet

I found trip reports to be incredible useful when planning a trip especially on deciding which airline to fly and finding out what to expect once on board.   So I thought to try my hand at writing one and hope that it will be useful to some other traveler.  I was able to snag a first class ticket to Tokyo on ANA and another first class ticket from Tokyo to Singapore on United using miles.  Overall, a wonderful way to travel half way round the world.

A typical trip report would start with the airport lounge experience.  I got to use the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at Dulles.  I found it small and dull.  The only thing I was looking forward to was the supposedly delicious Bavarian pretzels but I couldn’t find any which is just as well because eating one would have a challenged my ability to give the ANA offerings due justice.

I was excited to fly ANA because of its reputation for excellent food and over the top service.  I was not disappointed.  Upon arriving at the aircraft gate, I was immediately greeting by name and escorted to my seat where upon I proceeded to get a several gifts presented by more flight attendants “eager” to serve me during the flight.  After checking out the amenity kit in a miniature Rimowa case, I changed into the pyjama top. I had not planned to change prior to takeoff but the flight attendant kept on asking if she could escort me to the bathroom to do so, so I caved.  They were so nice and sweet, it was hard not to do what they ask – that’s probably the source of their power.

Soon after takeoff, the meal service began.  Now I had a glass of Kruger champagne prior to take off and it was so delicious I asked for another one when the service began.  It was served with a selection of hors d’oeuvres.

Champagne with snacks
Champagne with snacks

I ate the prosciutto with melon before I remembered to take a picture – I think this will be a common theme on this blog. Everything was delicious – cheese bread sticks, the aforementioned prosciutto, the goat cheese tart, and the lightly seared rare tuna. All washed down with yummy Krug – and I generally don’t like champagne!

 

 

What followed was a two-hour leisurely lunch:

Caviar with the fixings.  The bellinis were particularly good.
Caviar with the fixings. The bellinis were particularly good.

 

Octopus, shrimp, salmon roe
Octopus, shrimp, salmon roe
Sashimi
Sashimi

 

 

 

 

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Duck, steamed cod in cabbage, rice, miso soup, pickled vegetable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Followed by dessert…

Tea with petit fours. Notice one of the fours mysteriously disappearing before I could snap the photo.
Tea with petit fours. Notice one of the fours mysteriously disappearing before I could snap the photo.

 

 

 

and more dessert …

 

 

 

 

Chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream.

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Now it’s nap time. ANA offers a turn down service that transforms your seat to a comfortable bed.  Lie flat seats on airplanes are a great invention but the cushions can get hard and the seams between the parts of the seats create bumps. ANA solves those issues by putting a thick foam layer on top of the seat.  Voila!

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Mt. McKinley. Can't tell which peak but it's the tallest one : )
Mt. McKinley. Can’t tell which peak but it’s the tallest one : )

 

After I woke up, the flight attendant excitedly told me that we were flying over Mt. McKinley.  Her enthusiasm was so infectious that I had to take a picture.

 

I could go on and on about how great it was to fly ANA but this post is getting to long as it is.  To sum, I’m saving up miles to fly ANA again