Which airlines jfk to japan?

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May 10th, 2018, 03:03 PM
  #1
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Which airlines jfk to japan?

Have not too many Flying Blue points and no others since I wiped out my Amex points with upcoming business trip to Italy for two.

Looking for "best" airline for NYC airport to Japan, in best case to Tokyo.

Any standouts for business class that do not involve annoying layovers? Any tips for snagging decent price, for late 2018? Stopover in interesting city is ok...Taipei?? Have taken KoreanAir several times and would hope to find something with all around better service and food.

KAL seem to serve the same meals from year to year and very stingy (not to mention serving all wines at room temp) with the wine. Is this just me or do others have that impression from KAL?? I love the upstairs seating but I've heard such great reports about Asian airlines and I am not sure Korean Air falls into the category of "greats??"

I am a total novice with this so any tips will be very welcome.
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May 11th, 2018, 09:32 AM
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Korean Air is just okay. If the price is right, I wouldn’t avoid them, but they are just okay in business class. Their coach product is quite good though. Asiana is also worth a look via Seoul - their seat is quite good.

At first blush, I’d say ANA would be the best choice, followed by JAL. Both are decent products and you get the nonstop. Depending when you go, you might also consider Delta if you can route via DTW and get on the A350, which offers a small “suite” in business class. China Airlines and Eva both offer decent products via Taipei.
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May 11th, 2018, 09:38 AM
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Lots of people love ANA. But I found their Biz class seats uncomfortable, and the seat arrangement means it is impossible to talk with someone with whom you are traveling. I also thought the food was poor. Singapore Air is excellent, of course, but non non-stop.
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May 11th, 2018, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
Have not too many Flying Blue points and no others since I wiped out my Amex points with upcoming business trip to Italy for two.

Looking for "best" airline for NYC airport to Japan, in best case to Tokyo.

Any standouts for business class that do not involve annoying layovers? Any tips for snagging decent price, for late 2018? Stopover in interesting city is ok...Taipei?? Have taken KoreanAir several times and would hope to find something with all around better service and food.

KAL seem to serve the same meals from year to year and very stingy (not to mention serving all wines at room temp) with the wine. Is this just me or do others have that impression from KAL?? I love the upstairs seating but I've heard such great reports about Asian airlines and I am not sure Korean Air falls into the category of "greats??"

I am a total novice with this so any tips will be very welcome.
What constitutes a "decent price," and how flexible are your dates?

Most of the non-stop and one-stop itineraries for early - mid December, with a 14 to 21 day return, are running between $4K and $6K+. Those prices will almost certainly go down as the year progresses, but by how much and when is anybody's guess.

There are a couple of work-arounds available now, but they come with some conditions or complications (or, hell, opportunities depending on your views.)

First, Finnair is offering round trips from New York to Japan via Helsinki for $3076. These involve a layover of a few hours heading east, but a full day heading home. Helsinki is a very nice airport, and Finnair's lounges are terrific, and there's a good hotel connected to the airport if you wanted to rest up on the way back, but the total travel time westbound (Tokyo - Helsinki - JFK) is quite long. (The outbound total travel time is fairly comparable to trips that stop somewhere else in Asia before connecting through to Japan.) You have to go to Finnair's website - https://www.finnair.com/us/gb/ - to book it. Who knows, maybe you could stop over in Helsinki (allowed in both directions) and do some midwinter touring. Northern lights?

Second, round trips on American Airlines are also around $3100, provided you start in Toronto or Montreal. In these cases, you'd fly in business class to Chicago or Dallas, then nonstop to Tokyo. American's business class is now one of the best services going (new seats and inflight service) but you'd have to get to YYZ or YUL on your own, leaving ample time to connect to the outbound flights. Round trips (in coach) from La Guardia or JFK to Montreal or Toronto are around $230, so add that to the total and you're still close to a grand cheaper than the cheapest one-stop service from NYC to Tokyo heading west.

The third choice is a bit more off the wall, but through the end of this month American Airlines is having a sale on frequent flyer miles. In business class you need 60,000 miles for a one-way flight to/from Japan, and you can purchase 60K miles from AA for around $1300, so $2600 give or take for enough miles for the round trip. Those miles could be used on any partner airline, particularly Japan airlines, or any combination, for example, Cathay Pacific to Vancouver and Japan Airlines to Tokyo, etc.

The kicker with this is that you need to have award seats available on days you're okay with traveling. This means you'd need to be quite flexible with your plans. You don't necessarily need to have the miles in your account; you can contact AA and ask what's available, and when and if you find flights that work, they can put them on a 24 hour hold while you scurry around buying the miles so you can redeem them badda bing. But this is done all the time (I've done it several times myself) and it's a good way to get business class fares considerably more cheaply than paying out of pocket.

Hope this helps.

Edited to add: Along the lines of Forest Gump's box of chocolates, you might keep an eye on this board on Flyertalk - https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/premium-fare-deals-740/ . This is where Flyertalkers with OCD post information about bargains in premium cabins worldwide. 99% of the time it won't be of any use, unless you happen to find yourself in Delhi with the urge to fly to Stockholm, but now and then some screaming deals appear that can offer terrific savings. But it's also fun to just lurk now and then, and marvel at how people can find these fares.

Last edited by Gardyloo; May 11th, 2018 at 11:42 AM.
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May 11th, 2018, 02:10 PM
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Thanks so much, GL! The Finnair option sounds very interesting! Never been to Helsinki..has to be interesting! I don't have any points with AA or partners.

Likewise, going through Taipei if I can stop for a day or two would pique my interest.

Let me take a look at all these and keep in mind Kathie's ANA comments. I don't want to talk to anyone, really, but discomfort and poor food is something of an issue when one is paying for business!


Helsinki.....mmmmm!!

More or less I will have to shell out the $$ for these, so important to at least get some decent product..

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 11th, 2018 at 02:14 PM.
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May 11th, 2018, 02:47 PM
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Although we had to cancel so didn’t take flight, JAL’s Business class Sky Suite gets excellent reviews.
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May 11th, 2018, 04:58 PM
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Here are a couple of trip reports covering Finnair's business class service.

https://onemileatatime.boardingarea....s-review-a350/

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May 15th, 2018, 03:07 PM
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I would recommend ANA or Asiana though with the latter be sure the biz seat is their fully flat quadra smartium version. Both are 5* carriers as is EVA air. ANA provides a duvet to add more padding and both have impeccable service.
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May 17th, 2018, 07:06 AM
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I looked at Finnair for biz plugging in a Nov. time frame as the OP said "late 2018" and got a price of $3076.00 whereas Expedia showed about just under $2900.00 but that was on Air China and China Eastern which are lower rated carries. I had been looking at RT from ORD-PEK biz for mid Sept. departure. Hainan was the least expensive (about $5700.00 for two) and has the best ratings vs. UAL and AA which were about $8400.00-8800.00. Then last April AA and UAL had big price drops so I got UAL Polaris biz for about $5200.00 for two as UAL is out ff plan and the times are great, both are NS which depart around noonish on both flights. Then Hainan had crept up to about $5900.00
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Jun 19th, 2018, 07:50 AM
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ANA offers great mileage programs, though I find their seats uncomfy.
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Jun 23rd, 2018, 04:31 AM
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Ok so now trip has been postponed until (probably) May 2019. Will take a look at the options mentioned here...
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Jun 27th, 2018, 11:54 AM
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Can you all offer any advice on whether it would be best to visit Tokyo first or Kyoto first? I am thinking of about a week in each city, and between the two, a few days at a ryokan.

Trying to determine the convenience of going into Tokyo first, straight from Narita, then taking train to Kyoto (via the ryokan stop) and then returning from either Kyoto by train, or flying from Osaka to Tokyo and then back to NYC.

Or go to Kyoto first----and how? Fly into Osaka or fly into Narita and take train.

Flights seem much more limited to and from Osaka than from Tokyo. Am I missing something?
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Jun 27th, 2018, 09:16 PM
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I'm not the expert that many are -- only been once -- and you might want to post on the Asia board since I got a LOT of help there for my Japan trip.

But what I did was fly into Tokyo and immediately took the train to Kyoto, stayed there and then train back to Tokyo for the 2nd half of my trip and flew home from Tokyo. I did't fly into Osaka because I caught a terrific Business class sale int/out of Tokyo and the savings more than covered the train fare to Kyoto.
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Jun 28th, 2018, 06:40 AM
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Osaka does have far fewer options for flights. As for which first... it sort of depends when your flight arrives, but Kyoto would probably be the better bet first.
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Sep 26th, 2018, 09:21 AM
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Ok, I feel like the biggest PITA on this forum, but here goes, new idea for trip that has now been postponed until May.


Business class flights from NYC to Oahu? Stay in Oahu a few days, then on to Tokyo.

Home from Osaka, preferable or, less preferable, from Tokyo.

Any ideas on this routing, via Hawaii and not via Helsinki. Probably have to use cash and not points although do have some points on Flying Blue (Korean).

A million thanks....researching the airares are about my most frustrating part of trip planning and nI am grateful for all the generous advice offered here over the years!
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Sep 26th, 2018, 11:23 AM
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A quick search doesn't reveal any screaming deals for that itinerary, but it's a bit early to see any sales that might happen toward the end of the winter, but they DO happen.

There are a couple of nonstop services from NYC to Hawaii, mainly on United from Newark and Hawaiian Airlines (codeshared with jetBlue) from JFK. Both continue on to Japan, or there are Korean, JAL, or ANA flights from Honolulu to Tokyo as well. But right now you're looking at five grand or more, close to 60% - 100% over the cost of nonstops straight to Japan from NYC. So in the first case I'd be patient, and start looking in earnest around the first of the year. (But monitor prices now and then, using ITA's "multi-city" option, and if you see something worth pulling the trigger, pull it.)

You travel internationally a lot, and I don't recall if I've preached to you from my RTW soapbox yet. (If not, you're one of the lucky few. ) But in a nutshell, let me just throw out some ideas for you to process if you like.

Round-the-world tickets are priced very differently depending on where you start and end the trip, i.e. the country of origin. The price for business class tickets can vary by as much as double (or half, depending on who's talking) from one country to the next. Not surprisingly, starting in the US is among the more expensive places.

The tickets are good for a year, relatively easy and inexpensive to change, and include up to 16 flight segments. For North America residents, if you buy the ticket overseas someplace, you can do one trip - say, Europe, then fly home as a "stopover" that could last several months, during which time you could travel around North America, Central America, the Caribbean etc.. Then when you want to continue, head off to Asia or Australia and make it back to the country of origin before 12 months elapses from the first flight. So you could leverage two, sometimes three or four, trips with one ticket.

A couple of examples to illustrate this, both using the Oneworld Explorer RTW product which, for business class, is currently cheapest if travel begins in one of a few countries, in this case I'll use Norway and Japan.

This route - KIX-HNL-LAX-JFK-DFW-ANC-DFW-JFK-FCO-MAD-HEL-TLV-HKG-CMB-SIN-BKK-NRT - starts and ends in Japan, and would cost $5825 plus some taxes and fees. It would include a stop in Hawaii before returning to NYC, then a trip to Alaska and back, then off across the Atlantic to Italy, Spain, and Finland, then a stop in Israel and off to Asia - maybe Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Singapore or Thailand before ending back in Japan.

Or this one originating in Norway - OSL-LHR-JFK-MIA-SJO-MIA-JFK-LAX-HNL-NRT-HKG-JNB-CPT-DOH-MAD-HEL-OSL which would cost $7121 plus T&F, and would include a trip to Central America (could be the Caribbean, Canada, etc.) and a return to Europe via South Africa.

With both of these trips (or any of an infinity of alternatives) you'd earn a big boatload of frequent flyer miles, which could make travel in intervening or following years easier or even cashless. When my wife and I were into RTWs, we'd do a paid trip in year one, earn enough miles for a couple of big trips in year 2, then repeat. Six grand or so every two years generated up to 20 or more business- or first class flights, with an average cost of around $300. That's good value for New York to Miami, amazing for New York to Hong Kong or London to Cape Town. Just sayin'.

(Sermon ends.)
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Sep 27th, 2018, 07:41 PM
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Gardyloo: I will read your sermons anytime you post them. You are quite a wonder! Just wanted to know you've given me pause about planned Oahu stopover due to price differential. I will take some time to digest, and read your post again. Can certainly wait a few months before booking and would also be willing to try that RTW idea.... But we do not usually go away for more than 3 weeks, 4 maximum, so would not want to be including so many cities. But this is worth pondering..maybe I will b ccome a convert, and can visit some cities new to me.....

AGain, I am in your debt for all the advice you've given over the years,, especially to this novice air-ticket-booker. Along with travel insurance and car rental, this is a MEGO topic for me (My Eyes Glaze Over)..... Talk hotels exotic islands, world capitals,, almost anything else and I am all ears....talk these topics and I go all MEGO...

Very best regards, ekscrunchy
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Nov 11th, 2018, 11:27 AM
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Closing out this thread to thank you all, Gardyloo especially but everyone else, too.

I finally decided that direct trumped points, and went with JAL from JFK to Narita and return. Leaves me with chore of getting back to Narita from Kyoto but sure I cann work that out before we are scheduled to depart in May.

Thank you to all.....I have another idea percolating (different trip) and will post as soon as I get my thoughts together....
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