Welcome to Day 1 of Janet, Randy and Family Japan Adventure 2016
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
The first day of our family vacation was spent traveling to Japan and in the process crossing the international date line and losing a day. Here is what our route looked like...
Our SUV limo was booked to pick us up at 7:45am. Shortly after 7:30, Randy's Aunt Kay (and cousin Gord who was dropping off Aunt Kay) arrived. Randy's parents - Harold and Lil - arrived shortly after that.
When the limo arrived, we loaded up into the SUV and the 5 of us headed to the airport. We checked some bags and then headed through security. Myself, Randy and his parents were flying business class, but his aunt was flying economy. But we managed to convince the security people to let his aunt go through the priority line - there weren't that many people in security, but this almost overwhelmed these folks. Once we were all through security, we headed to the Maple Leaf Lounge to relax before our flight and have some breakfast.
Let me just point out that the purpose of this trip was to celebrate Randy's parents' 50th wedding anniversary. As Randy is a frequent flyer (he has flown over a million miles with Air Canada), he has become very friendly with the Air Canada concierges, and the concierges in both Edmonton and Vancouver were aware that we were travelling for a special occasion.
Our flight to Vancouver left at 9:55am, so we headed down to the gate around 9:30am. Shortly afterwards, we boarded. Once on board, we found that the Edmonton Air Canada concierge had left a little cardboard bouquet of flowers at the Randy's parents' seats, and also left little chocolates at their seats, our seats, and even Randy's aunt's seat in economy. They also had an anniversary card that was signed by all of the Air Canada concierges in Edmonton (it was very much appreciated and I was very grateful for the kindness). That was really nice of them to do! Also, the pilot came out to talk to Randy's parents and congratulate them on their anniversary.
On the flight to Vancouver, we were served a breakfast with sausage, fried potatoes, omelette, fruit plate and yogurt. It was a pretty decent meal. We arrived a little early and found Randy's other aunt (Aunt Bea) waiting at the gate (she had flown in from Vancouver Island to join us on our Japanese adventure). Now that the 6 of us were all together, we headed over to the international terminal for our flight to Tokyo.
As we had about 3 hours before our next flight departed, we headed to the Maple Leaf Lounge in the international terminal. One of the concierges that Randy knew was working in the lounge, and so it was no problem to bring in both of the aunties (who were flying economy) into the lounge. We found some seats together, and just hung out in the lounge for a couple of hours. The 4 of us that flew business class from Edmonton to Vancouver weren't hungry (as we had breakfast on the flight), but the aunties took advantage of the lunch buffet in the lounge. There were 4 different types of salad, some some veggies/dip, hummus, salsa, chips, 2 soups, 2 types of ravioli, sandwiches and a Yorkshire pudding with pulled pork. Randy and I split one of the Yorkshire pudding/pulled porks, and it was quite tasty. But otherwise, we just sat around enjoying some alcoholic beverages.
While in the lounge, I had some conversations with some of the YVR Concierge folks and we were making arrangements for a little something special to be brought onto the plane.
Around 12:30pm, we decided to make our way to the gate. As we were leaving the gate, one of the concierges called Randy back. Apparently another concierge was currently going through security with a cake that we had pre-ordered for Randy's parents, and told us to take our time heading to the gate. So, we dawdled through some of the duty free shops to give the concierge some time to get the cake to our plane. It wasn't overly difficult to just wander with the contingent of seniors we had.
We finally arrived at our gate, and lined up at Zone 1 to wait for boarding. The one concierge that Randy had been in contact with regarding the cake (Mistsu) was at the gate, and actually pulled the 6 of us out of line to process us and walk us to the plane before everyone else. (Now that's some nice service!). We then settled into our pods on the 787 Dreamliner.
Again, the captain of the flight had been notified that Randy's parents were celebrating their 50th, so he came out to talk to them. Also, the in-charge flight attendant came by to tell Randy that he had upgraded his 2 aunts from economy to premium economy. That was such a nice surprise! And his aunts were very excited about this. Note: Randy had nothing to do with the upgrade. All that he had asked was that his aunts be seated next to each other in economy. The crew were awesome !
Once in the air, we were offered drinks and cashews (pretty standard service there). The dinner service started after that. I had the Japanese meal, which consisted of a number of small appetizer dishes, miso soup with the main course being beef fillet with rice and steamed vegetables. Randy had the beef tenderloin as his meal.
Randy had asked that the cake that he ordered be served after the meal service. We brought Randy's aunts up from premium economy to bring out the cake for his parents. They (my parents) were quite surprised. Randy had ordered a cake from the Steveston Bakery, which is the town that Randy's mom (and aunts) had grown up in. Randy's mom cut up about half the cake for the 6 of us, and it was quite delicious. We gave the rest of the cake to the flight crew. Who were also very appreciative.
After the meal service, the lights were dimmed so people could sleep. I spent some time updating the journal (which was a little difficult to type after a large number of drinks), and then settled back to try to nap. Unfortunately I was not able to sleep, so spent the rest of the journey watching movies (which were The Hunger Games, The Big Short and Joy).
In business class there is an option of a mid-flight snack of a noodle soup or a chicken skewer. But neither of us were hungry enough to order it. About 90 minutes before landing, we were offered a light lunch. I had the grilled chicken - which was pretty decent, and I had the noodles and pork. Then before we knew it we were landing in Narita and ready to begin our holiday.
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