Taipei Mileage Runs – Taipei to Birmingham

We set our alarms for 7:30am, but Katie woke at 6am and never fell back asleep. We requested an Uber at 8am, but it was reported to be 16 minutes away. The driver – who spoke little English and was difficult to hear – tried calling repeatedly. After the fourth call, he finally began driving towards us. He finally arrived at 8:33am. There was not too much traffic on the way to the airport, so we arrived at 8:56am. The fare was just over $10.

Motor bikes on the road outside our hotel

We quickly checked our bags and cleared security and customs. We walked around shortly before boarding our 10am flight at 9:40am.

Library in the Taipei airport
Exercise area in the Taipei airport

We had seats 24A and C on the left side of the 2-4-2 seating arrangement on JAL’S two-class 787. The meal was the same as on our last JAL Taipei to Tokyo flight.

Shell seats in JAL business class (treated as economy)
Economy meal on Taipei to Tokyo flight
We saw Mount Fiji from the plane!

Once in Tokyo, we did some shopping and then headed to the JAL First Class lounge.

Sushi in the JAL First Class Lounge

We booked two 4:15pm upper body messages when we arrived and then went to work and eat sushi from the sushi bar for 75 minutes until our massage appointments.

Massage rooms in the JAL First Class Lounge

We both enjoyed the massages, but they left our backs feeling a bit sore. After our massages, we headed to the gate. Although the incoming flight was late, the transfer desk and app claimed we would board on time. This was not the case, as the crew had not even boarded the aircraft when the boarding time arrived.

The American Airlines flight from Tokyo to Dallas was bad on many accounts. The economy cabin had only 4 empty seats and three bathrooms (one was taped closed the entire flight). Katie waited 20 minutes for a bathroom after dinner. The seatbelt sign remained on for the entire flight. One flight attendant rammed her body into Katie’s shoulder every time she went up to down the aisle. The beverage and food carts seemed to collide with seats frequently due to the narrow aisles. The babies in rows 13 and 15, as well as the child in row 14 – seemed to be having a yelling/crying contest for the entire flight. The flight attendants hid themselves in the back curtained area for much of the flight. They were so disconnected that JT observed multiple passengers freely helping themselves to the mini-liquor bottles unnoticed.

JT opted to sleep until 9am eastern and then wake up and work, while Katie worked first and then slept. While JT worked and Katie slept, JT tried to ask a passing flight attendant for a cup of coffee. He simply got “no” as a response. Absolutely terrible on-board service.

Departure meal on AA flight from Tokyo to DFW

Dinner was a choice of chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes or beef with rice. Katie chose the chicken, and thought the chicken and mashed potatoes were surprisingly good. The salad was fresh. The meal also came with a potato salad (which she didn’t try, although the smoked salmon that came with it was good), roll (cold and packaged), and a strange cake that tried to taste like tiramisu. Overall, better than most American economy meals, but not great.

JT found the smell and appearance of the mid-flight meal so unappealing that he just ate the Kit Kat bar that came with it.

Arrival ‘eggs’ meal on AA flight from Tokyo to DFW
Arrival ‘noodles’ meal on AA flight from Tokyo to DFW

The arrival meal was a choice of an omelet with ham or udon noodles. Like the departure meal, neither were vegetarian friendly. JT found the noodles to be interesting – greasy and chewy, but decent. Katie found the ham to be dry, but the cheese omelet was actually pretty tasty. Both meals came with water and a small fruit plate.

When landing, the flight attendants did little to get the passengers ready for landing. Almost all of the window shades were still lowered, luggage was not placed under the seats or in the overhead bins, and one woman went to use the bathroom when we were close to landing and returned to her seat very shortly before touchdown with no complaints or words from the crew. It seemed shocking that the plane interior was near complete darkness during our midday landing. Seems this would be a major safely issue if there was an incident that required evacuating the plane.

We deplaned and walked around Terminal D for a while before heading to the Terminal D Admiral’s Club for International First Class Dining.

Flagship First Dining in the DFW Admiral’s Club

We enjoyed champagne, salad, meats and cheeses, and other light foods before walking over to our gate in Terminal B.

Our Exec Plat snacks on the flight from DFW to Birmingham

We were on a little three seats wide Embrader 145 for the flight from Dallas to Birmingham. The flight was a bit bumpy, but the sole flight attendant was cheery and friendly. It’s somewhat sad that we consistently seem to get the best service on regional jets operated by the regional subsidiaries like Mesa Air or Envoy Air.

JT’s sister Kate was waiting for us at the airport. We quickly grabbed our bags and headed to her house.

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