Date: July 2, 2017
Flight No.: 7G20
Route: Osaka Kansai to Tokyo Haneda
Type: Airbus A320-200
After arriving from Honolulu, I spent the night inside Kansai airport’s terminal as I had an early morning flight to Tokyo to catch. For my ride back, I opted for a flight on a Starflyer A320 to Haneda airport.
Checking-In for Starflyer Flight 20
I woke up around 5:30AM, and interestingly, the night inside the terminal was more comfortable than my previous nights at the Pacific Marina Inn in Honolulu. I headed to Starflyer’s check-in desks which were elegant, but deserted.
It turned out that the morning flight was handled at ANA’s check-in counters nearby. When I got to those counters, there was already a group of passengers waiting, but the check-in was still closed with a sign saying that it would open at 5:45AM.
And indeed, at exactly 5:45AM, the check-in staff bowed to the waiting customers, and the passengers were checked-in one after another.
After waiting for about five minutes, it was my turn to check in. I handed my passport to the staff and was in turn asked for my credit card. After giving her my credit card, I was in turn asked for my phone number. And then, I was asked what my name was about three different times throughout the check-in process. Well, I guess security above everything else!
When I finally received my boarding pass, I headed straight through the deserted security check. The departure gate, 20, was located just past it – and JA23MC, a Starflyer A320 was already waiting there.
Getting Onboard the Starflyer A320
Boarding for the flight started at 6:12AM – first with priority passengers, followed by the rest of us. At the same time, an announcement was made apologizing for the fact that at Haneda we would be disembarking via stairs and then bussed to the terminal rather than using a jetway. A nice touch – and, as an aviation enthusiast, I certainly did not mind the remote spot arrival!
During boarding, passengers were handed earphones to use with the IFE. Politely declining them, I headed down to my seat, 16A.
Here I stop briefly, as I believe Starflyer’s seat is excellent – especially given that it mostly operates domestic flights that are less than 2 hours long. Besides the decent legroom, the seat featured a screen, a leg rest, a USB port, a standard power port, as well as a coat hanger.
Once everyone was settled in, the crew passed through the aisle offering blankets. The aircraft doors were armed shortly after, at 6:25AM. Another two minutes later, we were pushed back and got on our way to the active runway.
In the meantime, the cabin crew announced that the expected flight time was 55 minutes and introduced the crew. After that, the safety video was played. And, while on Air France, one is supposed to fasten a seat belt as it “elegantly highlights one’s waistline,” Starflyer “understands that you want to dance,” but asks you to please sit down and fasten the seat belt.
Onboard Starflyer Flight from Osaka Kansai to Tokyo Haneda
After ten minutes of taxiing, we took off from Kansai’s runway 06R at 6:37AM, and made almost a full 360 degree left turn as we climbed, flying by the airport that we took off from before setting our course towards Tokyo.
Five minutes after take off, the seat belt signs were switched off, and the crew made an announcement that drink service would start. Besides the usual apple juice, coffee, and soup, there was also a special seasonal drink – pineapple soda – which I decided to try.
Once I was finished with the drink, I checked the seat pocket which contained the usual things – a safety card (resembling more a luxury restaurant menu than a safety card), a waste bag, and a magazine that also served as the IFE guide.
Then, I browsed through the in-flight entertainment system a bit. While it contained some Western music and English video, most of the programming was – understandably – Japanese. However, it’s hard to complain about that given that this aircraft mostly operates flights around or under 2 hours.
Arriving at a Remote Spot at Tokyo Haneda
At 6:58AM, the Captain thanked the passengers for flying Starflyer over the PA. He also added that we were flying at FL290, and that we were expecting to land 5 to 10 minutes early in cloudy Tokyo.
Ten minutes after that, the seat belt signs were switched back on as we started descending towards Haneda.
During approach, we were offered a view of Mt. Fuji, and at 7:19AM, the landing gear was lowered. Just two minutes later – at 7:21AM – we landed on Haneda’s runway 34L.
This was followed by a taxi to the Terminal 2 side of the airport where we parked at a remote spot at 7:28AM.
Before disembarking, I took a couple of cabin shots. Then, a quick bus ride to the terminal that marked the end of the short but enjoyable flight, as well as of the Hawaii trip, followed.