Flying All Nippon Airways to Japan for the First Time

United Club at SFO

United Club at SFO

My kids have already departed from Boston and Mr. Travelholic and I are ensconsed in the United Club at SFO awaiting the beginning of our trip to Japan. We are here a million hours early because of that one time I gave myself 6 hours to get to SFO from my home (normally a 3.5 hour drive) and nearly missed my flight due to Bay Bridge traffic. Of course today there was no traffic and we have nearly 4 hours now to wait till our plane departs for LAX, and then to Haneda on the red eye.

You might ask why we are going from SFO to LAX and then to Haneda, and then why on an awful redeye. Well, we were able to get 1/2 price Business Class tickets by picking this route, and since putting my legs flat vs not for 12 hours help the rheumatoid arthritis affected knee joints immensely, this is the route we have picked. The difference between flat legs vs bent legs for that long can mean hitting the ground running vs. a slow and painful start to an international trip.

As for the redeye, we get into Tokyo at a godwaful 5am arrival time. Mr. Travelholic sleeps great on planes and is already plotting his day in Tokyo. I never sleep on planes and look at all such plans with great trepidation.

We are taking All Nippon Airways (“ANA”) for the first time internationally. This is exciting because we always take United. Our children have already taken off on their ANA flight and report there are foot rests and more space than their last United economy flights and they are pleased. As for ANA Business class, we get those cool little pod-like seats which should be great for privacy/sleeping but not so great for travelling together. The pod-seats seem to be a plus.

What is not a plus is that they don’t serve a real meal on the redeye. I mean, yes I know we take off at 12:05am, but for me food is a form of entertainment on a plane; if you can’t sleep on a plane 12 hours is a long time to fill. I understand I can order a snack. Yay. Plus, I’m like a little kid when I get to fly Business class and I want to get the experience…menu, fancy meal (well, fancier meal than economy). There is a breakfast; again um, yay. Breafast on a plane is such a dull meal.

No dinner would be fine if I could entertain myself on WiFi. I saw that ANA has WiFi available; you can buy it for the full flight for $19.95. I am immediately thrilled; I am imagining all the blogging and Instagramming I can get done. But then I read the fine print–they CAP usage at 100MB. Seriously? Seriously? That is useless. Those pod seats had better be darned comfortable. And I hope there are engaging movies on the entertainment system. Otherwise I really need to finish that Hamilton biography I have on my Kindle.

But…but still, I am just so excitied. After all these years of travel I have still not lost my sense of childlike wonder when flying. You get on a metal machine, you trust the whole thing and somehow you cross a continent. Or an ocean. And you end up somewhere world’s away from home. How lucky we are to live now–in the whole of human history, it has been less than 100 years that mankind could do this; and many fewer years that mankind could do this somewhat economically. That. Is. Amazing.

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