Japan Airlines First Class Lounge in Tokyo Narita

One of my travel idiosyncracies is that I feel the need to get to the airport really, really early– particularly if it is an unfamiliar airport where I don’t know the lay of the land. Last week that got me into the Japan Airlines (JAL) First Class lounge in Tokyo Narita (NRT) at about 7:35 a.m. for a 10:55 a.m. flight. A bit excessive? Of course. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Continue reading “Japan Airlines First Class Lounge in Tokyo Narita”

AA 175 DFW NRT in new business class

I starting writing this as I was on AA 175, a 14ish hour flight from DFW to NRT (Narita, Japan) in business class. This plane is a Boeing 772 equipped with the new business class seats (all forward facing), which are fantastic. Before I review and specifics of the flight, however, know this: 14 hours is a long time in an airplane. Have you ever seen the Lewis Black video about flying to New Zealand? Look it up sometime when you aren’t at work and there aren’t any small children around to hear the language. It has always been funny, and this particular journey makes it all the funnier. Continue reading “AA 175 DFW NRT in new business class”

Changing Money at Jakarta Airport (CGK)

I arrived yesterday in Jakarta airport, and I wanted to include a quick note about how to change money here. When you are at baggage claim and before you clear customs, there are a series of ATMs. That should have worked well, but it did not. For some reason my card was declined, which is odd as I know I gave the bank a travel alert. Happily, I had read what proved to be excellent travel advise- I brought several clean 100 dollars bills with me. You should definitely do that as a backup plan.

The first opportunity to exchange those bills came immediately when I left customs- three different money changers all posted identical rates of 12,100 rupiah to the dollar. The exchange rate today is 13,465, so I passed on that. Upstairs on the departure level, however, things were different. They would buy my dollars for 13,200 rupiah, and sell me dollars for 13,800. There was no exchange fee, although it did require me to have 100 dollar bills. So, look around next time you are traveling (particularly in Indonesia)- you will want some physical cash as a backup plan, and exchange rates can vary widely.

Whiskey Drinking Robot, or flying first class on JAL from NRT to CGK (Jakarta)

So I am in first class on Japan Airlines right now, and the experience is amazing. A quick idea of what’s happening: After I changed into the very nice pajamas they gave me and came out of the bathroom, the flight attendant demanded that I give her my street clothes so she could hang them up. Apparently, me folding my own clothes would have offended her. Far be it from me to give offense. Continue reading “Whiskey Drinking Robot, or flying first class on JAL from NRT to CGK (Jakarta)”