Micronesia: August 2015
Explored Tamuning in the morning-- one high-end "mall" among maybe a half-dozen real resorts, then surprising amounts of low-rise strip malls. Clearly, development has yet to fully take hold!
Some nice views of Tamuning from the high ground near the airport, but aside from one restaurant I didn't see any place to stop, nor did I have all that much time to hang around. The United Club is smaller than the one at HNL and even more simplistic in food, but at least the 737-800's that United uses on the GUM-NRT run have decent in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems and in-seat power (woohoo!).
Narita International Airport's Terminal 1 South is dominated by Star Alliance, particularly ANA and United. Arrived 30 minutes early, settled into United's large club (with so-so sushi, but hey, better than the domestic locations!) for a bit, then into what would be a 3 hour long set of delays. Ugh. At least I was able to get a bowl of udon that was better than the horrorific udon at GUM before I left, although even the udon here in NRT (at Tatsu) was pretty so-so. At least the United Club changed out to a very decent boneless fried chicken on my second visit, which definitely helped the variety (should've gone to the ANA Lounge, oops...).
Beautiful new 787-9 Dreamliner was the source of the 3 hour delay (bad radar transponder-- very glad they fixed it before we left the ground!), but once we got going, things were very smooth. True, the 3-3-3 abreast seating means pretty narrow 17.3" wide seats that are cramped if even two of the passengers have broad shoulders, but the rest of the plane makes up for it. The electrochromic cabin windows, the reduced noise, the improved cabin pressurization and humidity is subtle but significant, and to actually be on domestic carrier plane with a modern IFE is almost mind-blowing.
Food was terrible despite United's recent 3-course international economy meal improvements; I'm not quite sure what they changed? In any case it didn't matter too much for a relatively short long-haul flight, because soon enough it was wheels down and vacation was over! At least Los Angeles welcomed people back with a fairly efficient immigration process and an unusually smooth running airport/public bus system (!) on a sunny Sunday afternoon!