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April 2, 2013 / oneworld82

Battle of First(s): AA (old) F vs ANA (new) F, hanami (sakura watching) in Tokyo, and Easter lunch in NYC

FlyerTalkers are crazy. At least, some of them are. But this statement is true for almost any category of people. Take politicians for instance: some are well-heeled and act for the greater good of the country… others are simply selfish, arrogant, and cleptocratic a**holes. Being Italian I know a thing or two about that…


Some crazy folks who really love airlines would just burn a bunch of miles to go to Tokyo for a long weekend. Some crazier ones would add New York City to a short visit to Japan; and – why not – throw one or two first classes here and there.

According to many of my friends and acquaintances, I belong to that group of people that love:
1. airlines
2. mileage runs
3. premium cabins

Well – you would reasonably object – that’s something common to many people. True, I would respond. Yet, I would argue that not many people would commit a weekend and (lots) of miles to cross the mighty Pacific Ocean to do some hanami (sakura watching) in Tokyo on a Saturday and then Easter lunch in New York City on Sunday. God bless the International Date Line!

How did all start? Well, about one week ago (and shortly after United ran its awesome 40% discount on miles purchases), I was randomly checking for award availability when I spotted something that an airline fanatic could hardly pass on: First Class award availability on ANA’s new Boeing Triple-Seven Three-Hundred (I hope that spelling it out helps understanding the importance of this event). Being based in the DFW area, F availability on a NRT-JFK flight isn’t particularly attractive. Yet, this is going to be Easter weekend, and many people don’t travel that day. So – just one week out – I was able to secure a EWR-DFW segment in domestic First on United as well, with enough time in New York City to let me catch up with some friends, stock up my doughnut supplies at the Doughnut Plant, and get home in time for work on Monday. This wasn’t an immediate decision, of course. After all, 67.5k United miles are precious! What precipitated events was the discovery that sakuras (cherry trees) strated blossoming on the very day I was looking for award availability! Hanami in Tokyo… seriously??! This seemed simply too good to be true (having been to Japan extensively before I still had to do hanami – something high on my “to-do” list). It was hence a no-brainer booking the ticket on ANA/United as well as an AA First Class direct flight from DFW to NRT. Wjat better way to try two first classes in a weekend? Granted, the comparison wouldn’t be fair (after all, I am comparing AA “old” Flagship service to ANA World-renewed “new” First Class), yet it would be a great chance to see where AA is heading and what is ANA doing to deserve all the accolades it’s getting. And so Friday morning arrived, and I headed to DFW Airport, Terminal D…

Part I – DFW-NRT on AA (old) First
Part II – Hanami in Tokyo and sightseeing in Narita-shi
Part III – NRT-JFK on ANA First Square
Appendix – EWR-DFW on UA First

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