Taipei Mileage Runs – Tokyo to Charleston

In the morning we woke up and walked from Narita U-City Hotel to the nearby Narita Keisei station.  We stopped at a McDonalds on the way to see if they still had Halloween-themed french fry sauce (they didn’t – but we got coffee and a hashbrown anyway). After sitting and enjoying the WiFi and people watching for a bit, we took the 9:03am Keisei train to the airport.

McDonalds between the hotel and the Keisei rail station
Platform for the Keisei train to the airport

Once at the airport, we checked our bags and then used the JAL first class security line (due to Katie’s Oneworld Emerald status) and normal immigration line to get to the departure area in under 5 minutes.

After search many stores, we found a store selling the famous Potato Farm snacks
Katie interacting with SoftBank’s Pepper (the older brother to the SoftBank NAOs she programs to play soccer)
JT’s meal in the JAL fourth floor lounge
Katie’s meal in the JAL fourth floor lounge

We wandered for a while before heading to the JAL fourth floor first class lounge. Unlike the downstairs first class lounge, there were no showers, spa treatments, or made-to-order sushi at this lounge, but we enjoyed some good food and drinks.

JAL Dreamliner from Tokyo to Dallas

Boarding started just 15 minutes before the scheduled 11:50am departure. The plane loaded quickly though, and we pushed back about on time.

Departure meal options
Katie’s beef and potatoes departure meal
JT’s spaghetti and hamburger sausage departure meal

The economy cabin was about 90% full. We had a 2-seat row on the left side of the 2-4-2 787-8. The seats were pretty spacious, the entertainment systems extensive, and the food interesting. The arrival meal was a choice of beef and rice or spaghetti and meatball. Both meals were good, and came with miso soup, a potato ball mixture, a salad, and a noodle dish. The meals were filling, and not too ‘authentic’ to put off picky western eaters. Dessert for both meals was custard-flavored ice cream, which was really good.

Despite planning to work on this flight, we both ended up watching TV and movies before falling asleep. JT woke up for the mid-flight cheese bread snack and then worked for the rest of the flight, while Katie kept sleeping.

Yoshinoya arrival meal

The arrival meal was served about 2 hours before landing. In normal JAL style, the arrival meal was a Tokyo restaurant inspired dish. On this flight it was a beef and rice dish with chili powder, pickled ginger, and egg sauce from Yoshinoya. The meal came with a coleslaw side and a mango pudding cubes dessert. We really enjoyed this meal!

We found the seats generally comfortable, and enjoyed the entertainment, service and meals. We love flying JAL.

Upon disembarkation in Dallas, we found that the customs servers were very slow today. This made the Global Entry kiosks unusable. We had to fill out a form and go through the normal process. After becoming used to flying through customs, this process certainly took longer.

JT had made friends with the couple across the aisle on the flight. We saw them clearing transfer security shortly after us, so we waited for them and invited them to the Admirals Club with us (since we can each have guests). They were coming back from their honeymoon in Japan and had read some of Katie’s JAL flight reviews on The Points Guy when decided in how to get to and from Japan.

We sat in the business center and got some work done before our flight to Charleston. Katie’s upgrade cleared as we were walking to the gate, but unfortunately JT did not clear.

Drinks and cold nuts shortly after take-off in business class from Dallas to Charleston
The chicken salad option in business class on the flight from Dallas to Charleston

The little American Eagle E175 had no warming elements in its galley, but the meal service in first class was still nice. Drinks and mixed nuts were served first. The meal choices were a salad with teriyaki chicken or a turkey sandwich with lemon orzo. I opted for the salad, which was a tasty choice. Both meal choices were also served with a small but rich piece of custard pie.

Katie was assigned a seat on the 1-seat side of the 1-2 configured plane. This seat was surprisingly large and comfortable given the small plane. The flight attendant serving the business class cabin was friendly and jovial.

We landed in Charleston as scheduled shortly at 4pm. Margaret and her parents were there to pick us up.

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