As many of you may know from my post on the insanity of mileage/status running, I was able to get in on a killer deal for flights from Taipei to Fort Myers, Florida for ~$200 per roundtrip. That meant I ended up with ~60,000 butt-in-seat miles over a 9 day stretch. But that also meant that I could bring you some great new airline, lounge and hotel reviews!
Introduction: Taipei Mileage Running Extravaganza
Review – American Airlines 767-300 Business Class – MIA-JFK
Review – British Airways Galleries Lounge – JFK
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Business Class – JFK-HKG
Review – Dragon Air G16 Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-200 Business Class – HKG-TPE
Review – Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel
Review – The More Lounge – TPE
Review – The Premium Plaza Lounge – TPE
Review – The VIP Airlines Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – TPE
Review – JAL 767-300 Economy Class – TPE-NRT/NRT-TPE
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 61) – NRT
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 92) – NRT
Review – JAL 777-300ER Economy Class – NRT-LAX
Review – The Club At DFW Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – DFW
Review – JAL 787-8 Economy Class – DFW-NRT
As you can see, the reports are going to be fairly lounge heavy, though there is a good bit of flight reviews and even a hotel review mixed in. My routings stayed consistent on this trip, so I will combine multiple flights/lounge visits into the same review so the reviews provide a comprehensive overview. The routings that will be reviewed consisted of the following:
- Miami (MIA) to New York (JFK) – American Airlines 767-300
- New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER
- Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE) – Cathay Pacific 777-200
- Taipei (TPE) to Tokyo – Narita (NRT) – Japan Airlines 767-300
- Tokyo – Narita (NRT) to Los Angeles (LAX) – Japan Airlines 777-3ooER
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Tokyo – Narita (NRT) – Japan Airlines 787-8
- Tokyo – Narita (TPE) to Taipei (TPE) – Japan Airlines 767-300
Overall, I was surprisingly impressed with JAL’s economy class product on the long haul flights. While the food was hit or miss (I had both the best economy class meal I have ever had, as well as the worst), what really stands out with JAL is the service. I cannot recall any airline that I have flown in all my years of travel with flight attendants as exceptional as JAL has. I did not have a single bad crew during any one of my 10 flights with them. And when you think about that, that is truly exceptional – especially for economy class! I also do not think I have ever seen an airline whose flight attendants smile as much as JAL’s do. It is actually a bit sad that I am so jaded by grumpy and mean spirited US flight attendants that something as simple as smiling on a flight earns huge praise from me. Smiling is not that hard to do and the goodwill it earns relative to its cost (free!) is immeasurable.
The lounges on this trip were also, for the most part, exceptional. After my last lackluster experience with the JAL Sakura Lounge in San Francisco (SFO), I really was not expecting much from their other lounges. I was actually pretty impressed with the Sakura Lounges in Tokyo though, which was a pleasant surprise. Given that Tokyo is JAL’s hub though, it should not be too surprising that this location would have their flagship lounges though.
I tried to vary the products as much as I could and I will definitely have reviewed close to all of the Priority Pass and OneWorld Lounges at Tokyo Narita and Taipei Taoyuan airports. This will also be the first time I (somewhat begrudgingly) review an economy class product so stay tuned!
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