Review of ANA flight Hakodate Nagoya in Premium Eco

Airline ANA
Flight NH498
Class Premium Eco
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:35
Take-off 19 Apr 15, 13:20
Arrival at 19 Apr 15, 14:55
NH 206 reviews
NGO85
By 3557
Published on 26th May 2015
Background:

This report will cover the return leg of a recent weekend trip that I took up to Hakodate, on the island of Hokkaido. The tourism bonus of this underrepresented part of Japan will be located at the end of the report (a treat for those of you that can make it through the report). As a reminder, the routing is:

Part 1 – NGO-HKD [NH 497, Boeing B737-800, Premium] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-10089.html
Part 2 – HKD-NGO [NH 498, Boeing B737-800, Premium] – You are here



Pre-flight:

After 24 hours in Hakodate, it was time to fly home to Nagoya. In order to get to Hakodate Airport from downtown, there are three options: city bus, shuttle bus, and taxi. I opted for the shuttle bus (¥410 ($3.50 / €3.50)), which takes about 20 minutes to make the nonstop trip from Hakodate Station. So, here we are at Hakodate Station in order to catch the 12:00 bus to the airport. Pretty risky strategy for a 13:20 flight? Nah, no problem for a domestic flight in Japan.

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After 20 minutes, here we are pulling into the airport terminal by bus. The airport looks pretty new with a big glass façade.

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The bus stops right in front of the entrance and we all pile off the bus. I then enter the domestic side of the airport.

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The check-in hall is big and well lit. I head towards the NH Premium Check-in line. I don’t have any bags to check, but I’m trying to get another printed boarding pass receipt on NH cardstock. The check-in agent was going to have none of that :( She just took my printed receipt, handwrote the boarding time on it, and handed it back to me.

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We then take the escalator upstairs to the departures level.

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The FIDS for HKD, so many exotic flights! The green light means that we are allowed to enter the security line. My flight is still shown on time at 13:20. With forty minutes until the boarding time at 13:05, I decided to head up to the 3rd floor.

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What’s on the 3rd floor? The observation deck of course!

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Other than the lady sitting reading a book, you can see everyone is peeled to the windows looking out over the tarmac on this beautiful sunny afternoon. I apologize for some of the photos not being up to NGO85 standard, but most were taken through the thick glass they have on the deck, but for some, I reached over the glass to get clear shots.

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In case there is any doubt where I am:

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I was shocked to see this beautiful bird for several reasons. First, I would have never have guessed GE operated a TPE-HKD route. Second, I never knew GE had wide-bodies. Nevertheless, this was a treat to spot! I like the tail livery. The GE A333 (B-22102):

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About 10 minutes later, this NH B772 (JA8969) gets backed up for service down to HND with waves goodbye from the ground crew.

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Gasp, what is this plane I can barely catch landing at the far end of the airport?

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She’s so pretty! This is the NH B738 arriving from NGO, which will be my plane home this afternoon. She is soooo young, she was only 23 days old! This baby is so beautiful.

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I was so distracted by her taxing, that I almost missed the NH B772 taking off! The sound was incredible being this close to the runway with an open-air observation deck with those thirsty PWs sucking air as she lifts up and banks left towards HND.



Here is one last look at my plane before I head back inside.

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Back inside, here is a nice aerial view of the second floor lobby from the third floor.

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On my way downstairs, I stop and admire this model of HKD. As you can see there are just 3 domestic jetbridges and 1 international jetbridge.

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Downstairs, I make a quick stop at the stores to pick up some omiyage for my coworkers before heading into the security line.

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There is only one line open for security and it is cleared in less than 5 minutes after scanning the bar code on my itinerary and collecting my boarding pass receipt.

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There is no lounge at HKD so I just walk over to the waiting lobby near Gate 4. There are just a bunch of people sitting around watching a NY Yankees baseball game on the TV.

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I’ll take this time to quickly photograph my boarding documents (note the handwritten boarding time on my receipt that I mentioned before) and the corporate screenshot using the free airport WiFi.

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——————————-

All Nippon Airways, NH498
Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [JA81AN, delivered March 2015]
Departure: 13:20 (ATD: 13:24)
Arrival: 14:55 (ATA: 14:47)
Flight time: 1:23


Right on time, 15 minutes prior to departure, the boarding starts. Again, all boarding announcements at the gate are made in Japanese only. They start off with special assistance boarding. This was followed by NH elites (not *A elites, which was very strange). Third, was the call for Premium class passengers along with *A elites to board. That’s me, so I scan my boarding pass by myself and walk through the turnstyle.

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Reaching the jetbridge, we have our little sign telling us this is the flight to Nagoya (NH498), with a squid acting as the arrow. The jetbridge is nice with clean windows, but nothing to really spot :( Reaching the threshold of the plane, I’m greeted by two FAs who smile, bow, greet me in Japanese, and then direct me to my seat.

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Here will be my seat for the next 80 minutes. Preplaced in the seat is a blanket.

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A look out the window gives a nice view of the GE A333.

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At my seat, the FA immediately asks if everything is okay or if there is anything else she can get for me. I ask for a pillow, which she quickly returns with. No pre-departure drinks or oshibori, but newspapers are offered. I take The Japan News. I like how the FAs speak to me in Japanese, but then offer me an English newspaper.

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Boarding is quickly finished and the front door is immediately closed. The jetbridge retracts and we are instantly pushed back. The load in Premium class is 5/8 and the gentleman in 1K was the same as on my flight NGO-HKD the day before, so he was also making a quick weekend trip up to Hakodate.

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The ground crew waves us goodbye as we start our taxi out to the runway.

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It looks like two JL Group planes arrived! First is a J-Air (XM) E-170 (JA215J) and next to it is a Hokkaido Air System (6L) Saab 340B (JA02HC).

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No air traffic at HKD, so we turn onto the runway and immediately begin our westerly takeoff providing beautiful views of the Pacific as we lift off the ground.

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We bank to the left, providing a breathtaking view back towards the airport before we begin our rise up over the small islands off of Hokkaido.

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I’ll take a break and introduce the seat aboard this NH B738. In the bulkhead, seat pitch is good. The literature pocket contains slippers and headphones. I take the slippers home with me, part of the NGO85 leisure collection. The slippers are the same as in international J, they have a shoe horn and shoe bag inside of the packaging as well.

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The window seats are nice because you get about 4 inches (10 cm) of extra space between the seat and the fuselage. The seats are very comfortable and wide even though they are slimline and leather. As Cobra has pointed out, they look very DeltaOne-esque with the dark blue and red accents.

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There is a reading light next to your headrest along with a small storage compartment. Power adaptors are located on the front of the center console. Seat controls are located on the outside arm rest.

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These privacy dividers actually work well. Here is a picture across the cabin at the gentleman sleeping in 1K. As you can see, he is completely hidden from view.

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It’s a shame NH didn’t opt for BSI on these planes, this plane is so new, but doesn’t feel new since it has the old square windows and no BSI. No personal IFE, only a flip down screen that rotated between the moving map and variety programming in Japanese. As we level off, the FAs are released and begin their work. Here is a picture of the new NH uniforms. They now wear grey jackets with blue accents.

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This isn’t related, but if you blow up the same picture and look at my FA’s hand, you can see that she wears her wedding ring on her middle finger. I have yet to figure out why some Japanese women do this, several secretaries at work also wear their wedding rings on the middle finger, but I’ve never found a non-awkward way to ask them why. Just a random cultural observation.

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Before the meal service starts, I’ll quickly highlight the contents of the seatback pocket. Up first is a blurry (sorry!) picture of the premium class service guide. Since our flight departs between 13:01 and 16:59, we will only get a snack service (Premium Sabo). Then the drinks menu.



There is also a BOB menu in the seatback, which is what is available for the economy cabin. As I’ve stated before, Japan’s domestic service is very much in line with US domestic service. It’s not anywhere even close to what is on offer in China. The free drinks available on domestic flights are shown on the first page (coffee, beef consume, apple juice, tea, and water only). Prices are reasonable, but the options are a little strange highlighting the different regions of Japan. It’s worth noting that the Premium class Gozen meals can be purchased in economy for ¥1800 ($15, €15), but this Sabo meal is not available for purchase. Beer is ¥500 ($4, €4) and wine/spirits are ¥800 ($6.50, €6.50).



The seatback also has the ANA Sky Shop magazine, where creepy people can buy the NH FA aprons to reenact all their fantasies at home for the low price of ¥5000 ($40, €40), only in Japan…

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Finally, a blurry photos of the air sickness bag.

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Meal service starts as we reach Honsh?.

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The FA opens up my tray table, lays down my two Premium Sabo boxes and a packaged oshibori. She’s clearly excited that I can speak Japanese and asks me what I want to drink. I request hot tea and sh'ch?. She asks me how I want my sh'ch? served, so I ask for just a cup of ice. The oshibori is scented, but it is fairly thin.

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The Premium Sabo service has a savory and a sweet bento box. She returns quickly with my tea, bottle of sh'ch?, and cup of ice. The rest of the cabin was fast asleep, so I was the only person taking the meal. Let’s take a look at the savory box first.

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The menu for the savory box, I'll translate the descriptions below. Hey, it’s says “menu” in English this time! Again, the catering is done by Nagoya Air Catering (NAC), and it contains a modest 286 kilocalories. There are two small sandwiches (tuna salad/tomato/lettuce and avocado/ham/lettuce), karasugarei (black halibut), vegetables, and an apple cake. It’s mainly just finger food that you'd expect to see in a lounge.

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The sweets box is provided by LeTAO. There is a macadamia nut cookie and Mimi Eden fromage. The FA refilled my green tea and offered me another bottle of sh'ch?, which I happily took.

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I finished eating just past Niigata.

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The FA stopped by and chatted for a bit asking me how I liked the sh'ch? explaining it comes from Ky'sh?. She then asked me how my trip to Hakodate was and what I do for a living. I was the only awake passenger so she seemed to be very active in service and kept an eye on me. She asked me if I wanted any coffee and how I wanted it served. She soon returned with my coffee, a little chocolate cookie, and an oshibori to refresh post-meal.

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The variety programming was pretty random, this time a NH ad, so I just worked on the crossword since it was quite cloudy outside.

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A trip to the lavatory was also in order. Here is a photo of the front lavatory on the B738. It’s very clean with a nice tile floor and NH hand soap. I’m by no means an elitist so I really don’t care, but I did find it strange that several people from Y kept coming up and using the front lavatory even with the curtain drawn between cabins.

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Coming back to my seat after using the lavatory, I find a little surprise waiting for me! The FA must have seen my cup was empty, so while I was in the lavatory, she placed a new cup of coffee, another chocolate cookie, and a new oshibori down on my tray table. Talk about being proactive! As soon as I sit down, she pops out of the galley smiling and tells me to enjoy the snack, which I happily do.

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At this time, we were starting our final descent and the FA started to prep the cabin for arrival. Cabin shots as we being the final descent. Peaking back into Y, the seats look really nice and comfortable (although pitch is probably not very generous). I’ll do some Y reports on NH soon.

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Two FAs then pop out of the galley again and present me with some NH postcards and a bag of NH candies and thank me for flying with them. What a delightful crew!

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I’m surprised, but we approach from Tsu (?) and land from the south. There is light rain in Nagoya, but the touch down is smooth.

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Turning back towards the terminal, we can see some NH Group planes parked at remote stands: ANA Wings Dash-8 in a special green livery and IBEX CRJ-700. There are also LQ and JL B737s at gates. This NH B735 was getting pushed back as we pulled into our gate.

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The ground crew is standing at attention awaiting our arrival.

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The jetbridge is quickly engaged and the front door is opened. Deplaning, the FAs bow and thank me for flying again. I thank them for their great service and the souvenirs they gave me before heading up the jetbridge.

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Male NH employees do exist!

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I make my way through the baggage claim and out into the arrivals level of the airport where I quickly make it onto the 15:07 train home (20 minutes after touchdown, which was at 14:47). Very efficient domestic arrivals at NGO as is expected.



Thanks for reading this series as we looked at NH’s Premium Class! More domestic reports coming soon! If you aren't interested in tourism bonuses, skip to the end :)




——————-

Now for the tourism bonus of this rather underexplored corner of Japan. It’s not a hugely popular destination for foreigners; it seemed to be mainly Japanese tourists on weekend trips. I would say one-day is enough to see everything there so this worked out perfectly. It is easily accessible by airplane, but not by train (with the new Shinkansen line in Hokkaido, maybe tourism will pick up soon).

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The Red Brick Warehouse district near Hakodate Harbor.

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One of the famous views in Hakodate, where you can see down the hills into the harbor. A San Francisco feel?

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The next set of photos were taken in the Motomachi area, where all of the foreigners lived. The Russian Orthodox Church in Hakodate, a reminder of the Russian influence in Hokkaido.

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The old Hokkaido Prefectural Office in Hakodate and the Old Public Hall of Hakodate. A reminder of the Imperial era of Japan with the very European influenced architecture.

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After trade was allowed in Japan, the British quickly established a Consulate in Hakodate since it was (at the time) the major port of Hokkaido.

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This is the old Soma Company Building, one of the original shipping companies in Hakodate during the Imperial era.

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After walking through the Motomachi area, I took the tram to the far north side of the city where Goryokaku Park is. The park lies on the site of the former Goryokaku Fort, built in the 1850s to protect the city from the Russians (the design was inspired by French architect Vauban). Goryokaku Tower is located in the park, which strangely enough is one of the taller towers in Japan (107m tall), but provides beautiful aerial views of the fort and city. Unfortunately, I was one week too soon and missed the sakura! This entire fort would be covered in white cherry blossoms the weekend after I was there, only buds for me :(



The center of Goryokaku Park houses the Hakodate Magistrate’s Office.

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About an hour before sunset, I began my trek up Mt. Hakodate. It’s an easy mountain to hike (or can you be lazy and take the ropeway). But the hike gave great sunset photos across the Hokkaido coast!

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On top, I joined the hundreds of bundled up tourists to wait for the sun to slowly set and for the city to plunge into blackness. It was cold (0 C) and windy, so quite chilly while I waited to take these repulsive night shots.



The next morning, I did the hike again to get the same shots on a beautiful crisp morning. I also had to do a 20-minute photoshoot for some girls from Dubai (the only other non-Asians I saw), who seemed unimpressed with my iPhone photography skills.



More views from the top of the mountain where I took the sunset photos.

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Now, for what everyone wants to see: food. Hakodate has a great morning market (asaichi) where all the local fisherman sell of their catch. Hakodate is particularly famous for kani (crab).



There are also a number of small restaurants to partake in these fresh offerings. I stopped in for a donburi for an early lunch, where they let you pick three types of seafood to top the rice bowl. Your FRist's offering of sake (salmon), uni (sea urchin), and ikura (salmon roe). A delicious treat.

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And with that, I bid you all a farewell and thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this series and more to come soon, just not of the exotic long-haul variety ;)
See more

Verdict

ANA

8.4/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.0

Hakodate - HKD

7.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness10.0

Nagoya - NGO

9.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

NH again demonstrates why they are the “Inspiration of Japan,” they provide a domestic product that blows JL's J-Class out of the water. With an impeding switch to OW in the future, you might see some upcoming JL Group domestic flights to compare.

Cabin comfort: This B738 was just a 3-week old baby! A little disappointing that NH doesn’t opt for BSI on their planes, I would have thought the blue mood lighting would have been the perfect match for their livery. The new Premium class seat is a treat for a domestic flight: royal pitch (50 in) and good width. In addition, the seat was very comfortable. Privacy is very good with the divider; in-seat power and USB is available. I like the tile floors in the lavatories.

Crew: What can I say? I had an absolutely wonderful crew again. Since I was the only passenger awake during the flight, the FA was always present to keep me well hydrated, even anticipating my needs. She was even chatty once she got past the nerves of speaking to a foreigner. The postcards were a nice gift from her. English remains a big problem with NH on domestic flights. Pilots only spoke in Japanese and the Crew only made two English announcements during the entire flight, everything else was Japanese only.

Meal and catering: I’m not a big fan of the Premium Sabo service. The finger food is only mediocre; it was like being served some lounge food on the plane. Quality of the food was okay, nothing special. The dessert box was good, but again, it was just a snack. JL doesn’t do food service in their “J-Class” so even this meager offering is infinitely better than the competition. I was well hydrated with two teas, two bottle of sh'ch?, and two coffees on a 75-minute flight. I would have given the food a 5, but I'll bump it up to a 6 due to the bountiful drink services. I'm obviously not flying for the catering on a domestic route, so it is what it is.

Entertainment: One overhead TV per row, but no on-demand programming, which is fine for a short flight where I spent most of the time just snacking. The IFE rotated Japanese variety programming and the moving map. Newspapers offered and inflight magazine.

On-time performance: Left on-time and landed on-time, exactly what one expects from NH.

Related

26 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 137812 by
    Flytak 151 Comments

    ??????,?????? thanks for sharing your (nice) experience with ANA, a very nice FR, maybe one of the few FRs on the site from Hakodate. Very nice pictures of the plane and Hakodate.
    I heard of you from Cobra, a good FRiend of mine, and like you I am based in Japan (in Tokyo). For instance it happens that I have a lot of opportunitie to fly also domestic flights in Japan but lacks of time to write a FR every time. Although the service in the premium class is very nice, it does not worth the premium you need to pay compared to the standard seat.

    I agree with your opinion concerning the seat which is nice, but also on the fact that the so called premium sabo is not premium. It's just a bento you eat on a plance, with free alcohol. The bento is definitely not popular as you were the only one to have it!
    Those 2 features are the sole differences because from HKD you don't have any ANA lounge and priority security check.
    Worth it the 10000 to 20000 yen surcharge on an already high price? I would say no, especially when you know that JAL offers the J class at 1000 yen with a marginally less comfortable seat compared to ANA premium class seat, less choice in terms of drinks... I think you will understand what I mean, when you will begin to fly JAL domestically.
    The service is similar between the two rival with a nice Crew and basic service.

    Very nice pictures of Hakodate, especially the views from Hakodate Yama are fantastic. Were you there 2 times?
    It reminds the several visits I made to this city where you have quite a lot to see. Food was excellent too.
    Nice to see you had a good time!

    If you have the oportunity to come to Tokyo, don't hesitate to contact me!

    All the best!

    • Comment 317294 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Flytak???????????????????????????????

      The pricing structure of NH’s fares are highly convoluted and the price difference between economy class and premium class fares greatly vary. Absolutely, I would never pay more than ¥5,000 to upgrade on any domestic flight (generally planes with the new Premium cabins, also have the new Y-cabin too). The Sabo service is pretty mediocre (and a rip-off for the cost of Premium class), but Gozen meals are usually nice and should be served all day. But I rarely see price differences as extreme as you describe (that may be a factor of ex-NGO vs. ex-HND). For example, I was looking at airfare to Naha out of NGO and the NH options were premium class at ¥29,000 or economy class at ¥23,000. Is is worth ¥6,000 more for a 2.5-hour flight? I think so, since it's leisure travel. Also, when I have recently checked JL fares, I never see the ¥1,000 upgrades to J-Class, it is always ¥4000-5000 ex-NGO, which is definitely not worth it given the 3-2 seating configuration and no meal service. You have to remember that NGO is a NH hub, JL only operates flights to Naha, Haneda/Narita, and Sapporo out of NGO. These are all high-revenue routes and are higher priced in general. I will take FDA out of Komaki next weekend to sample their product (they have a good domestic network ex-Nagoya under the JL umbrella). This problem is not just airfare, but look at the Shinkansen: who pays for Green Cars? That is a complete waste of money on an already expensive product. I'm sorry, that was a long rant, but I think we both agree that domestic airfare on JL/NH is extremely expensive ;)

      Hakodate was beautiful, well worth the trip. I climbed the mountain three times while I was there (the third time was because I took a trail that was closed 3/4 of the way down, so I had to go back up and go down a different way). It's famous for the night view, but I thought the day view was just as beautiful.

      I don't like going to Tokyo, but I'm looking at some weekend trips to Tohoku, so if I'm passing through the area, I will let you know. Likewise, if you find your way down to Chubu, let me know!

  • Comment 137815 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    What an amazing report about this secluded corner of the world.

    I don’t have any bags to check, but I’m trying to get another printed boarding pass receipt on NH cardstock.
    - Are you a boarding pass collector too? Be glad you are not flying domestic Brazilian flights. Their boarding pass are the grocery store's receipt type.

    The green light means that we are allowed to enter the security line.
    - Thanks for the tip. It will come handy next time I fly to Japan.

    I was shocked to see this beautiful bird for several reasons.
    - Now that is an unexpected surprise. That GE A330 looks nice.

    I scan my boarding pass by myself and walk through the turnstyle.
    - Reminds me of intra-Swedish flight that I took on SK.

    She’s so pretty! This is the NH B738 arriving from NGO, which will be my plane home this afternoon.
    - Nothing like a new plane to excite us AVgeeks.

    Reaching the jetbridge, we have our little sign telling us this is the flight to Nagoya (NH498), with a squid acting as the arrow.
    - Isn't the squid an official mascot for this city?

    I like how the FAs speak to me in Japanese, but then offer me an English newspaper.
    - Better than my experience when I sometimes speak to people in Spanish and they reply to me in English. :P

    The slippers are the same as in international J, they have a shoe horn and shoe bag inside of the packaging as well.
    - Nice perk on a domestic flight.

    The seatback also has the ANA Sky Shop magazine, where creepy people can buy the NH FA aprons to reenact all their fantasies at home.
    - Well, at least they are not made of leather.

    The Premium Sabo service has a savory and a sweet bento box.
    - If only we could have something similar for a flight of this length within the U.S. Once can only dream.

    Two FAs then pop out of the galley again and present me with some NH postcards and a bag of NH candies and thank me for flying with them. What a delightful crew!
    - Perhaps they saw you taking pics and thought you were a corporate spy, so they wanted to leave a good lasting impression. ;)

    A San Francisco feel?
    - For sure. Reminds me of Seattle too.

    The Russian Orthodox Church in Hakodate, a reminder of the Russian influence in Hokkaido.
    - That explains somehow the Cyrillic signs at the airport. Wasn't Hakodate the first Japanese port to be opened to foreigners?

    It was cold (0 C) and windy, so quite chilly while I waited to take these repulsive night shots.
    - It was worth every single inconvenience that you experienced.

    I also had to do a 20-minute photoshoot for some girls from Dubai (the only other non-Asians I saw), who seemed unimpressed with my iPhone photography skills
    - Some people have eyes but still can not see.

    Your FRist's offering of sake (salmon), uni (sea urchin), and ikura (salmon roe). A delicious treat.
    - Oh I love your dish (except for the sea urchin which I have not developed a taste for), but sake and ikura? heck yes - anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

    Thank you for sharing this gem. Looking forward to more of your domestic adventures.

    • Comment 317298 by
      jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

      Yes, I like collecting the real cardstock BPs, not those flimsy paper ones you get from the kiosks.
      - Thank God I am not the only one. ;) Welcome to the club.

      I have a real soft spot for B737s, so it was really exciting. I have had a lot of young B738s recently (CA, MU, and now NH).
      - Lucky you! I have a soft spot for 757's and DC-10's. A long time ago, when I was young and had a full set of hair, I became an honorary FA with AA and worked the MIA-SFO-MIA flight on a 757. My first widebody plane was a Pan Am DC-10 (actually a left over from National right after their merger) that flew MIA-DFW-SFO.

      You can buy the Hello Kitty version
      - So that is what you get when you breed a cat with a squid.

      you can ask Cobra.
      - I'll be a gentleman. ;)

      I think I took 50 pictures in total for them.
      - A bit high maintenance. I pity those who come into their path and serve them.

    • Comment 317521 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Welcome to the club.
      - My eyes water at the sight of TSA BP doodles.

      I became an honorary FA with AA
      - How does that work? My first wide-body was a DC-10 too! (CO, EWR-IAH)

      So that is what you get when you breed a cat with a squid.
      - Let's just hope we never see what we get when you breed a panda and a squid... ;)

      I pity those who come into their path and serve them.
      - As do I.

    • Comment 317525 by
      jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

      My eyes water at the sight of TSA BP doodles
      - That is why I always try to get an extra from the self check in kiosk and keep the good one hidden.

      How does that work? My first wide-body was a DC-10 too! (CO, EWR-IAH)
      - Oh the CO ones with their livery were beautiful. Right after college I worked for 2 years with AA in MIA. There was a program called Walk in my shoes where employees were able to shadow for a day in another job to see how it was. Just for fun I signed up to be a FA and asked for the MIA-SFO route. They granted it to me and I remember that on the first day they put me on one end of the cart doing beverage service. At the end they asked if I have done it before since they were impressed with how I performed. I also had a chance to get inside the cockpit and sit with the pilots. The view from there was incredible.

      Let's just hope we never see what we get when you breed a panda and a squid... ;)
      - I guess it depends on the squid. :P

    • Comment 317295 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments Adan :)

      Are you a boarding pass collector too?
      - Yes, I like collecting the real cardstock BPs, not those flimsy paper ones you get from the kiosks.

      That GE A330 looks nice.
      - They only have 2 in service (with 6 orders), so it must be a charter flight. Poking around online, they have the SQ regional business class product on these planes, not bad for a niche airline in a competitive market (TPE).

      Nothing like a new plane to excite us AVgeeks.
      - I have a real soft spot for B737s, so it was really exciting. I have had a lot of young B738s recently (CA, MU, and now NH).

      Isn't the squid an official mascot for this city?
      - I can find the name of the actual city mascot, but yes, the city mascot is a squid (ika). You can buy the Hello Kitty version: http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/@0_mall/akanko/cabinet/00609348/img55750502.jpg

      Well, at least they are not made of leather.
      - No, the leather ones are only available in the GriffAir catalog, you can ask Cobra.

      If only we could have something similar for a flight of this length within the U.S. Once can only dream.
      - Yes, the US-based people would be envious of any food on a <2-hour flight, but I feel like the Gozen meal should be offered at all times. I should have asked if there were any Gozen meals left (catering was done in NGO, so Gozen was boarded for the NGO-HKD segment).

      Perhaps they saw you taking pics and thought you were a corporate spy, so they wanted to leave a good lasting impression. ;)
      - Marathon had that experience on CI once, lol. Maybe I shouldn't have been wearing my JL hat...

      Reminds me of Seattle too.
      - Hokkaido has a very PNW feel.

      Wasn't Hakodate the first Japanese port to be opened to foreigners?
      - Perry and the kurofune (black ships) surveyed several ports, but I think Shimoda was the first to open, where the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, but Hakodate was the only other port opened before the treaty officially was signed.

      Some people have eyes but still can not see.
      - Just like some people have mouths, but no brains ;) It was ridiculous, they weren't happy with how the sun cast shadows or how I couldn't fit the whole city in the picture. I think I took 50 pictures in total for them.

      except for the sea urchin which I have not developed a taste for
      - Yes, uni is something that some people can find a little strong tasting. There is nothing better than seeing them crack open the urchins and scoop out the meat onto your meal, so fresh and delicious.

  • Comment 137816 by
    eminere™ 274 Comments

    Such delightful crew indeed! Well done to NH

  • Comment 137822 by
    cobra 3594 Comments

    Thank you Michael for this wonderful(again) report ! :))

    A real pleasure for Japan domestic flights to board just 15 minutes before leaving the airport. And with effcient and always full personnal security checks,it's like taking a plane :)

    HKD is nice airport, well retrofited, and efficient. Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, and sometimes Nagoya, very easy to find your flight.

    Nice shots at HKD, Transasia highlight will make Marathon very happy, and i'm surprise to see him here, charter or regular? ^^

    Deltoïd seat seem confortable, and for a couple hours trip, it's perfect

    Catering is a bit light. At 01.20 PM, it's not afternoon for me, but dinner time ^^ Why not offer a good bento box all the day?
    FA were wonderful, and it's very important for the overall flight experience.

    I think i chose nihon shu from Niigata to humify my palate even if i like Shochu ^^

    Descent over Tsu, not even a stop for Matsusaka beek? :)))

    Your bonus is astonishing, and Hakodate really deserve a trip's day(with ANA experience Japan fare around 70euros,and a hotel night, it's perfect)

    Your first pic of sunset Hokkaido coast remember me a Monet ladnscape painting, congratutalions !:)

    I love all things touching defensive structure in history(medieval castles, Vauban fortress, WW1 structures, and the Hakodate fort is a real masterpiece.

    You are insane to present me such fresh and appealing domburimeshi, it's morning here, i took my breakfast, and i'm hungry again !! :)) I was upgrade last year on JL between CDG and HND, i tried this and became totally mad of this. Rice was a bit hot, isn't it?

    i'm hating you now :)), just came back from Japan on sunday, and really want to come back very soon by your fault...bravo !!!

    See you soon

    • Comment 317515 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci beaucoup pour tous vos commentaires, Cobra^^

      it's like taking a plane :)
      - It is taking a plane ;) I think you meant train^^

      HKD is nice airport, well retrofited, and efficient.
      - Very well managed, whenever there were more than 5 people in the security line, I saw them opening up a second line temporarily to feed passengers through quicker.

      i'm surprise to see him here, charter or regular? ^^
      - Charter, I checked GE's flight logs for the A330s and they mainly operate into mainland China or Osaka, but occasionally there will be a charter flight to Hokkaido (Asahikawa or Hakodate).

      Catering is a bit light. At 01.20 PM, it's not afternoon for me, but dinner time ^^ Why not offer a good bento box all the day?
      - I am a twig, but agree that catering is light. The Gozen meal should be offered all day, they were loaded on this flight for the first segment so I should have asked for one.

      FA were wonderful, and it's very important for the overall flight experience.
      - Yes, but the language issues remain a big factor in the quality of service.

      I think i chose nihon shu from Niigata to humify my palate even if i like Shochu ^^
      - I prefer Shochu to Seishu, but both are acceptable :)

      not even a stop for Matsusaka beek? :)))
      - Like most beef in this region, it is a little bit too expensive for me^^ ¥3000/100g does not entice me even if it's succulence is divine.

      Hakodate is well worth a side-trip for the frequent traveler to Japan like yourself. Gory'kaku is a well-preserved and a really interesting star fort. There is a museum in the tower that describes the history.

      Your first pic of sunset Hokkaido coast remember me a Monet ladnscape painting, congratutalions !:)
      - Tell that to lagentsecret who often finds my photos repulsive^^

      You are insane to present me such fresh and appealing domburimeshi
      - I must taunt you with these desiccant Japanese treats. This fresh seafood is well worth the risk of radiation poisoning^^ The rice is steamed, but usually not so hot.

      i'm hating you now :))
      - You're welcome :)

    • Comment 317554 by
      cobra 3594 Comments

      Train of course...hum ^^

  • Comment 137832 by
    Olrik 968 Comments

    Thanks for this very nice report!

    Hakodate was on top of my to-do list and now is even higher!

    From your report, very good flight with ANA with a pro-active and apparently cheerful cabin crew. Opposite of my last reported flight.

    Looking forward to reading you again!

    • Comment 317516 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for reading the report and commenting!

      Hakodate was on top of my to-do list and now is even higher!
      - It is well worth a short weekend trip. It is a very small city, but has an appropriate amount of things to do to warrant a trip. I highly recommend the trip although airfare from HND is probably much higher than NGO^^

      a pro-active and apparently cheerful cabin crew. Opposite of my last reported flight.
      - I have had very mixed experiences in the past with NH. In some cases, service felt very cold because the FAs were not comfortable with gaigokujin. Recently when I speak Japanese only to them, I usually get a much warmer service. Is this really what you expect from an airline that prides itself on service?

  • Comment 137846 by
    kelval 122 Comments

    That's a very nice flight report. Thanks a lot!
    Thank you as well for these photos of hokkaido.

  • Comment 137922 by
    Rl 777 806 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this detailed FR! I truly enjoy reading your reports.

    Nice spotting shots from HKD, that TransAsia A333 was a nice treat!

    Seats look good, I'm a fan of the look of them.

    Those dividers between the seats are a great plus.

    Catering isn't close to impressive but could have been worse.

    Seems like the experience received from the crew was great! Truly satisfying.

    Thank you for the bonus, beautiful photos!

    • Comment 317518 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      I truly enjoy reading your reports.
      - You're welcome and I appreciate your all of your comments :)

      That TransAsia A333 was a nice treat!
      - A very pleasant surprise indeed, Taiwan's little airline.

      These seats are sold as J-class when these planes operate international flights so the seats should be very good quality. The lack of personal IFE is where they aren't competitive (but this isn't a problem on a domestic flight).

      Catering isn't close to impressive but could have been worse.
      - Haha, yes, catering could be much worse (US carriers don't cater domestic flights less than 2 hours in F-class), but the rating is based on what you would be served during meal time and what is offered on domestic flights in other countries (China, for example).

      Seems like the experience received from the crew was great! Truly satisfying.
      - NH and OZ are both very service-oriented carriers, but the experience might have been very different if I only spoke English to the FAs.

      Return from Dhaka soon?

  • Comment 138024 by
    Numero_2 10029 Comments

    Thanks for sharing.

    HKD has a collector FIDS !

    What’s on the 3rd floor? The observation deck of course! -> Of course free of charge, not as the ZRH one…

    Very nice spotting shots from the deck.
    First, I would have never have guessed GE operated a TPE-HKD route. Second, I never knew GE had wide-bodies. -> I guess we have spotted the same plane, you at HKD and me at KIX !
    Let me suggest you (again) to have a look at this report :P : http://flight-report.com/fr/report-8257.html

    On my way downstairs, I stop and admire this model of HKD. As you can see there are just 3 domestic jetbridges and 1 international jetbridge. -> The car park isn't a bit oversized for such a small airport, is it ?

    A look out the window gives a nice view of the GE A333. -> But it is as dirty as an Air France aircraft. ;)

    I take the slippers home with me, part of the NGO85 leisure collection. -> We can see you took a very Japanese habit to take off your shoes when entering it someone's place. ^^

    I like the extensive beer menue on the wine list. :)

    but I did find it strange that several people from Y kept coming up and using the front lavatory even with the curtain drawn between cabins. -> And especially in Japan ! :/

    A grat crew on this flights, but would have it been the same if you were not a Japanese speaker ?

    These postcards are beautiful ! I hope I can get the same ones soon. :P

    Thanks again and see you soon for another report.

    • Comment 317519 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement pour tous vos commentaires^^

      HKD has a collector FIDS !
      - Maybe original? Other than the flights to Nagoya and Osaka, everything else is Tokyo/Sapporo, so much diversity :) It's very popular though, in the summer NH sends 2 767s and 2 777s daily from HND (some operated by Air Do).

      Of course free of charge, not as the ZRH one…
      - But what is a couple of euros for the rich Zürcher...

      Let me suggest you (again) to have a look at this report :P : http://flight-report.com/fr/report-8257.html
      - Haha, okay, that is the same plane. I promise I have read that report before^^ KIX is regular service for GE, HKD is a charter route. They have 6 more A330s on order, so maybe a more extensive network will be seen soon from this little Taiwanese carrier (although I'm not sure how they are doing financially after two ATR-72 crashes in less than 6 months...).

      The car park isn't a bit oversized for such a small airport, is it ?
      - Where else will all the passengers park to fill the B747 in the model?

      But it is as dirty as an Air France aircraft. ;)
      - The NH B772 was very dirty too.

      We can see you took a very Japanese habit to take off your shoes when entering it someone's place. ^^
      - Last time I was at my parent's house, they thought I was crazy when I stopped at the front door and hesitated before entering^^

      And especially in Japan ! :/
      - Yes, they are usually always sticklers for the rules^^ It was old ladies and kids mainly, so I did not mind so much and it didn't bother me.

      A grat crew on this flights, but would have it been the same if you were not a Japanese speaker ?
      - Probably not :) That's what disappoints me the most about NH.

      These postcards are beautiful ! I hope I can get the same ones soon. :P
      - A very nice gift from the FAs indeed, especially the B789 one :)

  • Comment 138029 by
    lagentsecret 12449 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report

    It's comprehensive and full of interesting tips as usual like I opted for the shuttle bus (¥410 ($3.50 / €3.50)
    But you should update the euro rate : it's not on par with USD any more ;)

    The green light means that we are allowed to enter the security line
    Never been aware of that : thanks

    I apologize for some of the photos not being up to NGO85 standard
    If even the day pictures are repulsive now what will we have to look at in your reports ??? lol

    The NH livery is hideous

    She is soooo young
    You have really eagle eyes to see if it's a he or a she

    I make a quick stop at the stores to pick up some omiyage for my coworkers
    I'm just (maybe too) curious but could you explain what exactly are the omiyage you bought

    I’m greeted by two FAs who smile, bow, greet me in Japanese,
    Hum they were ready to speak english but you looked Japanese

    I like how the FAs speak to me in Japanese, but then offer me an English newspaper.
    They assumed a looking Japanese Gaijin could understand Japanese but just couldn't imagine he could read it

    As you can see, he is completely hidden from view.
    But the gentleman in 2K is not hidden

    The seatback also has the ANA Sky Shop magazine, where creepy people can buy the NH FA aprons to reenact all their fantasies at home for the low price of ¥5000 ($40, €40), only in Japan…
    You're so old fashion : why is it being creeping willing that his wife/partner looks like a NH FA ?
    A school girl wearing a skirt and socks maybe... but it's Japan ;)
    BTW I saw a picture of a woman(not a FA) wearing a SQ kebaya on another FR et it was rather nice

    Finally, a blurry photos of the air sickness bag.
    Repulsion is gaining everywhere

    The Sabo boxes and their 286 kcal wouldn't have been enough to me

    Very attentive service but you were the only awake passenger

    Male NH employees do exist!
    It's not a cardboard figurine ?

    The gorgeous bonus is always a pleasure

    The red brick warehouse reminds me the warehouses in UK

    it's surprising to find this kind of houses in Japan

    Appetizing donburi to end the report

    See you soon

    • Comment 317520 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for sharing this report

      But you should update the euro rate : it's not on par with USD any more ;)
      - Part of the flight is getting to/from the airport so I feel it is relevant when providing reports on obscure airports. Every time I see exchange rates, I cry a little, the JPY is so weak.

      The NH livery is hideous
      - Correction: The NH livery is 1980s vintage They are having a standoff with UA to see who can hold-out the longest before refreshing their image. I have a feeling it might be coming soon though, the cabins and crew uniforms are all being updated. Soon, the tin cans will follow.

      You have really eagle eyes to see if it's a he or a she
      - It is not proper for me to discuss such matters on such a youngin' ^^

      I'm just (maybe too) curious but could you explain what exactly are the omiyage you bought
      - Hakodate omiyage looked to be cheese cakes, which wasn't going to travel real well, so I bought some ???? (Shiroi Koibito: http://www.ishiya.co.jp/language/en/shiroi_koibito/ ).

      Hum they were ready to speak english but you looked Japanese
      - No, they only greet in Japanese^^ I most definitely don't look Japanese^^

      But the gentleman in 2K is not hidden
      - Maybe I should have censored that photo^^ I leaned forward for the picture, so that was no in my line of sight thankfully^^

      why is it being creeping willing that his wife/partner looks like a NH FA ?
      - As I told jetsetpanda, this is nothing compared to offers in AZ's GriffAir catalog.

      BTW I saw a picture of a woman(not a FA) wearing a SQ kebaya on another FR et it was rather nice
      - LOL^^ At an airport or in the city?

      Finally, a blurry photos of the air sickness bag. ==> Repulsion is gaining everywhere
      - I think I was about to use that air sickness bag...

      The Sabo boxes and their 286 kcal wouldn't have been enough to me
      - I know you would be a very angry customer since even the larger Gozen boxes are not enough to fill you^^ Very lackluster snack offering, it is like being served US Lounge food on a plane... I appreciate that something is offered at all, but the savory box should have something other than small sandwiches.

      The gorgeous bonus is always a pleasure
      - Repulsive pictures and all^^ Many old Japanese port cities have red brick warehouses districts since they were built by the European shipping companies.

  • Comment 138287 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5655 Comments

    This non-chronologically ordered posting is confusing me :-P

    How funny to see sign in Russian in Japan (though, I know northern Islands of Japan have been disputed).

    She just took my printed receipt, handwrote the boarding time on it, and handed it back to me. No kiosks that spit out NH card stock?

    The planespotting is always a treat for the eyes! Wow...I had no idea either that GE had widebodies...I thought they only did domestic Taiwan in ATRs. How cool to see all those widebodies at a relatively small regional airport. That'd be like seeing 777s in Omaha....though actually OMA is bigger than HKD.

    I gotta tell you, I find the naming conventions of Premium classes on Japanese domestic flights confusing. So apparently, on this flight, the highest cabin is marketed and sold and Premium Economy but sometimes these same seats are sold as Business? And aren't there some routes on either NH or JL with a First class Cabin? I guess First class is the highest class on 3 or 4 class widebodies on a domestic flight, but when there are only 2 classes on a narrowbody it's called Premium Economy?

    Those seats do look DeltaOne-ish. What a shame with a brand new plane and new seats that they don't have Sky Interior. KL and NH seem to be some of the few airlines taking new deliveries with old interiors.

    The Premium Sabo boxes are really pretty and the snack on offer for an 80 minute flight is definitely way better than a lame snack basket you would get in Domestic F in the US.

    Kind of surprised the FA had a whole conversation with you. I had always heard that Japanese FAs, though always polite, tend not to be very chatty. Seems like you had a great crew with the little presents at the end!

    Nice tourism bonus and information; I was not really familiar with Hakodate. The view from Mount Hakodate is gorgeous. I take it you didn't have a tripod or a stable place to lean your camera for the night shots...still, they're not so repulsive :-P
    Nice diversity of architecture in this historical port town.

    Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see what mysterious destination we'll see next and in what random order you'll post the FRs LOL

    • Comment 317969 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Yeah, JL still sends some internationally configured planes, but they actually sell a First class ticket on those flights.

    • Comment 317795 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      “This non-chronologically ordered posting is confusing me :-P”
      - Mission accomplished :) Thanks, as always, for your comments Kevin!

      “How funny to see sign in Russian in Japan”
      - The better question is “what islands are Japan not disputing?”. What I find most surprising is that the Russian appears before Chinese and Korean.

      No kiosks that spit out NH card stock?”
      - Not for domestic flights. There are no boarding passes for domestic flights, you use your online receipt as your boarding pass (it has a barcode on it). Flight check-in is done when you scan your boarding pass to enter security and get the printed out receipt.

      “That'd be like seeing 777s in Omaha....”
      - Poor Omaha, everyone always picks on them. Yeah, the GE wide-bodies are rare. They do have several Airbus narrow-bodies that operate into mainland China. This particular A333 normally operates the TPE-KIX route twice-daily.

      So JL is a completely other beast so I’m only going to talk about NH. NH has almost completely homogenized their domestic product to aircraft in either 1-class or 2-class configurations only. Currently, there are no internationally configured wide-bodies operating domestic routes for NH. For domestic flights, there are only two classes for sale: “Premium” and “Economy.” There is no “First” or “Business” class product marketed or sold for domestic flights. Even the big B773s are like this where they have 21 Premium class seats and ~500 economy seats. The 777s have a 2-3-2 configuration, 787s have a 2-2-2 configuration, and the 767s have a 2-1-2 configuration for Premium class. Is this really a Y+ product? Absolutely not, but I really don’t know how to classify it on the site so I just labeled it as such. Domestic wide-bodies never operate international routes, but a problem arises since the B737s also do international routes. For example, this exact same plane can operate the NGO-HKG or NGO-PVG route. In that case, the front cabin is sold as “Business” and the rear cabin is sold as “Economy.” So the domestic “Premium” class is essentially NH’s regional business class. Does that answer your question? It’s really complicated, especially when it comes down to how fares work (weird matrix based on date and available seats).

      “The Premium Sabo boxes are really pretty and the snack on offer for an 80 minute flight is definitely way better than a lame snack basket you would get in Domestic F in the US. “
      - I completely agree that something is better than nothing. If this flight left 10 minutes earlier, I would have gotten the better Gozen lunch bento boxes. This downgraded meal in the afternoons is unnecessary and it should be a full bento box at all times, IMO. The boxes are nice, but the contents are just lounge fingerfood (domestic lounges in Japan don’t have food, so they are making up for it, lol).

      “I had always heard that Japanese FAs, though always polite, tend not to be very chatty.”
      - This is generally true. Read Olrik’s DUS-NRT report, that is a very typical NH experience for foreigners. They’ll give the superficial smile during service and try to avoid any contact. I have no idea why both flights in this series had a chatty FA. Maybe they are new (not bitter and jaded) so are stuck on obscure domestic routes to gain experience. I have more domestic flights coming up and I’m sure it will be back to frumpy FAs. It was very nice of them to give me the postcards and candies, a complete surprise!

      “I was not really familiar with Hakodate.”
      - Not surprised, lol, it's definitely not a “must-see” spot for tourists and is not the easiest place to get to (like most of Hokkaido, best done by car). If you are frequent traveller to Japan and want to spend some time on Hokkaido, I would highly recommend stopping in. No tripod, I just rested my elbows on the heads of the people standing in front of me, lol. It was hard, around hundred people on top all jockeying for position to get a clean shot so I just tried my best. It was just as beautiful during the day. Hokkaido is a great place for people that also like the PNW.

      “Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see what mysterious destination we'll see next and in what random order you'll post the FRs LOL”
      - I like to keep my readers guessing ;)

    • Comment 317834 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5655 Comments

      Thanks for the explanation! So I guess it's the variety of products between JL and NH (mostly JL) that gives the impression of complexity in cabin structure. In the US it's basically just F or Y on domestic flights except for Premium Transcons so it's more consistent between all the airlines.

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