I was putting away my small old leather amenity kit bag from American Airlines and it got me thinking. I use this old one for small plugs and chargers I take when I travel. It’s really, really old and it’s held up super well. I can’t even remember the first amenity kit I ever received but when I look at my old AA one, I realize how much they’ve changed. Some are super big and I use them for things like carrying around an iPad. Over the years, I’ve collected so many of them that when people come and stay at my house, I’ll often put one for them by their bedside as a gift. This gets their visit with me off to a flying start :)
One of my favorite amenity kit type gifts I ever received was a big bag the size of a shopping bag. It was from an Emirates flight and made from a straw-like material and was a fun gift to give to my cousin. I kept my Emirates pajamas for myself! I don’t recall the amenity kit, but when I got off from a Brussels Airlines flight, I was gifted a big box of delicious chocolates. That was a sweet surprise.
A week before my British Airways long-haul flight in business class, I asked TWG readers to choose my meal for me. The Braised British Beef was the clear winner, getting 53% of the votes! So that’s what I pre-ordered. Before I tell you about that meal though, I had a three hour British Airways flight (LIS-LHR) in business class that provided a lunch which I could not pre-order. Based on what I had heard from lots of different sources, I had very low expectations of British Airways. Both their planes and their food got absolutely no love, at all.
This short British Airways flight was actually a great experience. Nothing special about the plane itself, but it was the crew and meal that made the difference. The crew and service were great. They were fun to talk with and full of good cheer. They did mention that British Airways had a new catering service and menu, and that they hoped we’d notice and be pleased. It did feel like perhaps I was the only one in business class who wasn’t a British Airways regular, so that leaves me with nothing to compare this meal and service to except what I had previously heard from others.
The starter of prawns and seaweed salad was well prepared. Great combo of textures and taste. Since I knew I’d be eating beef on my next flight, I went with chicken for my main course. Big portions, way too much for me, and the chicken cooked just right. I didn’t have dessert or bread. No complaints at all on this meal, and as I mentioned, an all-around great British Airways inflight experience.
We gather miles and points and look forward with excitement to booking an award ticket. We’ve even got enough in our stash for a business class ticket… for TWO! We have our eye on a route and airline and we’re excited because they fly a Dreamliner 787. Maybe we’ve flown a Dreamliner before and can’t wait to fly it again, or maybe it’s our first time and we’re stoked. If this is you, and you either have a Dreamliner flight booked or hopes of booking one in the future, and you actually LIKE the person you’ll be flying with and want to share a fun Dreamliner experience with them, this post is for you. Why? Because not ALL Dreamliners are the same! And I don’t want you to have the same disappointing experience I recently had.
I’m a Dreamliner fan and given some routing choices, I will even position myself in a city to fly the Dreamliner. I wouldn’t consider myself an aviation geek, but I do enjoy flying different planes and seeing what they have to offer. Over the past few years, I’ve become enamored with the Dreamliner, so recently I positioned myself to Calgary, Canada just to fly Air Canada’s Dreamliner to London. I found out something startling… at least startling to me. All Dreamliners are not the same in the way each airline designs the interior. Up until this point, all the Dreamliner flights I’ve flown had similar designs, so this potential difference in design never occurred to me. But Air Canada’s design has two major flaws.
This is part two of my trip report for my ANA flights from Mexico City to Hong Kong – read the first part here.
My connecting flight to Hong Kong boarded promptly at 9:35am, and we even managed to push back a few minutes early.
Narita to Hong Kong
My onward connection to Hong Kong was on a 767-300 operated by Air Japan (an ANA subsidiary). This plane has a somewhat unusual 2-1-2 configuration in business, so I chose the middle seat in row 2 (someone warned me that people often use the row 1 bulkhead to move between the two aisles). The center seat has more storage than the others: a side console with a large storage compartment, as well as two smaller compartments for glasses and a water bottle. All the seats have a seatback pocket and a literature slot next to the footwell, plus generously sized tray tables, but there’s a lot more storage room and elbow room in the middle seat.
I had a work trip to Hong Kong in June, and I asked the people booking my ticket to put me on the new ANA nonstop from Mexico City to Tokyo-Narita. This flight launched earlier this year with ANA’s 787 Dreamliner, and is one of the only options to get to Asia from Mexico City without transiting the US (which requires early departures and long layovers). Luckily, the ticket got booked into a fare class that’s eligible for mileage upgrades, so I was able to use 28,000 ANA miles (transferred from Membership Rewards) to upgrade from Economy to Business.
I flew the reverse in economy in May coming back from Tokyo, so I was excited to see what business class would be like on this flight. The flight departs Mexico City at 2:20AM and arrives in Tokyo around 6:30AM the next day.
At the MEX Airport
I wasn’t able to print a boarding pass online for this flight. I arrived at MEX just before the cutoff time for checked bags, so there was no line at the ticket counter (but even if there had been, there was a separate checkin line for Business Class and Star Alliance Gold customers). Checkin was fast and efficient, and I was on my way to security in just a couple of minutes.
Since both of the Star Alliance lounges at MEX (Avianca and United) were closed at this hour, my boarding pass indicated that I could access the Grand Lounge Elite, a 24-hour Priority Pass lounge. The lounge was so far away from the gate though that by the time I went through security and had my immigration paperwork processed, it wasn’t worth trekking down to the lounge before the flight started boarding. I bought a big bottle of water (since there’s nowhere to fill a reusable bottle with drinkable water) and waited for boarding to start. Continue reading