View Full Version : Flying to Japan, so many options...

2008-01-19, 01:50 AM
So I am planning on going to Japan in May and have started looking at my options. Basically there are three - Northwest 744, JAL 744, and UAL 777 (I think 300). Never been on either widebody so I am excited either way. Andy has a good point that 777s will be around much longer so I'll get a chance to fly them in the future.

NWA 744:
+ Found one reference to seat pitch of 34" in economy. I am 6'10" so every extra inch helps.
+ ~$200 cheaper than JAL
+ Skyteam so I can get 13000 skymiles
+ Travel on one airline (CID-DTW-either KIX or NRT)
- Old panes, no screens in economy

JAL 744:
Can't find actual seat pitch in economy. Many suggest that it is not worse than any American carrier.
+ JAL - wont get to fly them any time soon otherwise, supposedly good service and food
+ Newer planes with individual entertainment screens in economy
- ~$200 more expensive than Northwest plus will need to find a way to get to ORD or JFK
- can't claim the miles as skymiles

UAL 777:
+ The cheapest at ~$100 less than Northwest and $300 less than JAL
+ Do they have Channel 9 on international trips? That could be kinda cool to listen too, but I'm sure pretty boring as well since there wont be much going on for the good part of the flight.
- can't claim the miles as skymiles

Tough choices :)
Let's hear some opinions from the experts here :)

Art at ISP
2008-01-19, 09:03 AM
You might have a couple of other options. AA from ORD or DFW on the 777, and even CO from IAH on the 777.

Regarding Channel 9, it is the captain's discretion, but on 4 of my 5 trips to Japan in the past on UA, they had it on. You can listen to pilots chatting back and forth while over Alaska/Arctic region. Sometimes they turn it off when they go HF but sometimes you get lucky.

Regarding pitch, I think you might be best off if you can get an exit row or bulkhead (although some bulkhead seats have LESS room). Use seatguru.com when you make your choice.

Another thought regarding UA--they have economy plus, which would help you regarding pitch.

I hope this helps a little--let me know if you'd like more information.

2008-01-19, 06:58 PM
Dima I'd stay away from JAL, service isn't all that great when compared to ANA. I'd look to AA first then UAL. Why not use a Skymiles carrier? For me I'd pay few extra bucks to fly with an airline I get miles on. Japan is a big trip and its a sin to throw those miles away.

2008-01-19, 07:25 PM
You can always fly North American there for free. You'd just have to join the military....better than the Civil Air Patrol!

2008-01-19, 10:24 PM
You can always fly North American there for free. You'd just have to join the military....better than the Civil Air Patrol!

I bet, but I doubt they'd let me fly the 757 so I'll have to stick with a Skylane. For now.

Also, the reason I did not include AA and others is because these were three cheapest choices. Not a big AA fan here. Ideally, would like to fly on a Delta 744 over there. Who knows, by May, that just might happen ;)

2008-01-20, 01:07 PM
I like NWA, because they have a strong presence in Asia, and I am biased against international airlines. Except maybe Virgin Atlantic since they have a sister carrier in the US, but never flew them.

2008-01-20, 02:29 PM
Hey Dima-

Between those three options, I voted for the NWA 744. I agree with Tommy in that it would be such a waste to not get the miles in the program you use. I've heard good things about NWA's international service, and of course, you mentioned my point about 777's being in service longer than 744's. I love the 777 and it's really a great ride, but the 747 has an ambiance to it like no other. So that's my vote, good luck and let us know how it goes!

Alex T
2008-01-20, 05:28 PM
I would also vouch for everyone else, and claim NWA 744.

Particularly its a 747...NWA I have heard has a very nice reputation for being one of the best US Airlines intl...domestic obviously hasn't.

Skymiles as you pointed out is a plus too.


2008-01-21, 12:50 PM
Yeah, same here, NW 744. They apperently have great food and service on international. The only thing I hear bad is that some of the flight attendants are a bit "senior"

2008-01-21, 02:03 PM
Dima, Im a huge AA fan but with the 777 service to be around as others have said, nix that.

NWA744 is my choice. BUT.....

have you flwon an MD-11? I don't have a clue the costs or routes but perhaps a MD-11 KLM to europe and onward to Japan ?!!! Look into it?

Mr Smith
2008-02-21, 09:40 PM
why no ANA? book a codeshare flight via UA website and get on their 777-300ER, how anyone would choose UA or NW on that route is beyond me.. :shock:

2008-02-22, 12:59 PM
Not sure if this matters to you, but note that NW (and UA) 744s have no personal IFE in economy, just the main screen movie. For whatever reason, probably cost and age of the aircraft, they never installed it on 747s even though I believe both carriers have a decent personal IFE system in economy on the A330 and 777 respectively...Personally I love IFE on long flights because it makes the time go by that much faster, 12 hours seems alot shorter when you've got alot of channels to play with like EK has, but I also know alot of people don't care because they sleep or enjoy the 'fine' main screen movie selections. My buddy flew China Eastern recently roundtrip from Shanghai and says they showed Blood Diamond --in both directions...Anyway I think ANA and JAL probably both have decent IFE, the ANA system on the 777-300ER probably has the most channel selections of any of your choices, but unless you really want to fly a NW 744, I'd pass on that option because it's definately the old style projector and screen.

2008-02-22, 08:13 PM
Depending on how much you think you'll need a screen in front of you, I'd recommend the NW744's. They actually have food that is tasty and fills you up, and their service is quite good. Their 744's seat config is pretty generous.