Christopherson Business Travel’s Account Management team recently had a opportunity to visit Japan, flying Delta Airlines. Our team was so impressed with Delta’s business class.
Delta’s Non-stop Service From Seattle to Tokyo
On the outbound, non-stop flight from Seattle to Tokyo we flew Delta’s 767. The 767 is extremely comfortable for sleeping on long-haul flights and the flight attendants were attentive to our every need. The food definitely didn’t taste like airplane food (which is of the utmost importance to me!) I choose sashimi, duck confit, smoked and braised beef short ribs, and chocolate ganache cake for dessert. It was all divine–like dining on a gourmet food airplane (now that’s a concept). There were countless movie selections and the flight just seemed to fly by (pun intended).
Once we arrived at Haneda Airport, we cleared customs in record time and took a short, 15-minute bus ride to our downtown Tokyo hotel. I couldn’t believe how quickly that process went. I have flown to many different international cities where the entire first day day is spent clearing customs and getting from the airport to the hotel. It’s no wonder Haneda was named the World’s Best Domestic Airport at the 2013 SkytraxWorld Airport Awards held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva. (And because I live in the amazing city of Denver, I must also say that Denver was voted #5).
Things to Do and Eat in Tokyo
In Tokyo, we had three full days of activities. We visited the Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, Ginza, Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Shinjuku. It was quite helpful that we had an amazing tour guide. The transit system is very efficient but it’s also very difficult to understand the signs. In fact, it’s almost impossible unless you are proficient in Japanese. I would highly recommend using a tour guide.
Of course, additional highlights for me included the two great restaurants. The first was Gonpachi Restaurant (where the movie Kill Bill was filmed). Gonpachi is definitely a tourist trap (which I tend to stay away from), however the food was excellent so I didn’t mind all the tourists. And they really have amazing food (have I mentioned that?). Anyone visiting Japan must try it.
The other restaurant was Nobu. I have been to many of Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurants around the world, but nothing is like eating at Nobu’s in Japan. You truly can’t get more authentic than that.
Which Tokyo airport should you fly into–Narita or Haneda?
Our departure out of Tokyo was from Narita Airport. We again took a bus, but this time, it stopped at multiple hotels to pick-up additional passengers. The trip from our hotel to Narita Airport took one hour and forty minutes–much longer than the quick 15-minute bus ride from our in-bound flight. I, being in the travel business, wonder why more people don’t fly into Haneda? Perhaps it’s because Narita had been the only option for so long, we automatically think NRT (Narita), the only airport in Tokyo for as long as we can remember. But we need to think differently when flying into Tokyo. Haneda is a much better option if your business is taking you to downtown Tokyo.
Delta’s Lie-Flat 777 Seating
On our way back to the States, we flew Delta’s non-stop triple seven flight from Narita to Minneapolis. I must say the new lie-flat herringbone seats on the 777 are amazing. They really are 100% flat! Another great feature about these seats is that you do not have a neighbor, so just know–if you hope to do business or visit with the passenger next to you, it won’t happen in these seats. But in my opinion this is perfect, because you have a seat that lays completely flat when reclined, meaning you can actually sleep. We arrived in Minneapolis and it felt like I had only been in an airplane seat for a couple of hours–certainly not 11.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. But the biggest “take-away” for me, was that I want to get the word out about Delta’s non-stop service from Seattle to Haneda. I want agents to start thinking “Haneda” when flying to Tokyo and I want all of our clients to know about the Seattle-Haneda service. It is truly a wonderful experience and a great time-saver for business travels to Tokyo.