32. HND – ITM on NH in Y
Tokyo (Haneda) – Osaka (Itami)
Departure Time: 9:00AM
Economy Class Seat 32D
Duration 1 hour
We arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport at around 7:30AM. We were looking in the Departure Hall for ANA’s check-in desks, when we saw ANA Suite Check-In. We were on a Business Class ticket (although flying Economy Class on that flight) and were both Star Alliance Gold members because of our US Airways Chairman status. So we went to see if we could check-in there.
Well it turns out, that was the wrong place and only for ANA top-tier members or people flying ANA 1st “Suites” Class. However, they directed us to a different private door for our Business Class/Star Alliance Gold check-in.
The general check-in desks at Haneda.
We found the “Premium Check-in” we were directed to and walked in the doors. Inside was a quiet room with 3-4 check-in desks for a more private check-in experience. We were on the last leg of an ANA Business Class Award ticket that originated in Sao Paulo. Well technically our last leg is in a few weeks from Panama City to Manuaus Brazil to make it a legal ANA ticket based on their ticketing rules. But I’m not sure we’ll make that flight.
ANA has a strange rule that if you are on a ANA Business Class ticket, in flights wholly within Japan you can only get Economy Class seats. I am not sure why they do this but this was the case for us. I asked the check-in agent if there were business class seats left. I pointed out that we were on a Business Class ticket, and showed our itinerary with all of our other segments in Business Class. She looked but noted Business Class was full. She gave us seat assignments together, seats 32 D and E and we proceeded through security.
The view from the ANA “Premium” Check-in to the private security line. The private security line was excellent with no line and a calm way to prove to the world that we didn’t have things with us that they considered dangerous.
The view of the private security line after completing the security inspection.
We proceeded to the ANA Business Class lounge. We skipped breakfast at the hotel to make an early arrival at Haneda airport. We found the signs for the ANA lounge and were admitted by virtue of our US Airways Chairman Preferred / Star Gold status. We went up the escalator and found a beautiful, clean, expansive lounge. But there was one problem.
No food! The lounge had free wi-fi, plenty of drinks including booze, but no food other than small bags of snack-mix. I thought for sure there would be some Japanese or even Western food available to nibble on. Regrettably there was not.
General view of the ANA lounge in Haneda Airport Terminal 2. After about 45 minutes we left the lounge in search of food. We found a Starbucks where Lady Tocqueville had a blueberry muffin, and I went to the kiosk across they way for some Ritz-Bitz with Cheese. After this detour for munchies, we headed to the gate.
We were leaving out of Gate 62. I was really surprised that our plane was a 777 for a 1 hour domestic flight. Even more surprising was the 747 at the gate next to us, also for a 1 hour domestic flight. I thought there was no way they would fill up this plane. Hell, the gate area didn’t even look that busy.
The boarding area for the flight to Osaka Itami. Boarding was called about 15 minutes before the flight. Firstly were Diamond Club members, then Business Class / Star Gold (us), and finally Economy.
A view of the back of the plane from our seats in row 32.
The craziest looking boarding pass I have ever seen.
Row 32 was a bulkhead in the back of the plane, and had decent room, especially with the ability to move the legs into the wide galley. Surprisingly this flight got full, I only saw a few seats open in Economy. I was amazed by this. And yes, Business Class was full as the check-in agent noted.
Since we were in a bulkhead, we had a “bulkhead TV” for our entertainment. This was the biggest TV I had ever seen in the air, probably 27-28″.
All the ANA agents were professional and cheerful. They bowed before greeting you, and even while serving us, the hoi polloi apple juice and water they had a smile on their face.
The flight went by quickly and we landed in Osaka Itami airport about 5 minutes early. At the airport we followed the signs for the airport Limousine Bus which would be an hour ride to Kyoto station in downtown Kyoto. From there we jumped into the Westin Hotel shuttle which runs every 30 minutes from Kyoto station. We were at the hotel by about noon, ready to explore Kyoto.