I arrived in Tokyo on a 15-hour nonstop flight from New York about a few hours ago and boy do I feel like a hundred bucks (can’t say a million during a recession).
Take notice American Airlines, this is how you treat a passenger. I was greeted with a glass of champagne and it wasn’t one of those one–and-done teases that most airlines usually do. After your glass, the stewardesses come around with the bottle looking to top you off or fill you back up. And this was no Korbel. The ladies of Nippon were armed with a chilled bottle of Champagne Drappier Carte Blanche Brut. According to the menu, “Nuances of nuts and honey can be detected in the sweet fragrance redolent of peaches.” Now, I don’t know much about champagne, but it tasted as it good as that description sounds.
Since zero gift shops at John F. Kennedy International Airport sell Tylenol PM, booze was going to have to suffice as my sleep remedy. I went with the Lockwood Vineyard Cabarnet Sauvignon 2006 out of Montery, CA. Nippon also offered a Chardonnay, a Reisling Kabinett and a Shiraz. They were all excellent choices, but I can vouch for the Cab’s great taste and zero-hangover ability. There were about three stewardesses working business class at all times, waiting to bring you something or, if you are as pathetic as I am, looking to show you how to work the reclining features on your seat. The television is also located inside your arm rest, much like your seat tray. It comes out and then can be adjusted to the left or right, which was great when trying to avoid glare.
The movie selection was pretty deep. I started with Last Chance Harvey, a pretty simple romantic comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. As far as chick flicks go, it was no Terms of Endearment, but it got the ball rolling just fine. From there, I needed to restore my testosterone levels with the classic Clint Eastwood western, Unforgiven. Then I gave it all back later on when I watched the corny, teeny bopper/vampire flick, Twilight. Perhaps it was the Cabernet, but I actually didn’t mind it. For dinner, I went with the pan-fried beef tenderloin with morello cherry sauce. This was not your typical airport meal but rather something you’d thought you’d ordered from a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
I was ready for the dreaded airplane nap. I reclined my seat all the way back, used two pillows (and not one of those purse-sized cushions most airlines give you), and I was out cold like Ricky Hatton after a b left hook to the cranium.
The clinging and clattering of spoons stirring coffee cups woke me the next morning. For breakfast, I reluctantly ordered the bowl of rice topped with Japanese-style barbecued pork tenderloin. Now, I don’t plan on making pork a part of my regular breakfast routine, but this was actually quite good and, more importantly, gave me the jolt of energy I needed to start the day on the right note. The Korean-style marinated vegetables and fresh fruit cocktail put the finishing touches on a pretty well-balanced breakfast. One cup of OJ and four coffees later and I was ready to tackle the day.
Bottom line, is if you are flying to Japan, or anywhere longer than 10 hours for that matter, fly business class. Your body will thank you when you get to your destination. Furthermore, If you are flying to Tokyo, fly Nippon Airway’s business class. The service, the food, the movies, the booze and even the pillows are worth every penny ( a recession-proof expression).