I had to spend my remaining annual leave entitlement before the end of the year, and I decided to visit a friend who is temporarily living in Seoul. From there we would spend one weekend in Kyoto and then I would to Guam for some well deserved sun & beach holidays before making it back to the long and cold winter in Europe.
I flew with a combination of 4 different airlines, and 6 different aircraft types, the highlight being flying for the first time in two different Korean LCCs, T'way reported here and Jin Air.
The Observation Deck
Kansai Airport offers good spotting oportunities, and has a dedicated observation deck, though in order to get there you need to get on a bus which is free of charge. The bus departs from the passenger terminal every 20 minutes, and I do recommend it in case you have spare time before your flight.
The observation deck, has also a restaurant and an interesting shop, where the best selling items were airplane food!!! No matter how much an avgeek I am, but airplane food is definitely not the best this industry has to offer….
After visiting the shop, I headed to the terrace, where I would mingle with ¨la creme de la creme¨ of plane spotters in Osaka. I have to admit I felt a little bit out of place, with my iphone and my tiny lumix :)
This photo, pictures a dad with a big camera, an older son with a decent size camera, and the younger son, with an average camera. It´s nice to see how the love for aviation is passed on to younger generations ;)
Heading back to the terminal, I passed next to the rest rooms, and though I have to admit toilet signs were not politically correct, they were very funny indeed:
I was expecting something more spectacular, being a new airport built on a man made island in Japan, but that was 25 years ago and you can really tell its age.
Arrival from the train station:
View of the control tower:
Entrance to Terminal 1, where most airlines operate, Terminal 2 is a short ride away by shuttle bus and caters mostly to local low cost carriers:
Today departures in Japanese:
Heading towards the international departures floor:
Typical Japanese vending machines:
There were two T´way flights to Guam at about the same time, for some reason one of them checked in at the usual T´way check in counters and the other one at the very end of the terminal.
I did not have to wait in line to check-in but I had one of the lengthiest check-in experiences in my life. I was probably the only non Japanese passenger on the flight and the check-in agent couldn´t figure out whether I was allowed entry to the US without a visa, after checking every single stamp on my passport she asked me if I had a visa for the US, I explained her that most EU citizens do not need Visa, just Esta, but apparently I did not convince her and she called her supervisor, who took about 10 minutes to reach the counter, checked my passport again, checked some kind of booklet that they had and decided it was fine. Then I was asked for a hotel reservation and a departure ticket, before finally printing my boarding pass.
As a Priority Pass member I was able to visit Korean Air lounge which is landside. I do not like lounges which are landside, you always have to leave way earlier in order to clear security and immigration and find your way to the gate. The lounge is located in a kind of mall which was one floor below departures level.
Heading to the lounge:
Oops, seems the lounge is full and is not accepting Priority Pass guests…I´ll try anyway, 99% of the times, they let me go.
I´m in, I was jut told that due to limited space I should share my table with fellow passengers, no problem! The lounge is very small, with no windows and it was indeed crowded.
I did not stay long and decided to head to security:
After going through security and immigration I had to take a train to get to my gate.
I can´t believe how many different flavours of Kit Kat you can find in Japan :)
Nice views of the tarmac:
Japanese style farewell of Thai´s 350:
I can´t tell much about boarding, there was no sitting area next to the gate, so I sat around gate next door where I had no visibility of my gate. About ten minutes before the estimated boarding time I decided to check my gate and to my surprise they were announcing the last call.
Boarding was fast and easy, I was one of the last to board and I was seating at the front. When I got in I was greeted by the crew and to my surprise the loads were not very good. I had originally booked and aisle seat due to the length of this flight, but luckily I had a whole row to myself, so I upgraded myself to a window seat.
Seat pitch was quite reasonable, I´m just 1m70 but normally I can´t cross my legs in standard economy seats and I was able to do so in this T´way aircraft:
[ Inflight literature: Inflight magazine written mostly in Korean:
Duty free magazine with interesting items to buy, like some medicines :)
Buy on board options:
Taxi and take off: We departed on time for KIX, and as you may see our farewell was not as spectacular as the farewell to TG, I guess T´way pays the handling agent for a more simple farewell ;)
On Board service: This consisted in tiny glasses of water for free, with severall refills, and a bob service, but to my surprise in such a long flight they did not come around with the trolley, they just passed along the cabin several times with the bob catalogue and offering passengers to order items. I find this quite odd, as pax are more keen to buy if the see the products on the trolley. I can´t recall whether they sold many items, I did not buy anything as I have already eaten before getting on board.
Then immigration cards were distributed, the crew proactively handed me a landing card in English without having to ask for it:
Arrival in Guam: Descent was a bit bumpy as there quite a few clouds around and I was able to take pictures of the rainbow while approaching the island.
Apron activity in GUM, an interesting 727 freighter and a 747 freighter docked to a jet bridge:
I did not take any pictures from inside the terminal, I guess I was too excited to have arrived to paradise island :)
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Beautiful island with amazing empty beaches, though a little bit far from everywhere :)
KAL Business Class Lounge
Osaka - KIX
Guam - GUM
Nice flight with a nice airline that did the job of taking me from A to B, on time, safely and for a reasonable price of 150USD, booked just a few days in advance, with a checked in bag a premium seat selection!
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