ANA Flight Review – Sydney to Tokyo
There is nothing quite like flying at dawn, the infinite reach of the horizon murmurs pink hues before the morning reveals your destination.
Even through bleary eyes, I can see the day is going to be spectacular – our aircraft in final approach position, allowing a glimpse of Tokyo awakening.
Confession: I believe I am clued up to most things travel, it’s my profession after all. However a recent experience highlights you can never assume. You see for previous trips to Japan I traveled with airlines that as a matter of course flew straight into Narita airport – which isn’t really Tokyo (okay strictly speaking it is, but it is a long way from town). I love Japanese efficiency, and their trains are fast – but an hour is a long time; especially if you have just survived an all night flight, have kids in tow, ski equipment. Phew – and it’s supposed to be a holiday
So I am taking note; our ANA flight – Sydney to Tokyo – lands in Haneda Airport, literally minutes from downtown Tokyo.
Apart from fabulous aerial views of Tokyo and the brilliance of a convenient airport – why fly ANA?
Check-in is polite, quick and efficient (worth noting; on-line check is available).
Member of Star Alliance – make sure you give your number at the time of reservation to collect points; lounge access available as per your tier level.
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. A fantastic aircraft with several features of note; quieter cabin, larger windows, and a more humid environment (said to reduce the severity of jet-lag – certainly I feel more hydrated on arrival than previous long-haul flying experiences).
Economy Class – aisle seat (the details: 34-inch seat pitch,universal laptop power port and USB port).
The generous pitch, combined with my favourite – a footrest – ensures a comfortable journey on a full flight.
Sydney to Haneda – daily flight departure 8.55pm (arrival into Haneda 5.25am).
9 hour 30 minutes flying time.
Two pieces of baggage (up to 23 kilograms each) for Economy and Premium Economy – loads of room for shopping, plus one carry-on bag up to 10 kilograms and one personal item.
Cabin staff are welcoming, I watch them assist a Mum juggling baby and toddler – perfect service. During the flight numerous trips are made up and down the aisle by Cabin Crew, green tea, water and snacks are offered regularly. Upon request eye masks and toothbrushes are provided – nothing is too much trouble.
The only less than glowing comment I would make on my ANA Flight Review is in relation to the food offerings. Nothing particular is wrong with it (indeed it was lovely to be given ‘real’ cutlery) – the meals were fresh and healthy – just not stand out.
Previous comments aside, it was a great idea to hand out the little snack pack to keep mid- flight munchies at bay.
Entertainment is delivered via a responsive 11-inch touch-sensitive screen. There are 351 programs in total but many are in Japanese. New release movies, three live news and sport TV channels plus a reasonable selection of documentaries and music channels. I easily find enough to wile away the hours – a bonus is a great music selection so I have fun making my own playlist.
Wi-Fi packages can be bought starting at $US6.95 ($9.50) for 30 minutes.
Of course, the ultimate entertainment is the view outside… particularly ‘that’ view of the Alps (on our domestic flight)!
ANA flies into Haneda Airport which is just minutes from downtown Tokyo (as opposed to Narita, which is located some 60 kms east of Central Tokyo). Served by a super efficient rail service, it seems that no sooner do we board the train, then we emerge from the station into the streets of Shinagawa.
A nifty trick arranged by our hotel (Shinagawa Prince Hotel ), is the Airport Luggage service. Our return flight is several hours after hotel check-out, bags are transferred to the airport – we simply collect them prior to check-in.
Domestic Japan Flight Bonus
ANA’s early morning arrival into Tokyo gives ample time to conveniently connect with domestic flights to more than 40 airports throughout Japan (or fly on to Europe the same day). Our group flies on to Akita in Northern Honshu – a Region worth adding to your list of ‘must-see’ destinations. Hint: generally ANA has excellent thru-fares, enquire at time of making your International booking as for just a few hundred dollars you can experience more of Japan.
I am flying ANA next time I visit Japan; primarily for the convenience and excellent aircraft – very close second is the service and the great fare deals regularly offered to the Australian market.
For further information;
ANA Flight Review – Sydney to Tokyo