• This topic has 53 replies, 26 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by pondo.
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  • Going to Japan who is best to fly with?
  • konagirl
    Member

    If by best you mean cheap, then Google Flights is your friend if you are flexible on dates or have specific requirements. You can search multiple airports by code and stick to certain alliances or airlines if you are fussy. For Tokyo, Haneda is much more convenient (public transport will get you in to the central area in 30 mins) but Narita will, most likely, be cheaper (1 hour train or bus on separate ticket to your tourist train pass, assuming you want to use the Shinkansen). I would also consider KIX (Kyoto-Osaka) for a tourist visit.

    Assuming you are looking at economy, it can also be worth aiming to arrive later in the day to have the best chance of beating the jet lag. If you haven’t slept on the night flight and arrive early, then trying to stay awake the whole day is a real pain.

    EDIT: In response to HTS’s post, I flew KLM economy a few years ago and it was fine. To m,e all the major airlines have similar offerings in economy.

    mrmoofo
    Member

    I do it three times a year …
    Anyone who does it direct …

    Connection flights are a pain in arse and make it seem 3 x as long (says he about to fly to Singapore with a 5 hrs transfer on Monday early am!)

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Subscriber

    Well going direct is always best if you live a sensible distance from an airport that has that option. Though direct flights are usually more expensive. But I fly long haul every 6 weeks or so and living in the East Midlands I’d rather fly from a local airport via somewhere than take the horrendous option of driving down to Heathrow. You can’t fly direct to Japan from Manchester so a connection is probably the best option and will be the cheapest. There is nothing worse than landing at Heathrow at 5am after a sleepless long haul flight facing a 3hr or more haul up the M1 or M40 to get home. Similarly there is nothing worse than getting up at 5am to drive down to Heathrow hitting the M25 at rush hour then battling through the chaos that is Heathrow on your outbound flight. You feel like you’ve had enough of travelling before you even get on your 13 hour flight. Flying from Manchester or Birmingham is a doddle for me, so I assume it will be for the OP. Less than an hours transfer to either airport, the airports themselves are far less busy and easier to navigate and less stressful. It’s just a doddle.

    Make your life easier, fly one of the Gulf carriers from Manchester. Second option go with Turkish via Istanbul or Cathay via HK. The next league down is Air France and KLM – but take half your clothes in your hand luggage and make sure you’ve got good insurance.

    mrmoofo
    Member

    I would personally say avoid KLM. The food and Infotainment in business was rubbish – hate to think what it is like in paying for it yourself class

    Captainflashheart: you either work in the travel business or travel too much – or both. I’m a travel manager for a corporate and I don’t know half of those airport codes! I’m mainly Europe and Africa. And India for my sins.

    Premier Icon chipps
    Subscriber

    I flew Manchester to Japan with KLM – via Schiphol. Service was great.

    jambalaya
    Member

    My pilot mate used to call every city by its airport code ! These days they are useful for quick entry on all the booking websites

    I travel too much. Last year has been mainly US, about once a month or so, but have previously done a lot more globally. Going global again now as well.

    I think my record was a month containing Madrid, Barcelona, Moscow, Washington DC, Boston, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and home.

    Anyone who says work travel is glamorous hasn’t done much of it.

    Premier Icon pondo
    Subscriber

    Pondo please update when you get back.

    We’re back! Flew out half nine Easter Monday evening with Air China, flight to Beijing wasn’t half bad – expecting rubbish food we ate beforehand but it was fine (and served very early in the flight, so we were stuffed!), touchscreen entertainment thingies which was quick and easy to use. Beijing was a beeyatch to get through, even though we were just getting a connection we had to go through the full security screening thing, and they take it pretty serious over there, very short transfer (like an hour and a half or something) and we had to push through the big queues to make our flight. Think it was about three hours to Haneda, landed about half nine/ten on Tuesday night, worrying about getting to our hotel before all the public transport shut down at midnight – almost inevitably, once we cleared security there was a nice lady waiting for us to say our bags hadn’t made it (Mrs Pondo, being an angel, had made sure we had clothing for a few days in our hand luggage so no drama), and public transport was a doddle to navigate (and super standing-room-only busy, even approaching midnight on a Tuesday), got to our ryokan about midnight.

    Flight back, much less fun – left Haneda at half eight, no drama to Beijing where we had a five hour stopover which was bobbins, almost an hour to get through security and customer service was pants compared to what we’d experienced in Japan. Left Beijing about half four in the afternoon, entertainment thingies were cable remote and rubbish, very slow and prone to crashing, food a step down on what we had on the way out, they ran out of beer and insisted on having the shutters down all afternoon, so saw very little of Russia, landed about nine in the evening, same day we left. That was a long hard slog of a flight. 🙁

    Our tips for going over there and getting around would be –
    – Make sure you’ve got a couple of days worth of clothing in your hand luggage, in case your bags don’t make the connection either.
    – If you’re going to travel around, the JR pass is flipping brilliant. If you’re not going to travel around, it’s a lot of money.
    – Suica cards are great for the underground, trains and buses, saves the hassle of buying tickets all over the shop. Load it up and it’s like an Oyster card that works.
    – If you’re travelling round, Hyperdia is an awesome app for getting train times. It can be configured to ONLY look for JR pass compatible trains, etc.
    – The baggage going missing did us a favour and we learned from it – so easy to navigate without the heavy bags, we took an executive decision to get them sent between certain stops (we’d pack another couple of days worth of kit in day bags and get the heavy stuff sent two hotels ahead), worked a treat and made travelling much less hassle.

    Best holiday I’ve ever had.

    dantsw13
    Member

    On the catering, most airlines upload local catering, so food from London – Beijing likely to be better than Beijing – London, whoever you fly with.

    Window blinds – tell the crew to “do one”. They are trying to keep the cabin dark & pax asleep, so they have to work less. There are absolutely not rules mandating you to keep it down.

    Glad you enjoyed Japan!!

    dantsw13
    Member

    Here’s some of the view you missed – flying from Tokyo Narita – Heathrow yesterday 🙂

    Premier Icon vondally
    Subscriber

    Pondo….where did you visit and what hotels did you use?

    dashed
    Member

    We used BA from Manchester to Heathrow then Heathrow to Haneda on the way out a couple of months back. We did an internal from Narita (with Peach Airlines), and not much in it from central Tokyo – Narita Express is very slick (and looks like it’s straight out of Mad Max). Either way, getting into / out of Tokyo is very straightforward.

    Advantage of BA to Manchester is that there are several flights a day so you can get decent connections and not a massive issue if you’re a bit delayed coming back.

    Great scenery out of the window on the way back – as Dan said earlier!

    Premier Icon pondo
    Subscriber

    On the catering, most airlines upload local catering, so food from London – Beijing likely to be better than Beijing – London, whoever you fly with.

    Aaa, makes perfect sense – next time we fill up at Beijing in advance (mind you, the lunch we had there was fairly minging…).

    Window blinds – tell the crew to “do one”. They are trying to keep the cabin dark & pax asleep, so they have to work less. There are absolutely not rules mandating you to keep it down.

    Duly noted – only an hour or so after take off, just after dinner so missed Mongolia and Russia. Next time they can stick it. 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed Japan!!

    Cheers, it was just fantastic. 🙂 I’m sure the novelty must go off, the amount you go there, but even so, what a great place to end up when you clock off from work. 🙂

    Here’s some of the view you missed – flying from Tokyo Narita – Heathrow yesterday

    Nice, cheers! You get much bigger windows than us, but I guess that’s pretty useful if you’re driving. 🙂

    Pondo….where did you visit and what hotels did you use?

    Are you sitting comfortably…? 😀
    Landed Tokyo Haneda late Tuesday night (bags not made connection, had them sent to second hotel), straight to our hotel – Andon Ryokan, very snug but fantastic service and a decent Japanese take on a Western breakfast, has a spa (well, a very hot jacuzzi) and a rooftop terrace (didn’t have time to check it out). Arrived at midnight and the guy waited up for us, made us tea and gave us cake – much appreciated.
    Wednesday, Tokyo – did Ueno Park (fantastic blossom, very busy), went to Senso-Ji (an ok temple, very busy), Asahi Towers (beer on the 22nd floor, great view – first encounter with Japanese toilets), visited Shibuya, popped into Ueno to view by lantern light (awesome) and grab some street food.
    Thursday – checked out of Andon Ryokan, got our JR passes validated, went to Hakone by Shinkansen, big bags had arrived so dropped little bags (Ichinoya Honkan) and went up to the lake, took a boat ride round. You can get a pass that’ll take you all round the place but the ropeway was closed due to seismic activity, so we didn’t bother with the pass. Back to the hotel – lovely, old-school, all sliding doors and tatami mats, had our own spa overlooking the river. Dinner and breakfast included, all fully Japanese.
    Friday – checked out of hotel, big bags sent on a couple of hotels, Shinkansen to Hiroshima, checked out the peace park (A-Dome, children’s memorial, the monument and a couple of museums, stayed at Urbain Hiroshima Central (and it is spelled Urbain), only “Western” hotel we stayed at, bit of a very clean version of Travelodge. Great showers (but everywhere seems to have great showers).
    Saturday – checked out of hotel and headed to Miyajima which was just lovely, visited the floating gate (paddled out to it and had it to ourselves, we must be on a million holiday snaps 🙂 ) and pottered about, found a lovely little cafe run by an old couple for lunch and he told us where to find good blossom (he was right). Shinkansen back to Kyoto that evening, stayed in a house called Casting Factory Y – big bags had arrived, house was fantastic, way too big for us two, old-school shoji sliding doors again, massive living room and bedroom, spare room had beautiful swords on the wall, our own little garden, great shower. Owner just fantastic, little English but could not be more helpful.
    Sunday – pottered round Kyoto, did Fushimi (thousands of torii), Ginkaju and the Philosopher’s Path, wandered to Gion then on to Teramachi and Nishiki.
    Monday – another look round Nishiki then bus to Kinkaju-ji, then a tour round the Imperial Palace (have to apply in advance – no permit, no tour), then back to Nishiki and wandered west through the lovely little alleys by the river for a few beers.
    Tuesday – House owner drove us to the train station, helped us send our big bags a couple of hotels on then gave us some mementos – lovely, lovely man. Shinkansen and other, local trains/buses/cable car to Koyosan, lovely mountaintop retreat, very many shrines and temples. Had a wander a round in the afternoon then checked into Kumagaiji – run by monks, proper old school shoji and beautiful gardens. Dinner served by monks in our own 10 tatami dining room (whilst the beds were put out by another monk in our 10 tatami living room), wandered up to Onunoin by night.
    Wednesday – up early to join the monks for prayer then the fire ritual, breakfast served in our dining room, then shinkansen back to Andon Ryokan back in Tokyo (big bags already waiting), popped out to Shinjuku to check the madness, grabbed okonomyaki for tea then headed home. Tube still standing room only busy at midnight.
    Thursday – up to catch the first tube at 5:05, have to queue to get on. This place is NEVER quiet. Arrived Heathrow 25 hours later – we’d booked parking at Park Inn for the duration and also a room for this night. Never have I been more glad that I don’t have a long drive to make…

    Fantastic place, loved everything – everyone should go at some point in their lives. 😀

    Cheers for the pic Dashed – looks lovely, wish we’d seen more of that! 🙂

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