We are better than "Y" Class

Trip Start Aug 13, 2009
Trip End Aug 28, 2009

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Japan Airlines

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, August 14, 2009

It's hard to get excited about 20 hours of travel. It probably gets redundant for me to complain about "yee old knees" but I do.  I can’t quite stomach the thought of ponying up the extra $3,000 for business class.   Don’t you worry, however, this trip is themed on “excess” so Andrea and I will find other indulgent ways to spend our hard-earned American dollars in Southeast Asia. 

Our flight was not until 1:30pm, but Andrea called me around 8:30am with some exciting news—she had called the Intercontinental in Hanoi to confirm our late check-in and they informed her that we had been upgraded to “Club” status that included a better room, access to the club lounge (this includes free breakfast, afternoon tea, and cocktails all of which will be served by butlers) and free Internet.  Already off to a good start. (PS, Andrea will find out later that this is a LIE and embarks on an impassioned and ill-fated fight for complimentary services with the hotel staff and managers at midnight after 20 hours of travel.)

Seeing as we are both stereotypical “Marina Girls,” we shied away from public transportation and opted for a taxi.  I was able to entice Andrea with promises of better seating so we could go to the airport early.   Andrea, who can be a bargain shopper when determined, purchased very reasonable airfare to and from Southeast Asia.  To Japan Airlines, however, a reduced ticket means you don’t get a seat assignment until you are physically at the airport on the day of your flight.  Andrea attempted to charm customer service for months leading up to our trip in order to secure a seat…not even she could prevail upon them to assign her one.   Clever advocates that we are, our ticket agent could not deny us special treatment.  Indeed, our agent was none other than a volleyball fan and had a special place in his heart for girls with prior knee surgeries.  I have now convinced Andrea that if anyone asks, she’s a volleyball player.  Despite her vertical challenges, she said she is now a setter.  (All I need to do is remind her that setting is above her head and not a passing motion).  Our friend at the ticket counter hooked us up with exit row seats and sent us on our merry way.  Andrea was secretly very excited to have a seat number.  Wait—it doesn’t end there.  Our names were called at the gate roughly 30 minutes before the flight.  I think Andrea was nervous they were going to take her seat away again and put her in the cargo hold (afterall, she was a “Y” class and “Y” is for “clearly got too good of an internet discount”) .  No!  We got hooked up again!  Unbeknownst to us, our friend had us upgraded to Economy Select.  We were on absolute “cloud nine.”  Clearly, everyone around us thinks we are fabulous too.  ;) 

Our flights were smooth and uneventful.  The first leg was a 10 hour flight to Tokyo.  We watched basically every movie on our personal TVs.  This is a bit unnerving considering we have the identical flight home.  Seriously, there will be nothing left to watch.  In Tokyo, Andrea discovered some fascinating toilets.  She told me all about them, but commodes that high-tech seem a little scary…what if they malfunction?  I guess they will make noises so that others do not hear your noises and will warm the seat and spread a lovely scent in your stall.  Andrea was so enthralled she went back and checked it out again.  I believe she has photos.  I’m vetoing that we post them. 

Next, we flew from Tokyo to our destination in Hanoi, Vietnam.  This was a tough flight.  It was after midnight Pacific time and we were starting to get really tired.  We watched that last of the movies on our TVs…we were really stretching it since now Andrea was watching “Pretty Woman” and I was watching the Discovery Channel.  Our goal was to stay awake so that we could sleep when we reached the hotel.  We were almost successful…there were a few slip-ups.  I’m going to let Andrea discuss our hotel mishap…

Andrea: Basically, after an aforementioned promise of a club level upgrade, there was no mention of it on the hotel system.  And, to add insult to injury, we were assigned to a room with a single bed rather than a double.  None of this was such a dramatic thing, but after 20 hrs of travel, we had a minor meltdown and insisted that we be put in touch with the international Intercontinental guest services.  In the end, we were upgraded to a lovely room with a private balcony overlooking the water, and were more than a little grateful to finally crawl into bed.

That was very diplomatic commentary by Andrea.  Don’t be deceived, she is quite a force when set against suspect hotel computer systems. 

[Warning: sarcasm included]
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hanzo on

Looking forward to seeing photos with the ubiquitous smile and peace signs in front of anything and everything.

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