NRT: JAL’s Sakura First Class Lounge

There are two sections of the Sakura Lounge at the Main Terminal 2 of Narita International Airport (there is an additional Sakura Lounge at the Satellite Terminal): The First Class and the Business Class lounges. At the main entrance, guests either make a left turn to head for the FC section or a right turn for the BC section.

Immediately behind the check-in counter at the First Class lounge, one could find another counter, this one for Spa treatment. Each guest is allowed a 15-minute massage, courtesy of JAL: Full body massage, Head massage, or Foot massage (reflexology). But really, a 15- Continue reading

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HKG: The [temporary] Wing Business Class Lounge

Corridor to the Shower AreaMain Seating AreaMain Seating AreaMen's Restroom: CorridorPC Computer Work AreaMen's Restroom: Urinals
Men's Restroom: Commode, with Small & Big Flush ButtonsMen's Restroom: Basin

Cathay Pacific’s the Wing’s Business Class Lounge at the Hong Kong International Airport is gearing to close its lounge for a renovation. The Lounge, located on the 7th floor near the Immigration and Customs area, and adjacent to the Wing’s First Class Lounge will temporarily be located on the lower floor (6th floor), closer to the boarding gates 1-4.

For LAX and SFO-bound passengers, this temporary Lounge will be convenient, especially if Cathay Pacific continues to use Gates 2 & 3 for LAX and SFO.

The renovation is slated to run this early summer of 2011. Afterwards, the Wing’s First Class Lounge will have its turn. Why they decide not to take care of the First Class Lounge first, I am not sure; but let’s hope that the result will be a welcome change. After almost a decade of using the Wing’s FC facilities, some elements start to deteriorate. Plumbing on the shower at the Cabanas causes so much rattling noises that it almost feels as if there were an earthquake.

HKG: Still One of the Friendliest Airports

HKG Frequent Visitor ChannelIf you travel a lot through Hong Kong (HKG), make sure to apply for the Hong Kong Frequent Visitor Card (HKG-FVC). The card, which allows you a separate (read SPEEDY) lane at immigration (both coming and going), is very easy and very quick to obtain. The initial requirement is for you to travel at least three times into HKG in the past 12 months. After approval and issuance of the card, you will have to travel at least 6 times within a two-year period. I have had the card for a while now, and when you see the serpentine lines at immigration at any time during the day, you will be grateful to have this Frequent Visitor Card in your possession. As mentioned earlier, the card allows you speedy lane both on the way out and on the way in.

Application can be done either online or submitted via regular mail. Your card will arrive through regular mail. In terms of card renewals, here is what the website says, “Qualified Continue reading

Saigon, Have I Seen You Before?

Saigon by bloompy
Saigon, a photo by bloompy on Flickr.

I just landed at the Tan Son Nhat Airport (Saigon Airport), an airport built by the US Army that used to witness the comings and goings of the US military aircrafts during the Vietnam War. The airport bore a quaint reminder of what Jakarta airport was like in the 70s (quick, quick, if you do not know how the Jakarta airport looked like in the 70s, come to Saigon now!). Lines at the immigration was long, but there were more than ten staff members working to process the entrants. The immigration workers had dour faces and worked very slowly, doing what Indonesian immigration used to do a lot: stamping, stapling, stamping, stapling, stamping, stamping, stamping. Then more stamping, stamping, looking at the photo in my passport, then at my face, then stamping, and stamping again. Finally, another Continue reading

Japan Immigration Gets More Strict

NRT-Landing Forms-Front by bloompy
NRT-Landing Forms-Front, a photo by bloompy on Flickr.

There was an article late in 2004 that said that Japan Immigration at the major airports like Narita will start taking digital photographs of visitors coming into the country, much like what the United States had started doing recently. Prior to my arrival at Narita today, I prepped myself while still airborne, making sure that no one would take a horrible mugshot of yours truly after 11 hours of flight.

As it turned out, the photo-on-the-spot thing had not yet taken place, but what I noticed earlier was that the landing card had changed. It used to ask for a home address, which Continue reading