Review of ANA flight Nagoya Naha in Business

Airline ANA
Flight NH303
Class Business
Seat 2A
Flight time 02:15
Take-off 05 Jul 15, 10:20
Arrival at 05 Jul 15, 12:35
NH   #13 out of 113 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 202 reviews
NGO85
By 2988
Published on 19th August 2015
Background:

I had four consecutive days off of work, so I took the opportunity to do some domestic travel to visit three cities I’ve never been to before. This series will cover a four-flight sequence that will be slowly revealed:

Part 1 – NGO-OKA [NH303, Boeing B767-300, Premium] – You are here
Part 2 – OKA-NGS [NH1872, Boeing B737-500, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11295.html
Part 3 – FUJ-NGS [OC76, Bombardier DHC8-200, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11331.html
Part 4 – NGS-NGO [NH374, Boeing B737-800, Premium] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11405.html

There are three flights daily from NGO to OKA on NH: two in the morning on B763s and one in the evening on a B738. I opted for the second flight in the morning since I didn’t feel like starting a vacation waking up at 5am.


Pre-flight:

As like all NGO85 trips, we start on the Meitetsu ?Sky Airport Express train with service to Chubu Centrair from downtown Nagoya for ¥1230.

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Arriving at the terminal, I head over to NH’s domestic check-in area. I opted to check-in my cabin luggage since I didn’t want to lug it around the airport. The airport is also showing off its recently acquired award as “World’s Best Dimly Lit Regional Airport” as well a display on top of the check-in counters paying homage to the pearl divers of Ise Bay (Mikimoto).

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There was of course no one at the Premium class check-in line so I was quickly helped. My bag was checked to OKA and I was handed my e-ticket receipt on NH cardstock with a smile and bow.

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I head straight out onto the observation deck on this grey drizzly Nagoya morning. We have a nice early morning tail line-up on the domestic side. Two special JL Group planes stand out: the JAL Express B738 with “???????” livery and a Japan Transocean B734 in a “Southwest Air Lines” retro livery.

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The SQ A333 pulls in arriving on the redeye from Changi.

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This NH B763 gets backed up, which is operating the 8:20am flight from NGO down to OKA. Moments later she is then seen lifting up on the rain soaked runway.

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Always fun to see, a DL B752 getting pulled back to a gate in preparation for it’s run down to Guam.

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PR must be hurting on the MNL-NGO sector because they have recently downgraded their twice-daily A333 service to A321 service. It’s still a great-looking plane with those sharklets.

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The tail line-up on the international side. You can’t beat the diversity at NGO. That CX A343 is a stranger (and in need of a paint job)! Now that it is summertime, CX is starting to send an A343 in place of an A333 on certain days for the morning flight down to HKG.

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A close-up of the KE B77W in the “Children’s Drawing Contest” special livery.

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A VN A321 gets towed back to a gate.

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She is then followed by this NH B737 also getting towed back to a gate (the other VN is still at a remote stand keeping that Boeing B787 company).

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The JTA B734 in Southwest Air Lines retro livery taxis off to the runway

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She stops short in order to let the AY A333 come down for a kiss landing on the wet tarmac.

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The Japan Transocean B734 then lifts off as it begins its trip down to OKA.

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The JL Express B738 then taxis by before taking off on its trip up to CTS.

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A short and stubby NH B735 comes in from Kagoshima before letting a MU A320 head off to PVG. There is no better to wrap a spotting session than with one of my favorites, a CA B738 lifting off for service to PEK.

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We walk past the fountain in NGO while everyone stares at me while I take a picture.

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The aerial view of the domestic check-in area at NGO.

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The domestic terminal security lines, empty as always.

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My flight is still showing on time on the domestic departure’s FID.

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I like how the police stand on these little foot stools to look taller and more intimidating.

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With 30 minutes to boarding, I head into the Centrair Airline Lounge, which is the universal domestic lounge used by both NH and JL.

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I scan my boarding pass and walk on in. The agent just gives a nod as I walk by. Here is the entire seating area as unremarkable as the lounge name suggests. As before, the carpet is still horribly stained.

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The press offerings: 4 different Japanese newspapers and 2 magazines. Hope you can read Japanese.

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The ‘service’ area, not sure what else to call it. Coffee machine, some bags of otsumami (these weren’t there during my last visit), one bottle of Suntory whiskey, a soft drink machine, and a Yebisu beer dispenser. That’s it.

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My offering: a coffee and wet towellete.

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After twenty minutes, it was time to walk down to the gate.

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From the gate, I can my plane is there and getting refueled. We aren’t boarding yet, so I walk over to the other side to get a better shot. It will be JA8569, a 22-year old veteran.

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——————————-

All Nippon Airways, NH303
Equipment: Boeing B767-300 [JA8569, delivered September 1993]
Departure: 10:20 (ATD: 10:42)
Arrival: 12:35 (ATA: 12:40)
Flight time: 1:58


Right on time, 15 minutes prior to departure, the boarding starts. All boarding announcements at the gate are made in Japanese only. They start off with special assistance boarding. This is followed by NH Diamonds. They then call for Premium class passengers, other NH elites, and *A Gold to board. That’s me, so I scan my boarding pass by myself, walk through the turnstyle, and head down the jetbridge.

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One last view of my plane before continuing down the maze of a jetbridge.

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Reaching the threshold of the plane, we reach the logjam. I follow Team Ferrari onto the plane.

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Walking onto the plane, I’m greeted in Japanese by two FAs, one of them then walks me to my seat. Takes my backpack and puts it in the overhead bin before scurrying back to the front to greet the next passenger. Here is a picture of my seat. The cabin is in two rows of a 2-1-2 configuration (cabin shots at the end of report for both Y and J). There is a blanket pre-placed in the seat.

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Settling into my seat, the purser immediately shows up and introduces herself and welcomes me on board asking me if I want a newspaper. I decline, and she asks if there is anything else she can get me. I ask for a pillow and it is immediately brought to me.

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She then heads off to great the next passenger. This shot also gives you a peak at the vintage B763 cabin that will be discussed later on.

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The seats are big and comfy. There is a coat hanger on the seatback along with two pouches for storage. The business class slippers and low quality headphones are pre-placed in the seatback. The seat pitch is very good at 50” (127cm), but window seats do have an entertainment box blocking some of the underseat storage. The carpet is pristine and passes the Marathon test.

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No pre-departure drinks are offered on domestic flights given the short boarding time. The plane is quickly filled (100% in Premium class and 95% in economy class) and the jetbridge is retracted.

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The safety video plays on our bootleg projector screen as we taxi out to the runway.

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The taxi takes us past a NH B738 and a NH Dash-8 Q400 before reaching the SQ A333 and JL B738. (Sorry for photo quality, the windows were still covered with raindrops)

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We then taxi past the Boeing B787 (N787BA, the first prototype), which Boeing donated to the city of Nagoya at the end of June to thank the city for their efforts in the development and production of the DreamLiner. It will be on permanent display at NGO.

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The DreamLifter Operations Center at NGO.

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We turn onto the runway and quickly start our northern take-off. As we make our U-turn to head south, we get a nice aerial shot of NGO.

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As we begin our cloudy climb, I’ll introduce the seat. The center console is faux-wood and has the audio controls and a small cubby to store your phone or other miscellaneous items.

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The seat controls are in the other armrest. It is all manual and has three levers. The recline is decent for a recliner. A picture of my seat in recline and a picture of the recline from a distance.

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On the side of the seat is this little knob to hang your headphones.

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The blanket and slippers in action. I’m 180cm and can’t touch the seat in front of me with my feet.

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A peak back at the Y cabin before the curtain is closed. It is in a 2-3-2 configuration that is pretty standard for a B767. Like good Japanese people, they are already fast asleep.

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The cloudy ocean below us.

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The seatback contents.

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The Premium class service guide. Our meal today will be breakfast service, which in Japan is essentially the same as lunch service. The non-alcoholic drink list followed by the alcoholic drink list.



The seat description for the B767-300, no in-seat power is a big disappointment.

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The safety card for this B767-300 presented by your hand model.

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We then have the NH magazine (Japanese only). It also showcases the fleet and this month features the new Star Wars special livery B789 and the Millennium Falcon (normally the blue whale is down there).



The FAs are then released and begin the meal service. She places a packaged oshibori, chopsticks, miso soup, and gozen bento boxes down on my tray table and asks me what I would like to drink. I requested water along with Shochu served with ice. My seatmate was sick so he didn’t want the meal so the FAs brought him some soup from the BOB menu instead.

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The prepacked oshibori is real cloth, but cold and thin.

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The menu for today’s meal. Our bento boxes revealed. First up is the rice served with pork. Second is our selection of vegetables. It’s served cold, which I don’t particularly care for (I like meat served warm, especially pork). Other than that, the vegetables were all good and fresh. It wasn’t my favorite premium class meal, but it also wasn’t the worst.

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The FA returned with a bottle of water, a cup of ice, a bottle of Shochu, and a bag of otsumami. If you noticed my in the previous photos, I had already finished my miso soup, so she offered me another cup.

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The FAs were making regular rounds through the cabin, with the purser and two FAs for 10 passengers in Premium class, it was very attentive service. As soon as my Shochu was empty, she immediately asked me if I would like another. It’s only 11am, but this is vacation after all. So she returns with another bottle and another bag of otsumami. A close-up of the otsumami.

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The FAs on this flight were friendly and were much more experienced (older) than you would normally expect on NH. They had really refined service and were always talking and interacting with passengers. They cleared my tray table when I was finished and left me with another bottle of Shochu.

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At this point, we were about halfway there. Really hard to tell from this crappy moving map.

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I made a trip to the lavatory. It was clean, but definitely showing its age with this brushed aluminum that is standard on any 90s aircraft. No special amenities for Premium class.

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Getting back to my seat, the FA comes up and asks me if I want any tea of coffee. I ask for coffee and she returns with a bottle of water, a cup of coffee, some sweets, and another oshibori. A close-up of the sweets. The tray table also has a nice swing feature so it doesn’t interfere with your personal space as much. I talked to her for a little bit about her day. She said they are a Sapporo based crew and started the day up in Sapporo, flew to Nagoya, then are flying to Okinawa, and then they will have to do the next flight back to Hiroshima. So they have to do three back-to-back-to-back flights.

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Still cloudy skies as we are getting closer.

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A FA in action checking in on the little boy that was now sitting in 1K. She then stopped by and offered me another coffee and another packet of sweets.

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The Ryukyu Islands are now in sight!

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The entire time, the overhead also rotated some random Japanese variety programing. Despite the age of this cabin, it really was well-maintained. It was very boxy, but clean.

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Our FA was also a proper Japanese lady; she can be seen here in the galley talking to a passenger covering her mouth when she laughs.

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Through the clouds, Amagi (??) on the island of Tokunoshima (???) is visible.

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The FA then wraps up the cabin service by offering me a glass of water. She said it was going to be a really hot day in Naha so I should start hydrating. My seatmate was special, he got the water with a lid and straw since he was sick.

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Leaving Tokunoshima (???) as we begin our descent.

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The FAs put their jackets back on and start preparing the cabin for arrival.

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The shallow waters surrounding Yoron (??).

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We then made some bizarre turn to fly around Iheya (???) and Izena (???), possibly to avoid US military air zones?

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Final descent into Naha.

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Naha as we descend into OKA.



Airplanes below so we are close now.

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The international terminal as we coast by.

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The domestic terminal has we come to a screeching stop.

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We turn off the runway near the Naha Air Base, there were about 50 F-15s sitting out on the tarmac so Japan's air “self-defense” force seems to be doing okay. These more docile Lockheed P-3s were also parked there. OKA shares its runway with the Japanese air force operations so you get some really interesting taxi queues waiting for takeoff.

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As we taxi back to the terminal, we can see a BC B738 and Ryukyu Air Commuter (RAC) Dash-8 Q100 (old livery!) taking off.

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Pulling into our gate, the jetbridge is quickly engaged.

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After arriving at the gate, an announcement is made to let Premium class passengers deplane first, but I was distracted taking a picture of this NH B735 and OZ B763 next door and was completely bum-rushed by the Y passengers. So I just sat there and let them all deplane, I was in no real rush to get to the baggage claim.

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Once all the Y passengers were off, I took the chance to get some cabin shots. Here is the forward Y-cabin.

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Here is the Premium class cabin. As you can tell, the middle ‘island’ seat is super awkward and gives you no privacy.

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The FAs thank me for flying with NH and wish me a good vacation. I thank them and wish them luck on their next flight before heading into the dark jetbridge.

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There are flowers lining the windows of the jetbridge and it seems I made a new friend.

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One last look at my plane before heading into the terminal. Looking out the other way, I see my favorite carrier again, there is a CA B738 at the international terminal! A rare LJ B738’s tail can also be seen in the distance (green butterfly).

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OKA is dark and gloomy like most Japanese airports relying solely on natural light during the day.

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NH B763 getting backed up.

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Heading to the baggage claim.

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One last look out onto the tarmac.

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Welcome sign in the baggage claim. By the time I get there the bags were starting to circulate. Mine was the second one off and I was quickly off to the monorail.

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The monorail station is attached to the airport. I purchased a 24-hour pass and was off to downtown Naha in no time to enjoy this beautiful sunny day.

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Thanks for reading this report and please stop by for the next segment of this series.
See more

Verdict

ANA

7.6/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering7.0

Star Alliance Lounge Business Class Section

2.2/10
Comfort2.0
Meal/catering2.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Services2.0

Nagoya - NGO

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness10.0

Naha - OKA

9.6/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

NH's Premium Class continues to represent the benchmark for premium cabin offerings in Japan. Is it worth the money, depends on the route and the price differences. I got lucky with another good NH crew, which made this a very good experience. Premium class cabin comfort is very good and the in-flight service standards are good for short domestic flights. Entertainment is where NH really falls short, I haven't seen an overhead projector in years.

Cabin comfort: 22-year old aircraft aren't going to be as fun to fly as newer ones; the cabin was definitely showing its age. I haven't been on this boxy of a plane in a long time, but it was well-maintained with a very clean interior. The seat pitch and width are both good. Privacy was good enough for this seating arrangement, I couldn't see too much of my seatmate. For a domestic flight, this is a very good product.

Crew: English abilities aren't good, but this crew was great. The FAs didn't really seem cold, they were friendly from boarding to planing and were regularly interacting with every passenger in the Premium class cabin. Their service was excellent, on a 2-hour flight, I had at least 7 drinks highlighting how alert they were in service.

Meal and catering: This is a 2-hour domestic flight, so even for US standards this is good premium-class catering. It was an okay 'brunch' offering, not sure why they choose to serve breakfast up until 11am, but it was overall 'good'. Many members will point out the offering as being a small portion-size, but that is standard here. Quality is very good, just wish the pork was served warm instead of cold. Good drink list for a domestic flight.

Entertainment: Newspapers were offered. Standard in-flight seatback materials. Overhead projector for the cabin that was really difficult to see from my seat, but it did have a moving map that rotated in between some random Japanese variety programs.

On-time performance: Slow boarding meant a late departure, but we only arrived 5 minutes late on a 2-hour flight so not too much to complain about.

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 144274 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing another FR with us!

    Love the spotting shots from NGO, really like the international variety!

    I don't think there is much to write about that lounge, disappointing is probably enough.

    That seat pitch looks to be great for this 2 hour flight! Cabin seems to be maintained pretty well, even though it's a 22-year old 763.

    Catering seems to be good for this flight, nothing too extreme.

    Love arrivals into islands, they offer great views like this one into OKA.

    See you on the next one!

    • Comment 323517 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments!

      I would consider domestic lounges in Japan to be more like waiting rooms, there is nothing special about them and their offerings are usually bare-bone.

      The only thing missing from these seats is power, that's not super important for a flight of this length, but it is an obvious omission.

      Naha and Honolulu are very similar, both have beautiful arrivals/departures, but the cities themselves are void of any character.

  • Comment 144275 by
    eminere™ 274 Comments

    I love reading your reports! So detailed.

  • Comment 144277 by
    Numero_2 9989 Comments

    Thanks for sharing !

    Beautiful spotting at NGO despite the rainy weather.

    I noticed that NH's regional aircrafts show the Japan Post logotype near the door. Do you know why ?

    It's a bit tough to get served such a meal as breakfast for passengers who are not really into Japanese delicacies on early hours. ;)
    Btw I can tell that the Koshinohomara sake displayed on the wine list is pretty drinkable. :p

    definitely showing its age with this brushed aluminum that is standard on any 90s aircraft. -> If this part has reached that respectable age it's probably because it's made of stainless steel and not aluminium. ;)

    You should change the lounge in NGO because the *A one is in the international terminal.

    • Comment 323519 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement!

      They probably carry mail for JPost, hence the logo. It's the same in the US, you always see several large crates of mail getting loaded onto domestic flights.

      It's a bit tough to get served such a meal as breakfast for passengers who are not really into Japanese delicacies on early hours. ;) Btw I can tell that the Koshinohomara sake displayed on the wine list is pretty drinkable. :p
      - I prefer Shochu to Nihonshu, but that is just personal preference. This breakfast offering is pretty standard even though Western-style breakfasts are more common with younger people nowadays.

      it's made of stainless steel and not aluminium. ;)
      - What's a few AMUs among friends? ;)

      I've asked before and it has never been updated. The lounges at NGO are:
      International: Sakura Lounge, Star Alliance Lounge, KAL Lounge, Centrair Global Lounge
      Domestic: Centrair Airline Lounge

      All of my reports have mislabeled lounges so it needs to be updated.

  • Comment 144300 by
    socalnow 980 Comments

    Thanks for the fantastic FR NGO85! Great spotting at NGO and the NH experience sure looked good. I contrast that with a 2 hour domestic in the US and it's not favorable to the US carriers.

    I've taken DL629/630 DTW-NGO-MNL on a number of occasions and always enjoy NGO. Sometimes LAX-HNL-NGO-MNL too. I enjoy looking back at the airfield after takeoff.

    Thanks again and happy flying!

    • Comment 323520 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments!

      Yes, compared to the US, there is no comparison, but other countries have better domestic products. Catering is the weakest aspect along with the lack of IFE, but those are things that liveable. The food is always edible, but presentation could be improved by doing a tray service instead of just plopping things down on a tray table.

      NGO is a great little airport, just large enough to have a large enough global footprint to get a lot of widebodies in, but small enough to keep it real local feeling.

  • Comment 144589 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thank you for sharing another fantastic report Michael.

    Spotting pics are superb as usual.

    For me, the most salient part of reading your FR is the superb inflight service that you received from this amazing crew. Little touches make a big difference and this was evidenced throughout your flight eg. bringing the soup and providing a straw with the water for the sick passenger, offering another round of miso soup after you were done, replenishing your drinks proactively, bringing a towel and snacks along with your drink. I personally think that the ability to anticipate needs and surprise your customers is a hallmark of great customer service.

    Your meal looked great and the printed inflight service brochure with descriptions of the meals would make a nice souvenir. ;)

    Just as one should never judge a book by its cover, one should never judge a flight by how old the plane is. :P

    See you around.

    • Comment 323521 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you Adan!

      With these observation decks, it's hard not to do some spotting. At NGO especially, you are right on top of the planes and the thanks to the shape of the terminal, you can get ~200ft away from the runway.

      Little touches make a big difference
      - You are absolutely right. In 5 years, when I think about this flight, the only thing I will remember was the service. Excellent service can make up for so many other shortcomings. This crew exemplifies why they have a 5-star reputation, they were there to make the passengers feel at home and appreciated. Unfortunately, this isn't always the service you get with NH. I think the age of the crew really played a role, the more experienced FAs usually are more adept at knowing the customer base and how to makes those small little gestures that leave passengers feeling cared for.

      The service to Naha reminds me a lot of service to Honolulu from the mainland. Let's use the crappiest planes we have in the fleet! At least there is no downgrade in service on-board or hard-product like in the US.

  • Comment 145731 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5361 Comments

    Now that I'm back from France, time to catch up on reports....and boy, you've been on a roll with publishing lately!
    You're planespotting pics are always such a treat for the eyes! I especially like the close-up of the lineup at NGO that includes the Southwest Air Lines plane. The cabin definitely screams 90's but seems really clean and the seats look super comfortable.
    Beautiful aerial shots on arrival to Naha! Ok...time to read more reports. Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 324777 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      I will post my pilgrimage back to the US on CX soon. That should keep you oneworld people happy for a bit.

      So Southwest Air Lines was what Japan Transocean Air was called before JL took it over. I've never seen a retro JL plane before so that was an unexpected treat.

      Yes, this B767 felt like it had just rolled off the assembly line in 1993. It is definitely a throwback with that overhead projector and boxy overhead bins. Childhood nostalgia at its finest.

      Naha and Honolulu are almost the same place, and that is not necessarily a compliment ;)

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