Affordable Air fare to Japan

Jul 29th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Affordable Air fare to Japan

We are considering taking a trip to Japan this fall(october) and I was trying to figure out how to get the best air fare we would depart from Chicago(ORD) and like to fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka
United has non-stops(both NRT and KIX) on this route, there airfare come out to 1085 (non stop flights) is this a good fare, should I wait another month or so? Connecting flights don't seem to be any cheaper (Northwest, Air Canada, all nippon) and AA and JAL seem to have non-stops also (only tokyo not osaka) but they seem to be actally more money

any other tips on finding cheaper air??

dgruzew is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 11:22 AM
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I find Japan Air to be far preferable for a long flight than United. Fares are usually pretty similar I've found. But if UAL is the only one to fly non-stop to Osaka than I'd use them. I HATE changing planes.
glorialf is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 12:19 PM
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I recently received an email from AA with special fall fares from NYC-JFK to NRT for $693 from 9/7 to 11/18. Tickets have to be purchased very soon. Maybe they have something similiar from ORD?
Mara is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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The United flight is really your best option. It may be a bit more because of your open-jaw itinerary.

Is that fare the lowest coach fare available or is it an upgradable fare? The fares that are upgradable are always more expensive.

Just keep watching the airfares (I find that the United website usually has lower fares that the internet travel sites like expedia and travelocity.) Buy when the price is right for you.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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No, it is not a good fare. A good fare would be under $800. A great fare at $600. I think that UA upgradeable fares would be in the $1500 ballpark. But, it is not a horrible fare. I like Kathie's advice about buying when it is right for you: it depends on how firm your plan is.

I did a quick search for a few dates in October at travelocity and got results similar to yours.

At, though, I found roundrip open-jaw ticket prices of under $750. At the multi-city option, I tried:

Oct 14, ORD - NRT
Oct 28, KIX - ORD

That's nonstop to Narita and return from Osaka. The total ticket price is $764.61
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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(ok 764 is greater than 750)

Forgot to mention that I chose those Oct. dates because they were weekdys, Monday - Thursday.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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iace travel is showing AA flights under $800 for October. I was recently looking for flights this fall too and it seems a lot higher than a year ago.
SamH is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 05:06 PM
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You might want to tru JTB. I got a pretty good deal for my trip in October from NYC to Taipei to Tokyo and then from Osaka to Newark. I did my ticket a few months back, but it never hurts to try. Their site is
AGoela is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:27 PM
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I asked about upgradable fares as I can usually get upgradable fares in to 1000 - 1100 range.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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I recently found airfare from LAX into Tokyo and out of Osaka for $713.00 plus taxes and fees at When I called they told me that this fare is good from now until March 31, 2005 but the time to purchase this special is ending soon.
Maybe they have good deals out of ORD too.
magicvoice is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:55 PM
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Sorry, then I don't understand what says. The upgrade award chart says 30,000 miles each way to upgrade for travel from N. America to Japan with an economy ticket in M or H class. When I get the $1182 ORD-NRT fare, it is Q class, so not upgradeable (?).

I did try searching for Upgrade Eligibility = Systemwide Region 2 and that also gives me that Q class fare (but I think it is just returning it as an ineligible alternative.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:14 PM
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M & H class fares do exist and are indeed in the $1,000 - 1,100 range from N. America to NRT.

Using travelocity's fare class search, the lowest LAX-NRT in H is $981, valid 1/6-3/18, and 10/27-12/11; Mon-Thursday. Other M/H fares range from $1,065-$1,485. Probably similar or slightly higher from ORD. show similar results if I specify a date, and the fare class. For example, for 9/20-9/27 LAX-NRT in M/H, it gives me a fare of $1,149 in H.

With these upgrade fares, it's hard to search on Instead, you should just call them and have them do the specific fare class search. It's the same way with other airlines.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:48 PM
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this may or may not apply too you but northwest has started offering miles pluss cash too asia. so you (or others) may get a good deal buy using this method.
orgy7 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:11 AM
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the itasoftware site is great. I don't know how I am missing it but I don't see fare class search options at travelocity or at itasoftware. I see "Class of Service" options but no options for M/H or anything. ?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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I always call for upgradable fares. There are only a few fare classes that are upgradable, and it often takes a long search to find that fare and a flight where upgrades are still available. Also, occasionally, you can get a special sale fare that is upgradable. I once got a flight to Hong Kong for under $700 that was upgradable.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 07:44 AM
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Another vote for We did Boston-Tokyo-Beijing-Boston on United in May for $760 each--including taxes and fees. For my mom, who flew from LAX, the same itinerary was $560, also inclusive of tax and fees.

One thing to note about checking with jtb is that you need to call more than one office. I actually found the Manhattan and Torrance offices to have better prices and customer service than Chicago. And since the tickets can be e-tickets, it doesn't really matter which office you buy from.
kathyl is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 09:22 AM
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mrwunrfl - I am at work right now, but I'll get you some links tonite with info about how to search for specific fare classes on; and how to list all the fare codes in travelocity.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Well folks, depending on your dates, AA just published some OUTSTANDING fares to Osaka:

- 27OCT-11DEC
-6JAN-18 MAR


I just reserved TPA-ORD-HNL(overnight )-KIX-HNL(12 hour layover )-ORD-TPA for $675.00 all in. If you want to stay in Hawaii for longer than 24 hours then it will cost you $100 more.

ORD-KIX should be around $600, but again, check the valid dates above.

Good luck!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 10:47 PM
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mrwunrfl - here's the travelocity page to list the fare codes:

and this page on flyertalk explains how to specify fare class on


rkkwan is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 04:11 AM
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Thanks, rkkwan, that is great info. I offered my $0.02 to the OP and got much more than that back. The travelocity page is straightforward. WAS - BKK on Jan 20 shows a bunch of "fare codes". I see that the first letter of that code is the "BK CODE" on the fare rules page. I take that the BK CODE (booking code?) is what I should pay attention to. In that case, then I see H class fares on UA for $1055 to BKK and $915 to NRT (both from WAS). This is great.

I take it to say, though, that these are the fares that are/were available. They might be sold out on the day that I want, right?

Kathie, I've seen you post (pretty sure it was you) making the argument that the best way to use miles is for upgrades to paid fares. It made sense to me only if you have so many miles that you don't know what to do with them AND you are at an elite FF level that gets double miles. But I took a look, some time ago, to see what you mean (I was considering going to BKK in Jan aware that I probably won't get back to Premier Executive for next year, so I would pay to go there and earn miles instead of using an award (and hope that UA would have the triple miles offer in Jan. like they did this year). I could find an $800 Q fare to BKK but the only M/H fare (that I could find) was like $1000 more. It's about 9500 miles for was-bkk (depending on routing), so 19000 roundtrip. With Mileage Plus PE bonus, it's 38000. Call it 40K with online bonus and cc miles. So, I could spend $1800 and a net 20,000 miles for a BC ticket or I could spend 90,000 miles for an award ticket (and fly via FRA on the award trip to save 7 or 8 hours). Subtract 20k miles from that equation and the question is which is better: spending $1800 or 70,000 UA miles to fly in business class. That's not worth it, to me, paying the $ and miles, so my decision was between the coach ticket w/o upgrade or the BC award.

Back to the math, it's $1800 for 70K miles or 2.6 cents a mile. Airlines offer miles for sale at 2.5 to three cents a mile. Being a bargain shopper, I would want a big discount from that "retail" price (not that I could ever actually get the discount), so I would be willing to pay a penny and a half a mile. Bottom line was that I would not spend miles to upgrade.

That was the old math. The new math, with what I have just learned from y'all is that I can get an upgradeable fare for about 40% less than I thought (in the dollars per mile math, that's 1.6 cents per mile, a bargain price).

Earlier this month I was looking at $800 fares for WAS - BKK and trying to decide what to do. I actually got routing through ORD, which is faster, and a stopover in Tokyo for a few days on the return for $808. Problem was the 10 minute connection time to the 6th and final flight of the trip. No matter what times I used online, that was the only schedule that I could get at that price. Anyway, to make a short story even longer, I will explain that I checked those fares, schedules, a couple times a day for a week. I tried different dates/times each time. Then I learned that some friends will be in BKK during the time I was planning, so I came home a couple of Sundays ago ready to pull the trigger only to find that the fare was now $1050 or more!

It against my beliefs to pay 25% more for something that I could have had for a lower price. Figured I'd just find a bargain price to a destination that is a bit lower on my list. Have been thinking that I ought to just bite the bullet and pull the trigger and go where I wanted when I wanted even if it is at a higher price that I could have paid if I had been able to make the decision sooner. Now that I think that I might be able to get an upgradeable ticket at the higher price then I might buy it but put off getting the upgrade. If UA has the triple miles offer again then I would definitely upgrade.

So, that's what's in my head this Saturday morning. This thread has been a bit of a revelation to me.

AAFF and dgruzew, I would be happy to help you with your Japan travel. Japan is my second-favorite place in the world.
mrwunrfl is offline  

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