NH0077 Tokyo HND – Sapporo CTS
22 Dec 2012
Boeing 777-200 JA9867
The weird timing of the Haneda airport limousine bus meant that I either had to leave before noon for my flight in the evening or just head on a cab. I decided for the convenience of an early check-in, thus headed to Haneda earlier to check-in since I would need to bring my snowboard with me. The one thing I hated about domestic ANA check in was how it was multiple useless procedures. First we were issued with an e-ticket printout with the gate information, then we had to queue again for baggage check-in, and upon crossing security, we then get boarding passes at the gate itself. Pretty dumb in my opinion as now they needed more than one person to handle all these and there was copious amounts of paper wasted.
The check in agent for this flight was also quite fussy in the dimensions of my snowboard bag as she measured it closely and I had to pay extra baggage fees of 5,000 yen for them. Not cheap, but still saving me the hassle of renting boards in Niseko. After check-in was complete, I returned back to Tokyo since I have a one day pass of using the Monorail. I was able to meet up with my sister in town for a lunch of sushi before spending the rest of the afternoon in Asakusa, tasting the snacks sold along the shops leading to the Senso-ji temple.
In the evening, I returned to Haneda and took the chance to visit the open-air rooftop to capture some cool views of the 787s by All Nippon Airways. Since blue is my favourite colour, ANA has one of my favourite airline liveries and it was nice to see the 787s graced in their liveries.
After spending some time taking photos of the planes, I headed back to the terminal and there was lots of dining options in Haneda. In addition, there are a lot of shops selling specialty foodstuff. However nothing caught my fancy and I proceeded to go past security where I bought a bento box for dinner during the flight. Due to the late departure, there wasn’t much choices left in the stores and I ended up with a tonkatsu (pork cutlet) bento.
I waited by the gate and it was crowded and busy, but I did find a seat and relaxed until boarding was called by the group numbers listed in the ticket that was assigned. Upon boarding, I found the seat to be alright and wondered why ANA will utilize such a huge plane between Tokyo and Sapporo since the plane was relatively empty and I ended with a whole row of 3 seats to myself. Not bad at all!
The orderly boarding process and empty cabin made for a quick turnaround for the plane as we begin pullback to take-off. As soon as we reached cruising altitude, I took a look at the inflight menu that passengers can purchase food and beverages from. ANA provides complimentary beverages for this short 1 hour flight to Sapporo but the Yuzu and Honey beverage caught my eye. I remember loving JAL’s SkyTime Yuzu drink back when I used to fly them. Thus I waited until the beverage service started before ordering my Yuzu and Honey drink that I was able to pay using my credit card. In the meantime, I started on my bento box. It turns out the bento box wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. The food is cold and tasteless, and the pork cutlet was kind of dry. Makes me wonder why the Japanese likes to buy bento boxes for their meals on the Shinkansen though. I did manage to finish the pork cutlets as they were still edible and that was my dinner. Luckily I had some snacks beforehand while touring the temple in Asakusa, so it was all good. The saving grace to the bento box was the pork dumplings that came with it as the pork filling was tasty and had lots of flavour!
When the flight stewardess returned with the Yuzu drink, it was presented to me with a glass filled with ice and a wet towel. These little touches makes it a pleasure flying on any Japanese airline! Actually when travelling by Shinkansen, the wet towel is also given out. The drink was good and I totally loved it so much I ordered it again on the flight back to Tokyo.
A short while later, the flight stewardess came back again with a basket and turns out that passengers who purchased from their inflight menu gets a commemorative magnet featuring planes used by ANA over the past 60 years. (Yes, it has something to do with their 60th Anniversary too!)
I spent the remainder of the flight relaxing and browsing the inflight magazines. However as it was mostly in Japanese, there was not much to read, except their fleet information. ANA was also heavily advertising its 787 service for flights within Japan.
It didn’t take long before the plane started its descent and marks the end of my first time flying ANA, and it was a wonderful flight with them within Japan. Landing in Sapporo was pretty smooth and it felt cold immediately after seeing all the snow around the airport. It was exciting as well, since I know I am looking forward to fresh powder tomorrow morning! With their new Pacific routes from Tokyo, and new 787 jets, ANA is one of the airlines within Star Alliance which I would like to take more often!