Checking into your return flight and saying goodbye to a place like Tokyo will never be an easy task. It was time to bid Japan farewell and head back to the states. The journey back on United was a pretty exciting and memorable one for me. It marked my first ever flight on a 787 Dreamliner and it would be Ryan H.’s first time ever flying on an international business class. (They all have to start somewhere, right?) I was fortunate enough to fly on United’s 747 BusinessFirst cabin last summer and was also excited to compare the two cabins.
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Part 10 – NRT-LAX-LAS via United 787 Business Class
After a nice couple hours exploring Narita and lounging around the United and ANA lounges, it was finally time to hit the home stretch of our Japan trip and fly back to the states. If you remember from the first post of this trip report, the three of us hopped on a great fare deal with United. Because of the great fare, I had no problem using some of my United Airlines’ miles to upgrade me and Ryan H.’s reservation to Business class on the return trip from Tokyo.
After the usual United boarding shenanigans and making that beloved left turn once you step onto the plane, I stepped onto my first Dreamliner! United 787 Business Class cabin is split into two cabins separated by the galley and restrooms. 18 seats in each cabin arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration brings the total number of Business class seats to 36! (As you can see from the photos, this trip was done well before the announcement and implementation of Polaris service on United, so none of the improvements were made yet, but it was still an enjoyable flight)
The seats were quite similar to the ones I flew on United’s 747 Business Class, which has now unfortunately been phased out of the flight schedule. We managed to grab seats 1A/1B which are the bulkhead seats (and it’s always fun seeing that 1A seat number on your boarding pass!) which gave us a wider foot well and a large shelf on top of our entertainment consoles for storage during the flight. I didn’t have a problem with the proximity to the forward galley. 1K/L are on the side closer to the restroom so that may be a little more bothersome.
Since this was Ryan H.’s first time flying on an premium cabin internationally, there were some oohs and aahs thrown around before settling into our seats. Each seat came with a standard pillow and comforter, headphones and amenity kit. The kit came packaged with a postcard of a vintage United plane. The products inside were unremarkable but the kit bag itself comes in handy when traveling. I keep my chargers and plugs in it!
As the rest of the cabin was slowly filling in, the flight attendant offered to get us pre-departure beverages which we gladly accepted. She was also kind enough to snap a couple of pics for us before moving onto the next set of passengers.
One of the special features on the 787 Dreamliner is the electronic shades that replaced those awkward plastic shades that either jammed and got stuck or didn’t close the right way and let that sliver of light shine right through. The new windows utilize an electric current to darken and lighten the gel in the window, allowing for you to control your window shade. Playing around with the settings and seeing the shade turned all the way up (as pictured below), I was worried that there would be a lot of light coming in while I was trying to sleep. Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t bothered at all and it held up just fine for the flight.
With out seat belts fastened and tray tables in their upright and locked positions, it was time to bid adieu to Tokyo and settle in for the flight. I managed to snap a few more shots during taxiing and ascent.
We reached cruising altitude in no time and our dining orders were taken by the flight attendant working our section. Ryan H. chose the Japanese option for dinner and I got the grilled pork chop since I’m not the biggest fan of cooked/grilled fish.
The meal overall was decent. Nothing to write home about unfortunately but it definitely wasn’t the worst thing I’ve eaten on an airplane so cheers to that. I particularly enjoyed the customized sundae cart that comes around after meal service.
Unfortunately, the end of meal service was also code word for end of service period. The lights were turned off and for the most part we were left to our own devices for the remainder of the flight. I barely recall many flight attendants walking around the cabin after dinner service. Shrug, that may be due to the fact that most people sleep the rest of the way back, or try to anyway.
About an hour or so before arrival in LAX, we were asked if we wanted arrival dining service. For posterity sake (and to milk the most value out of this experience), we happily obliged. The breakfast consisted of fruits, yogurt, rolls/donuts and a cheese omelette with potatoes and ham. The fruit was juicy and sweet but the omelette was meh and my potatoes were soggy.
Customs upon arriving at LAX was no problem for us since we had Global Entry and we were through the line in a matter of minutes! There was a little time before our connecting flight back to Las Vegas so we hung around the United Club but it was crowded and paled in comparison to the one in Narita so I didn’t take any good pictures. The rest of the day was unremarkable and after going through pictures all I found were these two taken on the way back to Las Vegas.
So that about wraps up this trip report to Japan for cherry blossom season! I had a wonderful time experiencing new places and revisiting some familiar ones and am already looking forward to another trip to Japan. Thank you for those that have stuck with me during these posts and apologies for the long lapse during this report (I guess medical school does get pretty busys… sometimes). Until next time!