Review of ANA flight Matsuyama Osaka in Economy

Airline ANA
Flight NH 1646
Class Economy
Seat 9A
Aircraft Boeing 737-500
Flight time 00:50
Take-off 07 Feb 16, 16:00
Arrival at 07 Feb 16, 16:50
NH   #6 out of 101 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 205 reviews
NGO85
By 1389
Published on 17th February 2016
Background:

This series will cover a quick daytrip on NH using UA miles. The destination this time will be Ehime Prefecture (愛媛県), which is located on the island of Shikoku (四国). Please refer to Part 1 for the background on this series. As a reminder, the routing is:

Part 1 – NGO-MYJ [NH 1821, Bombardier DHC-8-400, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13256.html
Part 2 – MYJ-ITM [NH 1646, Boeing B737-500, Economy] – You are here

This report will cover the trip from MYJ to ITM. The tourist bonus was split between the two reports. At the end of the previous report was the bonus on Uchiko (内子) and at the end of this report will be a bonus on Matsuyama (松山).



Pre-flight:

I’ll pick up this series as I head towards the airport after exploring Matsuyama Castle. The tram is very easy to use and provides quick access to Matsuyama JR Station. The tram is a flat rate ¥160/ride (day passes are also available). Unfortunately for me, the trams were running late because of the marathon and I missed the airport bus from Matsuyama JR Station. As I got off the tram, I saw the bus pulling away. Since it was going to be 40-minutes until the next bus and my plane was leaving in 55-minutes, I really didn’t have a choice but to take a taxi. The taxi ride is 15 minutes (same as the bus) and costs ¥1770 (flat-rate).

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Arriving, I headed over to the NH check-in counters. I had tried to call and book a seat for this flight, but for some reason, this flight could not be reserved. I think it is because different 737s get cycled onto this route so they do not know if it will be operated by a B735, B737, or B738 until the day of. I asked for a window seat, and she said there was one left (this is important information for a reason you will see later…).

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With ticket in hand, I head up to the observation deck. A view of the check-in area from above where there are shops and a stained glass window of みかん. This part of Japan is famous for its citrus fruits.

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Aerial view of the departures lobby. If you look closely, you can see my NH crew heading through the security line. They will probably be starting a MYJ-ITM-XXX-ITM routing this evening.

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The observation deck at MYJ.

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I’ve always wanted to fly one of these, a JL Saab 340B.

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My plane had just arrived from OKA. It confirms that we will be aboard a Super Dolphin today. The scratches on this plane are battle scars from its 20-years of NH service.

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The JL Saab 340B taxis off and takes off for FUK.

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Back inside, I clear the empty security line beneath the FIDS.

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MYJ is a standard domestic airport. The waiting area is comprised of rows of seats facing the tarmac with TVs playing various programs. There are no power outlets.

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There are both a JL Sakura Lounge and ANA Lounge at MYJ. I didn’t have time to pop into the ANA Lounge before my flight was called to board. But if you have read my other domestic reports, you can probably guess what it looks like inside.

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This JL CRJ-200 arrived from ITM while boarding was starting for my flight.

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——————————-

All Nippon Airways, NH 1646
Equipment: Boeing B737-500 [JA303K, delivered April 1998]
Departure: 16:00 (ATD: 16:01)
Arrival: 16:50 (ATA: 16:40)
Flight time: 0:39


Boarding was called on time and the normal NH protocol was followed: special assistance, NH Diamonds, NH/*A elites, and then general boarding. Thank you note heading into the jetbridge.

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From the windows on the jetbridge, I can get a better shot of the JL CRJ-200. Another funny thing happened then, because the pilots were watching me take the picture from the cockpit. When I noticed they were looking at me, they both waved at me. At least the pilots were friendlier than the crew on this flight.

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Log jam at the entrance.

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Blankets and candies were laid out in the galley boarding. The FA in the galley didn’t really look happy and just said something to every 3rd person. Reaching my seat, I’m reminded of how bad the seat pitch is on the B735s.

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My candy and blanket.

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And the disappoint of all disappointments, I was sold a lemon of a window seat. No wonder that this was the last window seat to be claimed…

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Seatback contents.

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Safety card for this B735.

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BOB Menu for February.



The front door closed on time. We get pushed back as the FAs do the safety demonstration in Japanese. The ground crew wave us goodbye.

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A child in a blue jacket at the playground next to the taxiway also waves us goodbye.

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We align on to the runway…

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… and we are off!

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We immediately make a U-turn to head east towards ITM, which provides excellent aerial views of Matsuyama and MYJ.



We cross back over downtown Matsuyama.

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Mt. Takanawa (高縄山).

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Imabari (今治) and the Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge (来島海峡大橋), which is the world’s longest suspension bridge.

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Continuing our trek over the mountains of Shikoku.

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While I’m taking these photos, the FA just passes me by with the drink cart so I have to get her attention to get served. Even though this flight is just 39 minutes (shorter than NGO-HND), there was a full drink selection. My coffee on this flight.

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The cabin after the drink cart passes.

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Our wing.

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Following along the Yoshino River (吉野川) near Awa (阿波).

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We exit Shikoku over Tokushima (徳島) with the Ōnaruto Bridge (大鳴門橋) in the background. If you look really closely at this photo, you will notice something white just above the bridge. If I blow up this photo, it is an EK B777 in its approach to KIX.

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After crossing the Kii Channel (紀伊水道), we pass into Honshu over Wakayama (和歌山).

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Aerial of KIX as we pass by.

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Reaching Ōsaka (大阪).

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Aerial of Yao Airport (八尾空港).

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The sun sets as we descend over downtown Ōsaka.

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My best attempt at getting a shot of Ōsaka Castle (大阪城).

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Downtown Ōsaka.

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Crossing the Yodo River (淀川).

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We drop into ITM 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

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We taxi over to the NH side of the airport and pull into a gate next to a NH Dash8.

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During deplaning, I see a JL ERJ-170 landing.

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The cabin deplaning.

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Faint thank you from the FA as I head out into the terminal.

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A friendly reminder on the moving walkway.

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Down into the baggage claim and out towards the buses.

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The bus from ITM to Shin-Ōsaka costs ¥500 and takes 25 minutes. You need to buy a ticket before boarding the bus at the vending machine or at the ticket office. The buses leave every 10 minutes so quite efficient and I was on the bus by 16:54 (ETA of my flight was 16:50).

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Safety card on the bus.

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New carriers serving KIX in the seatback magazine on the bus. I’ve never heard of Okay Airways (BK) before so that was an interesting read.

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I’ll leave off this series here as I arrive at Shin-Ōsaka to take the Shinkansen for the short ride back to Nagoya.






———————————-
Bonus: After returning to Matsuyama by train from Uchiko, I took the tram into the city. I got off at Kencho Mae (県庁前), which is right in front of the Ehime Prefectural Office (愛媛県庁).

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Some fresh oranges that were ripe for the picking at the Prefectural Office.

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The main site in Matsuyama is the castle, which is located within Shiroyama Park (城山公園).

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It’s a pretty steep hike up through the woods to access the castle, but you could be lazy and take the ropeway. The views along the hike are worth it alone.

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Reaching the outer walls.

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Kakure Gate (隠門続櫓).

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The walk to the castle affords nice views over the city from the wall.

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Spring is in the air.

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Reaching the castle, we are welcomed by よしあきくん, who creepily looks like a cross between Mario (from Nintendo) and a samurai.

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Since Matsuyama Castle is one of the few castles retaining its original structure, you are reminded that there are no bathrooms inside.

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The main tower.

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The inner courtyard.

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Inside of the castle is various historical exhibits, but you also got the chance to dress up as a samurai.

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The views from the top of the castle are nothing short of stunning.



I find this a little bit surprising to see, but Matsuyama Castle was voted the “Best Castle in Japan” in 2014. I guess with Himeji’s reconstruction that might be possible.

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A walk through the park outside of the castle and we can see that the cherry blossoms are almost ready.

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The path I took down from the castle was a little bit more aggressive.

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Reaching the base of the castle, I find myself near the finish line of the marathon. These runners were treated to perfect marathon conditions (cool and sunny) and afterwards could partake in some local food offerings.

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The moat surrounding Shiroyama Park.

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See more

Verdict

ANA

5.4/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering6.5

Matsuyama - MYJ

8.4/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Osaka - ITM

9.2/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

A ‘functional’ domestic flight aboard NH. Nothing great with regards to cabin comfort or crew. But I got drink service, great aerial scenery, and an early arrival. Nothing great, but it got the job done.

Cabin comfort: The B735s are not my favorite plane to fly. They look old, they feel old, and the pitch is close to LCC. The seat is comfortable enough for 1 hour flight, but getting a seat with no recline was not great. Middle seat remained empty.

Crew: A below average NH crew. They did their jobs with a fake smile. Didn’t really seem warm or cheery.

Meal and catering: Full drink options, which is good for a short flight like this (<40 minutes). NH candies were available upon boarding in a basket (this is true for about 10-15% of flights).

Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. No audio or overhead monitors. Just natural IFE, which was excellent once again.

On-time performance: We left on time and arrived early.

Related

16 Comments

  • Comment 157896 by
    Flytak 151 Comments

    Hi, and thanks again for this nice FR. Well, my feelings on your ANA flight were mixed while reading. ANA crew service is not as constant as it was before! B737-500 which shows its age, and non reclining seat. ANA BOB completely useless for me...unless when wanting a beet, but still full drink service... ANA is still doing it job on this short flight but nothing more to add on this flight!
    Your pictures and also your bonus are far more interesting! Nice insight of Matsuyama a city I like with one of the most famous onsen in the city Dogo Onsen. You should definitely go there next time if you have not been there!

    • Comment 335159 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for your comments Flytak!

      ANA crew service is not as constant as it was before!
      - I find the ANA Wings domestic crews to be really young. I don't know if this plays a role (since ANA Wings has their own crew, they seem to dilute the NH image?). I flew JL this weekend up to CTS and the JL crews were all much more mature and polished (this similar to what I see on real NH flights like I get on OKA flights).

      ANA BOB completely useless for me...unless when wanting a beer
      - 100% agree, nothing in there tempts me. I've only ever seen people buy beer so you seem to be on the right track ;)

      Nice insight of Matsuyama a city I like with one of the most famous onsen in the city Dogo Onsen. You should definitely go there next time if you have not been there!
      - For a daytrip, there was not time to go to Dogo Onsen. I opted to see Uchiko instead.

  • Comment 157917 by
    marathon SILVER 9602 Comments

    Sorry for the missed airport bus; the taxi fare was fortunately not quite that for a downtown - NRT trip :)
    What a wonderful weather ! you made the most out of it for us ;)
    I was expecting far worse than a non-reclining seat (the 738 has an infamous non-window seat, but this was a 735).
    The crew did not seem THAT bad either, from the little you mentioned (come to Europe to find out what you get when you draw the unlucky FA lottery number ;)
    What would be Shikoku without its みかん !
    Superb pictures on the ground and in the air. Not only you caught an EK B777 above the Straits of Naruto, but also hints of the whirlpools - among the strongest on Earth and well worth the tourist boat ride if you time it right according to the tide.

    Thanks for sharing !

    • Comment 334993 by
      marathon SILVER 9602 Comments

      PS : I know from experience that marathon runners are a hopeless nuisance when they congregate. Thanks for your understanding ! ;)

    • Comment 335157 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      I wasn't going to mention it, but the reason why I didn't take an earlier tram was that I wanted to leave the park from a different exit but it was blocked by a bunch of marathoners laying around... :P

    • Comment 335158 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      I was expecting far worse than a non-reclining seat (the 738 has an infamous non-window seat, but this was a 735).
      - The B735 also has a missing window seat (I guess I should be glad I wasn't that guy!), I think it is 6A/F on the B735s.

      The crew did not seem THAT bad either
      - For NH standards it is below par. For AF standards, I do not know, since I have never flown AF before :P They were on par with AZ crews though^^

      Not only you caught an EK B777 above the Straits of Naruto, but also hints of the whirlpools - among the strongest on Earth and well worth the tourist boat ride if you time it right according to the tide.
      - That sounds like a real test for my sea legs. I can handle most ferry rides pretty well, but don't particularly like wild rides on the open seas ;)

      Thanks for all of your comments Marathon! (I had read the KE/GA reports in French, but I will comment on the English ones soon)

    • Comment 335176 by
      marathon SILVER 9602 Comments

      You probably heard of the infamous AF crew lottery, where some FAs stand out as very very good, or conversely very very bad. They seem to have either retrained or gotten rid of many bad numbers, though: there has been much fewer stories of sorry AF crew members in the past couple years.

      In fair weather conditions, you should not worry about the comfort of the Naruto whirlpools boat ride. The boats are big enough to smoothly get close enough to the whirlpools to provide an excellent view of them and let you appreciate the speed of the currents too. Mrs Marathon enjoyed the ride, and she is very easily sea-sick. You would have a hard time posting a hair-raising FR bonus out of it :)

  • Comment 157944 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    When I noticed they were looking at me, they both waved at me. At least the pilots were friendlier than the crew on this flight.
    - Always nice to encounter a friendly crew. This was so different from my experience when I took a picture of a TK plane and the pilot sitting at the cockpit just stared.

    I was sold a lemon of a window seat. No wonder that this was the last window seat to be claimed…
    - Since you were departing from an area famous for its citrus fruits, this is somewhat fitting. :P Also, your inflight crew was somewhat sour.

    Superb aerials and landing shots at KIX.

    Some fresh oranges that were ripe for the picking at the Prefectural Office.
    - Did you pick some and made an impromptu picnic? ;)

    Reaching the castle, we are welcomed by よしあきくん, who creepily looks like a cross between Mario (from Nintendo) and a samurai.
    - It's a ginger samurai! Maybe Mario spent some R&R in Japan some time ago.

    Thanks Michael for sharing another awesome FR.

    • Comment 335156 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      This was so different from my experience when I took a picture of a TK plane and the pilot sitting at the cockpit just stared.
      - Some people like their jobs and some don't...

      Also, your inflight crew was somewhat sour.
      - You are so punny! I should have also been served the NH kabosu drink!

      Superb ... landing shots at KIX.
      - Right city, wrong airport ;)

      Did you pick some and made an impromptu picnic? ;)
      - There were guards there, so I didn't think they would approve of me stealing fruit. Those could probably be sold for $10 a pieced based on the ridiculous fruit prices here.

      It's a ginger samurai! Maybe Mario spent some R&R in Japan some time ago.
      - Jumping and hitting boxes is hard work, he needed some time at the onsen.

      Thanks for stopping by Adan!

    • Comment 335171 by
      jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

      Right city, wrong airport ;)
      - Oops, I meant ITM. :P

  • Comment 158026 by
    aussenrist 224 Comments

    Excellent spotting throughout the report with superb weather and sunset!!!! ^^

    Although both are domestic lounges, the ANA lounge entrance design is much better than the JL one, where the latter one looks like an emergency exit LOL

    Another very average domestic flight experience. The plane looks very old with old cabin design (those seats remind me the seats on UA 747s). IMO the FA is below NH level. Luckily no seatmate next to you (a compensation to your non-recline seat :P)

    Thanks for introducing Matsuyama and great view from Matsuyama Castle. It seems that Shikoku is not very cold in Feb (?) as I see the blossoms. Shikoku is not a popular travel place for HK people. Besides the major cities, they mostly travel to Shirakawa and Otaru only…

    BTW thanks Michael for sharing this report and look forward to your next series!

    • Comment 335155 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      the ANA lounge entrance design is much better than the JL one, where the latter one looks like an emergency exit LOL
      - After you have seen the inside of a Sakura Lounge, you want that to be an exit door! Having the fire extinguisher there doesn't help the image... I find most of the Sakura Lounges to look very yellow and tired looking. NH has revamped all their lounges to be more chic (even if the food/drink offerings remain poor).

      The plane looks very old with old cabin design (those seats remind me the seats on UA 747s).
      - These planes feel very, very old. Look at the wing!!! It is a solid hunk of metal.

      IMO the FA is below NH level.
      - For Japanese standards, they are below average. But for global standards, they are still above average!

      It seems that Shikoku is not very cold in Feb (?) as I see the blossoms. Shikoku is not a popular travel place for HK people. Besides the major cities, they mostly travel to Shirakawa and Otaru only…
      - It has been an unseasonably warm winter this year (recently very cold). My photos may be misleading, it was 12C that day (low around 2C). I was in Otaru yesterday and there were so many people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China!!!

      Thanks for all of your nice comments and continued support!

  • Comment 158063 by
    Chibcha 436 Comments

    The arrival at ITM pictures were mind blowing!

  • Comment 158146 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    It was unfortunate that you missed the bus to MYJ :(.

    Nice to see some Swedish planes in Japan, great shots of that little Saab 340B!

    The scenery is absolutely stunning with all of those mountains.

    Excellent shots of Matsuyama and its surroundings.

    Your beautiful aerial shots almost made me forget the actual flight. Thankfully you only had to spend 39 minutes on this cramped seat without recline. It seems like crews can be a hit or miss with NH but you've flown with them a lot so bad crews will show up every now and then.

    Absolutely fantastic shots upon arrival at ITM, nice catch of the EK 777.

    Thank you for the wonderful bonus!

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 335153 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for all of your comments!

      It was unfortunate that you missed the bus to MYJ :(.
      - I was playing with fire, I should have taken the earlier tram knowing the marathon was slowing down city traffic. Thankfully MYJ is pretty close to the city center so it wasn't as bad as what other airports could have cost.

      Nice to see some Swedish planes in Japan, great shots of that little Saab 340B!
      - Yep, JL still operates them. I haven't been on one since 2008 when NW used to operate them out of DTW!

      The scenery is absolutely stunning with all of those mountains.
      - All of Shikoku is very mountainous, Kochi had a very similar scenery.

      It seems like crews can be a hit or miss with NH but you've flown with them a lot so bad crews will show up every now and then.
      - For a NH crew, they weren't good, but if you compare them to crews on other carriers, they'd probably be good! A 6 is a fair rating, not great, not bad.

      Absolutely fantastic shots upon arrival at ITM, nice catch of the EK 777.
      - Too bad it is really hard to focus for air-to-airs. They seemed really low for their approach.

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