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Tokyo Travel / Japan Travel / NRT / Travel Tips / Lists / First Time Travel / HND / Travel Etiquette / → All Tags
Tokyo consistently tops the lists of "must-visit" metropoli for tourism, and the first-time visit is one you're not likely to forget.
It just so happens that this Jaunted contributor recently had the experience of landing in Tokyo for the first time, and learning all the little bits of etiquette and excellence which makes Tokyo so desirable and so influential for travelers. Coming off this beginner's journey, here are our top 10 tips for first-timers to Tokyo:
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Confession: we're extremely heavy users of data on our smartphones, since those phones connect us to social media, work, maps, and pretty much everything else while on foreign soil. We're not ones to "power down" on a trip, unless the destination is completely off the grid. Thus, one of our largest concerns is being smacked with a ridiculously large international data roaming bill upon return home.
To prevent against big bills, we search for SIM card packages offering unlimited data usage, and recently had a great experience with one in Japan, a country with such advanced cell phone technology that it can be challenging to use anything but the latest handset. And, unfortunately, Japan doesn't make it easy for foreigners to purchase a SIM card; one must be rented.
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[Also check out Part 1, Business Class]
Premium Economy is so hot right now.
Or, rather, the class between Economy and Business has been a popular addition to aircraft for many years now, every since Virgin Atlantic introduced it way, way back in 1992(!!), but some airlines have held off and, in turn, benefitted from the wait by introducing Premium Economy classes with all the latest bells and whistles.
Flying AC00611 hours back from Tokyo-Haneda to Toronto-Pearsonwe settled into a window seat and experienced what this new class for Air Canada was all about.
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[Also check out Part 2, Premium Economy and Economy]
"Whoever said man wasn't meant to fly didn't see this coming."
These were the words printed on a banner welcoming passengers to gate 172 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on July 15, 2014.
Outside the windows was one of Air Canada's airplanes, sitting chill in her ice blue livery and scarlet maple leaf logo while a flurry of ground vehicles prepared her for a 12-hour flight to Tokyo. Passengers waiting to board forwent selfies and instead pointed their cameras outside, at this aircraft which stars in the celebration of a new era for Canadian aviation.
But, um, hasn't Air Canada been flying from Toronto to Tokyo for, like, decades? Yes, yes they have, but never before to the Japanese capital's other, very recently updated and better located airport of Haneda, and never before with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Flight AC005 is non-stop from YYZ to HND, a lengthy trip which gives the benefits of the 787the greater cabin humidity, lower altitude level, improved personal space, and fuel efficiencya chance to strut their stuff. It was, in fact, the longest flight we've ever done in a 787, and absolutely one of the best in our own travel log.
Now, let's delve into the delicious details:
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Just when it seemed that front page focus on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would peter out now that Boeing has delivered over 160 of them, the aircraft is again making headlines with the launch of a new version: the 787-9.
What that little "-9" brings is a bigger plane, as we've explained, and this week marks the introduction of the airliner to its first regularly scheduled commercial routes.
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We have been there and you probably have been too, as there’s that situation when it’s time to go and you can’t find the gate agent. Well one airline wants to ensure it’s aware of the gate agents’ location at all times, as they’re hooking them up to a little bit of a tracking device.
Japan Airlines is teaming up with Nomura Research Institute to show off what they can do with an iBeacon and a smart watch. The test run is already underway, as they’re trying things out over at Tokyo-Haneda within Domestic Terminal 1.
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It's a 'Hello Kitty' world now.
As Taiwan's EVA Air continues to promote their fleet of six Hello Kitty jets (5 A330s, 1 777) and Japan Airlines gets in on the action with one Kitty-fied 777, ANA is slowly saying fond farewells to their once robust fleet of Pokémon planes.
The idea to paint up an aircraft in Pikachu and other characters goes all the way back to 1992, with a contest ANA hosted to welcome children's drawings as design concepts. No plane was painted with Pokémon until 1998, however; the first was a 747 on domestic routes, which flew for 17 years before heading into retirement.
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Ah, the Dreamliner, Boeing's most advanced commercial aircraft and the darling of aviation geeks. As of today, 17 airlines operate some sort of regular service with the airplane, and the upcoming release of the 787-9 with improved range will increase destination options.
Although most of the airlines put their 787s on long routes, there are some exceptions; one airline in particular takes the top prize for the shortest regular 787 route. The launch customer, Japanese airline ANA, flies the Dreamliner between Tokyo-Haneda and Toyama, a scheduled flight of approximately 40-60 minutes from take-off to landing.
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Okay, this is just plain amazing.
On Christmas Eve, Japanese airline ANA managed to get all of their airplanes sporting special livery into Tokyo-Haneda Airport at the same time, parked at gates one after the other. The planning and background teamwork behind making an event like this happen in staggering; we only wish ANA had devoted more than a small Facebook photoset to the day.
Stars of the tarmac on December 24 were the Pokémon 747s, the 787 Dreamliners, the retro livery, Star Alliance livery and even more.
Just imagine if Southwest Airlines tried something like this. There'd be an Orca whale landing, followed by the state of Florida, followed by Bar Refaeli in a bikini (wait, is that plane still flying?).
Anyway, awesome job, ANA. Same time, same place next year?
[Photo: ANA's Facebook]
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2011 wasn't a banner year for Japan, not to mention for any industry in the country. We saw the ripple effects of natural disasters throughout the aviation world with the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami topping the list. What can be more indicative of Japanese pride, but to quickly rebuild stronger and better? Fortunately for us, airlines are towards the top of the progress.
· Peachy Keen
Last year we talked about the introduction of ANA's budget carrier based out of Osaka, Peach. With only 3 destinations, the airline will draw business passengers, eventually moving into the leisure market. Flights are taking off in March and tickets are already to purchase.
Happy Peach Fares have no baggage allowance or advanced seat selection but are quite affordable at around $175 return to Sapporo. If you need the sweet little perks, cough up about $75 more. Happy Peach Plus fares allow you to pick where you park yourself on the plane and some space in the belly for your luggage. With a bright purple livery and cabin, Peach is on our short list!
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With the new year comes new beginnings, and though it may still be a little early to think about what you're up to next week let alone January 2012, you better if you want to score a seat on the first international long-haul route of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
ANA, launch airline of the Dreamliner who'll put their first one into regular domestic service as soon as the end of this month, have just released tickets for the 787's Tokyo-Haneda to Frankfurt International route, which will begin flying as NH 203 and NH 204 on Saturday, January 21. It's only a thrice-weekly service, so no flying there and right back to experience it; you've actually got to stay a bit in Germany and have a pretzel or two.
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Sometimes an airfare deal so sweet comes along, that it's almost impossible to resist. Andif you think about the current under-$600 deals on Delta in terms of new shoes (4-ish pairs), iPads (1), or Starbucks coffees (100), it really doesn't seem so bad.
You heard us rightDelta has just dropped prices on their routes to Tokyo, to Haneda Airport in particular, which just happens to have a sparkling new international terminal waiting for you. Try searching any US city to airport code HND, and you'll find fares like $582 from San Francisco, $588 from New York or Chicago and $564 from Los Angeles. These prices are roundtrip, total including taxes, and some are direct and some include stopovers.
Now here's the really awesome part: