We woke at 4:50am and were out of the house by 5:20am. Margaret drove us to the airport for our 7am departure to Dallas.
Check-in took a while in Charleston. First, the check-in agent made us prove that we were departing out of Taipei within the required 90-day stay. She scrutinized our return itinerary, and looked at it repeatedly after claiming our return was before our arrival (it isn’t – we have an overnight in Taipei). Then we had to convince the agent we did not need a visa for Taiwan (and that Taiwan was different than China). The whole process took at least 15 minutes and the unnecessary scrutiny bothered us.
After check-in we ran into Richard Kerr (another TPG contributor) and his growing family. We cleared security together and then chatted for a bit before parting ways.
|Our AA plane from Charleston to Dallas|
We walked around the airport to get steps for a bit before walking to B9 to board our American Eagle flight to Dallas. We had both been upgraded (albeit it was the morning-of before JT finally cleared into the empty first class cabin) so we had 3C and 3F in the first class cabin.
|Our breakfast in AA first class from Charleston to Dallas|
We were served pre-departure drinks as well as a cold breakfast. There was no choice of meals – we both received yogurt, granola, milk, grapes, crackers, cheese, a cinnamon roll and a choice of drink. We were amazed by how much sugar the meal contained! JT even got a TPG article out of it.
Our flight ended up arriving in Dallas a little over a half hour early. We walked around the airport during our layover, but Katie still only got 9,546 steps before getting on board our JAL flight to Tokyo. We walked from concourse B to D, obtained our JAL boarding passes, and went to the Admirals Club to print our next itinerary since it seems proof of an ongoing connection will be needed in Taipei. We noticed when examining our Tokyo to Taipei boarding pass that we had gotten an operational upgrade to business class as we were now in 2A and 2C. With this upgrade, JT ended up getting this flight approved for a review.
|Our JAL 787 Dreamliner|
We boarded our flight from Dallas to Tokyo at 10:55am. The economy cabin ended up being pretty full on this flight.
|Our economy seats on JAL’s 787 Dreamliner|
We pushed back at 11:13am. Drink service began at 11:58am and dinner began shortly after. Dinner was a choice of salmon and rice or chicken and noodles. Katie ordered the salmon and JT ordered chicken. Both meals came with miso soup, greens and peppers, a potato salad with ham, and a barley and bacon dish. Dessert was a cup of vanilla ice cream. Katie thought the breaded salmon main dish was good – the salmon was certainly better than most frozen salmon.
|Katie’s salmon departure meal|
|JT’s chicken and noodles departure meal|
After dinner, we got to work. We both worked through the mid flight snack of a chocolate pastry. JT kept working, but Katie decided to sleep for a while once the guy in front of her reclined with 4h30m remaining in the flight. This made it a bit too difficult to work on a large laptop. JT opted to stay up and finish his third article of the flight.
|Our ‘Chinese noodles’ arrival meal|
The arrival meal was Chinese noodles with a fruit plate. Katie was asleep when the meal came, but the flight attendants noted her seat. When she woke, a flight attendant offered to bring her a meal. The meal was warm and included a wet towel! The noodles were much better than expected.
|Dreamliner wings are so pretty|
Transfer security dropped us in the satellite terminal at Tokyo’s Narita. We walked about for a bit before heading to the lounge. We visited the ground level JAL first class lounge this time. We were really impressed with the freshness of the made to order sushi as well as the assortment of sake and the nice views from the dining area.
|JAL First Class Lounge – great sushi and champagne|
We did not have long to stay in the lounge though, as JT was writing a review of business class on the JAL 787 flight from Tokyo Narita to Taipei. For now, it suffices to say we enjoyed the flight – service, seat, and food.
|JAL business class from Tokyo to Taipei|
|Angle flat seats|
|Western meal in JAL business class from Tokyo to Taipei|
|Japanese meal in JAL business class from Tokyo to Taipei|
We quickly cleared immigration and our bags come out soon after. We got some money from the ATM and then requested an Uber.
We took an Uber to the Holiday Inn Express Taoyuan. It took about 20 minutes and cost just under $10. The driver spoke no English, but was nice, drove safely, and had English music on when he arrived.
|Comfortable room at the Holiday Inn Express Taoyuan|
We quickly checked into the Holiday Inn Express Taoyuan. It had everything we needed, and seemed to be trying to reduce waste based on the use of soap and shampoo dispensers instead of small bottles as well as providing most toiletries on demand at check-in instead of automatically in the room.