Carfield
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Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:28 pm

Part II – Hokkaido International Airlines/Air Do and Sapporo New Chitose Airport
Here is Part II of my report!

Since I am in Japan, I maximized my award ticket by adding a domestic flight from Tokyo Haneda to Sapporo the next morning and it was a wonderful flight on JAL on a Boeing 777-200 JA007D formerly operated by the defunct Japan Air System – nice to have a PTV on every seat. The flight was fairly empty – not a popular time, and I got two seats to myself and I was happy. On the return flight, I decide to give this low coat airline a try. There were a few reports before, and this airline is called Hokkaido International Airlines aka Air Do, and they are basically based in Sapporo and run flights to major Japanese cities. They also supplement ANA’s frequent flights between these two cities, and I bought my ticket through ANA, since Air Do does not have an English purchasing sites. I did not mind at all because I could still get my ANA miles and got a seat assignment and all the privileges as a Star Alliance gold passengers, despite Air Do is not even a Star Alliance member. This is what codeshare flights should be!

October 31, 2011
HD 26/NH 4727 CTS-HND Lv1520 Arr1655 Boeing 767-300 JA8359
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bqTwI

I arrived at Sapporo around 11am and I had quite a bit of time to explore around the airport itself. As an aviation enthusiast, my first stop was the observation deck. Gotta love all these Japanese airports with all these observation decks. The observation deck is quite nice and only opens in the summer for obvious reasons. They have an indoor observation deck below, but outdoor one was nicer. The weather was picture perfect and the temperature was just right and lots of sunshine. Here are a selection of pictures that I took throughout the day – lots of widebodies from ANA and JAL, as well as the Air Do 767 fleet.

Observation deck action:
 
Carfield
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:29 pm



JAL Boeing 777-200 JA007D (formerly Japan Air System) – I flew this bird to Chitose and now going back to Haneda


Air Do special bear livery Boeing 737-500


Flight Information Display System


After almost two hours in the deck, it was time for check-in and then lunch!


Air Do has its check-in areas, and here it is! However I was able to use the ANA premium lines too. That was actually more convenient, and I printed my boarding passes using the ANA machine – could not change seat, but no big deal here. Then I dropped off my checked bag and yes it was properly labeled as a priority bag. My exit row seat was kept.
 
Carfield
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:31 pm

Sapporo New Chitose Airport – really a giant shopping and entertainment outlet


Random shots of the shopping mall


Hokkaido Ramen street


Seafood Miso Ramen – my lunch – Hokkaido scallops and surf clams


Royce’s Chocolate World – Royce is a famous Japanese chocolate brand


Hello Kitty Japan of course


There were still a few constructions going on here and there, so I think more shops are coming soon.

As a Star gold passenger, I had access to the ANA lounge in Sapporo airport, and not a huge lounge like Haneda, but nonetheless a nice place to stay for 30 minutes or so. Typical Japanese lounge setup with soda machines, iced vegetable juice, beer machines, some hard liquors, coffee machines, and snack packages. If you need substantial food, you need to eat in the mall before passing through security. No worry about security line too – very efficient here and everyone was polite and efficient. I felt just as safe as other airports in the world. TSA should send a team over, and also the Canadians too. Being nice actually makes things go smoother, rather than barking orders.

Almost forget to mention – instead of having the agents typing and checking credentials… if you enter your Star alliance number correctly, you just scanned your boarding pass in the reception, and a green light went on and you were admitted in the lounge with a bow from the reception lady. No need to take that card out and have agents fumbling over unfamiliar Star Alliance partners. It was just a very efficient country with no fuss.



Pictures of the lounge
 
Carfield
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:32 pm

Cell phone charging stations


Self-serving beverage station


Air Do’s turn time at Sapporo is 40 minutes and it takes a lot of discipline to turn around a fully loaded Boeing 767 in forty minutes, and this flight arrived on time from Tokyo, and boarding recommenced at 3:08pm for a 3:20pm departure time. Everyone was so disciplined, and door closed right at 3:20pm. This particular aircraft has an interesting history and it is actually an ex-ANA machine delivered in 1992, and then leased to Air Do in November of 2009. The aircraft actually features the latest ANA domestic slim line seats and a premium class cabin, but only economy service was offered, as Air Do is a mono class airline. The only difference is that they have all headrest covers advertising a particular kind of white chocolate cookie – White Lovers – very good stuff too!

Gate 3 this afternoon


Plane here at Sapporo


De-icing truck


Bear themed plane next door


Jetway


Here are assorted pictures of the cabin!
ANA Domestic Premium Class seat but sold as Y seats – possibly elite zone
 
Carfield
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:34 pm



My exit row seat – Row 21


Galley shot – I like the yellow colored cart – so Air Do!

Unique magazine racks – lots of children books!


Air Do really promotes itself as a family airline, and is a unique kind of low budget airline. I like it better than Skymarks and even ANA to some extent. I wish I could give you information about the flight, but all announcements were made in Japanese, even the exit row briefing. That is always annoying, but Japanese is just that way – unless you fly JAL or ANA (only some flights too), English announcements are sparse and depend on the crew. So no English announcement this time, and even exit row briefing! The F/A obviously knows I am a non-Japanese speaker, but just continues to use Japanese addressing me throughout the flight.

We pushed back a minute later, and we took off from R/W1L at 3:31pm. It was a nice day to fly and seat belt sign was off at 3:41pm, and F/As immediately prepared the galley for the beverage service. Air Do’s beverage offering was actually better than ANA – two hot drinks – Air Do Orinjinaru coffee, Sapporo Onion Soup (yes you heard it right – onion soup and they actually sell the packets on board), Iced tea, apple juice, or water. It is a small cup, but at least you have a free cup of drink! Very cute cup and I like their “Polar bear” branding.


Wing shot


Yes there are video equipments on this aircraft – maybe it is an ex-ANA bird! Belly camera was turned on most of the flights and some random advertising were shown mid-flight, as well as a brief service guide telling passengers what they are serving. Following the beverage service was a inflight sales service, and I bought a Air Do’s bear and shopping!
 
Carfield
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:35 pm



4The flight went by quickly and descent soon began at 4:12pm, and we slowly made our way to Haneda. We landed on R/W34R at 4:47pm and parked at gate 56 three minutes later.


It was quite a walk to the baggage claim area, and of course most non-ANA flights were parked the furthest from the terminal, but at least a very short taxi time. As typical of Japanese flights, bags came out quickly and priority bags always came out first. My bag was among the first few bags out. Never go wrong here! That is the way flying should be! For the next two nights, I stayed at the Excel Tokyu Haneda Airport hotel and it was around 11,000 yen per night. It was still acceptable, compared to the price of hotels in Tokyo in general, and I choose this hotel because it is located next at Terminal Two, and give me an easier access to the observation deck and food for the next two days. Here comes the highlight of the trip – flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner!

[Edited 2011-11-07 13:36:19]
 
aflyingkiwi
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:13 pm

Hi Carfield,

Great Report, I remember seeing an Air Do plane while I was at the HND observation deck back in April & since then I have wondered what their product was like. It seems like for a LCC they offer a pretty decent product. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to fly with them.  
Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
As an aviation enthusiast, my first stop was the observation deck. Gotta love all these Japanese airports with all these observation decks.

Wish all airports in the world were like that...

Regards,
aflyingkiwi
 
ATLFlyer323
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:11 pm

Hey Carfield,

Thanks for posting all these reports so soon! Such a pleasure to get to read a TR on an airline rarely covered here in the forums, thanks!

-Brandon
Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
 
MSS658
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:15 pm

Hi Carfield

Nice trip report, thanks for sharing it with us, I had yet heard about AirDo!
Doesn't seem to be very professional to use Japanese even after you let the F/A know you are a not-Japanese speaker!
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:46 pm

Nice report - great to see a report on Air Do. Pity they don't fly international

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Very cute cup and I like their “Polar bear” branding.

Lovely branding! I like the kids books and the yellow galley too!
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-OPO-LGW,LHR-FCO-CTA-LIN-LCY,LHR-AMS-GRQ-SEN,LTN-CPH-LHR-ORD
 
FlyingFinn76
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:02 pm

Hi A,

Nice second part - you don't read much about Air Do here. I actually had no idea what that airline was all about - I had heard the name but nothing else, so thanks for clarifying this!

That livery of theirs looks quite cheap to me - like something a six year old would come up with. The special livery with all those bears is much nicer, though.

Very impressive that you got the full Star Gold privileges despite flying on a code share - this is a black area within the *A, especially when it comes to earning miles on codeshares so consider yourself very very lucky!

Quoting Carfield (Reply 1):
Very cute cup and I like their “Polar bear” branding.

That is cute, although I think - looking at the inflight shopping catalog and all - they go a little overboard with it. But then again that is the Japanese style (Hello Kitty anyone?) so I guess it is just a cultural thing.


And now to the part I've been drooling over!
 
sr117
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:25 pm

Hey Carfield

Thanks for the excellent series of reports, it's impressive to see that Air Do offers a nicer product than the so called full service carriers in Japan.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 2):
Sapporo New Chitose Airport – really a giant shopping and entertainment outlet

That spot looks great, where is it located? I was in CTS on the domestic side but don't remember seeing that nice area, is it between the International and Domestic terminal?

The interior of that 767 looks very nice and that yellow galley is a nice touch. I'd love to try out that onion soup  Sounds like a nice touch to the usual offering of water/tea/coffee.

Thanks again
 
ba319-131
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RE: Japan Fall 2011 Trip Report II: Flying Air Do

Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:36 pm

Hi Carfie, wish the restild,

Nice report, don't recall seeing and Air Do report before.

Quoting Carfield (Thread starter):
Gotta love all these Japanese airports with all these observation decks

- Oh yes, wish the rest of the world offered similar facilities.

Cheers

Mark
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