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First Japan Trip, First Long Haul Flight  
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2483 times:
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Hi everyone, bare with me here! Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

I've just turned 21 (last Sunday) and to treat myself I've decided to do something I've always wanted to which is to visit Japan, this is all a possibility now thanks to a well paid job I landed luckily at 17. Not only do I get to visit a country and experience the different culture which I've always wanted to do, but also I get to fly again and on a long haul route. I've only ever flown once in my life and that was with First Choice on an Airbus A32x from Bristol to Sofia and back for a skiing holiday in 2006.

I have a few questions and I'll post them all in separate paragraphs to make it easier to read.

1) I've got every intention to fly with Japan Airlines as I've always wanted to travel with them, what can I expect in terms of service? Route wise I'm planning to do LHR-HND outbound on JAL so I can experience the mighty 77W, then return I was thinking of NRT-HEL on JAL so I can fly on the 787 and also I then get to travel with BA on the HEL-LHR leg.

I believe WiFi is also available on the direct LHR-HND route?

2) When I am in Japan, I plan to travel to Kyoto to explore that area, to do this I would like to fly from Tokyo to Osaka-Kansai, what is domestic air travel like in Japan?

3) Anyone who has been to Japan, any recommendations on what and where to visit? I've got ideas of what I'd like to do but I'd also like some recommendations.

Oh and obviously if anyone can give me as much pointers as possible please for traveling this sort of distance for a first time with out family (going with a friend), by that I mean what do I need to take, etc.

Many thanks!

Joey

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (4 months 19 hours ago) and read 2403 times:



A good rule of thumb....pack you bag with everything you want to take. Remove half. Work out your budget, then double it. Remember, as long as you have some money, you can buy whatever you need when you get there, so don't worry too much about forgetting anything (large sizes of clothing/shoes excluded).

Going Eastbound, jetlag might keep you up at night on arrival. Try and stay up to 11pm on your first day in Japan, and DON'T nap during the day, or it'll take longer to adjust to the time difference. The later the flight leaves Europe, the easier it'll be to sleep on the flight, minimising jetlag issues.

When traveling with a friend, make sure you have similar budgets, and want to do the same sort of things, otherwise it'll be an awkward trip, even if you're best friends.

I think going to Japan as your first trip is quite a big step. If you have the time and money, perhaps a weekend in Europe would be a good thing to do before hand. BA have some great last minute daytrip fares which might be worth checking out, although a night away with hotel etc would be better travel practise.
http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/offers/holidays/hellodaytrip

Japanese is not too easy to learn, but you can get by in English. Definitely buy a phrasebook though, and try and learn something, especially some food phrases. Japanese restaurants normally have plastic models outside so you can see what you can order. Take a photo, and show it to the waitress inside so you don't need to work out the menu in Japanese! And practise your chopstick skills in advance!

Try to stay in a Ryokan, a tradiational Japanese Inn...it's like another world, and so much more interesting than staying in a hotel.

A few of my Japanese trip reports:
#2: ANA & Peach. B747-400D HND-CTS-KIX + Hokkaido(by gabrielchew Oct 12 2013 in Trip Reports)
#3: JAL Osaka-Shanghai, & The Chinese Bullet Train(by gabrielchew Oct 18 2013 in Trip Reports)
La Dolce Vita With Alitalia, Pt 2: MXP-NRT-FCO-BRI(by gabrielchew Feb 7 2013 in Trip Reports)
Asia 1: Limoncello With Alitalia. BA/AZ LHR-NRT(by gabrielchew Oct 3 2012 in Trip Reports)
Asia 2: JALing It To Beijing. JL HND-PEK 777 In C(by gabrielchew Oct 6 2012 in Trip Reports)
Asia Part 2: CX Business To Tokyo (PVG-HKG-HND)(by gabrielchew Jul 6 2011 in Trip Reports)
Asia Part 3: NH & CA Business (NRT-PVG-PEK)(by gabrielchew Jul 11 2011 in Trip Reports)

Hey Joey!

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
I've only ever flown once in my life

Only once, and you're a paid up member of a.net! You'd better get flying!

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
1) I've got every intention to fly with Japan Airlines as I've always wanted to travel with them, what can I expect in terms of service? Route wise I'm planning to do LHR-HND outbound on JAL so I can experience the mighty 77W, then return I was thinking of NRT-HEL on JAL so I can fly on the 787 and also I then get to travel with BA on the HEL-LHR leg.

JL are probably one fo the best options for a London-Tokyo flights. Service is slightly skewed towards Japanese clientle, but staff will treat you well irrespective. You'll get 2 hot meals, and snacks inbetween. Free alcoholic drinks too. IFE is ok - Japanese airline tend not to have a massive selection of new films, but there should be something to watch. Don't know about the wifi though.

I flew LHR-HEL-NRT last year with AY and JL, so you can see for yourself:
#1: The Reindeer Route To Tokyo. AY 320 & JL 787 (by gabrielchew Oct 2 2013 in Trip Reports)

You'll probably find that that routing on it's own is quite expensive. Direct JL flights aren't cheap (often around double what LH/AF/OS might charge). Getting an AY codeshare like I did is a good way around this, although the direct LHR-HND flight might not be avaiable like that. Play around with the fares/routes. It's worth looking for a Japanese travel agent (check with the Japan Centre) as they often have good offers with NH/JL.

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
2) When I am in Japan, I plan to travel to Kyoto to explore that area, to do this I would like to fly from Tokyo to Osaka-Kansai, what is domestic air travel like in Japan?

KIX is further from the centre than ITM, but is quite a nice airport to use. Theres a great free viewing buidling. There are a few locos in Japan now. Check out Vanilla Air, Peach Aviation and Skymark, although none will show discounted rates very far in advance. I'd start to look 2-3 months ahead. JL and NH are generally more expensive, but YMMV. Inflight service is minimal, as are food options airside, so buy a snack in advance of going through security.

Train travel in Japan is great, although it's quite expensive, sometimes more so than flying. Check out the Japan Rail Pass. There are also cheap overnight buses.

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
3) Anyone who has been to Japan, any recommendations on what and where to visit? I've got ideas of what I'd like to do but I'd also like some recommendations.

Japan has so many things on offer, it depends on what you like to see!
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g294232-Japan-Vacations.html

I loved my trip up to Hokkaido last year, but also enjoy Tokyo a lot. Hiroshima is a good bet, along with a visit to Miyajima. You must visit an onsen (hot spring). Read up on onsen etiquette in advance, and you'll love you experience.
Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
Oh and obviously if anyone can give me as much pointers as possible please for traveling this sort of distance for a first time with out family (going with a friend), by that I mean what do I need to take, etc.

http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (4 months 19 hours ago) and read 2399 times:

Very odd, that post seemed to have rearranged itself after I posted! I also wanted to say, that Japan gets really hot and humid in the summer, and quite cold in the winter, so pack approriately.


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2377 times:
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Thank you for the large yet informative response!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
When traveling with a friend, make sure you have similar budgets, and want to do the same sort of things, otherwise it'll be an awkward trip, even if you're best friends.

I think going to Japan as your first trip is quite a big step. If you have the time and money, perhaps a weekend in Europe would be a good thing to do before hand. BA have some great last minute daytrip fares which might be worth checking out, although a night away with hotel etc would be better travel practise.
http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/...ytrip

Me and the friend in question are both going for similar reasons with the intentions of visiting the same things, there's only one thing I want to do which he isn't bothered about but is happy to tag along, and that's ideally visit the memorial for JAL 123. It may seem odd but I think I'd like to pay my respects to what is the worst aviation accident involving a single aircraft.

It's not my first trip without my family, rather more my first long haul trip without them. Me and another friend did a 2,500 mile road trip around Europe in April last year visiting France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany,

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Japanese is not too easy to learn, but you can get by in English. Definitely buy a phrasebook though, and try and learn something, especially some food phrases. Japanese restaurants normally have plastic models outside so you can see what you can order. Take a photo, and show it to the waitress inside so you don't need to work out the menu in Japanese! And practise your chopstick skills in advance!

Not wrong there, luckily my friend knows the basic Japanese thanks to his interest in Anime. He's done a few lessons here and there and to be fair knows quite a good little bit of helpful basics. I too will be learning some though before we go as I obviously want to be able to be to have a basic understanding and to not come across as rude by not even appearing to be trying.

Don't worry my chop stick skills are currently being focused on! Aha.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Try to stay in a Ryokan, a tradiational Japanese Inn...it's like another world, and so much more interesting than staying in a hotel.

Funnily enough we were both saying last night how we want to do this, and now you've given me a name I can research better.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
A few of my Japanese trip reports:

Thank you, I'll take a look shortly.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Only once, and you're a paid up member of a.net! You'd better get flying!

My sister who is 2 years younger has flown more than me an by herself too. I paid up because I've followed this website for long enough I felt it was only fair.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
JL are probably one fo the best options for a London-Tokyo flights. Service is slightly skewed towards Japanese clientle, but staff will treat you well irrespective. You'll get 2 hot meals, and snacks inbetween. Free alcoholic drinks too. IFE is ok - Japanese airline tend not to have a massive selection of new films, but there should be something to watch. Don't know about the wifi though.

I flew LHR-HEL-NRT last year with AY and JL, so you can see for yourself:
#1: The Reindeer Route To Tokyo. AY 320 & JL 787 (by gabrielchew Oct 2 2013 in Trip Reports)

You'll probably find that that routing on it's own is quite expensive. Direct JL flights aren't cheap (often around double what LH/AF/OS might charge). Getting an AY codeshare like I did is a good way around this, although the direct LHR-HND flight might not be avaiable like that. Play around with the fares/routes. It's worth looking for a Japanese travel agent (check with the Japan Centre) as they often have good offers with NH/JL.

I've come to notice that direct flights from London to Tokyo are more expensive but it's something we're willing to pay, I like the idea of flying JL and I also like the fact that going out there we have no hassle of connecting flights, etc.

On the way back we shall be trying this HEL routing though as I do want to try the 787 and a BA product of some kind.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
KIX is further from the centre than ITM, but is quite a nice airport to use. Theres a great free viewing buidling. There are a few locos in Japan now. Check out Vanilla Air, Peach Aviation and Skymark, although none will show discounted rates very far in advance. I'd start to look 2-3 months ahead. JL and NH are generally more expensive, but YMMV. Inflight service is minimal, as are food options airside, so buy a snack in advance of going through security.

I must admit the whole reason for wanting to fly into KIX rather than ITM is so that I can land at that airport.. It's always impressed me the way it's built. I don't know why. Good tip of the snack side there, thank you.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):

I loved my trip up to Hokkaido last year, but also enjoy Tokyo a lot. Hiroshima is a good bet, along with a visit to Miyajima. You must visit an onsen (hot spring). Read up on onsen etiquette in advance, and you'll love you experience.

We were contemplating Hiroshima as it is something I think we should visit after the part it has in our history.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
I also wanted to say, that Japan gets really hot and humid in the summer, and quite cold in the winter, so pack approriately.

I had heard this and I shall certainly be packing for the right climate... I hope!

Thank you for the response Gabriel, it is much appreciated. I can't wait, I just wish I had the money now so I could jump on a plane tomorrow!


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2065 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (4 months 3 hours ago) and read 2281 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
2) When I am in Japan, I plan to travel to Kyoto to explore that area, to do this I would like to fly from Tokyo to Osaka-Kansai, what is domestic air travel like in Japan?

Getting a JR Pass might be a cheaper way to get around, especially since you can use it not only to travel between cities in Japan, including on the Shinkansen, but also on some of the train routes in Tokyo, so you can avoid having to pay additional for the subway (or a cab!).

Also keep in mind it may be cheaper to fly NRT - KIX, but you'll have to shell out extra money for the NRT Express and for the JR train from KIX to Osaka. Unless you're dying to take a domestic flight in Japan, I think the JR Pass is a much better value.

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
3) Anyone who has been to Japan, any recommendations on what and where to visit? I've got ideas of what I'd like to do but I'd also like some recommendations.

So many things. For a relatively smaller country like Japan, there are so many things to see. Tokyo itself has so many things to see and do (which I am sure you can find online). Osaka and Kyoto are pretty cool. I've also been to Hokkaido in the summer, which despite the cooler weather was also a pretty cool experience. I think the best thing is besides the touristy stuff, just try and get lost in the streets and in the smaller towns in Japan. It's such a fascinating country.

Regarding budget, definitely bring more than what you plan or think you will spend, as Japan is a very expensive country.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-LAX | VX LAX-FLL | B6 FLL-BOG-FLL | VX FLL-LAX | VA LAX-SYD | VA SYD-PER-SYD
User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5724 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2246 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
When I am in Japan, I plan to travel to Kyoto to explore that area, to do this I would like to fly from Tokyo to Osaka-Kansai, what is domestic air travel like in Japan?

Buy the JR Pass instead. http://www.jrpass.com. High-speed trains are much more fun way to travel than airplanes and it allows you to e.g. stay at a hotel in Kyoto and do day trips to say Osaka, Kobe, Nara, the Hikone Castle etc. without the need to check out every morning and dragging your luggage along to a new destination.

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
3) Anyone who has been to Japan, any recommendations on what and where to visit?

I would definitely recommend to wait with your trip until early- mid-November when the foliage turns into all kinds of incredible colors. http://youtu.be/PJr20Ekq8rY http://youtu.be/7Ai6Y5GcJVw

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 3):
I also like the fact that going out there we have no hassle of connecting flights, etc.

On the way back we shall be trying this HEL routing though as I do want to try the 787

Of course it's your money and your choice how to spend it but I would not pay at least 50% more on direct flight for leisure purposes and/or just to fly an aircraft that will be around for another 20+ years and one will fly it sooner or later anyway.
Also, if you choose wisely your connecting airport (e.g. ZRH, HEL, ICN) there is not much "hassle" involved in connecting. I am somewhat surprised that you are not thinking along the lines of "more flights, more fun" since you have only flown once so far.


User currently onlinejumpjets From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 846 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2242 times:

Hi - I have only been to Japan once and that was flying with VS in Y - so was an acceptable but otherwise unexciting journey [apart from the dodge IFE on the way back.

I know nothing about Japanese domestic air travel but on the basis that it is as exciting as any countries domestic travel I would heartily recommend going to Kyoto by bullet train - we took the bullet from Tokyo to Hiroshima and later back from Kyoto - it is an experience not to be missed as it is unlike rail travel you'll experience else where.

Travel on the rail network is easyish as main stations have signs in English and Japanese people are unfailingly helpful.

Hot springs/baths and Ryokans are marvellous - but beware some ryokans are really just modern hotels with a few added extras and not the traditional inns that you might expect.

Food in Japan is wonderful and not just raw fish and eating out is a good source of amusement for the traveller and the restaurant staff.

Try and visit a 'white heron'castle - there are a few left standing - I can recommend Himeji and Hakone both of which are not far from Kyoto, also try and visit the sacred island of Miyajima near Hiroshima - beware the beautiful bambi lkike deer though that wander round as they will eat anything including loose elements of the clothes you are wearing!

For an unusual and slightly morbid side trip [again not so far from Kyoto] visit Mount Koya which is the spiritual home of Shingon Buddhism whose followers are just dying to be buried there [sorry about the terrible pun]. There is a marvellous collection of temples shrines and a huge fascinating cemetery - and make sure you stay at temple lodgings and attend some Buddhist religious ceremonies and eat the fantastic food prepared for travellers.

I could go on and on - if you want more info maybe send me a private message.


User currently offlineYflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1053 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2177 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Only once, and you're a paid up member of a.net! You'd better get flying!

I didn't take my first flight until I was 23, so he's ahead of where I was at his age. Granted, I didn't join a.net until a few years later -- it was actually that first flight that sparked my interest in airplanes.


User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2173 times:
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Hi everyone, thank you so much for the posts and suggestions.

I'll certainly look into the JR pass, I do fancy doing at least one domestic flight so I may get a pass too so that we can still travel around easier.

We were looking at traveling around November so it appears that would be the best time for the colours of nature.

I've passed this thread on to my friend so he can also read the suggestions you are all posting, we'll probably miss Hokkaido this time around but it's certainly something I'd look into for future reference.

Again, thank you all for the suggestions and advice, much appreciated.


User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2171 times:
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Quoting Yflyer (Reply 7):
I didn't take my first flight until I was 23, so he's ahead of where I was at his age. Granted, I didn't join a.net until a few years later -- it was actually that first flight that sparked my interest in airplanes.

Exactly the same reason as me, I was 13 when I took my first flight on First Choice, I remember it so well. Huge delays on the return from Sofia due to French ATC strikes...

I also remember my uncle saying "don't worry, we'll probably crash and die now"... To which we flew into turbulence on the return leg which I hadn't experienced before and he turned and said "well here we go"... Ha! Evil man but if anything it's grown my enthusiasm for it all.

I can't wait to get on a plane again.  

[Edited 2014-06-23 14:49:54]

User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5724 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2162 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 8):
We were looking at traveling around November so it appears that would be the best time for the colours of nature.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2014_when.html


User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2161 times:
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Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 10):
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2014_when.html

Thank you. I shall bookmark it now and take a gander when I'm not feeling so tired.  


User currently offlineTWA772LR From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 2184 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2007 times:

I only have one bit of info for long haul flights.

AISLE SEATS SAVE LIVES!!!

Yes seeing the scenery from the air is great and all, but I saw all of Sydney and then some just fine from my aisle seat and looking out near the closest window.

Have a great trip!!!



Go coogs! \n//
User currently offlineWROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 958 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1995 times:

I agree train is a better option to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto. Shinkasen trains usually have the last two cars with no reserved seats so you can always find a space if you are willing to travel in off peak times. Unless, you want to fly because like me you are an aviation geek. I recommend Starflier from HND to KIX. They fly for NH on that route. Both JL and NH have visit Japan passes (NH you can buy on their website and JL you have to call their service center).
In Kyoto I would stay around Train Station so you do not have to drag you bags half way across the city and it is a good point to hop on Haruka train to Osaka or Kobe.
In Tokyo I took some trips with Hato Bus Company (located just outside of Tokyo Station) . Also for travel within Tokyo I would get a SUICA card so you do not have to waste time buying a ticket each time you hop on the train.
Group your sites by the area (Ginza, Shinjuku, Asakusa, etc) as the fare you pay is based on the distance traveled
Definately learn some Japansese - NHK television has short classes on youtube. Definately learn the one about food unless you plan eating at McDonalds.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19925 posts, RR: 59
Reply 14, posted (3 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1975 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
I've just turned 21 (last Sunday) and to treat myself I've decided to do something I've always wanted to which is to visit Japan, this is all a possibility now thanks to a well paid job I landed luckily at 17.

And they call America the land of opportunity...

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
1) I've got every intention to fly with Japan Airlines as I've always wanted to travel with them, what can I expect in terms of service? Route wise I'm planning to do LHR-HND outbound on JAL so I can experience the mighty 77W, then return I was thinking of NRT-HEL on JAL so I can fly on the 787 and also I then get to travel with BA on the HEL-LHR leg.

Took JL 001 and 002 back in September, which is a 788. The JL 788 is a very comfy 2-4-2 in Y. Get it while it lasts. The 788 is just such a remarkable aircraft. Takeoff is surprisingly brisk, given how delicate she looks. She's very quiet once she's in cruise (takeoff is like an A330, which is pretty quiet). The lights are amazing. When you board, they are bright white. For services they are white with blue highlights. The light is projected onto the opposite bulkhead and it's almost impossible to tell where it's coming from. For night, the lights are just a dim blue. But for me, the most spectacular show was sunrise.

The cabin was dark, with blue lighting. Slowly, a purple highlight started to appear, and it cycled through purple to a reddish to an orange-yellow glow that looked just like the rising sun was shining in the cabin. And it got brighter and brighter until the center lights were bright blue and the side lights were bright white...and it was daylight. I almost applauded. Oh, also, when we got aboard, a bunch of rainbows shot down the cabin. I think they were just showing off.  

The window was my favorite part. On departure from HND to SFO we left at midnight, and flying east the sun came up at around 3AM JST. I was on the sunward side of the aircraft. The crew had dimmed the windows (I had the ability to undim, but as soon as I tried I realized it was a really bad idea). Outside, we seemed to be flying through an unusually bright moonlit night with the "moon" just a bit painfully bright to look directly at. The sidewalls were a bit warm, but not roaring hot like a windowshade because the dimmable window blocks the sunlight near the skin of the aircraft, not on the interior like a window shade.

Also, I didn't quite feel like death warmed over stepping off the plane. Given the fact that you are awake over 20 hours when you take this flight (because you leave at night and arrive at night both ways) you're going to feel like refried butt no matter what, but it would be far worse on a plane with higher cabin altitude.

JL's service in Y is very nice. I wasn't a huge fan of the food; they tried a bit too hard to be Western. You're Japan Airlines. Serve Japanese food. It needn't be expensive, just Japanese. Cream of mushroom bisque with a French roll was just a strange snack to be served on JL. But the cabin crew are spectacular. And of course there's the latest and greatest AVOD. Also they have USB ports for charging but no internet. Load your favorite TV Series onto your iPod and have at it!

You should PM PHX787 and Aaron747. They both live in Tokyo. I highly recommend going to an onsen if you don't have tattoos (if you have tattoos of any sort you cannot go to an onsen). Definitely take a spotting day at NRT. NRT has a dedicated spotting deck on the roof. It's amazing. Take the Shinkansen somewhere...just to take the Shinkansen. Definitely rent a portable 3G WiFi for your phone. There are no streetsigns in Japan and even if they were, they'd be in Japanese (there isn't much useful English signage in Japan). And sometimes you need Google Translate.

Strongly recommend you go in late fall to early Spring. Summer there is ghastly hot.


User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1961 times:
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Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 12):
I only have one bit of info for long haul flights.

AISLE SEATS SAVE LIVES!!!

Yes seeing the scenery from the air is great and all, but I saw all of Sydney and then some just fine from my aisle seat and looking out near the closest window.

Have a great trip!!!

Aww. What's wrong with the window seat?   Aha. I've already told me friend I call the window seat. 
Quoting WROORD (Reply 13):
I agree train is a better option to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto. Shinkasen trains usually have the last two cars with no reserved seats so you can always find a space if you are willing to travel in off peak times. Unless, you want to fly because like me you are an aviation geek.

I have to be honest, I dislike trains at the best of times hence why I'd much rather fly. I appreciate that around the cities and to more remote areas the train is the better option, how ever to get from Tokyo to Kyoto I'd much rather hop on a plane, that and like you say, being an aviation geek I'd like to be able to add more airlines to my list and aircraft flown on. 
Quoting WROORD (Reply 13):
I recommend Starflier from HND to KIX. They fly for NH on that route.

I was looking into them as I'd like to give them ago, at the moment it's looking like it will be them or Peach. Ideally I'd prefer to try Starflier, I love their livery and I've heard good things.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 13):
In Tokyo I took some trips with Hato Bus Company (located just outside of Tokyo Station) . Also for travel within Tokyo I would get a SUICA card so you do not have to waste time buying a ticket each time you hop on the train.
Group your sites by the area (Ginza, Shinjuku, Asakusa, etc) as the fare you pay is based on the distance traveled

Thank you, I'll look into that! Me and my friend sat down together yesterday and started listing what we'd like to plan to do and what we'll need, so we'll add this onto the list.

So it works like the London Underground then where as you pay for where you've traveled too.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
And they call America the land of opportunity...

Rule Britania? 
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
The JL 788 is a very comfy 2-4-2 in Y. Get it while it lasts. The 788 is just such a remarkable aircraft. Takeoff is surprisingly brisk, given how delicate she looks. She's very quiet once she's in cruise (takeoff is like an A330, which is pretty quiet). The lights are amazing. When you board, they are bright white. For services they are white with blue highlights. The light is projected onto the opposite bulkhead and it's almost impossible to tell where it's coming from. For night, the lights are just a dim blue. But for me, the most spectacular show was sunrise.

That sounds rather comfy for a modern airliner!   It's certainly an aircraft I want to tick off my list. The lighting interests me so it will be rather interesting to experience myself.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):

The cabin was dark, with blue lighting. Slowly, a purple highlight started to appear, and it cycled through purple to a reddish to an orange-yellow glow that looked just like the rising sun was shining in the cabin. And it got brighter and brighter until the center lights were bright blue and the side lights were bright white...and it was daylight. I almost applauded. Oh, also, when we got aboard, a bunch of rainbows shot down the cabin. I think they were just showing off.

Now that sounds really impressive!

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
JL's service in Y is very nice. I wasn't a huge fan of the food; they tried a bit too hard to be Western. You're Japan Airlines. Serve Japanese food. It needn't be expensive, just Japanese. Cream of mushroom bisque with a French roll was just a strange snack to be served on JL. But the cabin crew are spectacular. And of course there's the latest and greatest AVOD. Also they have USB ports for charging but no internet. Load your favorite TV Series onto your iPod and have at it!

I've read good things about JL's service on here, I have to admit I'm not overly bothered by the food options as long as it's edible. Like you say, as long as I get a friendly cabin crew it'll be fine.

With regards to the USB I'll probably take my tablet on board to give me something to use as the LHR-HND flights have WiFi.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
You should PM PHX787 and Aaron747. They both live in Tokyo. I highly recommend going to an onsen if you don't have tattoos (if you have tattoos of any sort you cannot go to an onsen). Definitely take a spotting day at NRT. NRT has a dedicated spotting deck on the roof. It's amazing. Take the Shinkansen somewhere...just to take the Shinkansen. Definitely rent a portable 3G WiFi for your phone. There are no streetsigns in Japan and even if they were, they'd be in Japanese (there isn't much useful English signage in Japan). And sometimes you need Google Translate.

We'll be taking a phrase book anyway but you've got a good suggestion there about 3G WiFi on the phone, that could come in handy. We also want to do an onsen, luckily none of us have tattoo's at the moment! I was thinking of one earlier this year, never did. So that's good!

I'd like to make a trip for spotting at NRT as my friend has an amazing camera he's taking so it would make an interesting day out, but I'll have to see if he wants to as I'm not sure if he'll be up for it, but then I'm sure he would for the photo side of it as he loves photography.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):

Strongly recommend you go in late fall to early Spring. Summer there is ghastly hot.

Don't worry that's when we plan to travel, we would both much prefer colder weather than hotter weather, we hate the heat in this country after a week! But then again us Brits are great at complaining.

[Edited 2014-06-26 00:55:24]

User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 960 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1902 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Direct JL flights aren't cheap (often around double what LH/AF/OS might charge). Getting an AY codeshare like I did is a good way around this

Yes JAL fans have found the AY codeshares. Right now there is a Finnair campaign ex-LHR/MAN from October on, an JAL 787 experience available for GBP 600+ to NRT via HEL, different combos on AY/JL/BA.


User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1895 times:
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Unfortunately at this moment in time I'm waiting for my friend to gather funds to book the flights, so we'll be missing this one for the time being.  

User currently offlineWROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 958 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1873 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 15):
I was looking into them as I'd like to give them ago, at the moment it's looking like it will be them or Peach. Ideally I'd prefer to try Starflier, I love their livery and I've heard good things.

Keep in mind that Peach flies from NRT to KIX, so you would have to add another train ride to the airport by Narita Express.
I planned my trip in a way that my outbound flight was with Starflier from HND and return with Peach to NRT. I left Kyoto and Osaka to the end of my itinerary, so all I had to do is switch planes on the way home at NRT.


User currently offlineTWA772LR From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 2184 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (3 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1855 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 15):
ww. What's wrong with the window seat?   Aha. I've already told me friend I call the window seat.

If you're a tall guy such as myself, I'm 6 feet 2 inches, you will know what I mean!    Plus, I hate having to bother people and climb over them to go potty.

Other than that, windows are good so you can rest you head on the side.



Go coogs! \n//
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1806 times:
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Quoting WROORD (Reply 18):

Keep in mind that Peach flies from NRT to KIX, so you would have to add another train ride to the airport by Narita Express.
I planned my trip in a way that my outbound flight was with Starflier from HND and return with Peach to NRT. I left Kyoto and Osaka to the end of my itinerary, so all I had to do is switch planes on the way home at NRT.

I am aware of this thankfully. I may try and fly Starflier to KIX and then try and see if I can get back to NRT on Peach? Then I can tick 3 Japanese airlines off! 

We are looking in to the rail pass but I still want to fly to Osaka as I do just want to try a domestic Japanese flight, I suppose that's the aviation geek in me coming out.

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 19):
If you're a tall guy such as myself, I'm 6 feet 2 inches, you will know what I mean! Plus, I hate having to bother people and climb over them to go potty.

Other than that, windows are good so you can rest you head on the side.

I'm around 6ft.. So hopefully I'll be alright! But we'll live and learn! I've got another friend wanting to join now so it would be 3 of us, hopefully if that's the case we can book an entire row to ourselves so I'd only be stumbling across them to go to the potty! 

That's my plan all along, window seat so I have somewhere to rest my head rather than have it out in the aisle only to be hit by a trolly. That's actually a lie, I just want a window seat so I can stare out of the window at nothingness.. Or land depending on clouds...

[Edited 2014-06-27 13:24:07]

User currently offlinespacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3630 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (3 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1777 times:

A 12.5 hour flight - really 13.5 or 14 hours when you factor in gate, taxi and delay times - may not be the longest flight in the world, but it's still no joke. The only way I'd take a window seat is if it was in an exit row or bulkhead.

I'd honestly leave your seat assignment until you get to the airport. You can usually get an exit row on JAL or ANA if you actually get there 3 hours ahead of time. If you have a group of three, you might want to get there a little before that to make sure you're first in line.

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
what is domestic air travel like in Japan?

The on-board experience is pretty much like domestic air travel anywhere, although JAL usually has some good deals on their upgraded classes if you want to have a little better experience. Usually you can get a first class upgrade (if the plane has it) for only 8,000 yen, or J-class (Economy Plus) for 1,000 yen. I haven't flown first class domestic because the flights I've taken have never had it, but J-class is ok. At least a little better legroom. Basic drink service; fewer choices than you're probably used to. No food. No IFE. No at-seat power. Instead they show news programs on the cabin monitors.

The pre-flight experience is a lot more casual than you might expect. It's more like riding a bus. They don't seem to have that much fear of domestic terrorism or anything so security is kind of like it was in the west 15 or 20 years ago, and you don't even need to show an ID. You pretty much just print out your ticket from home and just check in and go through security and board with that.

I personally would rather take the train - it's a lot more pleasant and just as fast point to point, and Japanese shinkansen trains are a tourist destination in themselves - but if you do change your mind about this, it doesn't seem like a rail pass makes sense in your case. Financially, even when you factor in all other travel, you really need to take a long round trip (like Tokyo-Hiroshima) or two shorter round trips like you're taking to make it worth it. The only other reason to consider the rail pass is if you want flexibility to go anywhere on a whim.

(Personally, for me this last point is the best thing about the rail pass, and a benefit I didn't realize before I had one. Since the shinkansen are so fast, you can expand your radius of things to do around Tokyo by about 300 miles, travel for free to far-flung destinations and be back in time for dinner. But I've still only bought one once, because I was planning in advance on going far enough to make it financially worth it vs. just buying a single ticket.)

[Edited 2014-06-27 21:50:27]


I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1762 times:
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Quoting spacecadet (Reply 21):
A 12.5 hour flight - really 13.5 or 14 hours when you factor in gate, taxi and delay times - may not be the longest flight in the world, but it's still no joke. The only way I'd take a window seat is if it was in an exit row or bulkhead.

I don't quite get what's so bad about it? Please excuse me as it's all new to me.

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 21):
The on-board experience is pretty much like domestic air travel anywhere, although JAL usually has some good deals on their upgraded classes if you want to have a little better experience. Usually you can get a first class upgrade (if the plane has it) for only 8,000 yen, or J-class (Economy Plus) for 1,000 yen. I haven't flown first class domestic because the flights I've taken have never had it, but J-class is ok. At least a little better legroom. Basic drink service; fewer choices than you're probably used to. No food. No IFE. No at-seat power. Instead they show news programs on the cabin monitors.

Even more of a reason if an upgrade to first will be around 8,000 yen!  

I seem to have a thing about trains and rarely go on them, to be honest I avoid them as much as I can. We still may get a rail pass though so we can go on day adventures to far places.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19925 posts, RR: 59
Reply 23, posted (3 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1733 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 22):
I don't quite get what's so bad about it? Please excuse me as it's all new to me.

It's just that if you need to pee, you have to climb over at least one other passenger, if not two. And on a flight that long, you're bound to need to pee at least twice.

It's a bain of air travel. On the one hand, you want to stay hydrated. You want to get up and move. Both things will prevent blood clots (I know you're young and perfectly healthy, but it happens to young and perfectly healthy people, too.) On the other hand, if you stay hydrated then your kidneys, being kidneys, will make urine. And urine, being urine, needs to be voided periodically.

So do you take the window and enjoy the view but have to inconvenience your seatmates when you need to pee in the middle of the night? Or do you sit on the aisle, lose the view, but have access to the lav?

And if you're taller than about 5'10" there's also the leg space issue. Fortunately, I'm 5'8" so I fit even into absurdly small seat pitches. My husband is 6'4", so he suffers. But I get the window.  


User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1712 times:
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I'm sure I'll survive, the only inconvenience I'll be causing is to my friends, and I can quite happily live with that. 
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 23):
And if you're taller than about 5'10" there's also the leg space issue. Fortunately, I'm 5'8" so I fit even into absurdly small seat pitches. My husband is 6'4", so he suffers. But I get the window.

Is that such a bad thing if it means you get the window?  


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19925 posts, RR: 59
Reply 25, posted (3 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1721 times:

Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Reply 24):

Is that such a bad thing if it means you get the window?  

No, and I'm married to him so I don't feel bad about disturbing him to go pee.  


User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 960 posts, RR: 1
Reply 26, posted (3 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1723 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 23):
you want to stay hydrated. You want to get up and move. Both things will prevent blood clots (I know you're young and perfectly healthy, but it happens to young and perfectly healthy people, too.)

Good point, I'm basically healthy, skinny guy and still got a deep vein thrombosis after SIN-NRT-HEL flights a couple years ago. Yes, stay hydrated and move.


User currently offlinespacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3630 posts, RR: 12
Reply 27, posted (3 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1721 times:

Quoting HELyes (Reply 26):
Good point, I'm basically healthy, skinny guy and still got a deep vein thrombosis after SIN-NRT-HEL flights a couple years ago.

My uncle died from a DVT (which turned into a pulminary embolism), although his wasn't due to flying. But flying is the leading cause of DVT, and stories like yours are not uncommon at all. It's a serious issue. I make sure to get up every half hour or so (unless I'm asleep). I intentionally drink enough to basically have no choice. The aisle seat makes that easier.

I've taken the JFK-NRT flight a bunch of times where the person in the window seat never got up once. Of course they couldn't drink much either, in order to not have to get up for the bathroom. Both of those are a recipe for personal disaster.

ANA's economy seats also just aren't very comfortable. They advertise 34" seat pitch but that's sitting bolt upright. As soon as you recline, you've got 31" (they're slide forward). Their seats also seem very narrow to me, although I'm not sure the actual width. They are not as wide as my shoulders, though. An aisle seat doesn't actually help with that but it does make it less annoying, since you can kind of lean out into the aisle.

I haven't tried JAL's new 34" pitch seats - they might be better since it looks like they're not the slide forward type, so you don't lose the knee room when you recline (or when the person in front of you does either, since the pivot point is at the knees). Still, I have trouble with 34" even on a 6 hour transcon - I still pay the extra for whatever Plus service is available when I fly cross country. But I am pretty tall, so YMMV. I'd probably fly JAL if I was flying economy to Japan now, but ANA's got me hooked with miles and points.

I still always fly the Japanese airlines to Japan because of the service, which is great on transpac flights. And it's easy to get an exit row.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (3 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1692 times:
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Thanks for the advice there guys ! I didn't realise that stuff like that could happen on long haul flights.

I'll be sure to advise me friends to also keep hydrated and move about every half hour or so.

This is why I joined a.net! Some brilliant advice.


User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 960 posts, RR: 1
Reply 29, posted (3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1647 times:

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 27):

Sorry to hear about your uncle. I was lucky, the DVT hit me after the trip, not in the middle of Thai jungle. Later they found out the main reason was a hidden hemostatic disorder, not that rare actually. I was like flying time bomb, not even the upgrade to Business Class (AY) on NRT-HEL leg did help. And AY isn't THAT bad :P

DVT can be really sneaky, I didn't have any typical swelling or redness, just odd pressing pain in my left calf. So better be checked if you get any symptoms after a flight.

[Edited 2014-06-29 13:43:44]

User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7752 posts, RR: 18
Reply 30, posted (3 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1364 times:

Hey! I'm living in Tokyo, so PM me if you have questions 
Quoting JoeyTaffy93 (Thread starter):
2) When I am in Japan, I plan to travel to Kyoto to explore that area, to do this I would like to fly from Tokyo to Osaka-Kansai, what is domestic air travel like in Japan?

Take shinkansen. It's not a ripoff, like the domestic air.

Well, I take that back; LCCs are nice, and same with HND. And NH domestic. JL domestic is a ripoff. lol



我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlinejoeytaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (3 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1203 times:
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Quoting PHX787 (Reply 30):

Take shinkansen. It's not a ripoff, like the domestic air.

Well, I take that back; LCCs are nice, and same with HND. And NH domestic. JL domestic is a ripoff. lol

Thanks!! I certainly shall. Is JL domestic really that expensive?


User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7752 posts, RR: 18
Reply 32, posted (3 months 1 day ago) and read 996 times:

Quoting joeytaffy93 (Reply 31):
Thanks!! I certainly shall. Is JL domestic really that expensive?

The price fluctuates a lot, especially recently with fuel prices going nuts.



我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 33, posted (2 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 870 times:
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Quoting PHX787 (Reply 32):
The price fluctuates a lot, especially recently with fuel prices going nuts.

Ah OK. I'll see what the prices are doing when I know what dates I'll be traveling.

Thank you.


User currently offline777stl From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3694 posts, RR: 3
Reply 34, posted (2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 754 times:

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 30):
Take shinkansen. It's not a ripoff, like the domestic air.

Not only will it probably be cheaper, but if you're taking shorter hops, it'll be quicker too. Train stations in Japanese cities tend to be right downtown as opposed to the airports which are frequently outside of the downtown areas.

The Shinkansen is a brilliant and fun way to travel. I don't know why you'd bother flying domestically in Japan unless you had to.



PHX based
User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7752 posts, RR: 18
Reply 35, posted (2 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 694 times:

Quoting 777stl (Reply 34):
The Shinkansen is a brilliant and fun way to travel. I don't know why you'd bother flying domestically in Japan unless you had to.

Yet the Osaka-Tokyo air bridge is one of the most congested route pairings in Japan still.



我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (2 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 668 times:
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Quoting 777stl (Reply 34):

Not only will it probably be cheaper, but if you're taking shorter hops, it'll be quicker too. Train stations in Japanese cities tend to be right downtown as opposed to the airports which are frequently outside of the downtown areas.

The Shinkansen is a brilliant and fun way to travel. I don't know why you'd bother flying domestically in Japan unless you had to.

I'm doing it from an aviation fan point more than anything, more airlines and airports to tick off.  


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