Part 1: HKG-NRT CX504 (Business Class) and the Pier First Class lounge (Here)
Part 2: NRT-LAX JL62 (Business Class), JAL First Class lounge, QF LAX First Class lounge, LAX-DEN AA (Economy Class) (You are here)
Part 3: DEN-ORD AA2312 (Economy Class), United Polaris Lounge, ORD-HND NH111 (First Class) [to come]
Part 4: HND-HKG CX543 (Business Class) and the Cathay Pacific Haneda Lounge revisited [to come]
Part 5: HKG-LHR CX257 (Business Class)
I started my New Year’s Eve in Kyoto and ended it in a suburb in Denver. Because of flying over the International Date Line, I had 40 hours of New Year’s Eve which was quite a novelty. In terms of the flights, I redeemed 75,000 BA Avios for the Japan Airlines Business Class from Tokyo to Los Angeles, which represented good value for the peak season. I paid for the Economy Class ticket from Los Angeles to Denver which as OneWorld Emerald I have free food/drinks and free exit-row seating, so was excellent all round. I also visited the First Class lounges in Narita and Los Angeles, which was excellent.
Japanese trains are wonderful – they run extremely on time
As an OneWorld Emerald member, I was allowed to check in at First Class check-in. There was no wait, I was escorted by the staff checking me in and she tagged my bag all the way to Denver (although I still needed to pick it up at Los Angeles to clear customs)
Even though it was not clearly signposted, OneWorld Emerald members are allowed to use the First Class private security offered by JAL. There was no one in security, which was handy. I managed to get through quickly and immigration was efficient too.
I quickly arrived at the First Class lounge
There was no a la carte dining at this lounge which was a significant downgrade from what I experienced in most OneWorld Emerald lounges, but the food quality was quite good
My plane has pulled in about 2 hours prior to departure – and yet departure was still delayed
I went over to the satellite building lounge to stretch my legs slightly
And more champagne!
The sushi bar opened at 3 pm
Out of everything they offered, I only wanted some eggs
Soon enough, it was time for boarding. The gate area was absolutely swamped with people – looked as if it would be an extremely full flight. The First Class line was extremely long too
First Class through Door 1 – everyone else through Door 2
The Business Class cabin
8C for me today
The TV was in Japanese by default – took a bit of time to get it out of Japanese mode
Sparkling wine in a plastic flute to start
For some reason, safety briefing was done manually rather than through the personal TV screens
The noise-cancelling headphones
It was a long taxi and then we took off
Hot towel was first offered
My table was soon laid
Sake to start
Everything was extremely good
Bread was given on request
Main course was beef tongue and grilled eel. It was very oil but freshly steamed rice is always appreciated
By this point, we have just over 7.5 hours to go
Dessert and green tea
Water bottles were given out just before bed time
More green tea
My bed – it was not long enough for me (1.85m) – the mattress was very comfortable but the cabin temperature was consistently too warm for me to use the blankets
Just lost a day!
My pre-arrival meal: octopus balls, rice porridge with smoked fish and some fruits
View of sunrise
We are nearly there!
Well into California
We landed a few minutes behind schedule and it took a while for us to get to our stand
But immigration was extremely fast in LAX so I was out within 20 minutes
My verdict: It was a rather solid flight. I enjoyed the lounge a lot – it was a quiet place that serves above par food and good wifi for walking. The flight itself was fine – food was above par, the wine selection was good and the service was generally decent. The flight was exceptionally full and it could feel a bit like clockwork. I am really not a fan of the seat – I find it a bit difficult to sleep in and the cabin temperature was definitely set too high.
I quickly re-cleared security at TBIT and headed to the QF First Class lounge for my long layover at LAX. It was an elegantly appointed lounge and with only a handful of people in there during my stay – everything was done perfectly. I enjoyed the food there and the wifi was quick, which allowed me to finish up on some work.
Literally no one here
To start: some Rose Champagne
Salt and Pepper Squid was excellent
Trout with fresh greens and French fries – all were excellent
Peppermint tea to finish with some desserts
All the food was of extremely high quality and was extremely elegantly presented. It helped that I was the only one in the dining area for most of the time. This reminds me of the privilege it is to be an OneWorld Emerald member which affords me First Class lounges – which is something that Star Alliance and SkyTeam will never afford their elite members.
I boarded my flight to Denver and was on my merry way – everything went on time and I got to my NYE party on time. It was a good day, albeit the long travelling day.