Buenos dias everyone! I recently found this article gathering dust in the vault, and decided to clean it up and share it with you all.
When we started talking about going to Japan last year, it was originally intended to be a trip with friends to see the wisteria tunnels in Fukuoka. That plan eventually fell apart, partially due to the short duration of our own time in Japan, but then my friend E from demflyers pointed out that you can get a similar experience just a couple of hours outside Tokyo at Ashikaga Flower Park.
We were originally going to just go to the park on our own via train, but then E discovered a day trip on Japanican.com that included a trip to Ashikaga as well as a visit to Hitachi Seaside Park and a half hour of all-you-can-eat strawberry picking. She went on her tour the day before we arrived in Japan and said it was worth it, so after arriving at my hotel, I went ahead and booked a spot for the next day – the last day the trip was available.
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