Date: April 14, 2016
Flight No.: NU9
Route: Osaka Kansai to Okinawa Naha
Airline: JTA Japan Transocean Air
Type: Boeing 737-400
Back in April 2016, I went to Okinawa to take the Bombardier Q400CC inaugural flight and the ANA Pokemon Peace Jet final scheduled flight. To get to Naha, I took a JTA (Japan Transocean Air) flight from Osaka Kansai onboard one of the airline’s 737-400.
Checking-In for Japan Transocean Air Flight 9
I arrived at Kansai airport about 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 8:10PM and headed straight to check-in.
Airlines in the Japan Airlines group offer upgrade to Class J, domestic business class, for only 1,000 yen (approx. 10 USD). I tried to upgrade myself upon check-in, but I could only be placed on the waitlist as all the Class J seats were already taken.
With my boarding pass for seat 9H, an economy class aisle seat, in my hand, I headed through the security to gate 23 where the flight would be departing from.
Just as I got to the gate, there was an announcement saying that no one from the Class J waitlist could be accommodated, and boarding started. First, passengers requiring assistance. Then, status holders and Class J passengers. Then, passengers in rows 13 to 27, and finally, the rest of the passengers including me.
Departing Kansai Airport Bound for Naha, Okinawa
Upon entering the aircraft, passengers were offered earphones to be able to listen to the onboard radio later on. Having my own entertainment, I skipped on getting them, and headed down the aisle to my seat.
Boarding was completed at 8:05PM, five minutes before the scheduled departure time, and the doors were closed one minute later.
Once everyone was onboard, the passengers were welcomed in Okinawan language. The flight attendant also noted that passengers would not be waked up during service, and that they should feel free to ask the crew for a drink when they wake up. The nice announcement gave me a hint that what would follow would be a very pleasant flight.
At 8:08PM, two minutes before the scheduled departure time, we were pushed back, and five minutes later we started taxiing to runway 06R. Another fifteen minutes later, we took off, climbing steeply into the dark Kansai skies.
Okinawan Hospitality Onboard JTA Flight 9
At 8:29PM, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the onboard service begun.
First, the crew passed through the aircraft offering blankets. Then, children were offered a gift of either a toy or a spoon and fork set. Once the children were happy, Chura Navi, a magazine about Okinawa was handed out to passengers.
Finally, the drink service started. Each passenger was kindly shown a drink menu. I decided to get a cup of JAL’s original Skytime kiwi flavor drink.
The passenger behind me decided to get consommé soup for her child to which the flight attendant offered to put in some cold water into the hot soup to cool it down a bit. Once again, extremely attentive service by the JTA crew.
Throughout the flight, the crew passed through the aisles offering drinks three more times for a total of four drink runs on a two-hour flight.
Towards the end of the flight, one of the flight attendants came to me with the log book I handed her at the beginning of the flight. “Did you take all these photos?” “Are these photos real cockpit?” “What aircraft type is this?” She came showing genuine interest in the log book and in aircraft.
We chatted for about five minutes before she left saying that she would give me the logbook after the flight so that she could fill in the landing time, block time, etc. My amazement with the warmth of the JTA crew kept growing throughout the flight.
Landing at Naha Airport
Twenty-five minutes before landing, the crew announced that the seatbelt signs would be switched on in ten minutes. It was also repeated that passengers were not woken up during the service, and that whoever wants a drink should ask the crew for one without hesitation.
At 9:56PM, the seatbelt signs were switched on as we started our descend towards Naha. Less than ten minutes later, the gear was lowered, and at 10:07PM we landed on Naha’s runway 36.
We reached our arrival gate at 10:09PM, parking next to one of Japan Transocean Air’s special colored planes, the Jinbei Jet.
I waited for all passengers to disembark before heading down the aisle and receiving my logbook from the crew. To the sound of a Japanese song called “Roman Hiko” (Romantic Flight) that was playing during disembarking, I thanked the crew, and still amazed by JTA’s hospitality, I stepped into the empty Naha terminal.