I hate flying. I seriously hate everything about it. The long lines, the close proximity to other travelers who presumably have airborne illnesses (please not Ebola!), and my irrational, but relevant fear of hurtling to the Earth from 40,000 ft above.
That all changed on my flight to Tokyo. I flew Business Class on All Nippon Airways (ANA) on what was a 14 hour direct flight. You may be wondering how I was able to fly business class since those tickets typically cost thousands of dollars. The simple answer is I used airline miles to book the flight. In total, I used 110,000 US Airways miles and paid approximately $130 in taxes. This got me a business class flight round trip to New Zealand with layovers in Tokyo both ways. The experience of flying business class is night and day from flying coach, especially on these long-haul flights. For those that have flown business or first class before, you know what I’m talking about. I have no other reference point so this was all new to me, and I loved it!
I’ll start with the best part first. I had my own private seat that turned into a lay-flay bed. On this particular ANA plane, the seats are staggered and have walls so you get your own little nook. I barely saw another person besides the stewardess the entire flight. The in-flight entertainment was also excellent. They had a diverse selection of new release movies, some of which had only come out on Blu-ray a week earlier.
As I boarded the plane, I was offered champagne and orange juice. They provided hot towels at each meal throughout the flight. Shortly after take-off, lunch was served. The menu had both Japanese and western options, and I opted to try the Japanese lunch which consisted of a WIDE range of items including: Japanese pickles, prawns, squid, sea urchin, herring, seabream, octopus, sablefish, and a miso soup. For dessert, I tried a Japanese pastry with a sweet red bean filling. It was delicious! Between the scheduled meals, they had complimentary wine, beer, sake, and snacks.
Overall this was a great experience, and I’m actually somewhat looking forward to my next flight to New Zealand.