30. SGN-NRT on NH in J

30. SGN-NRT on NH in J

Saigon, Vietnam to Tokyo, Japan

NH 932

Departure Time: 11:50 PM

Boeing 767-300

Business Class Seat 3A

Duration 6 hours

The taxi dropped us off at Saigon Airport’s international terminal at about 9:30PM for our 11:50PM departure.  We went to the ANA check-in desk and found an economy class line, and business class line which were both queued up with some customers.  However, there were no check-in agents.  We queued up in the business class line.  20 minutes later, a team of contract agents came to their check-in stations, bowed at all the customers and began checking us in.

We were issued our pre-assigned seat assignments 3A and 3C which are two seats together in the 2nd row of the plane.  In addition, the check-in agent provided us a lounge pass to use one of the airport’s contract lounges, the Rose lounge.  I believe about 3 years ago this lounge used to be a Singapore Airlines lounge which then got converted to a contract lounge.  We went through immigration and security and headed that way.

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ANA check-in desks at Saigon airport before the slew of agents arrived.
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Entrance to the Rose VIP lounge.  From the sign it appears that it services most of the Star Alliance carriers and a couple others.

For a Contract Lounge, this one was one of the nicest yet.  A big open space with plenty of big windows to the tarmac.  Plenty of comfortable seating.  A decent vietnamese and marginal western food spread.  And of course, free drinks and booze.  We used the free wi-fi to surf the web and kill a little over an hour before boarding.
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The open feel of the Rose lounge with the drinks and food stations in the background.
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Big windows with full views of the tarmac, and some comfortable, clean chairs.
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More tarmac views.
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The food spread was decent.  We were stuffed from an amazing meal in Saigon at Cuc Gach, so we didn’t touch any of this stuff.

Boarding was called a surprising 25 minutes before departure.  Normally the airlines ask you to be at the gate 50 or 60 minutes prior to departure.  Organized lines formed behind a business class and economy class sign.  We boarded and quickly stowed our bags and got into our seats on my first ever flight with ANA airlines.
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The business class cabin is shown above.  It has 7 rows in a unique (to me) 2 – 1 – 2 configuration.  This ANA regional business class on the 767 is not fully flat, but rather a cradle seat that reclines a good bit.
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A view of the middle seat in row 3.  Below the passenger’s blue bag is the pillow and blanket.  I really liked the blanket because it came inside a pouch.  When you unfolded the blanket the pouch turned into a “foot pocket” to always keep your feet covered while reclined.  The pillow was comfortable.

Not pictured was the amenity kit which had the standard fare with an interesting twist.  There was actually a “scent button” on a small wallet sized card.  When you pushed the one-time-use “scent button” a lavender smell is activated to help relax you for sleep.
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While these seats were not lay flat, a view of the generous leg-room of seat 3A.

As soon as we boarded the chief flight attendant came over, bowed to us, and introduced herself.  She gave us a menu and a card to fill-out our selections for our one meal on the flight, breakfast 90 minutes before landing.  The card let you pick your Japanese or Western meal selection (or a anytime snack) and whether or not you want them to wake you up for breakfast.

Boarding was amazingly fast, only 15 minutes for a almost full business class and who knows how many back in economy.  We pushed back on-time and were in the air shortly thereafter.  We immediately reclined and tried to get some sleep.  If they were going to wake us 90 minutes before landing, we were looking at about 4 hours of sleep max.  As it turned out, the cradle seats were not that comfortable for sleeping.  Sleeping was reasonably manageable, but these were not like a lay flat seat like we had on LAN airlines or Turkish.  We probably eeked out 3-3.5 hours of “up and down” sleep, which was better than nothing.

90 minutes before landing, they woke both of us to serve us our hot breakfast.

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The menu and breakfast option card.  Not pictured are the drinks selection on ANA which are very generous.  On this flight we just had water.
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View of another passenger asleep with the cradle seat fully reclined.
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View of our progress with 90 minutes to go.
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Sorry this picture is so blurry.  I like experimenting, but the Japanese breakfast option was some sort of fish cutlet, which is not for me, especially at 5AM.  So I went with a hot udon noodle bowl with seaweed.  It was decent although served to me only lukewarm.

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Lady Tocqueville went with the “Western Breakfast” which was a disappointment.  She claimed it smelled kind of funny.  I gave it a whiff to confirm, and sure enough it did smell weird.  Not like it was rotten, but not how emmenthal cheese and salami and croissants are supposed to smell.  Like they had been under plastic for a long time.  She ate a couple nibbles of her croissants and fruit and gave up.

Between my lukewarm noodles and her gross smelling breakfast plate we both regretted we traded off more sleep for this breakfast.  For the remainder of the flight I read the ANA magazine and she tried to doze off again.

We landed about 20 minutes early in Narita.  We were the first off the plane and after a long walk to the immigration counter, we were quickly processed through immigration and customs and into the terminal.  There was a 7:35AM departure of a Limousine bus that goes directly to our hotel, the Grand Hyatt Roppongi.  However, we got there at about 7:50AM, about 15 minutes too late.  The next bus was at 9:40AM, so rather than wait the 2 hours, we bought tickets for the Narita Express train and at after the hour ride to Tokyo Station took a taxi the rest of the way to the Grand Hyatt.  The Train set us back 5200 Yen (~$52 USD) and the taxi another 1800 Yen.  Japan is an expensive place!  We were at the hotel by about 9:45AM.

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