Etihad Business Class – Abu Dhabi to New York

Our flight to JFK was at an ungodly 4am. I decided (and the wife agreed) that we would get a room at the airport for the night rather than getting a hotel in Abu Dhabi itself and having to get a taxi so late at night. I booked the AUH hotel via and it was located in Terminal 1. After checking in our luggage around 8pm, we headed through security and immigration and it took 10 minutes to walk to the hotel.

The check in process was quick and efficient and we were handed the key to lucky number 13. The only minor complaint was the fact our room was directly facing the gates and we could see and hear the planes outside. This was fine for me as it was white noise and helped me to get to sleep faster.

It was a stroke of luck that we asked for a wake up call because I forgot to set my phone alarm. After the call, we quickly got ready and headed to the lounge for some food. Happy that the lounge was located closer to the US gates, so we had some time to relax before going through US immigration/security. Double happy because the lounge was empty and there was ample seating available. Triple happy that the buffet had some delicious food selections available.

After the delicious meal, we headed to US security/immigration (yay for GE) and headed to the EY US lounge. Good thing that we ate in the bigger lounge as the food selection in the US lounge was crap.

Boarding was eventually announced in the lounge and we made our way to the last gate. Boarding was already underway and it sucked that there was only one bridge for boarding. The line up was backed up into the terminal and took us 10 minutes to get onboard.

Once onboard, the crew welcomed us and I chose the OJ as the PDB – was not in a mood for champers (some will judge for this but I am ok with it :D)

The menu – was not impressed

My seat for the evening

Boarding was completed and we pushed back

Lining up

We outta here

Went to bed for a few hours. When I woke up, I ordered some food.

I chose the Kale and Sunchoke soup but the FA said catering actually loaded a Spicy Miso soup and I was more than happy to have that.

Went with the Chicken Margooga next – which was decent

Ended with the chocolate cake

I passed the time with movies. EY’s selection of movies and TV shows is ok when compared to EK.

With 2 hours to go, I ordered breakfast.

Wonderful view

Cornflakes to start

French Toast and Coffee

We arrived at JFK earlier than schedule

After getting off the plane

After collecting our bags, we took a taxi to LGA for our flight to Toronto. LGA definitely looking better than Pearson!

Was able to access the AC lounge with our 25k status. This lounge was way better looking than the disgrace of a lounge at Pearson.

The flight was pretty uneventful. The only highlight was Junior asking how to turn the seat into a bed for him to sleep.

Back at Pearson and the end to a crazy birthday celebration trip

Grosvenor House and Four Points Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road

The cab from AUH dropped us at Grosvenor around 11:45pm and as we pulled up, the hotel staff jumped into action by helping us with our luggage and directing us to the check in desk. The formalities were done pretty quickly and with keys in hand, we were off to our room. I booked a base room and used SNA certs to upgrade to a one bedroom suite.

Entry way into the suite

Powder room to the left of the entrance

Kitchen to the right

Living room


Primary bathroom

A shot of the exterior in the morning

We had breakfast at the Executive Lounge for one morning. The lounge was located in tower 2.

Black Beauty greeting us as we got out the elevator

Big area with lots of seats

The buffet area which was orders of magnitude smaller than Sloane restaurant in Tower 1. The food was mostly Western cuisine and there was an omelette station.

After 3 days we shifted to the Four Points on Sheikh Zayed Road. Booked a base room again and we were upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite on the 32nd floor.


Entry way into the suite

Bedrooms off to the right

Living room off to the left

Powder room


Living room

Second bedroom

Second bathroom

Primary bathroom

Primary bedroom

Definitely a huge difference in the level of service between both hotels. Grosvenor is definitely our favourite hotel in Dubai and it clearly shows why we came back again here. The service at the Four Points was good but was not as polished as Grosvenor. Another plus point is that the Grosvenor is located by the Dubai Marina and far away from the hustle and bustle. The only major complaint (and this is a first world problem type complaint) was that it was crowded at the Four Points due to its location and we unfortunately came to Dubai during the same time at the Gulf Food Expo which caused excessive traffic jams around the Four Points.

Etihad Business Class – Jakarta to Abu Dhabi

The ride to CGK surprisingly took 30 minutes without any traffic. Maybe we got lucky and didn’t get to experience the horrible highway traffic that I read so much about. Once we reached, we headed inside through the initial baggage security check and then to aisle C where EY check in was located.

The check-in was very efficient and we were off to security/immigration which took us under 10 minutes to complete.

Down to the gate area after immigration. It was really quiet in the terminal at the time of day we were there.

Some decent bird watching at CGK

We had to walk towards gate 6 where the PP lounge was located. A perfectly fine lounge which felt open, airy and had lots of sunlight. There were not a lot of people at the time we were in the lounge, so it felt peaceful as well.

Bar area

Food station where you could choose from 6 items off the menu

An announcement was made around 50 minutes before departure that we could start boarding.

The Greenliner

Hoofed it back to gate 9 – it was a bit of a walk from gate 6

All of us were welcomed onboard and almost immediately were given a choice of PDB. When we got on, the J cabin was empty but then it started filling up eventually.

Finally, a proper champagne flute!

The menu

A crew member came by and checked if we wanted to eat anything after take off. Since EY had dine on demand service, I chose to sleep after take off and then order later. She did ask if I wanted to be woken up before landing for a meal service and I gladly accepted. We all went to conked out right after take off and I woke up with around 2 hours left. Rang the bell and the cabin purser was by my side in seconds. After I placed my meal selection, it took around 15 minutes for the food to be served.


Prawn biryani – yum

We landed on time and we taxi-ed to a remote gate – love it! Business class got into a separate bus and we made our way through immigration. Bag were already arriving on the belt as we came into the baggage hall. Once collected, we exited and hopped into a cab to Dubai.

JW Marriott Jakarta

We pulled up to the JWM Jakarta and a number of staff members were on hand to help us as we stepped out. One staff member took our luggage while another member escorted us to reception.

A cafe right before the lobby entrance

The lobby and check in area

As we walked up to the check in desk, some of the staff welcomed Junior personally and wished him a happy birthday (again, he was genuinely surprised). Another staff member processed the check in formalities and informed us that we were upgraded to the One Bedroom Executive Suite and that we were also going to be provided with breakfast in the morning (still got the 1000 points as a welcome gift) plus we had access to the Executive lounge for dinner. With all that done, we made our way to the room.

Entrance on the left of the pic. There were birthday treats on the coffee table as well.

Bedroom was wonderfully decorated for Junior

Bathroom and closet area

After relaxing for an hour, we made our way to the Exec lounge for dinner. We had a 5 minute wait while the staff prepared a table for us. After we were seated, we made our way to the buffet area and I was thoroughly impressed with the spread that was laid out.

The entire buffet area

Close ups

After we finished dinner and dessert, we headed back to our room. A few of the staff came running to stop us as they had another surprise for Junior. They sang happy birthday to him and his response was “This is awesome!” – well executed by the staff and so appreciated.

Sleep was seducing us all and we hit the pillows early. We got up early (jetlag) and made our way down for breakfast to Sailendra around 8am. The set up was massive and rivalled other places like Westin Mumbai or even the Andaman Langkawi – a lot of selections to choose from.




Made to order Noodle and Egg station

Bakery – omg it smelled soooo good

Fruits and cereals

Fresh juice station

Fresh made chai

We chose to stay in our room for the rest of the day until checkout. Would love to explore the area next time we are in town. The check in desk arranged another Silverbird to take us back to the hotel.

We were all truly impressed by the JWM Jakarta. The staff were impeccable and so welcoming (bonus for them making Junior feel special for his birthday). The room (while slightly dated) was perfect, spacious and yet felt very cozy. The executive lounge was a welcome treat with a good selection of food and drinks for dinner. The breakfast restaurant had a massive selection to choose from and we were definitely spoiled with a lot of good food. We did not have time to walk around the area outside the hotel but there was a mall nearby if anyone needed to walk around. We would definitely go back to the JWM Jakarta again.

ANA Business Class – Tokyo to Jakarta

We had an early start to the day – left the hotel at 7:30am to catch our 10:15am flight to CGK. Hopped back on the Keikyu line at 7:40am and reached HND at approximately 8:05am. With the morning rush, security took around 15 minutes, another 5 minutes for immigration and then off to the lounge.

The lounge was packed and we managed to find bar style seats near the buffet stations. Got breakfast for ourselves, did some work, Junior passed the time on the ipad and we made our move to the gate around 45 minutes before departure. Got lucky and had a bus gate – we waited 5 minutes before boarding was called and we hopped into the front of the bus. Even though J passengers boarded first, Y passengers soon boarded right after – sucked that there was no dedicated J bus. At least the ride was fun and Junior was tickled by it.

Outside Shinagawa station

ANA lounge

Full lounge at 8 in the morning

Buffet zoo

At least there was delicious curry

Bus gate

My brain cells did not fire quickly enough to realize there was a staircase for J passengers

We were directed to turn left and the cabin was 50% full by the time boarding was completed. The seats were not comparable to The Room but were still fine for a 7 hour hop to CGK.

PDB’s were offered and I went with the champers again

We pushed back a bit later than usual but we still made it on time to our destination. We taxi-ed down to the overwater runway (as I like to call it).

So long HND – a take off video is away on my ANA 2023 IG story highlight.

Mount Fuji

Menu for this flight

Amuse plus ANA original Kabosu drink

Meal choices were taken before take off and served shortly after the seat belt sign went off.

I went with the Japanese meal this time – Zensai and Kobachi to start.

Kobachi round was served next

Dessert to end the meal

Junior chose the ANA hamburger steak and he liked it

It was an uneventful flight and I napped for a few hours. Shortly after waking up, an announcement was made that we were one hour away from landing.

Welcome to CGK

Once off the plane, we made the LONG walk to immigration. I purchased eVOA’s ahead of our trip and we walked up to the immigration counters. Even if I did not purchase it online, there were counters available for purchasing the VOA before proceeding to immigration. The officer took his sweet time processing our visas and we just stood there twiddling our thumbs for 15 minutes while he was surfing on his phone and doing things very slowly. Eventually we passed through, collected our bags that were already on the belt and made our way to customs. We had to fill out an online form, so I quickly fired up the interwebs on my phone and got the formalities done. We walked outside and there was a Batik representative waiting for us who was representing the Marriott hotels (I pre arranged a taxi service through the hotel who reached out to me via email). We hopped into the Silverbird taxi and were on our way to the hotel.

Final look at the bird

Baggage hall

Hotel rep

Roomy van

A very comfortable flight overall with no issues whatsoever. The crew were friendly and attentive. They were so nice to Junior and again came out with the surprise for him. The Japanese meal set was delicious and I was happy to try it on a flight out of Japan.

The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo – Marriott Autograph Collection

I booked this hotel because:
It was a Marriott
It was the cheapest
It was the closest to Haneda by cab
The room I selected had three beds, so made it easier for us when sleeping

Through more research, I ended up finding out it was a 3 minute walk from Shinagawa station so this was an added bonus. I pre purchased Suica cards for the family which made it easier for us to hop on/off the train. The train ride took approximately 25 minutes and was packed to the gills. Mostly everyone got off at Shinagawa as it is also an interchange station to other subway lines. I was thankful it was a cool evening and was a relief from the warm temperatures of the plane, airport and train.

As we walked up to the front doors of the hotel, a staff member came over to us and took our carry-on items (we checked our luggage all the way to CGK) and then escorted us to reception. The staff were all welcoming and the formalities were completed quickly. With keys in hand, we headed to our room. After freshening up, we headed back towards Shinagawa station for a quick dinner in the food court and just to walk around the area. Totally forgot to take pictures but by this time we were all beginning to get sleepy and got back to our room, showered and went to bed.

Walking up to the hotel

Front entrance

Check in

Seating area

Hallway leading to elevators

Very comfortable beds

Japanese Garden – this area is shared by two other hotels with the “Prince” name

ANA “The Room” – New York to Tokyo

Another spectacular day for flying – in fact, the weather in NY was in the double digits and more pleasant than Toronto. Traffic leaving Manhattan was atrocious and it took us approx 1h 15m to arrive at JFK.

It was barely a 10 second wait before an agent from the First Class desk helped us. After checking all necessary documents (vaccinations, visa to CGK etc), we had boarding passes in hand. Security was quick with Pre Check and we headed to the ANA lounge located one floor above security. We were asked to turn right into the J lounge and we entered into a dining / bar area. Past this was another room with sofas and was a fairly big space – everyone had space to spread all over the area and never felt crowded. We spent the next hour eating a light breakfast, light lunch and worked a bit. An announcement was made that boarding had started and everyone could make their way to the gate.

Outside T7

Check in area

ANA lounge with J to the right after we entered and F to the left

Dining / Bar area

Massive lounge area with couches

The gate area was a 5 minute walk from the lounge and we walked up to get scanned and into the boarding tube. There was only one bridge for boarding. We entered and passed through F into the first J cabin which was a mini cabin. This 777 has 3 J cabins (mini, big, mini) and it felt good to have a sense of privacy. We were welcomed by Asuka working our side of the cabin and she said she would be taking care of us and to let her know if we needed anything.

PDB’s were offered and I went with the bubbles. First impression of the seat was that it was really wide and comfortable. The TV was massive (not as massive as the screens in F) and quality was super crisp with a highly sensitive touchscreen.

Boarding was done and doors closed soon after. Once we were pushed back, the ANA ground staff waved goodbye to us and there was even a water cannon salute (not sure why though). After take off, our meal + drink choices were taken for the lunch service.

Our birdie

The Room

PDB with amenity kit

The mini cabin


Later NY

CX pj’s

The menu from Japan and USA

Time for lunch

More bubbles

Amuse bouche – notice the turbulence showing in the glass

Marinated shrimp with cured ham

Braised beef with mashed potatoes – excellent

With rice and miso soup to accompany the main

Lunch with a view

Ended the service with ice cream – didnt take a picture but check my Instagram ANA J 2023 story highlight to see some comedy with trying to eat it. Here’s a shot of Junior also attempting to eat his rock hard ice cream.

After lunch, I turned the seat into bed mode and went down for a few hours

Another view from the galley window

Mid way through the flight, I woke up for a snack.
ANA curry to start

Chicken Focaccia

Last meal service before landing – went with the Chicken Fricassee

The crew surprised Junior with a little treat to celebrate his birthday

We eventually landed at HND. Taxi to the gate was quick and we were able to disembark soon after.

Final shot of the plane

We made our way to immigration and along the way, there were many staff members indicating to have the VJW forms ready to show. Our forms were checked multiple times and we made it to immigration eventually. After immigration, we filled out the customs forms at the automated kiosk and we passed through. With our Suica cards in hand, we hopped on the Keikyu line to Shinagawa station.

The seat and service were definitely the highlight of the trip. The seat is wider than the industry average for business class and there was a lot of room if you are someone with wide shoulders. It also helps if you are a side sleeper like me and can stretch your knees out a little more than usual. The crew were very attentive during our flight; they answered the call bell within seconds and would even come around checking on everyone to make sure we were ok.

Air Canada Business Class – Toronto to New York and 2 days in New York

A rare sunny winter day in Toronto after a record 22+ days of no sun. Mother Nature thought we were Vancouver for a hot minute. The check in area of the terminal was a ghost town and we were helped immediately at the AC counters. Security and US immigration was also a breeze and we were at the lounge within 15 minutes of walking into the terminal. Note to all – catch an afternoon flight if you are flying out of Pearson as mornings and evenings are a bit of a gong show.

The AC US lounge was a bit of a gong show but we managed to get seats in the middle of the floor. After some work was completed, we made our way to the gate area. Boarding was really quick and the plane ended up being less than half full. We were upgraded to J around 4 days prior to departure after using AC eupgrades.

After take off, we were served a quick meal consisting of smoked salmon and cold potatoes which was tasty. The flight was uneventful overall and we arrived on time at LGA. With our bags collected, we hopped into a taxi and eventually arrived at the Courtyard Marriott near Times Square. Check in was efficient and we were assigned a base room with 2 queen beds and no upgrade.

The wife and I were working during our two days in NY but we did make time to go around the area and catch some of the sights and sounds … and smells. The pictures will do the talking.

Gorgeous day

Empty check in area

AC lounge

Our bird

“Business Class”

Peace out YYZ

A tasty meal

Hello LaGuardia!

Our room

Breakfast at Berlina Cafe


Whitecastle next to the hotel – the OG slider is the best

Dinner at Urban Hawker – a NY take on Singapore hawker joints. While the food was fantastic, my only gripe is that it was $20 for each dish and everything else was extra.

Roti Prata with Daal

Hokkien Mee

Nasi Ayam Curry

Radio City – Walking off the food afterwards

Rockefeller Square

Air Canada Business Class – Washington DC to Toronto

A very anticlimactic end to an otherwise very amazing trip. We were originally supposed to have a 17 hour layover in DC but after a pushback of the original Etihad departure to a new time, plus a delayed puhsback, longer flight time due to head winds, delayed baggage arrival and ultra delayed airport shuttle, we ended up having 11 hours in total. By the time we arrived at the hotel, we were so exhausted and just went straight to bed. We checked out at 8am the next morning and took the shuttle back to the airport.

The AC check in desks just opened up as we arrived and we were first in the priority line to be assisted. We were through security in no time thanks to Pre Check and then made our way to the Turkish lounge.

Our plane would be departing from the Z gates and we walked over to the B gates where the Turkish lounge was located. Could not check out the Lufthansa lounge as it was closed and did not open until noon.

The TK lounge is also a PP lounge and it was busy this morning.

We made our way back to the Z gates and boarding began 5 minutes later.

I would rather be on that flight. 🙂

Pushback was on time and we were on our way.

Lined up.

Before take off, the cabin crew member working J came by and asked if I wanted a meal – not going to turn a “free meal” down.

Smoked salmon and potato salad – tasty.

We flew over Mississauga, turned east towards the downtown core, then turned left over Downsview park and left again to line up for the runway.

Pulling into our gate.

Last shot of the plane before the mad dash towards immigration.

Thank goodness for Nexus as we were through in under 5 minutes and then another 15 minutes for the bags to arrive on the belt.

Etihad First Class – Abu Dhabi to Washington DC

The grand finale to an amazing trip. The flight was originally scheduled to leave at 9am but was then pushed back to 11am. This would eventually shorten our time in DC and we would end up not doing any tours. Back to the good stuff.

We checked out at 7am and we were on our way AUH.

We pulled up to the First Class door to find it closed and we had to enter the Business Class entrance.

Business class check in on the right and First class on the left.

There were 2 check in agents staffed to help FC passengers and they were already helping others when we arrived. It was a 5 minute wait before we were helped.

After the formalities were done, we went through immigration and security and then passed into the main hall.

Once we processed the VAT returns, we headed to the FC lounge.

The staff member at the front door scanned our BP’s and directed us to use the elevator.

Dining area.

The bar but too early for a pick me up.

We settled in at a table for breakfast.

Eggs benny for me and an omelette for her.

After breakfast, we settled in the back corner and killed time until an announcement was made that the flight to DC was ‘pre-boarding’.

We headed towards gate 61 and then made a left into the US customs and security area – thank goodness for pre clearance and Global Entry. After that, we continued on to the gate.

Boo – was closed.

Boarding just started as we approached the gate area and we made our way onto the plane.

The cabin crew member at door 2L could not leave his post to escort us to our seats but directed us to turn left.

1A for me and 2A for her.

Mariam came by and welcomed us onboard and asked if we would like anything to drink.

Never too early for bubbly.

Let’s go through the menu.

Mariam came by and offered some arabic coffee with dates.

There was a bit of a delay pushing back but we were eventually under way.

Qantas A380 parked wayyyy in the back.

Lining up on runway 31L.

Peace out AUH.

Bubbly round 2.

Served with peppers, olives and warm nuts.

Mariam came back around 12:30pm AUH time and took orders for lunch. While they prepared lunch, I went to change into PJ’s.

Excellent color scheme for the washroom.

Time to stuff our faces. Mariam came by with a bread selection and I asked if they had garlic bread. She said no but came back later with a plate of it. Awesome.

Caviar for me and Mezze for her. Who else only has caviar when travelling in FC? *raises hand*

Next up for me was the Shorbat Deyay – warmed the soul.

Also some smoked salmon.

Lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate.

Main course – Lamb Thareed for her and Chicken Breast for me.

Lunch with a view.

Finally, Date & Fig pudding and ice cream.

Mariam cleared away everything afterwards and converted our seats into beds.

Closed suite.

House of Gucci before falling asleep.

Two hours before landing, I requested another meal.

OJ to start.

Steak sammich (so good), potato gratin and mushroom sauce for dipping.

Saffron milk cake which was absolutely phenomenal.

The captain came on and announced we had begun the descent into DC.

We had to do a go around due to operational reasons but circled quickly and hit terra firma pretty hard on the second go.

Medical crew waiting for our plane as there was an emergency during the flight.

What an amazing flight – 14 hours of absolute bliss. Definitely ranks up there with CX and SQ FC flights.