A few months ago I had the pleasure of going to Japan. I had a great trip, the people there were really nice, the city of Tokyo was absolutely breathtaking, and the even the wheather were nice (At least most of the time.)
For a cheaper fare, i had to transfer in Fukuoka (Hope it is spelled correctly), and on to a Japan Airlines 777-200, for a one and a half-hout domestic hop, bound for Tokyo. In fact, I looked forward to this flight, it was for sure going to be interisting to try one of those famous Japanesed domestic widebodies. Yeah indeed it turned out to be interesting, but not really in the most positive way.
Type: 777-200 (Short Haul Configured)
Scheduled Flight Duration: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Real flight time: Around two hours
From: Fukuoka (FUK)
To: Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Long story Short, we arrived in Fukuoka in the morning, and had a little less than two hours to catch the next flight, JAL 306, bound for Tokyo. Both the International Arrivals as well as the Domestic Terminal seemed rather dated, but was relatively effective though. During the security check, I had the embarrasment of having to open up my luggage, I was tired after a long haul flight, and nervous of not catching my connection, but nevertheless the staff in the security control was really nice, and spoke good English, which definitely improved my experience.
After a short walk, we got to our gate around 30 minutes prior to boarding. It is always nice to be in time, but there was no possibilities of buying a snack for the waiting time, which I hoped for, because I was starting to get a little hungry.
Instead I spend the time looking at all the aircraft parked at the apron, our 777 had already arrived, and next to it, there was a ANA 787 bound for Sapporo in Northen Japan. Shortly after, the boarding started, and started to get exited for the flight. It is not every day you´ll get to fly in a 777 around a country you haven´t been to before.
The boarding went a bit so and so, but at least we departed on time. All 375 seats onboard seemed to be full, and it looked like most of the passengers were commuters, or at least frequent flyers, since many of them did not have a boarding card, but boarded by using some sort of electronic card. Also, litterally everyone was wearing suits, so I felt a little bit wierd wearing Jeans and a long sleeved sheeved shirt.
The Captain did not make any pre flight PA, and neither did the Purser. I don´t know whether this is a standart in Japan, or it just happened because of a busy crew on this particular flight. I usually like a nice, informing, and clear PA before a flight, but since nothing in Aviation is random, i guess there was a reason for this too.
The Cabin felt a bit like the airport, rather dated. The seats seemed rather cheap and plastic-like, but the legroom was quite decent. At least for a 5ft 11in (181 cm) guy like me. Also, there was head phones free of use, where you could listend to different pieces of Japanese Traditional Music. That was a rather cool feature, but not really useable.
Once we got airborne, i realised that this was not going to be a particullary smooth flight. There was heavy turbulence almost from the point when we left the runway. That is indeed nobody´s fault, and it could have happened on any other airline. But to be fair, the crew did not really handle it well, no announcements were made, before we started our decent towards Haneda Airport.
Because of the turbulence, the crew started the in-flight service rather late, but they served free drinks at least, I was one of the lucky ones to get served, but many other´s didn´t. I don´t really think there is any reason for blaming the neither airline or the crew for this, because it was only caused by the weather, and the fasten seatbelts sign was turned on very late, I guess around 40 minutes prior to landing.
Decending into Tokyo, it came clear that there weather wasn´t much better, a bit less turbulence, but still, very low visibilty, and heavy rain. The landing was rather hard, but given the weather condition, and the fact that we were landing in and airport that handles 85 million passengers a year, this was not a surprising. Now it was time to disembark and enjoy Tokyo, which turned out to be an amazing city, which I will definetly come back to.
So, I will try to give a few ratings:
Crew: 2/10 (Mainly because of poor English skills, and lack of information given)
In flight entertainment: 4/10 (If there has been a better in flight magazine, I would have rated it higher)
In Flight Services (Such as food, drinks, and snacks): 6/10 (Did not really expect anything.)
Value for the money: 3/10 (There are cheaper airlines operating the route, but I have not tried them.)
Would I fly with this airline on a similar route: Yes, but if there is other airlines operating the route for a similar, or cheaper fare, I would likely fly with them instead.