The long track to Tokyo

Our journey started with a ‘taxi’ picking us up at my dad’s place at 10 AM and taking us over newly snowy roads to the Frankfurt airport. The check-in machines were quickly dealt with, but the line for the baggage drop-off was very long … but moved fairly quickly. I still do not understand why they printed us new boarding passes once we got to the drop-off.

We had enough time for some early lunch, McD for Julius and some Pad Thai for Ritsu … I was still sulking that the new Hooters at Frankfurt airport was closed because of the holiday.

This was the first time for me to fly from terminal C, and we even got a ride with one of those small golf carts, since it is a long way to walk … we also scored ‘family with small child’ at the passport control, but not so much at the security check. But all in all, people were very friendly and everything worked out fine.

When we arrived at our gate, they started already picking families with children for early boarding, very nice.

The flight FRA – NRT is now done with one of them new A380 super big planes. And they are quite nice. New, clean, but why the heck did they still build ashtrays in there, with big non-smoking signs hovering over them? The seats are definitely more comfortable compared to what I had before on LH. And a bit more leg space.

The IFE was pretty cool, but at times the touch screen felt a bit sluggish … and when you want to zap around and sample different programs, you are subjected to the same commercials again and again. But I got to watch some movies, which I would probably not have bothered to watch otherwise (“The other guys”, “The last Airbender”, “Dinner for Schmucks”)

Julius was all over the IFE and even got a little game pad so he could play the video games (smart decision to NOT build a gamepad / phone into each seat). But after a few hours he was ready to sleep and he got at least 4.5 h … he was still sleeping when we landed …

What I really liked where the 3 different camera views from the plane (front / down / tail) and something called ‘nice view’ which is basically a mix of google earth, a CGI version of our plane and a virtual camera circling us .. plus basic info about location and stats. Pretty nifty.

Food was ok .. but nothing to write home about, service was nice, albeit once the FAs thought people are sleeping, they kept hiding in the galley … so I ventured of frequently to score little extras like chocolate or onigiri. I think I am not too fond of the new way they can curtain off the galley on the way to the loo.

Although the seat was more comfortable, I did not get to sleep a minute. Instead I was fascinated how we approached Japan, riding right into the sunrise.

Landing was very smooth and the immigration song & dance was even smoother, take that USA! The thing with such a huuuge plane: lots of luggage. They even had 2 separate carousels for first/business and cattle classes … but still, it took a while until we spotted our suitcases.

So, jet lagged and tired, we continued our journey now by train. There is a pretty smart service for about 1600¥ which ships your suitcase to your address same day, so no need to lug it around … We used that for the heavier suitcase.

Then we took the skyliner train … then some JR train and then onto the Keio line … and about 2 h after first boarding we were train free and decided to walk the 15 minutes, instead of breaking my back by getting the remaining suitcase into a taxi and out again.

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