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  • Josh 19 posts

    Hi,

    Apart from the obvious – book way in advance (which is on the cards but asking the question anyway). Are there any ideas or tricks when looking at flights to japan.

    I.e recommended carriers etc.

    I have been looking at a potential aug/sep/oct trip and economy returns on various carriers are coming in from 800-900 (qatar and cathay mainly with stops). BA direct is closer to 1k.

    Now theres a good chance I will bin this off for a year and go next year instead, but we have free time this year aswell and if I can make it work we will go this year. Unfortunately I dont have that many points/avios (around 150k ish) so could only potentially upgrade one way to prem economy/business.

    Just wondering which carriers would be recommended (in economy) and if there are any other options available (for example, flying from a european city.. I saw some qatar flights from brussels which looked a bit cheaper but not significant enough to care about hassling).

    Thanks,
    Josh

    yonasl 976 posts

    If flying economy then JAL has seats no other carrier can compete with.

    JAL also allows seat selection for free and if you fly from HEL, FRA or CDG they use the 787 where economy seats are 2-3-2 (the 777 uses 3-3-3). So if you are a couple this may be a good option to be together alone on your own row.

    If going PE (£1,400 vs £900) you have access to lounge in HND. (but little more in terms of comfort and food)

    ANA may be similar but I don’t know them well.

    I think the JAL that leaves at midnight from HND allows ALL passenger to use the lounge regardless of class (confirm that as it may have been before covid for a short period).

    JonathanC 107 posts

    If flying economy then JAL has seats no other carrier can compete with.

    JAL also allows seat selection for free and if you fly from HEL, FRA or CDG they use the 787 where economy seats are 2-3-2 (the 777 uses 3-3-3). So if you are a couple this may be a good option to be together alone on your own row.

    If going PE (£1,400 vs £900) you have access to lounge in HND. (but little more in terms of comfort and food)

    ANA may be similar but I don’t know them well.

    I think the JAL that leaves at midnight from HND allows ALL passenger to use the lounge regardless of class (confirm that as it may have been before covid for a short period).

    Why would flying from selected airports give free seat selection, plus even if you get to select your own seat, you could be put with a random stranger(s), whereas if you book at the last minute, you might be able to find a row of seats free !

    Although I’ve never been anywhere near Japan, nor flown with any other airlines other than SQ and QR, ANA is in the top 5 of Skytrax airlines, and both SQ and QR are highly recommended

    So if you can’t find any decent deals with JAL / ANA, there’s loads of great airlines to get you to Tokyo

    The real Swiss Tony 700 posts

    JAL Premium Economy allows lounge access at outstations too, apparently https://www.jal.co.jp/jp/en/inter/service/lounge/lhr/

    So at LHR it’s the BA Galleries in T3 which is better than nothing.

    Qatar have a fare starting in Oslo & back to London for £666 in September, but you’ll probably chew up most of that saving in getting to Norway.

    Oslo to Tokyo in PE (via Vienna) for £900 https://www.google.com/travel/flights/s/mUsLcmCtw2xgQnsn7 might be interesting. Layovers are long but you could always bail in VIE on the way back and buy a cheap ticket to the UK? Also with ANA operating the long hauls, again you’d get lounge access at VIE and TYO

    yonasl 976 posts

    Free seat selection come by default with JAL (with some exceptions as the first row in economy).

    The choice of airport will change the type of plane used. LHR is usually served by a 777 and the other EU airports (FRA, CDG, HEL) by the 787.

    If flying economy you may prefer the 787 as you have seats in 2-4-2 configuration vs 3-3-3 on the 777 (got the 2-3-2 wrong, that’s PE).

    Josh 19 posts

    Thanks for all the advice, certainly gives me some extra thinking and research to do.

    Would be travelling with partner and potentially 2 others.

    SamG 1,684 posts

    Asia in general is pretty pricey at the moment but especially Japan as it is particularly impacted by the Russia airspace closure. Waiting until next year and booking early may yield some slightly better pricing

    yonasl 976 posts

    Asia in general is pretty pricey at the moment but especially Japan as it is particularly impacted by the Russia airspace closure. Waiting until next year and booking early may yield some slightly better pricing

    The prices I have seen historically for direct flights with JAL/ANA:
    – Economy: £600-900
    – PE: £1,200-1,400

    In Jan 2020 I paid £650 for an AF flight (no luggage) and 10 days of hotel on Tokyo. During Covid hotels in Japan were quite cheap, prices seem to have picked up now. Flights prices in premium cabins seem to be much higher these days.

    meta 1,470 posts

    Prices are slowly going down, they are now hovering at around £1k for economy return compared to £1.3-5k when Japan opened up. I think after the initial rush coupled with less and less Japanese going abroad they’ll come back to pre-pandemic level.

    You can do upgrade to PE at the airport with JAL. A colleague paid only 150 euros last month one-way on HEL-HND route with JAL.


    @yonasl
    Yes, I booked Japan some hotels in Japan for this before they announced the opening last year. Got Kimpton Shinjuku for £100 per night in their premium rooms (stayed in Feb), Conrad for £150 on Impressario rate in October this year. You could have even had Four Seasons for £250-300 at one point. Even Park Hyatt Kyoto was half price although points still worked out cheaper.

    yonasl 976 posts

    Just FYI, with JAL PE upgrades done at the airport do NOT include lounge access!

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