I’ve decided to try a new format for my trip reports. Rather than waffling on about my own personal experience, I figured it might make more sense to provide some hands-on information instead. Let me know what you think!
And a happy new year, by the way.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
In Ishigaki I stayed at the ANA Intercontinental Resort. There are two options to get from the resort to the airport. A taxi will take approximately 20 minutes to make the journey and costs roughly 2’500 Japanese Yen.
Alternatively, there is also the bus line 10, which in fact stops right in front of the hotel on its way to the airport. The journey by bus will take roughly 20 to 30 minutes and costs 430 Japanese Yen.
Online check-in does not appear to be available on the ANA domestic website. There is, however, an iPhone app which would, theoretically, allow you to check-in. But it seems that bookings for domestic flights that were purchased abroad or not purchased directly with ANA are not eligible for any type of remote check-in. This also means there’s no advanced seat selection, unless of course you call ANA directly.
Ishigaki is a nice little airport.
There are six ANA check-in counters at the airport, three of which are for passengers with checked bags. The other three are for passengers with cabin luggage only and also serve as ticketing counters. There is no dedicated Premium Class counter.
What Ishigaki airport also has, is a very nice open air observation deck on the second floor.
There are no lounges at Ishigaki airport. At least though there is a mini food court adjacent to the ANA check-in area where you can get some tasty Japanese food or a Starbucks coffee.
Departures are also on the second floor.
Boarding for domestic flights is always very efficient, orderly and quick. A fully loaded Boeing B 767-300 is boarded in just under 15 minutes.
ANA operates a variety of different cabin configurations and seats in its Premium Class cabins. It helps if you know what aircraft type you’re travelling on, although even then there appear to be differences within the same fleet type.
Further information about the seats and configuration can be found here. Please note however, that there are no detailed seat maps on the ANA domestic website and seatguru provides no information about ANA’s domestic configuration.
The Boeing B 767-300 are kept in good shape, for sure. But their IFE is somewhat antiquated and consists of a limited number of audio channels and one video channel. Films are showed on a big screen mounted on the cabin bulkhead. On this particular flight they’re showing a documentary about the Boeing B 747-400SD in ANA service. The aircraft will be leaving the fleet with the start of the summer schedule on 29 March 2014.
ANA provides every passenger with a blanket and slippers (available on international flights too). Additionally, pillows, eye shades and ear plugs are available upon request.
The ANA domestic website gives a lot of useful information about the kind of service and food on offer on flights that have a Premium Class service. Flights with departures between 13:01 and 16:59 are served a light meal, which has an afternoon tea theme and is branded as Premium SABO. The meal consists basically of a variety of sweets and savouries.
Further information can be obtained here. There is also a menu in every seat pocket of the Premium Class cabin.
ANA operates from Terminal 2 in Haneda.
GETTING INTO TOWN
Haneda is the first, original Tokyo airport. Narita was built much later. To get into central Tokyo the most reliable option is to take the monorail from the basement of the airport to Hamamatsucho, which is the terminus station of the train.
At Hamamatsucho you can transfer to the JR Yamanote line, which draws a circle around Tokyo and connects most of the important locations. Shinjuku and Tokyo Station are both served by the JR Yamanote line and the Narita Express and are only a few stops away from Hamamatsucho. So having a hotel in close proximity to one of these two stations is very convenient. I normally stay in the Shinjuku area because it’s quite lively by day and by night. Tokyo proper is mostly a business district and once the offices close, it gets rather quiet and, well – a bit boring.
You can buy combined tickets for the monorail and JR lines at the ticket machines for the monorail in Haneda. If you’re not sure about the ticket price, simply get the cheapest ticket there is, which is 600 Yen. There are fare adjustment machines at every station for you to top up your ticket.
In the meantime the miles for the outbound leg to Ishigaki have been credited to my Senator account. Premium Class is treated as First Class and subsequently yields 3684 miles, which is quite substantial for Miles & More these days, especially given the cuts they’ve made in an attempt to cause maximum irritation at minimum advantage – even to themselves…