My daughter Ellie (5) and I are on a 6-week trip through Asia. We found a round-trip flight on American Airlines for $440 to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Flights to Asia for less than $500 – that’s crazy!
I called the airline directly to see where exactly I could stop on the inbound and outbound segments. I did see connections through Tokyo and Hong Kong on Google Matrix but wasn’t sure exactly how many stopovers and how long stopovers are allowed. The agent was great and talked me through several scenarios. I wanted to make the most of that long distance by seeing as much of Asia as possible on one ticket. I decided on a Japan stopover on the way in and Hong Kong on the way out – each stopover is $100 plus some taxes. In total my daughter’s ticket was about $700 and mine about $1000 – a great deal for visiting at least four Asian countries!
We flew out of Philadelphia (it’s an easy ride from Annapolis but we opted to stay in a hotel and get the first flight out) on American Airlines and had a change of planes at DFW (Dallas). It was a rather easy process – except that American didn’t post my Global Entry number and stated that I was to be pre-screened. Luckily, there was no line at all for security.
We connected through with no problem and settled in for our 13-hour flight on Japan Airlines to Tokyo from Dallas. It was almost all day time so I really didn’t want to sleep. We have never flown that far west (Hawaii was the furthest) so I was really nervous about the long flight time. My daughter did so well and we were lucky to have an empty seat between us! It can really make a difference. I would recommend checking passenger numbers to plan having an empty seat if possible.
We ate the food, it wasn’t bad – choice of Asian or American style meal. We actually had two meals and a snack served and more snacks as you wished. I always recommend bringing some dried fruit and snack bars in case. We watched many movies to pass the time. Note to self (and others) – don’t let your child watch so many movies and instead, make them nap. She ended up vomiting on the plane, then again at customs, then again in the hotel lobby. Yikes! I’m sure that it was from too much watching movies and not sleeping – bad mom moment!
We landed seamlessly at Narita, Japan Airport and actually wisked right through customs because I was in a wheelchair. For those who do require assistance it does help to get through the line. I have a severe spinal problem and the wheel chair also helped to carry my exhausted daughter (who also vomited on the wheelchair). In the U.S. they won’t let her ride on my lap but they didn’t mind in Japan.
I have never flown on Japan Airlines, nor have I ever flown to Narita (Japan). I can say that both were great experiences. No, we weren’t in first or business class but we stretched out and enjoyed ourselves. We could have upgraded to business class with points but instead we opted for the extra legroom section for an extra $125 and lucked out with an empty seat between us. So next time you are flying bring your lucky charm like I did.