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Is British Airways about to announce flights to Osaka?

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According to reports in the Japanese business newspaper Nikkei (which is a credible source, it now owns the Financial Times), British Airways is about to announce a 4x weekly service to Osaka.

This would be a good result if true.  Tokyo is generally a decent route for Avios availability but you will struggle during the peak cherry blossom season.  There are currently no Avios Club World seats available between 23rd February and 3rd April for example.

Osaka is very convenient for Kyoto.  If you were only planning a short trip to Japan, taking in Tokyo and Kyoto, flying through Osaka would not be too bad.  The best option would be to fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka after visiting Kyoto.

(Here is my Conrad Tokyo review, here is Anika’s ANA InterContinental Tokyo review and here is my The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto – which is amazing – review.)

Nikkei reports that services are due to start with the global Summer timetable change, which is 31st March.

If true, getting an Avios seat during the first few days should let you catch the cherry blossom.  The season usually runs from the last week of March into the first week of April.

That said … it varies.  Nature is awkward like that.  We took a family holiday in Tokyo over Easter last year and caught it perfectly.  Cherry blossom season was running late (we flew on 8th April) and were told all the hotels had been sold out two weeks before, with nothing to see.  We got very lucky.

The photo above is one that Anika took when she was also in Tokyo last year doing our review of ANA business class – she flew in on 6th April.

Anyway …. nothing is confirmed yet.  I’ll let you know if / when a BA press release turns up.  The Nikkei article is here.

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Comments (88)

  • Stu R says:

    Japan is beautiful whenever you visit. We’ve been four times and we’re long overdue another visit. There’s plenty to see and do and the people are quite. charming. It’s certainly not like anywhere else I’ve ever been, and definitely worth the trip!

    • John says:

      I can just imagine a Japanese travel blog saying similar things about the UK

      • Gavin says:

        Korean Airlines play a video when arriving in London which goes something like “Welcome to England, the land of gentlemen”.

      • Ian says:

        I am sure that there is plenty of good things to say about England. I am sat here looking out across a beautiful sandy beach with the sun rising in across the sea, ‘up-north’ in glorious Northumberland, where everyone you meet has a ‘hello’. England isnt all miserable people, stuck on tubes, ignoring each other. ????

  • Kev says:

    Very handy timing for the Rugby World Cup.

  • Stu N says:

    This year we went to Tokyo the last weekend in March and caught the first full weekend of cherry blossom. It’s a huge thing there, and having experienced it first hand that is totally understandable. That said, the guiding company we use think there is no bad time to visit Tokyo/ Japan.

    https://www.mactionplanet.com/blog/when-should-we-visit-tokyo/

  • Marcw says:

    Why is nature awkward?? I think it’s our useless prediction. There are many factors that are involved in deciding when a plant will flower. Basically, if cold weather is longer than expected, it will be delayed.

    That said, autumn is way more impressive. You can find parks with cherry blossoms also in London (there’s a small but cute park near Old Street). I’d say that autumn is quite unique to Japan.

    I guess the key point is that BA is launching a new route in Japan with new possibilities. Whether there are Avios seats it’s almost secondary…

    • David says:

      I dunno, I think some places outside Japan have autumn too…

      • Marcw says:

        Of course there’s autumn everywhere… but those Japanese gardens in autumn is just an unforgettable experience

        • Chris says:

          New England in the Fall isn’t just a vacuous expression. Just drive north out of JFK and keep going…

        • David says:

          I was disappointed with New England in the Fall – even in the White Mountains in October there were plenty of trees, but not enough vista – if they clear felled an extra few yards back from the verge of the road, it would be vastly improved, IMHO. Came back to Scotland craving a view of more than half a mile distance.

      • Chris says:

        Wheres the upvote when you need it 🙂

  • Genghis says:

    IMO Kansai is way more interesting than Kantou

    • Vivian says:

      As someone who studied at Osaka Uni, I’d wholeheartedly agree!

      Osaka itself is a lot of fun to explore, plus it’s a good base to explore (in addition to Kyoto) Nara, Himeji, Koya-san, Uji, and Kobe. Also the Suntory Yamazaki distillery is on the Hankyu line between Osaka and Kyoto.

  • Nigel says:

    The Intercontinental Osaka is a fine hotel, def recommend it.

    • Vivian says:

      +1

      Used my AMB weekend certificate there earlier this year. Got upgraded from 2-bed deluxe room to a one bedroom suite. Paid JPY 36k/£240 (first night) – second night would have cost me JPY 131k/£880 without the cert!

  • Tim says:

    Rob: What’s your expected timeline to see movement (a press release?) on this? Today? This week? Later? Just so I know how fervently to check in search of cherry blossom seats.

  • Tom says:

    OT: I exchanged some expiring Emirates Sykwards points for £250ish of Heathrow Rewards vouchers in the handy promotion last month.

    Passing through Heathrow (T2) for the first time on Thursday I tried to buy a pair of shoes at Paul Smith only to be told they don’t accept the vouchers. A bit embarrassing after having spent 15 minutes trying shoes on.

    As far as I can see, nothing in the Ts&Cs indicates that Paul Smith or any of higher end boutiques are excluded from use of the vouchers. Have I missed something? Were they correct to turn me down?

    It would seem to me that if the high-end fashion chains are excluded, customers are limited to a fairly narrow range of options when seeking to use rewards vouchers.

    • Rob says:

      No, they can’t turn you down. Only Louis Vuitton had opt-outs from Heathrow Rewards and they now seem to be on board. I would complain to Heathrow Rewards.

      • Tom says:

        Thanks Rob, very helpful. I shall email them.

        • BlueHorizonuk says:

          You will not be awarded Points for expenditure in the following outlets: betting shops, Post Offices, vending and gaming machines, petrol stations, Louis Vuitton, temporary retailers/services; or for Transactions in relation to the following: lottery tickets, tobacco products, medicine, prescription items, infant formula, the retailer’s own pre-paid gift vouchers, postage stamps, Pay as You Go Internet access, or flights and/or hotels booked at http://www.heathrow.com or for Transactions paid for using Boots Advantage Card point.

          • Rob says:

            Louis Vuitton is part of the current ‘fashion bonus points’ offer though, which implies that it must now be a partner.

    • Evan says:

      Paul Smith high end??

      • Mr Greene says:

        Correct, very far from ‘high end’ (unless one’s high end is relative to HandM/GAP)

        High prices for perceived high end clothing….would be closer to the truth.

        I imagine the shop had large windows….