I didn’t think I had that much beer and sake the night before, but the mixture of jetlag and the overall weird sleep schedule had me waking up Wednesday morning feeling pretty hellish. Although my friend had given me secret anti-hangover pills, they just weren’t cutting it and I wanted to sleep all day. This is a shame, because I woke up to an email from Delta notifying me that my 3:15pm departure was now 6:50pm, which would normally mean that I would have had an entire half day exploring Tokyo. However, I ended up sleeping in, getting room service and taking my time packing up instead of trying to mark off things off my “to-do in Tokyo” list. While I felt guilty at first about “wasting” my last half day in Tokyo, I realized that it doesn’t matter that I pack in everything in this trip, because I’m going to come back again. And again. Annnd again.
I’ve traveled pretty extensively this year and I have a lot of trips coming up, so I’ve actually come to realize that I need to build in down-time and it’s okay to not be on the go every minute of every day – even if I am in a cool, exotic place. I recently met a travel photographer/blogger friend in Vancouver, Jen (mylifesatrip.com), and we talked about the difference of traveling as a lifestyle versus traveling while on a vacation. There is a big difference, though that’s not the point of this blog post.
I ended up asking for a 3pm checkout, which they had no problems granting and when I was on the phone I asked if they could arrange for my Friendly Limo Bus transfer to Narita. Not only did they arrange it and secure my ticket, but they also added it to my bill, so I earned Gold Passport points for the expense (and Amex points because I paid with my Platinum Card, which I use abroad because it has no foreign transaction fees).
After my sushi overload and tempura seafood feast, frankly I was Japanese food-ed out. Plus, I planned to get a Japanese meal on the plane, so I ordered a Caesar salad and French Onion soup to hopefully bring me back to life so I wasn’t out of it for my 13.5 hour trek back to NYC. The meal ended up being about $70 when all was said and done, but it was phenomenal and gave me the energy to get packed, finish up some work and get on my way to Narita for my flight home.
The bus was empty and the ride was uneventful since there was no traffic, so we got to there in about an hour and 20 minutes. At one point, I looked down at my carry-on bag and noticed one of my whacky Tokyu Hands purchases (which may or may not be given out to a lucky TPG reader soon) sticking out. I wonder what the security agent would think seeing this go through the scanner?
The Delta terminal was the last stop and the check-in counters were empty when I arrived. There was a sign notifying JFK passengers that the flight was delayed and meal vouchers would be provided. I’m just happy I was notified in advance, so I could hang out in my comfortable abode at the Park Hyatt.
As a Delta Diamond and BusinessElite passenger, I used the SkyPriority check-in lanes and I saw a booklet explaining the features of the Economy Comfort cabin, which is Delta’s new Premium Economy product that launched June 1, 2011. The cost to upgrade NRT-JFK was $160, which I would certainly pay for 4 more inches of legroom and 50% more recline. I got the chance to ride in Economy Comfort for a couple hours of my flight home, so more on that later.
Before going through security, I decided to check out the shops and the plane-watching deck. It was a nice sunny afternoon, so I hung out on the patio for 30 minutes watching the “heavies” take off. Then I purchased some kimonos for my goddaughter and family members and was on my way.
The terminal still seemed empty and I was the only person going through priority security, which was painless. Immigration was also a breeze and once inside the terminal, I passed by the highend shops and headed straight for the SkyClub, which is supposed to be one of the best in the Delta system.
And that it certainly was. It’s a sprawling lounge with great views of the runway. The furniture was new and similar to the LAX SkyClub and the food and beverage offerings were nicer than what I’m used to at JFK. For food there was: Sushi with Burdock & Egg Sheet, Congee, Chinese Egg Soup, Bean Starch Salad, chips/pretzels, chocolate cake and danish. Beverages were plentiful – from Asahi and Sapporo on tap (with frosted beer glasses), wine, alcohol, sake and soda fountain. I really like the self-serve nature of the lounge and I wish all others were like it.
The lounge experience was great – it wasn’t crowded, the wifi was strong and the food offerings were decent. Stay tuned for the in-flight report for my NRT-JFK flight, where I got to sit in Economy Comfort and in BusinessElite on the upper deck.
Full disclosure: My flights and hotels were comped by Delta and Hyatt respectively but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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