Review of AirCalin flight Nouméa Tokyo in Economy

Airline AirCalin
Flight SB800
Class Economy
Seat 16A
Flight time 09:00
Take-off 26 Aug 19, 00:50
Arrival at 26 Aug 19, 07:50
SB 52 reviews
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By SILVER 590
Published on 13th September 2021

Hello and welcome on board this report, it's not really an up to date has this flight happened prior the pandemic and I finally draw a final point to this translation of my trip to New Caledonia.


introduction


All the routing has been reported on the french conterpart of the website, but from France, it's a long journey to go to New Caledonia.

Of course no direct flight are available, the easiest way from Paris is to take the Air France flight from Paris to NRT and then a short transit to take Air Calin's flight to Nouméa. This option is available in code share, and the timetable are designed for… KLM option is also available. But this shortest (22 hours of travel) options are really expensive, between 2200 and 2500€.

As we are living in Toulouse, it's mean at least a 2 stop journey… so I look for cheaper options, an option is available with Qantas with a terrible routing TLS-LHR-DXB-SYD-NOU 3 stops more than 32 hours of travel to save 200€… not a good option.
But 9 mounth before, I find a good price (650€) from Toulouse to Tokyo with Turkish Airlines, that's meet perfectly our holiday's date's

I just need to do a separate booking for the flights to Noumea , luckily the best price available for this second part of the routing fits well with our Turkish Airlines tickets. When I looked at the French site of Air Calin the return flight cost was around 1000 €, on the japanese couterpart 850€, and on expedia.jp just 780€… I can pay in yen without bank charges so we took our tickets with expedia japan.

So for less than 1500€ we can go to holidays on the other side of the earth and also visit some family members and friends who live there.
We also have one overnight stop in Tokyo, so we booked one hotel room close to the airport.

That's give's us the following routing: 



Before the covid crisis the Tokyo NRT line was the backbone of AirCalin's long ranges destinations operated daily by there brand new A330neo fleet. It's a vital link for the country has the majority of french citizen's use it to commute with France mainland.

Right now the situation is really different. New Caledonia is one of few territories that has avoid a massive covid spreading due to quick borders closure during the crisis early day's. Today New Caledonia's border are still closed and will remain closed at least till January 2022 some flight are still operated for cargo and for few authorized people that flew for mandatory reasons and respect a strict quarantine on arrival.

It will be the second report on Air Calin the other one is my outbound flight on board the now retired A330-200. Without surprise it will be the first report on SB new A330neo.


TATA Caledonia


Due to the departure schedule in the middle of the night it's on the late evening that I reach La Tontouta airport. Usually the car park in front of the airport is almost empty. But not on the Sunday evening ! The reason is really simple it's the single day of the week that the flight to Osaka is operated. So instead of one A330 to Tokyo you'll have 2 Airbus A330 operated from the airport in less than 30 minutes. Without surprise it's crowded inside the terminal.


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We reach the check in counter's. Osaka flight is on the end of check-in process. For our flight it's in progress. You can notice that some screen show Paris for the destination, our flight is on code share with Air France and most of the passengers will transfer to AF275 that will leave Narita to Paris CDG in the morning.


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The check in process was performed on an acceptable time lapse. Here is the boarding pass. After 3 weeks spent on the other side of the earth is time to say goodbye to our relatives. We are all very sad and we can't hide the tears rolling from our eyes.


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The security control took a very long time, not a surprise they are not design to handle this amount of passengers. Usually people are happy before flying a long haul flight excited to discover new horizons or simply getting back home after long holidays. Here it's not the case many student travelers are on board to spend a long study year far from there island and family. And for leisure travelers like me one of the best reason to go as far as Caledonia was to see the family for the first time since they live there. Keep in mind that 90% of travelers traveling to Caledonia was mainly to see relatives.

Air side there is a gift shop with island product and a small bar.


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There are two main gates equipped with jet bridges. When I took this picture the Osaka flight was on last call so there is enough space for a single flight.


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Our aircraft is at the gate and preparation for the flight is still in progress and it will be delayed by 15 minutes


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The Osaka flight is pushed back, it was operated by the only remaining A330-200. This aircraft was retired a month after this picture when SB receive is second A330neo.


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There is a smaller corridor with some remote gates used for regional flights.


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Another aircraft who's been withdraw from Air Calin's fleet this Airbus A320. Now the medium range fleet is composed of a single A320neo.


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Boarding is opened by the ground staff, and we are waiting just few minutes before scanning our boarding pass at the gate.


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Luckily the jet bridge has some glass walls that give's me a chance to introduce you "Kanuméra" the first Airbus A330-900neo delivered to Air Calin just 2 weeks prior this flight. The name Kanuméra is coming from a bay located on the famous Pins Island.


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on board Air Calin A330neo


Boarding operations where performed using only the 2L door. Business class is located in first rows between the two front doors. But to reach economy class you need to cross this small and nice Y+ section. I must admit that the design and colors of pillows looks great. The seat is the Zim Magic.


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If the Y+ has a green theme, the economy is colored in blue with also a nice design for the pillow. The model is the Zim flexible NG, not so usual to find this seat but it's really comfortable and smartly designed.


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Legroom is pretty good, there is also a retractable foot rest.


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Back of the seat equipped with Zodiac IFE (I will describe it later) and a folding tray table.


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Every seat is armed with a large and beautiful pillow plus a small blanket. There is also a small comfort bag filled with bad quality earphone, earplugs, and a comfy eye shad. 


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Boarding is now completed and without surprise at this end of school holidays the flight is stuffed.


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The new safety demonstration are displayed on IFE's this new version is interesting has it has been filmed on New Caledonia breathtaking landscapes. If you want you can find it on youtube


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We are finally pushed back 20 minutes behind schedule and we quickly start our way to runway 29.


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During the short taxi we can have a look on Air Calin maintenance hangar where the second A320 is parked.


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You can display the route on the IFE it's a long way to reach Japan and 99% of the flight will be other the Pacific ocean.


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Taxiway's doesn't cover the runway full length. It's necessary to backtrack a large part of it before take off. At the end of the airfield just after the fence there is a small car park with many cars flashing there lights to say a last goodbye to there relatives on board. You can notice that our A330 is equipped with a nose camera.


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The landing lights are switched to T/O mode. Engine are set to take off thrust and we are running on La Tontouta bumpy concrete. 


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We are easily in the air even if our take off weight should be around 200 tonnes. I found the engine pretty quiet even during take off and initial climb.


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During the departure cabin lights has been reduced.


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Then a pink mood lighting is used during the meal service.


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The menu is available on the IFE and I heard noise on the galley the first meal will soon being distributed.


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It's a snack bag, it's a good idea due to the departure scheduled in the middle of the night passenger who want to sleep can keep it for the flight. For the drink I took a local beer.


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I'm still really disappointed by the bag content. A lot of junk food and plastic. Almost no Caledonian products, crisps come's from Thailand. The apple probably from New-Zealand. It's a real shame when you have taste the wonderful exotic fruit produced in the island.


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After this small meal service it's time to sleep. It's around 2 A.M when cabin crew clear the tray table and switch cabin lights to night mode. We were here.


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I sleep pretty well on this comfortable seat when I wake up we were here


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And outside the sun has been up for a long time !


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Detailed view of the Rolls Royce trent 7000 engine. the size is huge if you compare it to the small Rolls trent 700, GE CF6 or P&W 4000 used on previous versions.


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And new shaped winglet with the SB logo, an hibiscus flower, painted on it.


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I have enough time to look at least a movie. Selection is not really impressive with just 43 films we are far from TK or EK IFE. Anyway the quality of the screen is good and I found some interesting new release. 


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The second meal is served, without surprise it's a breakfast. Even if the quantity is good for that kind of meal I'm a bit disappointed by the food quality. Ok it's airplane food but on the outbound flight the food coming from Japan was really tasty and it's clearly not the case here.


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If you find a fresh fruit or vegetable on the tray call me !


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Thanks to our front neighbors you can have a demo of the seat recline which is pretty good.


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Cruise is very smooth once again I'm impressed by the A330neo silence for me with this quiet and nice cabine + the configuration on 2x4x2 it's one of the most comfortable modern wide-body around the world.


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You can find some documentation on the seat pocket in front of you like the mandatory safety card and the on board magazine called "Altitude"


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Inside you have detailed information's regarding routes operated by Air Calin and a presentation of there new Airbus A330neo.


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The route is barely a straight line heading north … but sometimes our crew perform a light turn to avoid a cloud like this big cumulonimbus.


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The windows are now opened in cabin and crew's start to prepare the cabin prior to landing.


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Our descent as now started, and we have Japanese coast on sight !


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We are flying above the rice fields. The belly camera as also a good definition.


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This tower not far from the approach path is part of an elevator engineering plant.


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We are in sight of Narita airfield. What a big place ! Runway in use for landing is the 34R and is weird taxiways


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On the terminal 1 the ANA blue tails represent the majority. 


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But terminal 2 is occupied by JAL aircraft and it's One world partners like both MH and CX with multiple wide-body's at the gate.


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Finally at the Terminal 3 you can find low-cost carrier's like Jetstar Japan or Spring Japan. In front of the picture starting is flight back to Brunei an A320neo of Royal Brunei. 


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Morning arrival at narita


Landing & braking were smooth completing a comfortable flight.


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We have landed just after this Jeju air Boeing 737-800 coming from Daegu.


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We are almost at the end of the runway time it's time to vacate.


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And hopefully we were quick this A340-300 from Swiss has landed from ZRH barely 3 minutes after our flight.


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During the taxi we can have a look on some local airplane like this ANA B787 or this Vanilla Air A320.


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No doubt we are in NRT !


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Our gate is located on the bottom North of Terminal 1 next to the cargo terminal.


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And we are passing very close to big cargo plane like this UPS B767 freighter who will soon fly to Shenzhen China. Another one is this all white B747-400 freighter flying for Kalitta Air coming from Anchorage.


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Our ground staff is guiding the airplane in front of the gate, that allows me to show you the nose camera quality.


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And it's time to get out the airplane after a casual goodbye from the crew at the door.


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A window on the jetbridge allow me to take this picture of the nice raccoon mask painted around the aircraft windshield.


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During the walk to the arrival path I can took this last picture of our aircraft, see you Echo Oscar !


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There is some other A330ceo from Hong Kong Airlines ready to be pushed back.


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We are welcomed to Japan by all the Nintendo characters in the stairs to immigration counters.


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We were one year before Olympics and the mascots are printed on the airport walls. We were far to imagine that games will happen almost 2 years after this picture… 


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There was a long queue in front of immigration counters due to arrival of a huge amount of Chinese passengers before us. Even if many line are opened and a lot of people are here to help it took approximately 30 minutes. And it was worst after us with the arrival of 2 Boeing 777 from AF and KLM.

We didn't get any issue to get back our bags and to go threw the customs. We store our luggage into one of the multiple consigns available inside the terminal and we are ready to spend 11 hours in Tokyo !


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We get down to level -2 to buy our Narita Express tickets at the japan railway agency. Tickets are expensive but the service is really good and efficient. After a 50 minutes journey we are in Shibuya district located in Tokyo center.


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Hope you enjoy this "old" report introducing Air Calin new A330neo. Hope to see you soon with post pandemic reports. I which you safe & nice trips !

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Verdict

AirCalin

7.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering3.0

Nouméa - NOU

6.8/10
Efficiency6.5
Access5.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

Tokyo - NRT

7.6/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

It was a really nice flight on board Air Calin new flagship that really improve the quality of this special long haul line to New Caledonia.

Air Calin:
+ The A330neo comfort with really quiet and well design cabin
+ The high quality IFE + the window for a perfect entertainement.
- The food quality was very poor

Nouméa La Tontouta:
+ Some shops opened very late in the evening
- Terminal infrastructures not really designed to operate 2 simultaneously wide-body flights.

Tokyo Narita:
+ A really large amount of services available
- Far from Tokyo Center even the express train took 50 minutes
- Immigration process was very long this morning.

Information on the route Nouméa (NOU) Tokyo (NRT)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 8 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Nouméa (NOU) → Tokyo (NRT).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is AirCalin with 7.5/10.

The average flight time is 8 hours and 56 minutes.

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