“Inspiration of Japan” â€“ Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Air travel is a unifying force that brings people together. At the same time, it can beÂ a great way to experienceÂ the differences between countries orÂ cultures. I got to doÂ just that during a tripÂ to Japan, which had long been at the top of my destination list. MyÂ time on the ground exploring Japan’sÂ teeming cities was amazing, but I also enjoyed experiencing Japan’s aviation world and howÂ â€“ in manyÂ ways â€“ it differed from what I was used to in the U.S.
Read on forÂ my two cents â€“ or, rather, two Yen â€“ on flying around Japan with one of its two flagship airlines: All Nippon Airways (ANA).
American Airlines hosts a launch party for its new LAX-Haneda flight.
It’s already been a busy 2016Â for American Airlines, which has announcedÂ several service enhancements and, on February 11, launched its inaugural service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Toyko International Airport, more commonly known as Haneda Airport (HND). Premium passengers will enjoy additional comfort and convenience both before the flight and onboard, while those in economy will be able to enjoy some of the little things they’ve missed in the past couple of years.
As for American’s new flight into HND, a launch party for VIPs was held the previous night at the Japanese American National Museum in Downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, and AirlineReporter was invited to the festivities.
The George & Sakaye Aratani Central Hall at the Japanese American National Museum
The MRJ enjoys its first flight – Photo: Mitsubishi
Earlier this week, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) took to the skies for the first time. The aircraft liftedÂ off from Nagoya Airfield (NKM)Â and flew for about 90 minutes before landing.Â The flight not only was special for the aircraft manufacture, but also for the country of Japan, since they have now joined the exclusive club of countriesÂ that produce a flight worthy airliner.
People are lined up along the fences to watch the MRJ’s first flight – Photo: Mitsubishi
â€œThe MRJ successfully took to the sky today thanks to ongoing cooperation and support from all members involved,â€ said Hiromichi Morimoto, President, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. â€œWe will make our utmost efforts towards type certificate acquisition, committing all our resources to develop and produce the finest regional jet aircraft to enter commercial service in 2017.â€
Daunting, isn’t it? 40 million passengers a day use the Tokyo transit system. Image: Tokyo Metro
This is a bit of a different post for us, about something other than just airplanes, airports & airlines. Enjoy! Â
It was early Thursday morning on my last day in Tokyo. It had been a whirlwind trip. Sunday and Monday had been taken up on the inaugural All Nippon AirwaysÂ (ANA) flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND). I spent Tuesday at ANAâ€™s New Employee Ceremony, and then explored HNDâ€™s observation decks. On Wednesday morning I was treated to a somewhat manic half-day bus tour of Tokyo. After that, I explored a bit, and went back to my hotel at HNDâ€™s Terminal 2 to get some work done, and to recover!
My start and end point – HND’s International Terminal
But now, I had the whole day to explore the city before returning to Haneda Airportâ€™s International Terminal for my 9:55 pm flight. I had a long list of suggestions of things to see from friends and colleagues. Everyone had said that the best way to explore Tokyo is by transit, and I had my maps ready to go.
The statistics are phenomenal; 40 million passengers use Tokyoâ€™s transit system, every day.Â Most commuters travel on Tokyoâ€™s extensive urban railway system, and eight million use the Tokyo Metro (subway) daily. There are over 130 lines and 1,000 stations on the fully-integrated rail system. No surprise, then, that the worldâ€™s busiest train station is in Tokyo, at Shinjuku Station, with over three million passengers per day. Â The entire system is clean, efficient, inexpensive, and operates exactly on time, all the time.
However, there are a few things that an explorer needs to master before venturing out.