This trip to Japan was bumpy, but things somehow fell into place. First was the points-jitsu to get the flights, where at first I was a few points short, but I managed to get just enough bonus points added to make it. Then the days of juggling flights to get a booking; for some reason there were lots of flights TO Japan but only 1 FROM this time of year. Escaping the cold? Then I discovered that I had booked the return flight for 23 March instead of 23 February (thank you nice Qantas lady for fixing that).
Flying on points means accepting what whatever route you can get. How does sound; CBR – MEL – overnight hotel – OOL – KIX? The Melbourne to Coolangatta to Kansai was on Jetstar, which for points flyers is the back of the bus and only 20kg allowance instead of 23kg (or 30kg now on Qantas international).
Nine hours is short compared to most flights from Australia but this one dragged on forever. It is extraordinary how time stalls when there’s no regular entertainment or meals or screen to indicate position and time to arrival. Or beer on demand.
Oh JAL, your old planes with the small seats made my bum hurt but the service was second to none. We could be way over our allowance without penalty or even a dirty look. Starting a flight with a hot towel is the only way to enjoy a flight. The third beer came with a bottle of water and a smile, not an official warning. If you want to fly into Kansai – Osaka, you’ve stuck with Jetstar. (With Tokyo, you have options.)
Comparing JAL with Jetstar is like comparing a fine malt whiskey with yesterday’s coffee gone cold; both are drinks but only one is fit for human consumption.
There is simply no position on those seats that is in any way comfortable; the seat back is the wrong shape, there’s no padding on the armrest, the seat is too soft and too low. I probably can’t single out Jetstar for that, but if I can sit comfortably in the Airport Limousine bus for an hour without numbness or discomfort, then there must be a fundamental design flaw in airline seating. Somehow I managed to escape permanent disfigurement.
I’ll give credit to the smooth landing 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
Kansai Airport is a vision of cleanliness and efficiency, as usual. But there’s no concession for foreigners to enter with Japanese family members, so off to the long line for photo and fingerprints for me. Welcomed in like an old friend, I was.
Fortunately we’re returning in business class and Qantas all the way. So I’ll carry as much as I can squeeze in my bags, lounge like a lizard, stretch out and order an appropriate amount of fine food and drink.