This series will cover a quick weekend trip on NH using UA miles. The goal of this series was to try several new products in the NH family while also going someplace new to me. This trip cost 10,000 UA miles (no tax/fees on NH award tickets) and I built a very non-direct routing to zig-zag my way to my final destination. I’ll reveal the segments as we go to add some suspense. So far we have…
This report will cover the trip from KUH back to CTS. There will be a Kushiro bonus at the end. This will be the last report in the series on NH metal.
After an excellent breakfast at the hotel, I checked out and walked to the bus center that is adjacent to Kushiro Station. Passing a police station on the way there, we are reminded how close Russia is to Hokkaido.
The bus stops at the bus center for about 5 minutes. There is a waiting area inside if you don’t want to sit out in the cold. The bus promptly leaves on time. I didn’t buy a ticket inside, so I just paid ¥940 exiting the bus at the airport, which again was about a 40-minute ride.
The bus drops us off right in front of the terminal. A nice and chilly morning here in Kushiro.
Some artwork outside of the terminal.
Heading inside, the NH counters are front and center.
The agent takes about 20 minutes to print off all three of my boarding passes. She has to manually check me in for each flight using my UA e-ticket number. Eventually, boarding passes are in hand.
On my way to the escalators up to the departures level, there is a small FIDS.
Some nice artwork in the departures level lobby.
There were some omiyage shops open and some seating areas outside of security.
Up on the 3rd floor, there were several closed restaurants and the observation deck. The complete flight operations at KUH. I should mention that the airport also sees a good amount of seasonal charter flights from places like Korea, Taiwan, China, etc.
Because of the slow check-in, I missed my plane arriving, but walking out onto the frigid deck I can see my plane sunbathing.
I quickly retreat back into the warmth of the terminal. The view of the departures level from the 3rd floor.
Kushiro is famous for its cranes and the ceiling is appropriately themed.
There is also a lot of artwork on the walls showcasing the Kushiro cranes.
I head back downstairs and go through the empty security line.
KUH is a standard Japanese airport. There are a bunch of seats in rows facing the tarmac with TVs playing various programs. There are no power outlets in sight and there is an ANA Festa that is open.
My plane out on the tarmac.
With still 10 minutes until boarding starts, I use the restroom and wander around the waiting room. In the corner, I find all of these booths. KUH doesn’t have regular international service, but in the summer months they get their fair share of Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese seasonal flights. These are their make shift immigration counters.
Boarding is called right on time. Surprisingly, both NH agents are males (not a common sight, but they do exist!).
Standard NH boarding protocol is followed and I head down with the general boarding call. Stairs to the tarmac.
The walk out to our beautiful Dash8.
She is snow white to blend in with background.
Our powerplant for today.
At the top of the stairs, a FA greets me in Japanese as I duck my head to enter the plane. My seat for today (taken on arrival).
The seats across the way.
Seat pitch is very generous; I can comfortably stretch out my legs with no issues (I’m 182 cm).
My view out the window will be blocked again.
Ahead of schedule, the front door closes and the engines roar to life. As we taxi to the runway, the FAs distribute blankets and do the safety demonstration.
Aligning onto the runway.
We take off a couple of minutes early to the north.
As we rise over the countryside, we make a sharp turn to head west.
The guy at the opposite window was filming the entire flight.
The seatback contents.
Safety card for this Dash8.
January issue of 翼の王国, which they just call Wingspan in English.
Specs on the Dash8.
Crossing over some mountains.
The FAs offer coffee and tea. I take coffee.
As we continue west, we get more and more snow.
Flying directly over Obihiro (帯広), we can see Otofuke (音更) to the north.
Crossing the Hidaka Mountains (日高山脈).
Picture of the cabin as we begin our descent.
We make a sharp turn to the right after crossing into the Pacific Ocean.
Making landfall over Yūfutsu (勇払).
Our landing gear drops down as we cross over some solar power fields and car parks.
We touch down well ahead of schedule.
We taxi around the airport before pulling into a remote stand. As we come to a stop, I can see a D7 A333 lifting off in the distance.
Deplaning, the FAs thank me for flying. Fuselage shot as I head down the stairs and into the bus.
The nose of our plane from the warmth of the bus.
A GK A320 on the other side of the bus.
They used 2 buses for our little Dash8, so there was plenty of space.
On the drive back to the terminal, I spot Pikachu lifting off for HND.
As the bus arrives at the terminal, we exit into the baggage claim.
I’ll leave off this series here as I begin my layover in CTS. Tune into the next segment for the continuation of the return journey, which will not be on NH metal and will be to a new airport for the site.
—————————— BONUS: So Kushiro in winter is not the most glamorous destination. In the winter, most of the trains are out of service so you are trapped in the city. It is definitely a place to go in the summer when you can enjoy the wildlife of the area. I came here to visit a friend and this was the best time to go based on my schedule. It was a long way to go just for a dinner.
The airport bus drops you off next to Kushiro Station, which is in desperate need of a makeover. This is one of the worst looking train stations I have ever seen in Japan.
After checking into my hotel, I walked downtown to meet my friend. It was around -10C with strong winds. Hence, there is no other person in sight even though this is a Sunday afternoon at 4pm.
Throughout the city, they have these bins so you can get some sand for traction in the winter since everything is frozen.
Also on my way, I came across Marathon’s car. This is definitely quite the party wagon.
The clock in downtown Kushiro, when its not freezing outside, this clock is actually covered with flowers.
A view of downtown Kushiro: the Nusamai Bridge (幣舞橋) crossing the Kushiro River (釧路川).
Kushiro Fisherman’s Wharf.
From the Nusamai Bridge (幣舞橋), I took in the sunset along the river.
Kushiro - KUH
Chitose - CTS
The return trip on the Dash8 was just as ordinary. It’s a comfortable ride with good service. NH operates good commuter routes.
Cabin comfort: The cabin is pristine and clean as one expects on NH. The seat pitch is really generous at 34” making it a very comfortable 30-minute flight. Engine noise/vibrations weren’t noticeable bad.
Crew: Above average NH crew on this flight. No English ability, but all smiles and friendly.
Meal and catering: Coffee and tea were both offered. Two passes were made, but since the coffee was hot, I couldn’t drink it fast enough in time for the second pass.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. No audio or overhead monitors. Just natural IFE.
On-time performance: We left early and arrived early.
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