Seoul to Tokyo Narita –
I recently traveled on a complicated itinerary / Mileage Run Vacation to Seoul South Korea. I will be writing about my experience over the following posts:
Seoul Trip Report – JAL – Seoul to Tokyo Narita
Date: October 5, 2015
Flight: Japan Airlines 954
From: Seoul Incheon (ICN)
To: Tokyo Narita (NRT)
I arrived at the airport about three hours before the flight. I was able to print a boarding pass at my hotel; however, the boarding pass said that I needed to go to the check in desk any way to get it validated and stamped. I located the check in area and joined the line.
An agent greeted me promptly and she offered assistance. I showed her the paper boarding pass and she asked for my passport. After I provided it, she thanked me and she asked me to wait for a minute. The agent walked to another station before returning with a stamp. The agent thanked me for waiting and she asked if I had any luggage to check. I said no and she thanked me. The agent invited me to use a lounge and she provided directions to the Korean Air Lounge that was located after the train to the further terminal. The agent thanked me and she wished me a good day.
I proceeded to the security line. There were multiple lines and each were quite long. The airport had it setup so that guests line up to have their passport and boarding pass checked followed by another line leading into multiple security checkpoints followed by another line for immigration. The process was confusing and a lot of people were noted to cut in the line. The process was delayed.
After about one hour I reached the security screen area. I had to remove my laptop, iPad and power block as well as liquids. I was able to leave my shoes on and the agent scanned my boarding pass before handing me a card that he placed in the basket with my computer. Once I went through the metal detector I handed the agent the card and they provided my laptop. The agent thanked me and invited me to continue to immigration.
The immigration line was long and I waited for another 30 minutes before reaching an immigration agent. The entire check in process through immigration lasted one hour and 45 minutes.
I entered the terminal and had to walk through several stores before reaching the train to the other terminal. The train was accessed by two sets of escalators. When I reached the lower level a train was arriving and I boarded it promptly. The train departed a few minutes later for a quick four or five-minute ride to the other terminal. Upon exiting there were three sets up escalators before reaching another shopping area.
Duty Free Shopping is huge in Asia and all the stores were booming with activity. They also had separate claim areas where customers had to go to pickup and repack their purchases. In my eyes, it was a very complicated process.
I approached the gate for the Seoul to Tokyo flight a few minutes before the posted boarding time. When I arrived, customers were already lining up. There were two lines. One for economy and one for business and priority. I joined the priority line.
A gate agent was in the area near the lines to verify that each guest was in the correct line.
Boarding began on time. When I reached the front of the line, the gate agent reviewed my boarding pass and passport before inviting me to board the aircraft.
A flight attendant greeted me at the door and she informed me which aisle to walk down for my seat. The agent welcomed me.
The seat was a standard economy seat. An AVOD system was present at each seat. The screen was not touch screen and it was controlled by a remote control in the armrest. The monitors did not have the best picture and the sound required a two-prong adapter which compromised the quality of the audio.
It appeared that nearly all the seats were taken on this flight.
Once boarding was complete, the flight attendants made a long series of announcements. The announcements were in three languages. A safety video was displayed while the plane was taxing to the runway.
Once the video was complete, more announcements were made and there was about a 15-minute taxi.
Once the plane was in the air, the flight attendants made announcements about Duty Free Sales, as well as about the meal service. Each message was long and they spoke them in the three languages: Japanese, English and Korean.
About 25 minutes into the flight, the flight attendants approached my seat and offered a meal. The meal was pre-boxed and only one option was available. The flight attendant also offered a beverage. I requested a beer and she displayed three different beer types and asked what I wanted. I selected one of them and she thanked me and provided the beer. I also requested water. The flight attendant provided the water and she wished me a good meal.
The meal consisted of a tuna sandwich, pasta salad and a rice salad, rice chips and a sweet muffin. The food was all served chilled. The tuna sandwich was fresh and it was served on white bread with lettuce and mayo. The sandwich had a good taste. The pasta salad was fresh and it had a tangy tomato based sauce. The rice salad was also fresh and it had a good taste. The chips were crispy and crunchy and they had a good flavor. The muffin was sweet and it had a good taste. The beer was served in a can with a plastic cup. The beer was chilled and had a good taste.
The flight attendants picked up the meals and they offered additional beverages. In addition, the flight attendants offered coffee followed by two different teas.
Another set of announcements was made and then the flight attendants walked through the cabin promoting duty free sales.
Shortly before landing, the flight attendants made announcements about not bringing food into the country, health concerns for MIRS and SARS as well as something about Korean Beef not being allowed in Japan. The messages were long winded and they were distracting.
The flight attendants prepared the cabin for landing before they took a seat.
After landing, the plane made a 10-minute taxi before arriving at a parking stand. Air stairs were attached to the aircraft and customers were ushered into waiting busses.
The busses were filled completely before they departed and drove for about five minutes where everyone was ushered to immigration or flight transfer area.
I proceeded to the transfer area and was asked to show my identification card and boarding pass before going through a standard security screening. I was asked to remove my laptop, iPad, power blocks and liquids. Once I was through security I entered the terminal and found duty free shopping and restaurants present.
Overall I thought the flight was good. The flight attendants were polite and it was nice they offer a meal service on a short flight. I felt that the length and number of announcements that were made was a bit excessive and it would have been nicer if they condensed them. All in all, it was a good flight.