Review of Fuji Dream Airlines flight Nagoya Kitakyūshū in Economy

Airline Fuji Dream Airlines
Flight JH401
Class Economy
Seat 19K
Aircraft Embraer E-175
Flight time 01:20
Take-off 21 Jun 15, 07:20
Arrival at 21 Jun 15, 08:40
JH 6 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 1636
Published on 2nd September 2015
Background:

This series will cover a day-trip down to Kitaky'sh? (???) aboard Fuji Dream Airlines (FDA).

Part 1 – NKM-KKJ [JH401, Embraer E-175, Economy] – You are here
Part 2 – KKJ-NKM [JH408, Embraer E-175, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-11551.html

FDA started twice daily NKM-KKJ service at the end of March. In order to do the day-trip, I booked the morning flight to KKJ and the night flight back to NKM. This ticket was booked 10 days in advance for ¥21,000. As a comparison, the Shinkansen would cost ¥35,000 round-trip and take three hours.


Pre-flight:

To get to Nagoya-Komaki (NKM), I took the airport limousine operated by FDA (¥700). I picked it up at 6:15 in front of Nagoya Station. The comfortable 20-minute ride was as punctual as one expects in Japan. Arriving at the airport at 6:35, I head into the Departures lobby.

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There was a long line for bag check at the counters, but I went to the empty kiosks on the side. Walking up, the JH employee standing there greets me and takes my itinerary. She completes the entire check-in for me and asks me if I’m happy with my seat selection. A window at the back sounds fine to me, so I’m printed my boarding pass and sent on my way with a bow.

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Bad news for me is that the observation deck at NKM doesn’t open until 7:00. So I’m going to just get in line for security (~20 people ahead of me). Here is the seating area outside of security.

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While I’m in line, I’ll also take a picture of the information counter they have at NKM. It’s not just for Nagoya tourist information, you can also pick up tourist information for all of the FDA destinations before you head out on your flight.

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Almost to the front of the security line now, so a quick shot of the FIDS. My flight (JH401) is showing an on-time departure and leaving from Gate C.

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Security has a single metal detector at NKM so it took 10 minutes to make it through at a peak time. Not bad, but not great. After security, you are spit out into the waiting room. There are a bunch of seats facing the window out onto the tarmac. There is a “business” area in the back corner with outlets. There is also the “lounging” area shown in the second photo. On the side of the waiting room are some vending machines, a smoking room, and the restrooms. There is free Wi-Fi at NKM (didn’t notice this the first time through the airport, so I misreported this information in my last JH series). The network name and password are on the pillar in the middle of the waiting room.



From the waiting room, you can only see part of the tarmac. Looking out the window, we can see Red (JA01FJ) and Yellow (JA07FJ).

photo 10




——————————-

Fuji Dream Airlines, JH401
Equipment: Embraer E-175 [JA09FJ, delivered March 2015]
Departure: 07:20 (ATD: 07:27)
Arrival: 08:40 (ATA: 08:36)
Flight time: 1:09


My tour of the waiting room stalled enough time and we are now ready to board for my flight to KKJ. All boarding announcements are made in Japanese only. Special assistance boarding is followed by general boarding. Before heading to the gate, I quickly double check the gate map. Today’s flight to Kitaky'sh? (???) will be operated by Gold (JA09FJ) and is leaving from Gate C on the right hand side of the jetbridge.

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The gate agent scans my boarding pass and lets me through gesturing to the right hand side of the jetbridge so that I don’t accidentally get on the plane to Iwate Hanamaki (?????), which is concurrently boarding through Gate B. As I step outside to enter the jetbridge, I get a nice tarmac shot of Orange (JA05FJ), an Embraer E-175.

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Walking down the jetbridge until I reach the entrance to Gate C. Where another ground agent scans my boarding pass to let me enter the retractable mini-jetbridge.

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The gap in the jetbridge lets me get a shot of Orange (JA05FJ) form the other side.

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Walking through the retractable mini-jetbridge

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Here is my plane for the day: Gold (JA09FJ) an Embraer E-175. The newest addition to the FDA fleet.

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Heading up the stairs, I’m greeted by 2 FAs with a big smile and a “good morning.” I greet them back and head to the back of the plane where the 3rd FA also greets me and shows me to my seat. I forgot to take a picture of the actual seat, but here is the cabin shot on boarding as well as the view across the aisle.

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As I settle into my seat, I can see outside of the window that Tea Green (JA08FJ) is getting ready to taxi out to the runway. She fires up her little GE engines and spins around.

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Here is a picture of the seat pitch, passes the barf bag test.

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The FA then stopped by and asked me if I wanted a newspaper or a blanket. I declined a newspaper, but asked for a blanket. She immediately grabbed one from the overhead bin and gave it to me. Here is the red fleece FDA blanket.

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I noticed that there was no one else getting on the plane, yet the plane was nearly empty. We were only going to have 8 passengers on the plane today. That is a 10% load! The 3 FAs is also unusual, normally only 2 for the E-Jets. One of the FAs was a senior and was training the other two. She mainly stayed in the front galley and gave directions to the other two. The boarding is complete and the FAs complete the cross check before we head out.

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Our GEs wind up and we spin to the right to head out to the runway. One last look at Orange (JA05FJ) as we pull away from the jetbridge.

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As we taxi, the FAs do the safety demonstration in Japanese only. I do manage to catch this nice shot of Red (JA01FJ) lifting off for service to Iwate Hanamaki (?????). I like the plane’s reflection in the puddle on the tarmac.

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Taxing to the runway, we cross the military planes parked out on the tarmac. Here are three B767s that are fitted for air-to-air refueling.

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As we head down the runway, we can see the last of the rainbow at the terminal (Red and Tea Green already departed).

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We lift up giving some views of Komaki (??), the town where the airport is located, as we head towards downtown Nagoya.

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Crossing the Sh'nai River (???), which wraps around downtown Nagoya.

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Nagoya quickly disappears under the clouds on this rainy morning.

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Seatback pocket contents: two barf bags, FDA magazine, safety card, and the Nagoya-Komaki airport information sheet.

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Two-sided safety card for this Embraer E-175.

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In the in-flight magazine, DREAM3776, they highlight the arrival of the newest aircraft (JA09FJ) to the fleet and the start of new service between Nagoya-Komaki and Kitaky'sh?. Both of these events happened at the end of March so this is still a very new plane and service.

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Wing and winglet shots as we cross over a sea of clouds in the Kansai region.

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Picture of empty cabin mid flight.

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It was very cloudy over ?saka and K'be, but the clouds finally parted reaching Hy'go Prefecture. Passing over Kakogawa (???).

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Approaching Himeji (??), but I couldn’t spot the castle.

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The FAs quickly reached my row for service since I was sitting farthest back in the cabin. Instead of sending two carts (one from the front and one from the rear), they only used one cart and started from the rear and worked forwards. I ask for a cup of coffee. They give me my coffee and then offer me an oshibori and ‘croissant’. Excellent catering for a domestic flight in Y.

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Passing over Fukuyama (??).

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Passing over Onomichi (??).

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The small town of Takehara (??).

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We are then treated with a spectacular view of Hiroshima (??). The FA happened to be walking by at the time collecting trash and stopped to ask me what I was taking a picture of. I told her we were flying over Hiroshima, she seemed surprised and had to go take a look for herself out of the window in the row behind me. It’s easy for us to forget that they never get the chance to enjoy the flights since they are always working.

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Just past Hiroshima, we get an aerial view of Itsukushima (??), which is also called Miyajima (??). I couldn’t spot the torii in the water, I think it is behind one of the clouds.

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I head to the rear galley to use the lavatory. The lavatory is spotless. Leaving the lavatory, the same FA is sitting there so I talk to her briefly. She said this is her first month working for JH.

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Passing over Sh'nan (??).

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We then reach H'fu (??) and we start to lose altitude giving us a little peak at the hydraulics.

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After following the coast of Honsh? the entire trip, we make a sharp turn at Ube (??) to head towards Ky'sh?. The Ube Airport is in the foreground.

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The FAs make a final cabin sweep and prepare the cabin for landing as we are well into our final descent.

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Out of nowhere, we get a great view of KKJ basking in the sun!

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After completing our flyby of the airport, we make a sharp U-turn to align for a landing from the south.

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We clear the seawall and touch down smoothly on the tarmac. Unfortunately, despite the smooth touch down, the pilots were a little heavy footed on the brakes, which made for a pretty uncomfortable landing.

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We turn off the runway and taxi back to the terminal.

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At the terminal there are a 7G A320 and a JC B738 parked at gates. For those of you that don’t know, KKJ is the main hub for 7G. On the back of 7G planes, above the last couple windows it says: “City of Kitakyushu” if you look closely. The headquarters building for 7G is attached to the airport. We taxi by and take our position at the end of the airport.

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As we pull in to the gate, I get up and start collecting my things since there is no one sitting near me. Here is the cabin shot as we wait for the front door to open. You can see the 7 other passengers already huddled at the front.

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After I start heading down the aisle, I notice my lens cap is gone. I always bring a spare with me so it wasn't a big deal, but I stopped and quickly went back to my seat to see if it was on the ground or in the seat. The FA in the rear comes up and asks me if everything is okay. I tell her about the lens cap, so she starts searching everywhere for it. The FAs from the front join the search after the other passengers deplaned. I tried to tell them not to worry about it, but they kept looking and eventually they found it on the ground at the very front of the cabin. I told you about the heavy breaking by our pilots on landing and it had gone flying out of my lap all the way to Row 1 from my seat in Row 19. Once again, the JH FAs have gone above and beyond the call of duty. I thank them profusely for their kindness and help before wishing them a safe trip back to NKM as a I deplane.

Nice jetbridges at KKJ with big windows.

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Some last shots of my plane getting refueled for the return to NKM.

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They must get some charter flights from China or Taiwan, but I keep heading towards the Domestic Arrivals.

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Before reaching the escalator down to the baggage claim, I cross the JC B738 getting pushed back for its return trip to HND.

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I take the escalators down, which dump you into the baggage claim (singular, there is only one carousel).

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I have no bag to collect so head out towards the lobby. In the lobby, there is a kiosk to buy bus tickets. I stop by check the timetable and purchase a ticket to Kokura-eki. It costs ¥620 and takes 33-minutes for the nonstop trip. The buses are synched with plane arrivals/departures so there shouldn’t ever be a long wait.

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Outside the bus is waiting so I get on. In the seatback of the bus, there is a flyer advertising the new NKM-KKJ service on FDA. They are excited because it is the second destination for the airport. All other flights operate to HND (18 flights per day). I’m surprised there is no service to ITM, but with the proximity to FUK, maybe it shouldn't be surprising.

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Thanks for reading this report and please stop by for the return trip, which will contain the tourism bonus for this little corner of Japan.
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Verdict

Fuji Dream Airlines

8.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering8.0

Nagoya - NKM

7.2/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Kitakyūshū - KKJ

8.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

JH puts in another great domestic performance showing there is consistency to their service and crew. A comfortable on-time flight with a friendly crew and a small breakfast offering. It ticks all the boxes for a short domestic flight in Y.

Cabin comfort: Brand new E-Jet. The cabin was clean and the seat pitch is good. It helps that there were only 8 passengers aboard so plenty of room. The landing was the only minus as a far as comfort goes, a little too aggressive on the brakes.

Crew: The crew had a friendly welcome aboard. They did their service with a smile and even initiated a conversation with me. To top it all off, they went above and beyond the call of duty to find my lens cap. No complaints from this crew, even if they were still being trained.

Meal and catering: Better than the other full-service carriers, drink service is complete with a croissant and an oshibori. The best domestic catering I've seen in Japan.

Entertainment: Newspaper offered and the standard seat-back literature. A clear sky along the coast, great for aerial photography.

On-time performance: We left a little late and arrived early.

Related

10 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 145521 by
    cobra 3582 Comments
    Thank you Michael !)

    Another flight on this pleasant compagny, and this time, you are a Gold member !:)

    Nice seat, with goldy touch !: ) And a blanket !

    Thanks a lot for this KC-767J pic ^^

    Real catering on board, it's a real treasure for japanese companies !

    I can see the castle of Himeji, on the upper part of your pic, thanks to the huge Sotobori encircling the fortress :)

    Hiroshima prefecture, seeing by air, is really beautiful, full of green island

    I didn't know that Kita Kyushu airport was on an artificial island !

    A strong braking, and gravity disappear :))) FA were great to helping you, on the quest for the flying lens cap and like the others past flights, seem very warm !

    I expect a real big bonus for Shimonoseki food ^^

    Ciao amico !^^


    • Comment 324237 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1972 Comments
      As always, merci Cobra!

      Yes, this time I am Gold, but what will I be on the return trip?

      Thanks a lot for this KC-767J pic ^^
      - Are you also a military airplane aficionado? At work, I can always look out the window and see the military planes in their final descent into NKM.

      Real catering on board, it's a real treasure for japanese companies !
      - Others don't understand my enthusiasm for this catering, but it really is much better than any other carrier (even compared to your beloved 7Gs chocolates).

      I can see the castle of Himeji, on the upper part of your pic
      - I have never been to Himeji before so I didn't know where it was in the city. Now that you point out the location I can see it^^

      KKJ is a new airport. They built it far from the city and on an island to allow for 24-hour arrivals (CTS, NGO, and KIX are the only other 24-hour airports in Japan for night-time cargo operations). I think they plan on it being a cargo hub at some point (it can handle 747Fs). FUK is limited since it is in downtown Fukuoka so there are noise restrictions. It was built almost the same time NGO was built.

      I find braking on large wide-bodies to be hard given their inertia (I normally cling on to all my belongs for dear life when a B77W lands), but on a little regional jet it seems unnecessary (maybe they didn't account for an empty cabin?).

      I expect a real big bonus for Shimonoseki food ^^
      - I'll try not to disappoint!
  • Comment 145567 by
    SkyDonkey 1 Comments
    Great trip report! I love FDAs variety of colorful aircraft.

    I find it strange how their safety card doesn't show exit locations or door operation. Is that not required? Or did I simply miss it?
    • Comment 324238 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1972 Comments
      Thank you for your comments and welcome to the site!

      That is my fault! There is an inside of the safety cards, I took pictures in this report:

      http://flight-report.com/en/report-10568.html

      In that report, I have all four pages shown. You are right, that would be a very bare bones safety card! Thanks for catching that mistake!
  • Comment 145627 by
    Rl 777 802 Comments
    Thank you for sharing another FR with us!

    I'm impressed by the cabin of this bird. The cabin looks very clean and the seats do look comfortable. Seat pitch also looks good from your pictures. Would love to fly on an E-jet in the future.

    You got a nice reflection of that Red FDA E75 when it was departing.

    Catering seems to be good on this flight, hadn't expected the croissant.

    I'm in love with the shot you got from Sh'nan, I really like it for some reason!

    The E75 looks very sharp in this golden livery!

    See you on the next one!

    • Comment 324532 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1972 Comments
      Thank you for stopping by and reading the report!

      It's not only that the seats are more generous on E-Jets, but also the windows. The windows are less oval shaped and more square-shaped so you really get a much more enjoyable view outside and less of the tin-can feel.

      The reflection of Red in the puddle was not intentional, just noticed it in the picture after the fast :)

      So far, all morning flights departing NKM give croissants (I think there are some flights out of FSZ that are too short and they offer something else). I have some mid-day flights coming up so I'm interested to see what they offer at that time. The night flights are always a chocolate brownie (next report will show this).

      The Sh'nan shot has that really nice blue/green shallow water effect.

      I really want to fly Pink or Sky Blue (yet to see this one yet, must mainly be operating out of FSZ).
  • Comment 146104 by
    jetsetpanda 2283 Comments
    I took the airport limousine operated by FDA (¥700). I picked it up at 6:15 in front of Nagoya Station.
    - The early bird gets the worm. Did you get yours? :P

    ..and head to the back of the plane where the 3rd FA also greets me and shows me to my seat.
    - Just like flying F.

    We were only going to have 8 passengers on the plane today.
    - Plenty of room to stretch out. Did it feel like you were in a private plane?

    They give me my coffee and then offer me an oshibori and ‘croissant’. Excellent catering for a domestic flight in Y.
    - Doesn't get better than this.

    Once again, the JH FAs have gone above and beyond the call of duty. I thank them profusely for their kindness and help before wishing them a safe trip back to NKM as a I deplane.
    - A great lasting impression. What a contrast to the interaction that I witnessed flying on AA J. A passenger was having trouble with her entertainment system and the first attendant told her to wait a moment while rebooting. Then a few minutes later a different one comes and after looking at it tells the passenger Now you broke it half jokingly.

    Fantastic shots and aerials as usual. Thanks for sharing Michael.
    • Comment 324778 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1972 Comments
      Thank you for continued support Adan!

      The early bird gets the worm. Did you get yours? :P
      The first bus leaves at 5:30am so I wouldn't know ;)

      Did it feel like you were in a private plane?
      It didn't really feel like a private plane because there was someone sitting right in front of me, which just killed the mood. I guess I could have moved, but they didn't recline so it wasn't an issue. So the FAs walking you to your seat has happened a couple of times, but usually when you board away from the mass hoard.

      Doesn't get better than this.
      That croissant would be $4 on a US domestic flight, I'm already coming out ahead :)

      A passenger was having trouble with her entertainment system and the first attendant told her to wait a moment while rebooting. Then a few minutes later a different one comes and after looking at it tells the passenger Now you broke it half jokingly.
      - This sounds a lot like my AZ experience! When my IFE stopped working, the FA just shrugged their shoulders and walked away without saying a word.

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