Introduction: Flying to Japan to Ride the Shinkansen
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Premium Economy Class – Dallas to Tokyo
Review: NAA Dayroom – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines – (787-800) Economy Class – Tokyo to Bangkok
Review: Aloft Hotel – Bangkok
Review: Singapore Airlines (A330) Business Class – Bangkok to Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines (777-300) Business Class – Singapore to Tokyo
Review: Nozomi Shinkansen – Tokyo to Fukuoka
Review: Hilton Sea Hawk – Fukuoka
Day Trip to Uminonakamichi Island
Review: Gyozaya Ninoni – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways Lounge – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways (767-300) Business Class – Fukuoka to Naha
Review: All Nippon Airways (737-800) Economy Class – Naha to Nagoya
Review: All Nippon Airways (Bombardier Dash 8) Economy Class – Nagoya to Tokyo
Review: 9 Hours Capsule Hotel – Narita International Airport
Review: IASS Executive Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: TEI Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Economy Class – Tokyo to Dallas
OKA – NGO
Departure: 1400 JST
Arrival: 1620 JST
July 13, 2019
After a short visit in Okinawa to recharge, it was now time to start the long journey back to the United States. I changed my original flight from Naha to Tokyo because I did not want to leave early in the morning. Since it was an award ticket, booked through United Airlines for ~10K miles, the change was easy. The change would, however, make my connection tight in Narita since I had a separate onward award ticket on Singapore Airlines. I know it might seem like a lot is going on, but this is how I travel…always flexible, never tied to an itinerary.
My friend and host for the stay, Bryant, dropped me at the airport an hour prior to departure. Naha International Airport is just bigger than a regional airport in the United States, hence the arrival time. The airport has limited lounges and mostly terminal seating, which is not ideal for any extended period of time. I walked into the terminal and made a right to the domestic counter.
The line was non-existent so I proceeded to an open counter. After providing my boarding pass and ID, I was quickly handed two boarding passes for the next segments. I took the opportunity to ask if they could merge my separate itineraries. ANA and Singapore Airlines are Star Alliance members, but that is as far as it goes. It is damn near impossible to get help from other members with Singapore Airlines’ tickets. To that point, Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance in only name.
The agent, after speaking with her supervisor could not combine the itineraries. She apologized profusely and pointed me towards security. I was through the checkpoint in only a few minutes…regional airport vibes.
As I made my way into the terminal, I could not help but notice the big Orion Beer ad on one of the columns. Orion Beer is the main beer of Okinawa. It was originally brewed by the American military after the Battle of Okinawa, but the brewery has since been returned to the Okinawans. I made my way into a shop to grab some noodles. This is a ritual for me when departing Okinawa. I never know when the next visit will be so I enjoy the last bite before departure.
After eating, I quickly left the standing room only spot to make room for other customers. I arrived at the gate 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure and boarding had not started.
The agent started boarding passengers eight minutes later. I started feeling uneasy about the rest of my flights. I boarded with Group 3, all others, due to my economy ticket. This was the first time I experienced a flight with only three boarding groups.
As I entered the jet bridge, I stopped to glance at the beautiful 737 sitting in the amazing Okinawa weather.
ANA offered headphones and baggage covers prior to entering the airplane. This reminded me of the snacks American Airlines offered on my trip from LAX to Dallas.
The ANA 737-800 had 8 seats in business class in a 2-2 configuration, while there were 159 seats in the economy cabin in a 3-3 configuration.
The seat was just fine. There was definitely more room in this seat than any other I have experienced on a 737, something I very much appreciated.
As is the norm on most airplanes in economy, the tray table was a single piece and folded down from the seat back.
Inflight Entertainment screens were non-existent on this aircraft. I did appreciate the fact that individual air nozzles were available, unlike my last flight.
The flight was not full. It appeared to be at or near 50% capacity. After settling into the seat, one of the flight attendants came by with headphones. These were the same ones offered on the jet bridge.
The safety demo began playing on the overhead monitors, three minutes after scheduled departure.
The announcement for boarding complete came six minutes later. This was very confusing as the announcement usually precedes the safety demo. We pushed back at the same time. After an eight minute taxi, we had a rolling takeoff out of Naha.
The seatbelt sign went off only six minutes into flight and service began immediately. The flight attendant appeared with a small cart. This was significantly smaller than the carts used on U.S carriers in economy. There was actually room to move around the cart, as opposed to having it clog the aisle. The most important thing was the reduced threat of being hit in the arm.
I decided to check out the information card in the seatback. The card included the menu, WiFi info, shopping, and a host of other things. There was an option for a beer combo for 500 yen (~5 USD). There was a complimentary drink service if passengers did not want to purchase anything.
I purchased the beer combo. The beer came with a snack pack of salami, cheese and rice crackers. This was very reasonable for only $5, especially for a purchase on an airplane.
While the airplane did not offer an inflight entertainment screen, a streaming service was available. I checked out the flight map and scrolled through the other options, which included movies. I do not watch movies on flights, mostly because I cannot stay focused long enough, so I took a quick nap.
Our initial descent began 35 minutes before the scheduled arrival time. I stood up to put my laptop away after the announcement. The flight attendant, as if to tell me to sit down or maybe just bad timing, repeated the announcement in English. I made eye contact and offered a head nod of acknowledgement.
The flight attendant came through the cabin to offer candy. This was a nice touch, especially after having beer and salami on the flight.
We had a smooth touchdown in Nagoya 15 minutes ahead of schedule. After a short taxi, we arrived at our gate.
The flight to Nagoya was uneventful. I was able to have relax by grabbing a short nap to recharge. The beer combo was, by far, the best $5 USD I have ever spent on an airplane. Why can’t other airlines have similar prices? I was happy to be in Nagoya on time to continue the adventure.