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Inside the Delta SkyClub at Tokyo-Narita Airport

Where: Tokyo-Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
January 6, 2011 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

15-ish hours. That's how long a flight it is on Delta direct from Tokyo-Narita International to New York-JFK, and trust us when we say that you'll feel every one of those hours passing by in the air. So it's all the more important to make the most of your time on the ground before take-off, by eating, finishing up your work, or just plain chillin'. All that is exactly what we recently did at the Delta SkyClub, taking advantage of a Groupon deal where we paid $25 instead of $50 for the Day Pass.

What'd we get for that $25? Well, a glass of green tea and a few finger sandwiches, and the feeling that comes with being part of those who are admitted to the Business Class lounge. And what a feeling that is. Sadly, since the Narita Express train took its damned time getting us to the airport, that feeling lasted a brief 30 minutes until we had to board the plane.

In the meantime, however, here's what we loved and hated about the Delta SkyClub at Tokyo-Narita:

Oh boy, was it packed at first. The lounge is vast, far more spacious than the Terminal 3 SkyClub from which we departed at JFK, and for a moment we were actually getting worried about finding a quiet seat. Noisy seats were around though, because—whoa—there were a lot of kids running around. And they weren't just like hanging out near their families; they were pretty much let loose. If you wanted to get out of earshot, you had to go as far away from the food area as possible and have a seat. But then you'd be far away from the food area!

Speaking of the food area...it was just okay. A couple finger bowls of noodles here, some random single type of sushi there, and plastic cups of salad everywhere. Or there was congee, which no one seemed interested in because the majority of the lounge population was American and we were in Japan, not China. At least they had self-serve sake.

The lounge is very bright, bordered on one side as it is by a line of windows that looks right out to the planes loading below. This makes it lovely for reading, having a chat, eating, writing and playing cards or other games. On the other hand, the lounge can be so bright that it is not ideal for the jet-lagged and their weary eyes, and also not the best environment for working on laptops or iPads, trying to nap, or cuddling up with a cocktail in the middle of the day.

Thus far, you may think our review is pretty negative, but au contraire! Next time we fly Delta through Narita, we'll probably still get a pass for the lounge, on the basis that good workspace and a soft chair is totally worth it sometimes...and we saw what a complete crapshow the normal waiting area was when we headed downstairs to finally board. Anything we can do to avoid the completely-incapable-of-forming-a-line line, is the best thing.

[All photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

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