Flight review: ANA Narita to Beijing. Weird and wild, but wonderful.

We left Japan today. Now we’re en route to Paris, via Beijing.

We’re flying on a 90,000 mile US Airways business class award ticket (San Francisco – Japan – Paris – San Francisco), and we’re right in the middle of our trip.

For the short flight from Tokyo to Beijing, we flew on ANA…and while the flight itself was great, the part leading up to it was very weird. As a disclaimer, I’ll say that I am far from an expert here, so perhaps it’s always like this. As a passenger (and especially a foreign one), I’ll say that I was left shaking my head a little in confusion.

Because we were flying on award tickets, all four of us couldn’t get into business class for this flight. My daughter Bird and I ended up in the good seats, while Josh and Bear were stuck in economy. They were very good sports. 😉

Before we boarded the plane, all of the flight attendants at the gate seemed incredibly hectic. There was a lot of rushing to and fro, multiple random announcements, and holding up of signs.

Finally a big tour bus roared up to the gate. There was a lot more hectic rushing around, including opening and closing the door to the tarmac. Each time someone opened the door, a blast of hot, gritty air would fly into the waiting area and bits of dust would get in our eyes.

After ten or fifteen minutes of this, the gate attendants held up more signs indicating that business class passengers could board the bus, so we filed out and clambered on. The economy passengers were hot on our heels, and soon the bus was packed full. Josh and Bear ended up right next to us – although they were standing.


Josh commented that he felt like a second class citizen.

The bus carried us a very short distance to the waiting plane. When the doors opened, the jumbled mass of passengers flooded out of the bus and up the stairs.


Bird and I were last out. I think Josh probably felt a little vindicated, but I have no idea, because I didn’t see him until the end of the flight.

The seats were set up in a 2-1-2 layout. Bird and I were in 3A and 3B.


After we got settled, we happily put on the slippers they gave us. I love that they even included a little shoehorn.


When it was time to order drinks, I got a champagne, which came in a cute little bottle, and a Perrier with lemon.

drinks on ANA

 We each decided on the Japanese option for our meals.

ana menu

The simmered flounder was especially delicious.

ANA Japanese meal

As part of my resolution to stop working on flights, I watched a total guilty pleasure of a movie: a romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz about a cheating boyfriend/husband and the three women who bond together and get revenge on him. I can’t remember what it was called, and Google won’t let me search for Cameron Diaz movies here. (Is that normal in Beijing, or is it just me? I have no idea.) Anyway, the movie was perfect for the moment.

And then we were on the ground. Seriously, the flight seemed to fly by. Getting through immigration and customs took hardly any time at all. My favorite moment was when we walked past a group of Chinese teenage girls who thought Bear was the cutest thing ever. As he passed, they all chorused, “Awww!” He was a little embarrassed, but I think he was mostly flattered.

I have to admit, he is pretty cute.

Now we’re in our hotel room. It’s 12:30 am. The kids are watching Amazing World of Gumball, and Josh and I are negotiating with Housekeeping for water (a story for another time).

I liked my ANA flight. I think I even liked the weird beginning. Never a dull moment around here, I tell ya.

Have you had any odd moments when traveling lately?


  1. Since you are staying in Beijing overnight, I hope you guys have some time to go explore. PS – keep up the trip reports! I love how you are doing them live and I can follow along! PPS – Anytime for Disneyland Paris? 😉

    • Points Pixie says

      Ang – I wish we did have time! We arrived in Beijing at around 8 pm, and by the time we checked in to our hotel it was around 10 pm. We had to leave at 10:30 this morning. 🙁

      Really glad you are enjoying my trip reports! I love your comments as well 🙂

      Not sure yet about D-land Paris. (And I know I still owe you a trip report on Disney Sea!)

  2. As you spend more time in China, you’ll probably begin to realize it’s not nearly as it’s the polar opposite to Japan when it comes to following rules. When it cmes to priority boarding, boarding back to front in Y, etc, I’ve yet to witness it successfully enforced on a long haul flight to/from China. If I’m not concerned about overhead bin space, then I simply board last.

  3. mountain out of a molehill?

  4. Darth Chocolate says

    I am in China at the moment on business. Currently, Google is blocked by the Great Firewall, including search and Gmail. I use a proxy server so I can connect to my business e-mail, but it is kind of pricey if you will be in China for a short time.

    Also, the boarding experience you had is somewhat standard for “Bus Gates” in Asia, although if you are in Business Class or higher, there is usually a separate bus for those passengers.

    • Points Pixie says

      Darth Chocolate – Yeah, it didn’t affect us too much because we were only in town for a night. It would quickly become a problem if we were here for awhile.

      BTW I love your alias. 🙂

  5. Sounds interesting and love the stories. Did the airlines have an “American” menu option?

    Only odd travel moment for me was when i tried to board a Delta flight with the Gold folks thinking my Alaska Gold status carried over and was denied by the gate agent. Your travel stories are much more entertaining 😉

    • Points Pixie says

      Rebecca – The menu did indeed have an American option, but we decided to leave Japan with a last hurrah of Japanese food.

      Glad you like my stories!

  6. The movie you saw is called “The Other Woman” I think


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