Asiana or KAL Business class Lounge while flying Peach @ ICN

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So I might have been a bit harsh on the LCC Peach Airlines especially on domestic flights from Naha to Osaka. However the experience flying from Hong Kong or their newest route from Seoul Inchon has made up for the experience of being treated like cargo (at least from the Naha side). You actually feel like your on a real airline for a mere 3,990 yen ($32) per segment.

When you check in to Inchon Airport the experience with Peach is that of a regular airline. You go right up from the street level to the check in counter that opens up exactly 2 hours before departure. The check in is just like normal without a bus or LCC terminal to go to. They give you a real ticket instead of a grocery store receipt, and you get all the amenities of a real airport such as lounge access and shops to buy food.

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The LCC Fallacy, Why Peach isn’t worth it sometimes

Don’t try to find the Peach or Vanilla Air gates at Naha airport (domestic and international). You have to pick up the bus at stop #4 which will bring you to the warehouse located in the cargo terminal. The bus is labeled LCC for Low Cost Carrier.

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There is a new concept of a LCC Airlines where it’s the Sam’s Club experience of flying. No frills, low overhead, simple terminals. Anti-Bourgeoisie, hard working, salt of the earth customers who just want to save every possible penny because any bit of excess is frown upon. Much like the David Ramsey message of simple living, you might find joy in making your travel one of personal sacrifice and not of any comfort at all. Well I spent this Thanksgiving wondering if this was clever marketing, or if you really save enough money to justify the experience (or lack thereof).IMG_1070

There is no other way to get to the cargo terminal besides the bus. The journey reminds me of Lethal Weapon 4 where Riggs finds the General’s personal army hiding out in the foreign trade zone by the docks.IMG_1072

This is what the Hong Kongers see at there first impression of Okinawa. As they watch fresh tuna loaded on to aircraft cargo containers, they realize they might have made a huge mistake.IMG_1083

Welcome to Okinawa! This is the inside of a refurbished cargo warehouse that they are now shipping the most annoying of cargo, cheapo passengers. So I won’t mind if I’m paying almost nothing to fly, but I had the sneaking suspicion that i’m actually PAYING  A PREMIUM for this Spartian experience.

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Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日) Japan!

As we reflect on the bounty that is 150% PQM and PQS from Japan’s ANA on United it got me thinking of what the best strategy for Gold for next year. I give you my breakdown:

Destination PQM on United Seg Needed Total Cost
Ishigaki 378 132 $7,432.54
Iwakuni (From Tokyo) 686 73 $6,376.09
Nagasaki 726 69 $6,024.79
Fukuoka 806 62 $5,426.80
Hiroshima 975 51 $4,486.15
Osaka 1110 45 $3,940.54
Kobe 1110 45 $3,940.54
Tokyo (Haneda) 1476 34 $2,963.41
Tokyo (Narita) 1503 33 $2,910.18
Sapporo 2096 24 $2,086.83

If you fly Naha to Sapporo once a month you can get Star Alliance gold for a mere $2086.83 giving you an extra bag, priority baggage and the sweet short line on all *A carriers (EVA, Asiana, Singapore Air) not to mention actual lounge access with free food and beer. So a better bet is flying to Tokyo for the many activities there, or a hub to other cities. More to come on why Peach is not worth flying and why you should fly ANA exclusively to Osaka (saving yourself a lot of time and money) or rather the LCC fallacy.

-Derp

Island Hopping on JAL

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The good folks at DTS when ahead and booked me on a 13.5 hr layover after flying San Diego to Tokyo transiting across NRT to HND to catch a flight to OKA. Bad news since my loyalty and elite status belong with United, ANA and the star alliance. So this means I get to become a humble, one flight a year, no elite status normie. I even called both American Airlines and JAL hoping to upgrade with miles or even money, but the code share class V flight is unforgivable.

So I was bummed, but I stumbled upon this program called the Okinawa Island Pass. I can’t seem to book with it, but it appears any foreigner is allowed to fly within the Okinawa islands for 9000 yen a segment. Does any one know any more information about this?

I did figure out the JAL explore japan fare here, but requires a VPN to make it look like your out of Japan.

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-Derp

Okinawa Staycation with Points

This post goes out to all my brothers and sisters trapped on base. I have a colleague that is planning on hosting his parents in a few weeks and we were looking at the many hotel options on this humble island. After years working on base, living in the BOQ or the “towers” you some times forget that Okinawa is home to some pretty heavy hitting hotel chains. For example there is a tier 4 Ritz Carlton in Nago, There is the brand new Hilton resort by American Village. There is even the Busena Terrace, a $5,700 a night hotel where Bill Clinton stayed with his 7 counterparts; Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, French President Jacques Chirac, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and European Commission President Romano Prodi during the 2000 g8 summit in Nago:

TAS05:NAGO,JAPAN. JULY 22. G8 leaders wave to the camera prior to summit talks on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, on July 22. The leaders are (L-R) Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, French President Jacques Chirac, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and European Commission President Romano Prodi. (ITAR-TASS photo / Sergei Velichkin, Vladimir Rodionov) ----- ÒÀÑ05 ßïîíèÿ, Íàãî (Îêèíàâà), 22 èþëÿ. Ïåðåä íà÷àëîì óòðåííåãî çàñåäàíèÿ ëèäåðû âîñüìè âåäóùèõ ñòðàí ìèðà (ñëåâà íàïðàâî) ãëàâà ïðàâèòåëüñòâà Èòàëèè Äæóëèàíî Àìàòî, ïðåìüåð-ìèíèñòð Âåëèêîáðèòàíèè Òîíè Áëýð, ïðåçèäåíò ÐÔ Âëàäèìèð Ïóòèí, ïðåçèäåíò ÑØÀ Áèëë Êëèíòîí, ãëàâà ïðàâèòåëüñòâà ßïîíèè Èîñèðî Ìîðè, ïðåçèäåíò Ôðàíöèè Æàê Øèðàê, ïðåìüåð-ìèíèñòð Êàíàäû Æàí Êðåòüåí, êàíöëåð Ãåðìàíèè Ãåðõàðä Øðåäåð, ïðåäñåäàòåëü Åâðîïåéñêîé êîìèññèè Ðîìàíî Ïðîäè. Ôîòî Ñåðãåÿ Âåëè÷êèíà è Âëàäèìèðà Ðîäèîíîâà (ÈÒÀÐ-ÒÀÑÑ)

They love Clinton so much the replicated his boyhood home on a Golf Course in Nago! If you get the base fever and want some off base time, I’ve summed up all of the major point based hotel chains in Okinawa.

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Using the iPhone upgrade program in Japan

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Double intel day today as my wife comes back from America with my brand new Verizon iPhone 6s as well as talking to a new check in who brought her iPhone 6s from the Apple Store using the iPhone upgrade plan. Paying a monthly fee she can receive a new iPhone every year! Best part is it is fully unlocked and AU gave her a SIM card after proving compliance!

Better news is my Verizon 6s iPhone is also approved for Japan use and would be eligible for a new SIM card account. In my case I just popped my old SIM card in from a iPhone that was locked and now sold.

I am proud of these new arrivals that have done their homework, the worst feeling is being suckered into buying these crippled Japanese locked phones! Bring your own, just make sure it’s model approved for Japan, and of course put it on your chase ink bold!  for 5x ultimate reward points. Hit me up if you need a referral!

derp