Arriving at Tokyo Haneda using the airport limousine bus, we proceeded to the ANA check-in counters and was attended to in no time at all. Haneda airport is busy at this time though I still found the time to show my parents some of the snacks shop around the departure hall that sold all kinds of wonderful boxed treats suitable for souvenirs and gifts. Do not ever forget to visit them and ask for samples when passing through Haneda in the future!
ANA Pokemon jet at Haneda
With our boarding pass on hand, we proceeded past security check which was hassle-free and took a leisurely walk along the departure concourse. As we approached our boarding gate, I was pleasantly surprised to note that we would be boarding one of the special ANA jets that was painted in the Pokemon livery. Since my brother is a huge Pokemon fan when he was growing up, this would be a flight worth remembering and posting about even if it is in Economy class! As noted online, most of the Pokemon flights usually serve the Tokyo-Sapporo and Tokyo-Okinawa route but since there are multiple flights a day, it was indeed lucky for us to get seated on one of these jets when we did not plan for it!
Boarding the Pokemon jet
We arrived at the boarding gate just as they were preparing to board and noticed the flight was pretty full. Needless to say there was a lot of excitement amongst both adult and younger passengers upon knowing they would board this special flight! This plane is not fitted out in the new 'Inspiration of Japan' seats, and instead features the older seats with thicker padding. However the headrests are all covered with a Pokemon theme while the stewardess would start to add Pokemon aprons while serving passengers for the complimentary beverage service.
Pokemon headrest on all seats
Like all domestic aircraft configurations, the seat arrangement was in a 3-4-3 pattern onboard the Boeing 777 aircraft. Not a problem for a flight a little bit in excess of 1 hour. Even with the older seats, there was still lots of smiles from passengers and crew members alike. Seated in front of me was a family with a young child who was obviously excited to be onboard this Pokemon themed airplane. It was not long after boarding is completed and we took off on a northerly route.
Inflight consommé and menu
Shortly after the seatbelts sign were turned off, the crew got around to serve the complimentary beverage which included juices, coffee, tea or the beef consommé. They were also pleased to cater more than one cup for each passenger as me and my brother got both the consomme and a cup of juice. The Pokemon theme continued with the characters featured on the small cups and the overhead monitors showing Pokemon cartoons.
Snacks and Pokemon cups
In addition to the complimentary beverage, I bought some limited edition snacks featured during the summer menu. While I was disappointed not seeing the <a href=http://quirrow.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/from-mountains-to-beaches-all-nippon-airways-hnd-cts/>Yuzu Honey beverage I had</a> during my winter flight to Sapporo, I got to try 2 interesting snacks. Again I noticed the cute packaging on these 2 snacks which is probably meant to cater for kids on holidays with their families during the summer months. I got a box of the Baby Pretz in a brown sugar (Kuromitsu) flavour which consists of 2 small bags within as well as a trio of cube sweet potato snacks. And with these snacks and the fantastic consomme, I was enjoying the rest of the short flight.
ANA 'Peace Jet' postcard
Just before our descent and after the crew have cleared the used cups and snack boxes from the tray table, the crew walked around the cabin distributing a postcard featuring the Pokemon 'Peace Jet'. While they were giving them mainly to small kids, I was able to ask for them as a memento of this flight.
Descent into Sapporo
The descent into Sapporo was wonderful due to the sunset and as we circled down through a cover of clouds over the city. An uneventful landing and a short taxi later, we were able to disembark and take more photos of the airplane from a vantage point at the terminal. From this experience, I can totally tell why it would make sense to have special themed flights on airlines especially when they cater to leisure family travellers since they build some sort of excitement before the flight and create a more jovial cabin atmosphere!
ANA Pokemon jet at Sapporo New Chitose airport
Tokyo - HND
Chitose - CTS
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