best airlines and planes to Asia

May 19th, 2004, 03:57 AM
  #1  
emd
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best airlines and planes to Asia

I posted in last few days on a related topic, as I was trying to get FF rewards to Tokyo from D.C. I ended up getting two free Continental FF seats on NW, a 747 plane, on the dates I wanted (not an easy feat). Some posters have pointed out that that is not a good plane for a trip to Japan in coach, no individual video screens and no leg rests that rise for sleeping. I do not care about the video screen, but I do care about sleeping, as my 13 yr old son wil eb with me, and we have never done a long trip like this. I want to do what I can to minimize the jet lag and get good solid sleep on the plane (and I do not sleep in regular caoch seats). I am wondering now about the value of buying coach tickets to get better sleep. I would like to know what you consider to be the best airline (that hopefully flies out of D.C., but I could always get a shuttle to NY and go from there) for coach seats for sleeping purposes to Japan. Thanks so much.
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May 19th, 2004, 05:05 AM
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This is really a question for the airlines forum. I kindly suggest that you not be too concerned about it. You've got two FREE tickets on the dates that you want to travel to the place that you want to go. You've been to seatguru and got opinions on which seats to get when they become available. You have a plan for getting the best available seats.

The jet lag that you will experience will be due to the time zone change. Nobody gets a good solid sleep on a flight like that without drugs. When JAL 5 leaves JFK at 1:30 PM next Wednesday it will be 2:30 AM Japan Time on the 27th. The problem becomes: how do you get a good solid sleep at 2:30 in the afternoon?

You can just accept the fact that you will not get a good solid sleep and deal with it, it will be ok. When you get to Japan it will be afternoon, probably around 4PM and you will be tired and wacked but that will mostly be because you just spent (at least) 14 hours on a cramped plane and are trying to make a 13 hour shift in your circadian rhythyms. What seat you use in coach is not going to make that much of a difference, IMHO.

You have more ticket purchase options than you seem to be aware of. You can buy a ticket that has a connection in NY. Or Chicago, or other places. You can look into flying in Economy Plus on United. It's better than your average coach. If you can't get or don't want to spend the $ for E-Plus seats, then taking the ANA nonstop would be better than trying to figure out which airlines have 32" seat pitch vs 33" (or whatever). That is, the nonstop on ANA would be better than any connecting flight on "the best" basic coach seat.

Maybe I am wrong about what I am reading into your post, but I'm wondering if you are just stressing because you are excited and want this trip to be perfect. A wise person once told me that "perfection is the enemy of good enough". You got a lot of opinions and tips on your other post(s), but IMHO a good bit of it is fine tuning. What you've got might not be perfect, but it is much better than good enough.

If I'm reading this wrong, I apologize. Perhaps that sleep is really important to you and you have your reasons. In that case, you could reconsider using the miles and $ to upgrade to business class. It's not worth it to me, but maybe it is to you.
mrwunrfl is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 05:19 AM
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Any airline, any airplane in Business Class. There are really no comfortable coach seats.

"exceptionsquot; If you are a United very frequent flier (25,000 or more flight miles per year) you are eligible to get Economy Plus seats - about 6" extra leg room. I still wouldn't be able sto sleep, but they are better than regular economy.

EVA has a class of service for about US$300 per seat more than Coach that provides almost Business Class seating (but not business class service).

Personally, my favorite planes are the 777s. Some people prefer the 747s. The 767s (i don't think anyone flies them to Asia, but some fly them between the US and Europe) are the least comfortable and spacious of the large planes.
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May 19th, 2004, 05:28 AM
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PS For purposes of sleeping, the seats you have on NW are no btter and no worse than any other coach seats. People dislike NW because they don't have individual tv screens. If you're trying to sleep, that's irrelevant.
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May 19th, 2004, 05:34 AM
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we take sleeping pills for the over the pacific phase of the flight and find that this helps....ask you doctor for a prescription....
it is very difficult to sleep on any plane and you have to expect that you will have jet lague in every case no matter what the seat is....

i think you may be over anxious about all of this....plan on not doing much on day one after arrival...this is you best bet on a successful trip...IMHO
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May 19th, 2004, 06:03 AM
  #6  
emd
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Ok, thanks. I get it now. Sorry I posted here instead of the airlines forum- I haven't ever used that forum and didn't think of it.
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May 19th, 2004, 02:55 PM
  #7  
emd
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Just one more thing. I am not trying to make the trip perfect. There is no way it will be, I don't even speak Japanese and a good part of the fun will be trying to figure it all out w/my son and making mistakes along the way by not doing it on our own rather than a tour. I have never been to Japan or on a flight any longer than ones to Europe, nor have I ever redeemed FF miles for more than a domestic flight. I don't know what to expect. Like most posters who come here, I am trying to make the best, educated choices in order to maximize the trip. Kind of like posting about whether to use FF miles for business class or first on a trip to Japan, or changing your return date to maximize your reward.
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May 19th, 2004, 06:29 PM
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what is the question?? how to use the FF miles?? i use them for a coach seat to as far away as my time permits...thus on saturday that will be bangkok for one month....i also stay as long as i can squeek out...and then some....

i can put up with discomfort in anticipation of a wonderful few weeks in paradise...thus i go coach and save other miles for future travel...plus i find that the legs are sometimes hard to come by even way in advance...you may get one whole trip done sans one leg and be stuck....

others oove to upgrade but i need to go so often that i need that other 30-50,000 points for the next trip...i work hard cheating everyone out of points so i can't flitter them away...
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May 19th, 2004, 07:06 PM
  #9  
Airlawgirl
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emd-I'm the one who posted about NWA and its lack of amenities in economy to Asia, (and also their transcontinental-economy flights-there are no movies and no stereo on NWA- the only carrier I know of like that). However, when you said you were going FREE, that changes everything-sure, I'd take NWA to Asia free any day of the week! However, you asked about other good carriers out of DC that fly to Asia. A month ago, I took ANA (All Nippon Airways) out of Dulles-and I tell you, I could not have been more pleased. ANA has some 5 classes on board their flights- and I wish I could have had one of their economy plus seats- they looked quite comfortable. But even in regular economy, I had what I stated before, footrests, on-demand individual video in the seatback, good food, cheerful F/A's- it actually made the 13 hour flight go much quicker-I caught up on all the movies I hadn't seen! But as the other poster said, no seats are comfortable in regular economy for sleeping, so you'll just have to make the best of the situation-believe me, it will be worth it to get to Japan for free- 'cause Japan ain't cheap! (but I love it nonetheless!) Remember, you can use use your ATM card at the Citibank ATM machine on the lower level arrivals area at Narita Airport when you arrive in Tokyo. It's under the escalator. You'll get the best rate on Japanese yen when you use your ATM card. Have fun!
 
May 19th, 2004, 09:05 PM
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Ok. I didn't communicate well with anyone today, I think. emd, I was just trying to help.
mrwunrfl is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 09:24 PM
  #11  
emd
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it's ok. i didn't have the best day myself in that way. and you are always helpful. i have to try hard not to be a perfectionist, so your comment touched a cord that you had no way of knowing was there. peace.
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May 20th, 2004, 04:58 AM
  #12  
emd
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topping for mrwunrfl. the kind sole feels bad about being a bit snitty.
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May 20th, 2004, 05:27 AM
  #13  
 
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There really are even more helpful people, like rkkwan, on the Airlines board that can help with this question. You've already made a great choice for the trip: flying free on NWA. Adding on to Airlawgirl's post, I'd say that the only thing better than that would be to fly free on the ANA flights which you can't do. To get marginally better, you would have to spend $2000 for coach tix OR 100,000? miles plus $3000+ for two biz tix.

As far as maximizing your FF award goes, you are probably allowed an open-jaw or enroute stopover, maybe both. We talked about the open jaw in your other post: out to Tokyo, back from Osaka (after the GRAND SUMO tournament, HAI!).

The enroute stopover means that, e.g., you could stop over in Minneapolis for a few days on your way to Japan. If NWA or CO flys to Beijing via Tokyo, then you could stop over in Japan on the to or from Beijing. I did that a couple of years ago when I used a United award: 11 days stopover in Japan, flew on to Beijing to see the Great Wall, etc for three days and then came back home (and went to a diner in 7 Corners for breakfast at 10:30 PM).
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May 20th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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Surprised nobody mentioned my favorite airline .

On the other hand, if you got the free tickets, go for it. It never really is as bad as it sounds.

American does have a non-stop from JFK to NRT, flying a 777 with more room and individual screens. What makes AA very attractive is the fact that you could upgrade from ANY published coach fare to business for 25K miles. Business has 60" pitch, foot rest, reclines to almost flat. Even if you don't upgrade, AA offers about 34" seat pitch in economy. NWA has about 31" seat pitch.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip!
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