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Japan spotting trip

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  • Japan spotting trip

    With all my flying/credit card spending over the last couple of years, my FF account was looking pretty healthy so i decided a spotting trip to NRT was in order. The roundabout route was bought by because of the massive points difference in booking the reward out of SYD rather than MEL, so i paid for the flight between the two.

    QF494 - VH-ZXA
    STD/ATD: 2100/2058
    STA/ATA: 2220/2214
    Seat: 1K

    Once again arriving early for this flight, i was asked to take an earlier flight. After about 10mins i was still on the same flight. An earlier flight meant less drinking time so i was keen to keep my current flight. Knowing i would not be getting another Upgrade credit for a while, i decided to use the one i already had for an upgrade from my Red E-Deal fare. Unfortunately for me my aircraft would tonite again be -ZXA, which seems to follow me whenever i fly the MEL/SYD route. And as usual, there was something wrong with the aircraft. This time it was my seat which decided it would recline whenever it wanted. Dinner this evening of a beef, pasta and coriander salad. Washed down with a few beers and topped with a raspberry brownie, it capped of the evening nicely. We arrived into a warm Sydney and i made the trek to the Formule 1 to catch a few zzzz's before an early morning wakeup call.

    QF500 - VH-VXD
    STD/ATD: 0605/0603
    STA/ATA: 0630/0624
    SEAT: 1A

    After about 4 hours sleep and with hangover in tow, it was a slow walk back to the domestic terminal. After heading to the domestic checkin i was then directed to a counter for domestic passengers with international connections. It seemed like this line contained most of the passengers for the morning. After 15mins in the line i had my boarding pass to BNE with bags checked to NRT, but would have to pickup my BNE-NRT boarding pass once in BNE. I always enjoy flying the 738 and this morning it was made more pleasant by the lovely lady in the seat next to me. The usual hot breakfast was brought out with bacon, sausage, tomato and a frittata.

    Upon arriving at in BNE a quick hop across to the International terminal on the Skytrain to pick up my boarding pass and then it was out for a touch of spotting. (Thanks Beau)

    JA762/QF369 - JA8131
    STD/ATD: 0930/0922
    STA/ATA: 1720/1705
    Seat. 2k then 12k

    I was welcomed to the aircraft with a bow from the FA's before my coat was taken and i was shown to my seat. Newspapers and all the usual stuff handed out and we took of on rwy 01 after a longish roll. About 15mins into the flight the FA serving my area asked if i would like to take another seat further back with 2 seats to myself which i of course took up. It certainly felt a lot less crowded back there than in the nose. The main meal service was soon being prepared with both Western and Japanese options available. I chose the western which was as follows:

    Prawn with smoked salmon
    Prosciutto ham with melon

    Main choice
    Fillet of beef with thyme and rosemary sauce
    Penne pasta with tomato olive sauce

    Fresh salad
    Special bread or steamed rice
    Fresh fruits

    Double chocolate chip cake
    Fruit tarte
    Blueberry almond tarte
    Japanese sweet

    Coffee tea
    Petits fours

    The food was superb indeed. It was all topped with some great Japanese beer. Drinks on this flight were never at a shortage. The very attentive FA's would check if you would like another before you had even finished the first. My main concern about flying the older 742 which was the lack of decent entertainment was relieved soon after dinner. While Sharks Tale was being shown on the main screen, J pax were offered personal DVD players with a choice of Japanese and English movies. A couple of movies later and we were on descent into NRT. This would be what seemed like the longest approach i had even been on. We landed on 34L with the ANA 773/ER behind us and we taxied to a remote stand at Terminal 1, before being taken by bus to terminal 2. A half an hour wait at immigration/customs and i was soon on the bus to the Marroad Hotel for my first couple of nights.

    ANA013 - JA8955
    STD/ATD: 0700/ 0659
    STA/ATA: 0800/0756
    Seat: 12A

    In the attempt to fly a 747SR, a quick trip to Osaka was in order. I arrived early enough for my flight and checkin at the Star Gold counter was very painless. I was given a bulkhead seat for my flight down and an emergency exit for my return later that morning. A quick visit to the Signet lounge which lacked anything resembling food and i was soon boarding our 744. Upon boarding i was given an english newspaper and squeezed my aussie but into the tight seats. The camera in the nose wheel provided a great view on departure especially of the takeoff of the JAL 777 in front of us. Our departure gave us some great views of Tokyo city and before long the FA's swung into action and were serving a round of drinks. I spent most of the flight trying to make sense of the infight shopping guide all in Japanese. Very soon we were on approach to ITM and once again the nose wheel camera provided a great view.

    Upon landing it was off to find one of the observation decks for some spotting.

    ANA022 - JA8174
    STD/ATD: 1100/1100
    STA/ATA: 1200/1217
    Seat: 11K

    This flight was meant to be a 747SR but was instead a 742. Can't complain about that though, there is no chance to fly a -200 in Australia. Boarding was slightly delayed but we still pushed back right on time. For some reason on this flight a lot of people were asking for blankets. Couldn't be cold surely?? Another drinks service the same as on the way down and again the inflight shopping was being flogged. We made a spectacular approach over the city and landed on 14L. HND is certainly an excellent airport to fly in and out of as far as views go.

    JL761/QF360 - JA812J
    STD/ATD: 2135/2130
    STA/ATA: 0715/0649
    Seat: 5K

    As i was booked on the Qantas codeshare for this flight, i was able to check in over 4 hours before the flight as QF checkin all of their flights at the one set of desks. This allowed me plenty of time to do some shopping and put the much talked about beer machine through its paces in the JAL Sakura lounge.

    Our flight was boarding form the main part of terminal 2 and upon reaching the boarding gate saw the flight was going to be full of school children. I was suprised upon boarding the aircraft to find no galley or bulkheads between the nose section and the forward J cabin. It certainly looked good and gave the cabin a very open feel.

    A long taxi from terminal 2 to 16R and after a short wait we were off into the turbulent skies. The seat belt sign stayed on for about the first 25 mins of the flight and we felt some more bumps after that. Soon enough our meal for the flight was being served.

    Mille-feuile of foie gras and roasted duck breast with fruit chutney
    Marinated shrimp with onion pimento confit

    Cold green pea soup “saint-germain”

    Main dish
    Grilled fillet of beef with green herb butter, Madeira sauce
    Stuffed sole with dill fish mousseline, low fat saffron cream sauce

    Fresh salad
    Special bread or steamed rice

    Puff cake
    Chocolate roll cake
    Grapefruit mousse
    Ice cream

    Petits fours

    Food again was great. JAL could certainly teach a few other airlines a thing or two about food. When most people had finished thier meals, the cabin lights were dimmed and i nodded off for what would be my longest sleep ever on a plane (over 4 hours). Maybe it had something to do with my abuse of the beer machine back in the lounge?? An hour and a half out of Brisbane the lights were again turned on and some sort of meal that was neither a snack or breakfast was served. It was good whatever it was.

    Landing in Brisbane greeted us with some long lines at immigration with EK, QF and SQ having landed in front of us. Msot of the people on our flight waited for their bags at the designated carrousel while the bags were actually coming out on another. Somebody forgot to change the flights on the monitors!! Through customs and it was off to checkin for my flight to SYD and then onwards to MEL.

    QF517 - VH-EBA
    Seat: 1A

    This flight gave me a chance to see what idiots some people can be when they fly. I was one of the first to board and seated in row 1 let me watch most of the rest of the pax boarding. The amount of people that got on and for some reason thought there seat in row 35 would be right at the front of the aircraft was amazing. They were then upset they would be right near the back! What number do these people think the seats start at. Row 30??

    Soon after out departure from rwy 19, a hot breakfast was served. Very similar to the breakfast on SYD-BNE except sub the frittata for a quiche. Another long descent into SYD with a holding pattern in the middle for good measure and we arrived at the gate only 7 mins late.

    QF435 - VH-TJO
    Seat: 1D

    About this point i was starting to get the feeling i didnt want to have to take another flight. Still, it was the quickest way home. I had the window seat but upon boarding some twat was already sitting there and he politely asked if we could swap. Figuring there would be nothing to look at anyway with all the cloud around i agreed. During the flight though this twat decides he is going to pull the shades down and read his book. He could have done that in the bloody aisle seat. Another airline meal and this time it was one of QF's better efforts with some chicken and rice combo thingy. Washed down nicely with a couple of crown lagers and in no time at all we were on out gate.

    Overall an excellent trip. I will certainly take the JAL option to NRT again out of BNE over the direct QF flights out of MEL or SYD. IT is certainly worth the extra $$$.

    I hope you enjoyed the read.


  • #2
    Thanks for the trip report ! . . . It truly does increasingly surprise me how travelers can be when flying *sigh* . . .
    Steve J. Garrod

    Seattle, WA

    The Ship Café


    • #3
      Sounds like fun Brendan!

      Regarding the blankets; Japanese passengers feel the cold more than any other nationality. Our manuals actually state to run the cabin temperature warmer on all Japan services!



      • #4
        Nice report Brendan. Looking forward to seeing some of your photos.
        YBBN - James


        • #5
          nice report on wich A/C type where you on