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Asia neophyte has questions about flights to the Far East

Asia neophyte has questions about flights to the Far East

Dec 5th, 2010, 08:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 489
Asia neophyte has questions about flights to the Far East

I spend most of my vacation dollars, and time on the Fodor's site, in and about Europe. I've always wanted to visit Japan, but my wife is a very reluctant flyer, and has been unwilling thus far to endure the long flight times involved (we live in the Philadelphia area - was my screen name a hint?) The 8 - 9 hours needed to travel across the Atlantic has so far been the outer limit of her tolerance for being on a plane.

I have finally persuaded her to consider a trip to Japan, if we can somehow muster enough free-time to first fly to the West Coast, spend 2 or 3 days somewhere, probably Northern California, then swallow hard and take a flight to Japan. We'd then have to spend another day or two on the West Coast on the way home.

My question is - is there a way to make this work other than buying 2 round-trip tickets to wherever in California, and two additional RTs between Cal and Japan? It seems that this plan will involve significant additional expense compared to a direct flight from the East Coast to Japan, with only a connection in California or Hawaii on the same ticket.

Is there any other way to skin this cat? Thanks for any suggestions.
phillyboy is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 465
In my experience, most airlines will allow at least one stopover en route to Japan at no extra expense. I do this regularly, stopping off in Vancouver while going to Osaka from eastern Canada. If you want to stop off in each direction, there is usually an extra cost, but if you can keep one stop under 24 hours, it might count as a connection. Again, free.
So contact an airline and get yourself routed from Philly through Calif or Hawaii with a change of planes there. But even if you have to pay for that extra stop on return, it would be less than buying two tickets.
The return flight, from Japan to the US, would be barely ten hours. That might be tolerable for your wife, with a change in LA or SF.
Another thing you can do, as an experiment, is to put your flights in on kayak.com and see if you can choose flights with long "Inconvenient" connections. Usually cheaper anyway. But you don't want to make the whole experience too spread-out and painful. The first option above might be best.
WillJame is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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I don't think flying to the west coast first is going to help much. It is still an 11 hour flight to Tokyo from San Francisco, for example. You cannot fly direct to Tokyo from Philly but you can connect through Toronto on Air Canada - from Toronto, it is just under 13 hours and the price is right. Or you can fly direct from Newark, JFK or Washington Dulles - 14 hours.
Craig is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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I've flown five times from JFK - four direct to NRT. Once I went via DFW to KIX in Osaka - I don't think American has this flight any more. Anyway, transferring was really horrible imo - particularly coming home when there was a weather issue in DFW and a long delay. Personally I would prefer to go direct and just endure the length of the flight. If you luck out and have an extra seat in which to stretch out, it isn't that bad....
Enjoy Japan!
Mara is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Can You find an airline that flies over the pole? My trip to Hong Kong in 2008 went from Chicago (ORD) to HK in about 14 hours.
indianapearl is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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Flights to NRT don't go over N. Pole. Only those for China and Hong Kong do, from eastern N. America.

I totally agree with others. Go direct. Having flown 4 times in economy on flights over 15 hours (actual flight time), another 6 times over 14 hours, and many more over 13 and so on, stopping over and increasing overall flight time - not to mention total travel time - makes no sense. If you can survive 8 hours on a flight, you can survive 14. I have never been uncomfortable on one of these ultra-longhaul as long as I get an aisle seat.

The best bet for the OP will be Continental from EWR. Their 777 have AVOD with large 9" screens and hundreds of movies to choose from. Actual flight time is under 14 in winter and closer to 13 in the summer. It goes by pretty quickly.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 6th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 489
Thanks for your replies. I am aware that I can fly direct from Newark, and that is the "best bet" - problem is, my wife won't do it, she won't sit on a plane that long, period. The only way I've gotten her to even consider the trip is with a break midway there. We're talking about someone who turned down a COMPLETELY FREE trip to Australia a few years ago - flights, hotel, food, drinks, and tours all paid for by my company - because she wouldn't fly that far, that long.

I know that if you can bear 8 or 9 hours on a plane, you should be able to do 13 or 14 - if she agreed, we would have been to the Far East years ago. We've been married 35 years, and she is a wonderful wife and mother, and normally completely reasonable - except when it comes to this.

WillJame - your suggestions appear to be closest to what I am looking for, I appreciate it.
phillyboy is offline  
Dec 10th, 2010, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 976
If you have enough frequent flyer miles to make business class tickets possible, that will make all the difference. Can you swing it?

Otherwise, breaking up the trip with a stopover in San Francisco, LA, or Seattle is a good way to go. We're doing that this summer--EWR to SFO, stopover for a couple of days, then on to Narita. Same thing on the return. Really, a day (overnight) is probably enough to break up the trip. We're doing it on FF miles, so no charge for the stopovers. But I agree with WillJ--check with a few airlines and you'll find a plan that works for you. Your wife will NOT regret traveling to Japan!
aprillilacs is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 02:06 AM
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Did I miss something? It seems that 4 or 5 innocuous responses removed from this thread.
DonTopaz is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 06:05 AM
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Posts: 465
Seems in tact to me, Rizzuto. What do you think is gone?
WillJame is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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pitty as you will spend as much time in the air and maybe even more flying to west coast first...

we recently did that stopping in seattle and flying the next day to bangkok via japan... it was far longer flying that way than direct from newark over the pole...

may i suggest a combo of tranquilizers and sleeping pills that your doc might supply... prob. not both..

we always take sleeping pills on the trans pacific leg..

it is so worth going that the flt is the easiest part and the end product is woth the time..

choosing the right plane can make a difference... i love airbuses with a 2X4X2 configuration and also a 777 with the same configuration.... both will have good entertainment systems too...

flying from DC is also an option.....Korean air can't be beat

ANA, American, Delta, united, Asiana, eva and many others
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,015
Nothing's gone, except my mind.
DonTopaz is offline  
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