Greetings from a wet and windy afternoon in Sapporo, a fine airport with a great observation deck - and foul weather right now!
I flew up here yesterday afternoon on a JAL 777, JA8982. It was scheduled to be a 767, so the 777 was a pleasant surprise. Check in at the domestic section of Terminal 2 was a breeze, after a pleasant morning of spotting and photos at T1. The JAL staff are unfailingly polite and helpful and even though security is very good, this is done politely and without harrasment; all hold baggage is xrayed.
I only noticed when I got to the gate, which is at the right hand corner of T2, that we would be using a 777. That gate allows fine views not just of the domestic apron, with Fair CRJs and a NAL F50, but also of large traffic using T2.
A quick headcount suggested a light load; barely 80 on a 777. Suits me fine! The JAL domestic 777s seat 389, so plenty of space! The cabin was clean and the 777's cabin architecture never fails to impress. Y class is in a 3-3-3 layout, which surprised me; I thought theyy would have gone for the 3-4-3. Pushback was two minutes late (bad for JAL!), but I wasn:t at all bothered. The cabin crew as ever were friendly and efficient. There was quite a queue for takeoff so we didn't get airborne until about 6.50pm,25 minutes after our scheduled pushback. One thing that did surprise me about the 777 was how loud the flap movements sounded in the cabin. Nonetheless, it is a superb aircraft and with a low load, the 777 positively rocketed away, becoming airborne after about 17s.
The inflight service on JAL (and ANA) domestic flights is a glass of apple juice (or similar) - nothing much really, but service is always unfailingly friendly. Having noticed I wouldn't have much use for a Japanese paper, one of the cabin crew brought me both of the English language Japanese papers.
Unusually, our approach to CTS was from the north, so we banked around and with the movie screen showing the view from the nosegear camera, it was an exciting arrival; despite an obviously strong wind, we pulled off a nice landing and the crew apologised for a slightly late arrival.
This really is a superb airline.