After reading some really cool and interesting trip reports I have decided to share my experience with JAL and JTA with you. I hope you will enjoy this trip report (my first one) and I apologize for mistakes in spell... !
JTA 617 Okinawa (OKA) - Ishigaki (ISG) 24.7.2001
After enjoying some spotting I went thru the terminal to get to the gate where my JTA flight for Ishigaki, small tropical island some 400km southwest from Okinawa, should be for boarding around 15.15. As I reached the correct gate I noticed that the aircraft that was parked in front of me was a Boeing 737-200 (!) and not as the travel agent told me a Boeing 737-400 that is also operated on this route. So, surprise, surprise ! The Beoing 737-2Q3Adv.(JA8366) named "banzai seasir" ,one of remaining four 737-200s in JTAs fleet, was almost empty. I believe that I counted less than 20 pax on this flight, so I had plenty of room and enough time to collect some rare JTA safety cards as well.
The four Flight Attendants aboard this afternoon flight were very kind and cute. Although there was not even a drink served (just for kids) on this 55minutes lasting hop they tried everything to feel pax comfortable. Well, while most of the pax were reading newspapers or the inflight mag "CORALWAY" (with beatiful pictures of Okinawa...) children aboard received special care including games and drinks. I found that very kind ! I have never seen a European airline that treated childern (non UMs) like this. And, I have also noticed that F/As always bow in front of passengers !
After landing in Ishigaki the plane immediately made a U-turn on the runway as there is no taxiway at this very, very small and provincial airport (my gosh, I have never seen a smaller airport like Ishigaki in my life !). When our aircraft arrived in front of the terminal all ground staff was waiting in a line to bow in front of the plane - that was really nice.
Well, as you can see, the flight was not that eventful, but I just like the way how JTA cares about passngers, they really do, indeed !
Some more info about Boeing 737-200s in JTAs fleet :
JTA still operates four Boeing 737-2Q3Adv. mainly on routes from Okinawa to Ishigaki, Iwaguni and Kumejima, but also to the mainland of Japan including destinations like Kagoshima, Kochi and Matsuyama. The cabin layout is a single-class configuration - Y124. All the aircraft are named after the "seasir" a traditional sculpture that is found everywhere on Okinawa mostly on roofs or at entrance-gates of houses. JA8250 "welcome seasir", JA8366 "banzai seasir", JA8492 "yuttari seasir", JA8528 " haisai seasir".
JTA 608 Ishigaki (ISG) - Okinawa (OKA) 30.7.2001
This time I was not that lucky with the empty cabin as on JTA617 ! The reason why is that I bought a SKYMATE ticket that allows people under 25 to travel on any domestic route to a reduced fare (35%-50% of normal fare). The clue is that reservations are not possible, so that you are a stand-by passenger and reservations are not possible. Well, most times it should be no problem to get a seat on the requesterd flight but this time it turned out that I had to wait for nearly 3 hours at Ishigaki airport. Although there are hourly flights to Okinawa by JTA all the flights were overbooked due to taifun warnings. Everyone tried to leave the island as fast as possible.
I hoped to be booked on JTA600 (dep.08.55)- no way. Then I have been waiting for JTA606 (dep.10.15) - no way. Finally there was a free seat for me on JTA608 leaving ISG at 11.20.
Flight 608 was operated by a Boeing 737-400 also known as JTAs SKY MANTA's. The flight was ok, the F/As were again very nice and they even allowed me to take home an original JTA blanket and cushion . The pilot gave us the usual flight infos and that we would be overflying the neighboured island of Miyako.
Shortly before landing in Okinawa I could again admire the beatiful coastline of Okinawa with deep blue and turquiose colored bays and awesome white sand beaches... . Then we touched down at Okinawa airport that is also used by the Japanese NAVY, so I could see some fighter jets and older YS-11s. By the way, Okinawa airport is really interesting for spotters. I have seen a JAA 767-300, ANK 737-500, JAS A300-600R, usual JAL SKY CRUISERS and STAR JETS, ANA 747-200 and even some RAC (Ryukyu Air Commuter) turboprops.
Well, that's it for the moment. I hope you enjoyed the two JTA flight as I did. If you have any comments they would be appreciated much as this is my first trip report. Thanx for reading and keep on smiling.