Reviews, news & views from the top
Nov 20th 2019
FLYING TO JAPAN?
Who do I fly to Japan with? That’s a question I’m often asked. Turns out that one of my favourite airlines is not as well known in Australia as it should be.
Clearly I fly to Japan, for both business and pleasure, more often than most and because of that, I’m always looking for the best deals to get me there. However, after flying to Japan for over 35 years I’ve come to understand that sometimes the money I save on bargain flights ends up costing me more in delays, transfers and frustration due to service or lack thereof.
The last 5 or so years I’ve tended towards biting the bullet, particularly on business-related flights, and going with the airline with the best or most suitable product. It’s a given that I also have to feel safe with them. I don’t want a glam travel product without substance or security.
Apart from Virgin, who have only just launched their Japan routes from OZ, I’ve flown all available airlines with direct flights between Australia and Japan (Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda and Osaka’s KIX – Kansai International Airport) so just think of me as your test dummy for Japan flights (from Sydney, Gold coast and Cairns at least!)
As it happens, I used to work for JAL (Japan airlines) many (MANY) moons ago in their inbound travel subsidiary company – and obviously flew them often….I still love and respect them – they have a very comfy bus class product with good service.
Qantas is the home-town favourite for many ( I love them too but not for every territory necessarily) and Jetstar is the more affordable option and popular for that reason -but not as direct a flight for Sydney folk… plus, while I’ve had some decent, fuss-free flights to Japan with them over time there have been a few inconveniences regarding flight delays and miscommunications or lack of communication in the past – of course it may be much better these days and I’d happily give a direct flight from Sydney a go.
You might not be old enough to remember but All Nippon Airways used to fly to and from OZ during Japan’s ‘bubble time’ (think the late 80’s/early 90’s) but routes were stopped for many years until commencing again recently. I didn’t really fly them back in the day – hey, I was working for JAL so had no reason to – however, in the last few years I’ve been super lucky to have flown ANA a couple of times internationally (they also happen to be my carrier of choice for domestic Japanese flights too ).
Now – the funny thing is that when I recommend ANA (All Nippon Airways) to friends, customers and colleagues flying to Japan I’m often met with blank stares. ‘ANA – who are they?’ I reckon it’s about time more Japan travellers took a closer look at their options …
A couple of years ago I booked my husband and I on an economy flight to Tokyo and were randomly upgraded to business when we arrived at the airport (stoked!) and more recently I flew their business class again for work (full disclosure I did not pay for that flight).
I couldn’t fault any aspect of the flying experience on either occasion. Not only are the seats super-comfy, lay flat and private (great for night flights) , the service was fantastic both on the ground and in the air (as you would expect from a Japanese airline) and the onboard entertainment a good mix of English language and Japanese programmes and games etc.
What was perhaps most impressive of all – was the inflight dining – by far the best I’ve experienced in some time, anywhere in the world. And I’m a really fussy cow. There’s a choice of western or Japanese dishes – both beautifully executed and presented and generous. Plus there are Japanese snacks available throughout the flight and there’s sake to sip and Japanese tea and whiskey .. you know.. all the good stuff. Oh and the amenity kits are always chockers with really handy, quality stuff I actually use.
I know when I fly ANA I’m going to be looked after from airport to airport. Plus, as I’m a fan of starting my trip before I get on the plane, it feels right to me to switch to Japan mode as soon as possible and sustain the Japan experience for as long as I can… does anyone else feel that way??
Also – I prefer flying directly into Haneda (instead of Narita) when I’m heading to Tokyo so ANA has me covered there too.
In fact – in really great news – ANA have just increased their flights from Sydney to Haneda so, now that you know about them, there’s now more opportunities for you to find a seat – 7 days a week – either on a morning or evening flight – yay!! How’s that for choice. What’s more, there are now even more options for flying to long haul destinations from Oz via Tokyo with ANA – check out this NEWS JUST IN FROM ANA!
ANA to increase frequency on Sydney to Haneda route
All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be increasing the frequency on the Sydney to Tokyo (Haneda Airport) from next year with an additional daily daytime flight. Reservations and ticket sales are scheduled to begin in mid-December with the flight schedule and the start of service to be announced at a later date.
Ryo Sadayuki, Managing Director, Australia/Oceania Region & GM, Sydney said “A double daily departure from Sydney to Haneda will enable us to provide greater scheduling options for our customers from Australia and this is very good news given the growing popularity of Japan amongst Australian travellers.
“It is extremely exciting to move into the next stage of our growth from Australia and we look forward to welcoming more customers to experience ANA’s 5 star quality service.”
ANA has also recently launched daily direct flights from Perth to Tokyo which have been well received on the West Coast.
Sydney to Haneda double daily operations will generate more options in terms of international connections at Haneda Airport, particularly to and from USA and Europe.
Haneda Airport is key to building a comprehensive network of domestic connections, and ANA’s increased presence at the airport will aid inbound tourism and business travel beyond Tokyo itself.
ANA will also expand their International Network in 2020 by adding 5 new cities with the introduction of flights to Istanbul, Milan, Moscow, Shenzhen and Stockholm. This will be a part of the 12 new routes that ANA will serve out of Haneda Airport starting in 2020.
As part of its expanded summer schedule (March 29, 2020 – Oct. 24, 2020), ANA will offer new non-stop services from Haneda Airport to: Qingdao and Shenzhen+, China; Delhi, India; Milan, Italy+; Moscow, Russia+; Stockholm, Sweden+; Istanbul, Turkey + and San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C in the USA.
DID YOU KNOW ??
ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating every year since 2013 from SKYTRAX. ANA is the only Japanese airline to win this prestigious designation seven years in a row. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as “Airline of the Year” three times in the past 10 years – 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times. Not bad eh??