I cleared out my NY room, and headed to JFK with my remaining belongings, ready for the next adventure. As soon as I got to check-in, I got a bubbling sense of excitement to be going back to Japan. The people are nice, polite, and helpful, a dramatic difference to the average New Yorker.
The people and service are great… but would the ANA Air Nippon food be just as good?
Within an hour of take-off, we were served a Japanese bar snack mix of standard crunchy bites made of rice and seaweed. Two hours in, and we were presented with the option of a Japanese beef meal or American burrito bowl meal; I went for option one.
The tray consisted of 4 little containers holding different sides including noodles, a creamed spinach, a salad, and a salami/mozzarella scenario alongside a larger main of rice and thinly sliced beef. Sadly, the meal was no better than any other economy airplane dining experience. The food lacked flavor and texture, and was carbohydrate heavy which isn’t the best source of energy for 15 hours of sitting. The best thing was the beef, which was overly fatty but not completely bland. 5 minutes later, a small scoop of vanilla hagen daz was passed out, which was a nice treat.
A little over the halfway point, the lights came up and the flawlessly put together attendants gave out a bread pastry filled with a chocolate paste alongside a drink of choice. It reminded me of a gas-station pre-package muffin, and a couple bites were enough.
By hour thirteen my body ached from uncomfortably contorting my body in an attempt to sleep. My plan of getting up at 4am coupled with a sleeping pill didn’t do the trick. Meal two came rolling down the aisle and I had the choice of a stuffed pasta or chicken dish; I went with the latter. I was served a tray with a chicken stir fry and rice dish, a serving of cheese, bean salad, and lunch meat, and an actual grocery store Otis blueberry muffin. Once again, nothing was very good, but at least the chicken was decently tender and the cheese cubes weren’t bad. The muffin tasted like chemicals, and I had once bite before setting it aside.
Airlines have to feed the masses in an efficient way, but surely the food can better. I think there is a market for a company to create descent pre-made meals that are cheap and easy, but still flavorful and satiating. Perhaps I’ll add it to my list of “business I should start” list.
Finally I landed in Narita, squeezed my boots on over my impossibly swollen feet, stretched out my legs, and groggily made my way through immigration to head to my next flight to Fukuowa. After an hour of waiting at the gate, three hours of flying, and an hour of picking up my bag and commuting to the hotel, I collapsed onto my small bed. After 26 hours of traveling, I had finally made it.
Let the adventure begin!