Good ___________ (fill with the current part of the day in your time zone).
Here I am again for another report on a Japanese domestic flight. This time, it is on the late AirAsia Japan which ceased its operation last October. And it is the return of the previous Jetstar Japan report. Here is the complicated routing I followed.
Fukuoka FUK – Tôkyô Narita NRT, AirAsia Japan JW8544, Airbus A32A
At the time of the flight, there was 3 pure LCC in Japan; Peach based at KIX plus AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan at NRT. Japanese regulations imposes the first shareholder of a Japanese airline to be Japanese, the first two are affiliated with ANA, the latter with JAL. AirAsia Japan is a joint-venture between ANA and the famous Malaysian AirAsia. To cut costs, the airline reservation system was based on the one used in the rest of Asia. But the Japanese market has some specificity: many people use off-line travel agencies or pay at the convenience stores. Moreover, not all the sections of the website were translated in Japanese. These short-cuts cost the airline with lower flight loads than the other 2 LCC. AirAsia decided to quit the joint venture and ANA considered its options: ending this LCC, continue alone or with partner under a new name or merge it with Peach. If you follow well enough airlines news, you probably know what the conclusion is… ;-)
After this short introduction about the LCC market in Japan one year ago. Unfortunately, I could not find the pictures I took of the check-in area. The next 2 pictures are also present in the outbound trip report but give a rough idea of the landside part of the domestic terminal.
FUK has its observation deck on the unique runway. Decks are always appreciated to spend time while watching ground operations and aircraft movements before boarding.
Local traffic today. ANA 772 at take-off, probably heading for HND
Embraer 175 from Fuji Dream Airlines. Each E175 from FDA has a different color as livery. Ok, not so complicated as they use only 7 aircrafts.
Those two are more reputed to use highly dense wide-body aircrafts on domestic route than to use regional planes.
JAL Express in its new livery.
Jetstar Japan ready for boarding with other regional jets. I did not know that Iberia Express was coming to Japan^^
Across the runway is the international terminal waiting for aircrafts.
Meanwhile, FDA was pushed back and come across a StarFlyer, a “low cost, high quality” airline or LCHQC^^ I should try it as they advertise a 36 inch pitch and personal IFE!
And to conclude, an ANA 767 during landing.
From the top, the shopping mall before the security screening.
Before going through security, the boarding pass has to be stamped by a JW ground staff ticking the sequence number on his list. As my identity has not been being checked, the boarding pass is my only travel document. My DL Skymiles card is only missing as DL offered last year 500 miles for domestic flights within Japan for its Japanese residents. It was a pain in the *** to claim those miles and I am still fighting…
You might have noticed the previous picture was taken in a “room forbidden to below 20 years old”.
Departures screen which looks pretty recent.^^
And finally, the boarding lobby.
Before boarding, it is still time to buy fish-based omiyage…
Poor activity at the gates, only an ANA 737 is waiting.
The JW aircraft is arriving at 13h54, 21 minutes before ETD.
“Ouatiszatt?” I should board an A320, not a B737! It is really an A320, the new model with sharklets!
Oh, you were not grounded that day, you!
After a quick and efficient deboarding of the previous PAX, it is now time to board as quickly and efficiently.
Window view with a sharklet. Looks like Jaws.
During the boarding process, let us have a look on the seat. Pitch cannot be described as generous.
I know, it is a LCC, I cannot expect high comfort. Nevertheless, there are 2 things I appreciate with this seat compared to the Jetstar one. Seat back is tougher and I do not feel the neighbor vertebra. And the seat pocket.
Seat recline. And the seat has some width while some European carriers are offering very thin seats and no-recline…
Unlike Jetstar, the on board magazine is completely bilingual.
The BoB carte with similar prices.
Safety demonstrations were performed in BOTH Japanese and English. Followed by taxi to the runway
And here we go! Realizing again how FUK is integrated within the city, unlike NRT, KIX, NGO or CTS.
The sky is cloudy but taking the plane, it is 99% chance to see the sun!
Some AirAsia frequent flyers may have noticed the mention ASML on my boarding pass. It is indicating I pre-ordered an Asian meal, in that case a bimbimbap which was good. The price was about 5 EUR back then and I find it to be pretty decent compared to on board catering prices of some transportation companies.
The quiet flight keeps going.
Difficult air2air with probably a JAL.
After the meal, it is coffee time. Powder coffee of course^^
Time now to visit the conveniences.
And view from the aft which is confirming the low flight load.
And from my seat.
While Tôkyô is approaching, clouds are appearing.
Choshi, East from NRT.
And lots of rice fields.
Kasumigaura lake, with Tsuchiura at its NW end and hence not too far from Tsukuba. 2nd largest lake in Japan with an area of 170 km² for the main lake.
Through the window, a big statue, the Ushiku Daibustu. Some may have noticed it during final approach at NRT.
You need lots of rice to feed Japan!
Still descending and the landscape is pretty green. NRT is a very greeny airport for one that is close from 23h to 06h…
Ah, the runway !
After a short taxi, PAXbus !
A last view of the sharklet.
After being off the bus, an escalator brings the PAX to the luggage belts.
Looks like Paris-Beauvais or any other airports served by Ryanair^^
No need to overstay, I only have a carry-on.
Exit in the domestic part of the T2, close to the Jetstar counters.
And now, a touristic bonus. Despite I am living quite far from Tôkyô in the countryside, there are still things to visit in my prefecture, like the Ushiku Daibutsu. The statue is 110 m tall, the third tallest in the world and the tallest Daibutsu in Japan. The face is 20 m, a hand 18 m and the overall weight is 4,000 metric tons, 40% of the Eiffel Tower which is three times taller. This Daibutsu represents the Buddha Amitâbha, doctrine transmission to achieve illumination.
And as it is placed under NRT air corridor, planes are never too far !
Thanks for having read!
Fukuoka - FUK
Tokyo - NRT
FUK: very convenient airport, in the city center accessible by subway if I remember. Smooth security check. The observation deck is a good point. Other than that, not much to do and the facilities look a bit old.
NRT: Still not convinced by this airport. The LCC luggage belt, I prefer not to comment.
AirAsia Japan: On-time performance: 5-10 min delay due to the late arrival of the aircraft. Comfort: I had the full row but I remain objective. The harder seat back prevent the back massage with my knees without removing comfort. But the pitch is too small for me. I cannot go over 5, except for an exit row. Catering: It was good. It was a bit weird to be only served the hot meal without an entrée or a desert and any beverage. Crew: much more friendly than on the outbound flight but nothing extraordinary.
In the end, a better impression with AirAsia. I am disappointed they made their initial mistakes that forced them to cease their operations. They have a “good” product and they had the cheapest advertisement price. Teasing teasing, ANA decided to pursue the NRT LCC under a new name and I should have tried it in less than a month!
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