My transpacific odyssey Part 3: NH111 First Class ORD-HND

On my way back from the USA, I was able to snatch a First Class flight on ANA from Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo Haneda using Aegean Airlines Miles. 100,000 miles lighter and I have the e-ticket to the dream flight of the lifetime. I was finishing up work at Denver and spent the weekend there before heading on Monday. I started my day with American Airlines, a short two-hour hop, and then I had to wait around slightly for the check-in for ANA to open.

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) (Here)

Part 3: DEN-ORD AA2312 (Economy Class), United Polaris Lounge, ORD-HND NH111 (First Class) [You are here]

Part 4: HND-HKG CX543 (Business Class) and the Cathay Pacific Haneda Lounge revisited [to come]

7 am in Denver

I was at Group 2, courtesy of my BA Gold status, and seemed to be the only Group 2 passenger of the day. I think most AA homegrown elites were upgraded, leaving me the only one with elite status in coach (as I was the only one offered snacks/drinks).

View from my exit row

Free snacks – too early for drinks obviously

Approaching Chicago

I then spent two hours catching up with some work in the Flagship Lounge – so apologies for the lack of report. It had a good selection of food and drinks – and it was a rather nice space to work in.

I went to Terminal 3 at about 13:00, which was 15 minutes before check-in opened. I waited in line for First Class check-in, and I was the only one in the line. Long lines were already forming for Business Class and Economy Class.

Check-in took a while. The United agent was a bit concerned that I did not have a return flight out of Japan. I showed her my mobile boarding pass on Cathay Pacific out of Haneda the following morning but she was not too convinced. I had to show her the e-ticket and let her copy it before she would issue my boarding passes and tagged my bags. She advised me that I could use the Polaris Lounge (of which I knew already) and that I could use the Fast Track security check (of which I also knew, but I wonder whether it was worth the walk all the way to the other end of the terminal!) She was courtesy but lacked the Japanese professionalism I would say.

I was told to turn left upon seeing the fossil

I like the tunnel!

There was a staff checking credentials outside the lounge making sure you are eligible. It’s been a while since I qualified for a lounge by virtue of class travel. (I am an OneWorld Emerald that flies in Economy and Business Class… and before that I was Star Alliance Gold that only flies in Economy Class)

I went straight to lunch – I know that a feast awaits me on board, but I heard that food in Polaris is pretty nice and I was not disappointed!

A gin and tonic to start – you should know by now

Starter

Champagne to follow

Steak and fries

Bread and butter pudding

It was very good – the service was top notch but by the time the lunch was over, it was about time to leave. I managed to sneak in a shower but that was about it!

I arrived at the gate, which was a short walk from the lounge, about 10 minutes prior to the flight.

And a dedicated bridge for First Class

Boarding began promptly at 15:45

My seat 2K

Pre-departure beverage: not the Krug, just normal Champagne, I was told

Long flight ahead

Sunset at Chicago

Hot towel to start

Menu was presented to me

Sparkling water and Krug to start

These canapes were out of this world

Table was laid

Bread

Smoked salmon and lobster starter – it was very good

Caviar

More champagne? Yes, please!

Salad

Japanese soup

The flight is still young!

Fish for main. It was not the best presented course but it is one of the best fish courses I have ever had. The seabass was cooked to perfection – flaky and piping hot

White wine to accompany the fish

Fruits for dessert

Switching to tea now

Do I have room for more?

Bed was set up in 2G for me

I woke up over Alaska – it is morning in Tokyo, so I had to start forcing myself to stay awake, which was proving quite difficult

So coffee to start

More caffeine? Yes, please!

Fairbanks

Why not stuff more food? White wine to start

Corn soup – it was out of this world!

Ramen – it was too flavourful for my liking, but oh well!

More white wine!

Dessert was excellent

Latte to finish. I tried to teach them flat white, but the language barrier failed me.

I fell asleep in the lounge position watching TV in my seat. When I woke up, the TV was turned off and a blanket was pulled over me. Speaking of personal service! I was so so impressed.

I woke up again over Russia

Some more tea

The lounge position

The final meal service started about 2 hours out

Some bar snacks

Smoked duck to start

The Japanese set

Sake was a must!

More fruits

Apple crumble was a hit and miss

A final tea break with just under an hour to go

Arrived into Tokyo just a bit behind schedule due to strong head winds.

I enjoyed my flight a lot, at least up to the point I left the aircraft. The food and beverage on offer were excellent and the service was extremely polished. The flight attendants were warm, witty and quick to serve. As I left the plane in Tokyo, I was met with these intolerable queues for immigration. It ended up taking 2 hours to clear immigration, and that was not the expected ending for such a lovely flight.

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