Sunday, October 19, 2014

A bad traffic problem on a Saturday morning and lunch onboard Japan Airlines from Manila to Tokyo


Yesterday, in Manila living a Travelife, I was up bright and early to head for the airport in spite of staying up all night, and just in time for the Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo.

TRAFFIC IN MANILA
ON A SATURDAY MORNING

It was an early Saturday morning -- 730 AM to be exact -- and there was traffic on the road to the airport.

I don't really know what else to add to the frustration of everyone over the traffic and crime situation in Metro Manila, but I hope that someone fixes or at least improves this mess very soon.

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WEEKEND IN BANGKOK

In contrast, I was just in Bangkok a few weekends ago, and it seems that they've found a way to fix their traffic problems.

They still have congestion, of course, but friends who shuttle regularly between both cities say that Bangkok has definitely improved its infrastructure.


WHAT A NIGHTMARE

So on the way to Manila's NAIA 1 airport yesterday, all I could think of was how this city is ever going to attract more tourists in significant numbers if the infrastructure is such a nightmare.

Then I arrive in Tokyo, at Narita Airport, which is one of the airports located farthest to a major city.

FAR, BUT SMOOTH AND QUICK

It's over 70 kilometres from Tokyo, but in all my years of traveling this route by car, I've never had a major problem.

It's one hour door-to-door by car on a typical day, with only pockets of congestion.

Traveling to Japan on Japan Airlines, too, is such a pleasant experience.


THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Years ago, JAL used to fly the bigger jets between Manila and Tokyo and business class was bigger and the seats were the ones adapted for long-haul.

And occasionally, JAL would even send the really long-haul jumbo jets for some reason; and as I always reserve either the front row or the 2nd row for the flight, I would get a First Class seat as rows 1 to 5 on the long-haul jumbo jets are the in the First Class section.

Western lunch onboard JAL yesterday

Yes, there was a time when JAL sometimes flew the planes with a First Class section between Manila and Tokyo, and everyone in rows #1 to 5 got lucky and enjoyed a really spacious cabin and a flat bed to Tokyo on a business class ticket.

The food was still business class, but it was really nice to have a good sleep all the way to Tokyo.



These days, it's a small plane with business class seats for a regional flight, so they don't go flat all the way.

But then again, this isn't really anything to complain over, as only one airline flies the Manila-Tokyo route with a flat bed, and that's Delta Airlines, which uses the same jet that goes on to New York's JFK Airport.

THE SERVICE ONBOARD JAL 
IS JUST GREAT




So it's a smaller plane and a smaller business class section, but JAL's pretty nice Japanese lunch and the great service onboard sure make up for it.

The Japanese lunch is always a shokado-style, so you have lots of delicious little things in compartments in a lacquer box, accompanied by a main course of fish or meat.

THE REAL THING



What I also like about JAL is that they serve real and real strong green tea onboard, so I'm on sparkling water and green tea all the way to Tokyo usually.

And, with all that caffeine, when I land in Tokyo, I'm wide awake for anything and everything in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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