In Japan Alone: Pt 1 Qantas SYD-NRT On A 747
I flew overnight from Sydney to Narita in Japan on a Qantas 747-400 then spent the morning exploring Narita. This report continues on from there.
I was originally booked to fly the inaugural Jetstar Japan flight in June from Narita to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku. However, I had to postpone the trip, which was possible due to purchasing a "Starter Plus" class of fare. Somehow in the rebooking I managed to lose the Starter Plus, but Jetstar kindly waived the fees when I needed to rebook a second time.
I have never flown domestically in Japan, always relying on trains, so this was going to be a first for me. I have flown Jetstar short-haul both within Australia and in South East Asia, so it would be interesting to note any differences.
After one false start which saw me end up at Kasumi (look, just take the Keisei line over JR
) I made it back to Narita Airport's Terminal 2. I had already checked in online and had time to waste, so after hiring a 4G
portable wifi router I wandered out to one of the two observation decks.
|International check in desks|
|Observation deck has seating and is a good spot to eat food from the convenience store.|
|There are rectangles cut out of the wire mesh for photographers.|
|JAL 787-8. Not the world's most inspiring livery.|
Jetstar's check in area is rather spartan with automated kiosks and some desks. The one staff member I interacted with spoke excellent English. Then I passed through security and down to a waiting area located at the base of the terminal. It was obvious that we would be boarding via a remote stand.
|Jetstar check in to the left.|
|The waiting area|
There were two Jetstar flights departing from the area, one I believe to Kagoshima and our own. Both seemed crowded with passengers. Announcements were only made in Japanese and I think passengers were asked to queue based on the row numbers ranges, starting with the rear half. After waiting for some while and although I was towards the front, eventually I stood up and was motioned to proceed when my boarding pass was checked.
We then boarded an orange bus stationed outside.
|The definition of a limousine differs in Japan from that in Australia.|
CARRIER: Jetstar Japan
ETD: 12:10 (local)
ETA: 13:50 (local)
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A320-232
I was delighted to see that the aircraft we were about board was a brand new A320 with sharklets whose first flight was a mere 3 months before.
|First glimpse of our aircraft.|
Thankfully the rain held off as we crossed from the bus (sorry, limousine) to the the aircraft stairs, where we were welcomed by the smiling crew.
The interior was fresh, clean and new and I found the seats comfortable and the legroom decent. Naturally there was no entertainment of any sort, but this was no different to any other Jetstar flight I've flown. In the seat pocket was the safety card, the somewhat bilingual Jetstar Japan magazine and a menu list of items for purchase.
|Snacks and gifts on offer. |
One of the young male flight attendants came over for a short friendly chat, then they all prepared for the manual safety demonstration which was prerecorded in Japanese and English. However, all spoken cabin announcements from the flight attendants were in Japanese only. I counted only one other non-Japanese on our flight. The pilot, though Japanese by accent, only spoke English to the crew ("Arm doors" etc).
Soon after beginning our long taxi to the runway I fell asleep. There is something lulling about taxiing and I was exhausted by the near sleepless overnight flight.
I awoke moments before we were about to takeoff.
|Seated for takeoff|
|Ready to line up on the runway.|
|Takeoff under cloudy skies|
|Narita Airport below|
|Through the cloud|
|Seatbelt lights on|
|Sorry Palmjet, no sexy legs for you today!|
It was nice to see some blue sky when we eventually emerged from the cloud, though there was still plenty of high cloud around. The cabin crew came through with food stuffs for sale. I thought the prices quite reasonable considering the captive environment. With a little bit of a headache coming on I purchased a bottle of Mets Cola, which was warm but supplied with ice.
|Soaring above the clouds|
|Remnant of a contrail|
Fortunately the cloud thinned out as we crossed over Shikoku, one of Japan's four major islands. I really missed a flight map to tell me where exactly I was. Most of the countryside was green and mountainous, but cities snaked long into valleys and suspension bridges connected islands along the craggy coastline.
Unfortunately, as we began our descent one of the female flight attendants requested (politely) that I cease using my camera. Unlike in the Jetstar Australia safety cards, there is no mention of cameras being permitted at all times, so I had to comply (except for a few surreptitious shots when she was seated for landing). The westerner in front of me continued to snap away. The scenery was quite spectacular, with the many islands scattered through the Seto Inland Sea.
|Above Shikoku |
|Bridges and islands|
|Beautiful island scenery|
The landing was a little hard, but we were soon taxing into our gate.
|Runway at Matsuyama|
|At the gate|
Jetstar Japan felt pretty much like Jetstar Australia. It was just a pleasant short scenic flight and I'd be happy to fly with them again. Considering their international branding and links to inbound services from Australia and Singapore I think they should have announcements in English as well as Japanese.
Matsuyama's Airport is of a reasonable size and it does, according to Wikipedia, service international flights as well as a few domestic destinations. Unfortunately, land transport is restricted to buses and these seemed to be timed to connect to ANA and JAL flights rather than Jetstar, so there was a bit of a wait in the heat outside, along with quite a few other confused looking passengers. I bought a ticket from the vending machine and hoped that it covered both the "Express Limousine" and standard city buses, depending which turned up first. (It did).
|Another terminal shot|
My stop was the easy to locate JR
Matsuyama station, with my hotel, the New Kajiwara, across the road.
Now, if you will indulge me, the remainder of this instalment will be about trains and Japan and not aircraft!