I’ve spent this summer at National Taiwan University in an intensive Chinese language program.While preparing for the trip, Realizing I had enough AAdvantage miles, I decided to purchase a free round-trip on American. After a long “discussion” with AA
booking about a possible itinerary I used points to purchase San Diego-Tokyo (Narita)- Taipei (Taoyuan) on AA
partner Japan Airlines and TPE
on JAL and AA
for the return leg in August once the program was over. So, without planning it, I had ended up on one of Japan Airlines’ 787 routes only 2 days after the Dreamliner would be put back into service!
ETE: 59 min.
My journey to Taiwan began with a standard morning commuter flight from Tucson to San Diego on Southwest Airlines. I had checked in online the day beforeso checking my bag was a breeze. By 9:00 boarding had begun and, after a quick pushback and taxi across the quiet tarmac to the runway, we were rocketing out of the desert.
Deserted and very hot tarmac at TUS
. Glad to be getting out of summer in Arizona.
US CRJ9 Preparing for a short hop back to Phoenix
Birdseye view of TUS
. Looks like a miniature SEA
Climbing out over the Sonoran Desert. Goodbye AZ
As is usually the case with this morning flight to San Diego, the flight was not full and I had a whole row to myself. About 40-45min after departing Tucson our plane began descending over the San Diego suburbs and had an on-time landing. That day/night was spent visiting friends in San Diego for one last hurrah before going abroad for the summer.
Approaching over the San Diego hills
Arrival in SAN
passing by UA
, one of the other operators out of T1
extensive Southwest ops at SAN
. Pretty usual sight here
Spend my last night in the states with some friends then it was back to SAN
I arrived at SAN
about three hours before the flight. Of course looking forward to experiencing the 787 left me impatient and ticketing/security seemed to be an extra long process. Check-in for JL65 happened at American Airlines ticketing area in SAN
Terminal 2. Being long-haul flight with a larger number of passengers, the ticket hall was very crowded. The majority of the passengers for JL65 were Japanese nationals however there were a good number of Americans as well as others heading to destinations beyond Tokyo. The agents nearly checked my bag all the way to Taipei when I told them I was overnighting in Tokyo.
JAL/AA ticket counters getting crowded with passengers heading to DFW
Security was equally busy. On top of all of the Tokyo-bound passengers, a number of AA
, and NK
flights were also departing around the same time however I thought TSA
did a nice job. The agents kept the line moving but were also friendly and patient, particularly with the passengers from overseas. Well done, SAN
Boarding Passes check, Passport...check.
The international gate area in Terminal two was packed. In addition to JAL’s Narita flight, and Air Canada flight was departing around the same time to Toronto. With no seats to be found I decided to walk around and take a few pictures.
our brand new (relatively) plane JA824J bathed in the San Diego sun. BEAUTIFUL IMO
And now for something completely different.....N522NK arriving from DFW
taxiing out for departure to JFK
badly needed remodeling of Terminal 2 continues
An inuit with a lei in San Diego.
Preparing for return flight to DFW
Another view of that magnificent work of art I mean airplane
The newly done areas of Terminal 2. Wonderful environment!
Boarding was called around 12:50 and lines immediately began to form. An attempt was made to board business class and elite status passengers through one door and the masses through another but no one seemed to understand. I enjoyed seeing the non-Japanese San Diego ground staff, obviously enthusiastic about this new service, bowing and trying a couple of courtesy phrases in Japanese. It was certainly a nice touch.
Walking down the long international jetway to our plane
I felt a little strange as I boarded an Asia-bound flight out of San Diego. In the past for international flights the points of departure were always LAX
, etc. Although San Diego is one of America’s busiest airports it is still exciting to see this kind of international service.
Glimpse of business class. It looks Simpler than the likes of EK
, etc. but put together and comfortable
from my seat. Economy class is separated into smaller sections which gives a more intimate atmosphere
Special magazine issue talking all about JAL's new destination! Also notice the cramped legroom.
Following a safety demonstration in Japanese, Chinese, and English JA824 began to slowly, carefully push back from its gate until it was lined up adjacent to the runway. Taxi to the runway was without congestion and we were soon in the air after an amazingly short takeoff and a steep climb over the Pacific,
Careful pushback alongside AC
flight to YYZ
Beginning the takeoff roll
Climbing over the Pacific/Carlsbad
The in-flight service throughout the flight was, in my opinion, very well done. Over San Francisco the flight attendance started the lunch service. I opted for the “San Diego option” which was a sort of Mexican casserole. It wasn’t bad. The In-flight entertainment kept me distracted for the rest of the 10 hours. My last experience with IFE in economy was AA
from Shanghai to Chicago on one of it’s older 777-200s so this was certainly a nice upgrade.
Those windows. Feeling like I am inside an aquarium
What I can’t get over was the 787 window feature. When the cabin was darkened the windows were all “tinted” (for lack of a better word) making the experience very calming with a kind of twilight effect on the cabin.
In addition it was certainly the quietest flight I have ever taken.
Throughout the flight a total of three different people asked me if I was in the US Armed forces heading to Okinawa. I found this kind of funny.
As we descended over Chiba Prefecture I snapped a few more pics of that glorious wing. Landing at Narita was very smooth and there were no holdups with our taxi to the gate. We arrived at gate 83 in Terminal 2 surrounded by JL763s and the occasional oneworld partners.
Start of descent into Narita
Spotted Air Asia Japan. Sad to hear it will soon be gone after only a year.
A bank of 767s as we pull in to T2
Deplaning. Can't get over the aesthetics of this aircraft. So thankful to have the privelege of flying on this plane on one of JAL's newest routes
Narita is a fantastic airport to arrive at (or at least Terminal 2 I cannot speak for T1). It was clean, orderly, comfortable and easily navigable. Once I had claimed my bags I headed to the Hilton near Narita airport.
After a relaxing night at the Hilton I checked in for the final leg to Taipei. Of course, like an idiot, I left my boarding pass for the flight and other papers from check-in in San Diego back in the hotel room. This was a brief problem for the ticketing agent at Narita and check-in took slightly longer. Fortunately, due to my early arrival at the airport there was not much of a line. The swift security process at airports outside of the US always pleasantly surprises me. Once I was through security I walked around for an hour in the vacant terminal. Asian and European flights began arriving in the late morning so I took a break in seating area (with a view of course) and watched some of the traffic.
View from the observation deck. The layout and design of the observation deck at NRT
seems identical to the one at Haneda's new Intl terminal.
Skymark. Supposed up-and-coming carrier in the Japanese market
Quiet tarmac with 777s parked for flights later that morning/afternoon
Hey! I'll see you in Taipei real soon!
Heading to the "mainland"
A330-300 to HKG
JL772 headed to GUM later that day
Here's one I don't see in my corner of the world! Finnair A340-300 arriving from HEL
Brand new BA77W taxiing into it's gate after a long flight from Heathrow
AA772 being pulled from remote stand for a departure back to the states
arrival from an Asian destination possibly BKK
777-300 getting ready to depart to MNL
Another new one for me!
A330-300 arrives from Moscow Sheremetyevo
MAS 777-200 pushing back for a flight to KUL
Scoot 777 brightening up the cloudy day
Alitalia 777-200. I really love AZ
's newish livery with the bolder colors.
The flight to TPE
seemed to be only 75% full in economy. We taxied to the runway on the opposite end of the airport meaning great views of Terminals 2 and 1.
Boarding our 737-800
PTVs even in the newer narrowbody aircraft. Well done, JAL
As we taxied out I noticed this new arrival from Moscow (Vnukovo?)
began taxiing around Terminal 2 to the opposite runway.
parked at the gate
really has one of the best color schemes out there
Star Alliance Partners Lining up at T1
SAS A340-300 from CPH
Turkish from IST
. Another airline I hope to try out very soon