Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fasting to prevent jetlag

(updated March 2017)

I've read for years that researchers had found that selective fasting can help alleviate jet lag but I'd never tried it until this trip. The idea is simple: a day or two before you depart, you figure out when you'll be asleep in the new time zone and you fast during your pre-bedtime and sleeping hours. We were taking JAL's 787 service (trip report here) leaving Tokyo at 6pm, this meant that we had a late breakfast and then had to fast until they started serving food on board (ca. 8pm).

My husband's "hangry" fits are legendary. Like I actually carry around power bars and nuts with me entirely on the off chance he gets low blood sugar and turns into a Snickers commercial. But he loves sleep more than anything so he fully volunteered to try this if it meant better sleeping when we got back. Not eating from like 11am until 8pm was tough for both of us, but the anec-data here is that we both had virtually no jet lag. From what I've heard from friends and what we've experienced in the past, this route usually produces pretty severe jet lag.

Again, it's just one experience, but if the timing is kind, we'll probably do it again next time. I feel like we got three days of our lives back that we normally would have spent groggy and out of it.

UPDATE: We've done this now for every major timezone shifting trip and it's definitely helped us each time!

Another point on the topic of jetlag: Americans often use Melatonin to help reset their body clocks, but it's not legal in many places without prescription, so bring it with you if you're planning on using it.



  • There's an online fasting calculator here.
  • A Harper's article here.

Dr. K says, "Yay sleep!"

Monday, June 20, 2016

Japan Airlines Tokyo Narita to New York JFK 787 Business Class trip report

TL;DR This flight is exactly what you want from a Business Class trip: great lounge, good food, good liquor, a comfortable bed, Wi-Fi, and a bit of entertainment, all politely and professionally executed. 

  • 105,00 Avios points + $145 in fees per person
  • Cash cost would have been $5800 (i.e., 5.2¢ per point)
  • How I did it

  • row 1 still has the same stowage and space as other Business Class rows
  • the seat design is a nice middle ground between intimacy and privacy. 
  • 787 has higher humidity and cabin pressure, plus it's much quieter and has bigger windows 
  • one of the few British Airways Avios redemptions that doesn't have astronomical co-pays
  • toto washlets 
  • better bedding that ANA Business Class (my review of their competing flight here). 

  • even in a new terminal, they boarded the whole plane through the front door
  • the window seat can be a bit claustrophobic 
  • no personal air vent controls (aka gaspers)
  • no pajamas

Narita Terminal 2 was largely empty when we arrived 3 hours before boarding (our friends navi estimated our trip time to be double what it turned out to be…). Bag check and security were a breeze. I also noticed that JAL has a priority security line for International First Class passengers - something I've never seen in Asia. We really wanted to be aboard the 787 and JAL doesn't have First Class in their 787's, so we were in Business.
No wait at the check-in counter
JAL First Class priority security

After very quick exit immigration and security, we went to the Sakura lounge. It was large, open, and lovely. It got a little more crowded as our boarding time approached but never obnoxiously so. Free wine, liquor, shochu, and sake. Free buffet with hot dishes. Free, fast Wi-Fi. Great plane spotting. The terminal itself is huge and spacious with plenty of seating and coin-op massage chairs so the lounge isn't as, "necessary" as it is in, say, Newark. Also in the terminal area is Toto's toilet gallery. So if you wanted to try out a bunch of their various toilet models, you can do so in a club/gallery-like atmosphere. Ah, Japan :)

Sakura lounge panorama
Toto toilet gallery!

Boarding was very orderly. Flight attendants inspected every person's boarding pass and lined everyone up in separate lines before the doors opened. The whole plane was boarded and ready to go in 15 minutes. 

Gate agents made orderly lines before boarding
our 787
They boarded the entire plane through the front door, so the pre-flight experience was more chaotic and busy than it should have been. Waiting at my seat was a fantastic pillow, a duvet, slippers, noise-canceling headphones, and a Zero Halliburton amenity kit. Nothing noteworthy except the kit comes with a moisturizing mask instead of actual moisturizer. Champagne and orange juice were both offered before takeoff.

New Business Class SkySuite
Amenity kit