Quick Takes – March 14th, 2019

Welcome to this week’s Quick Takes. There’s a lot of news coming up this week, the biggest among them would be JAL starting their LCC brand. Let’s get started.

  • Japan Airlines launching LCC operation: All Nippon Airways (ANA) had long since dominated the Japanese low-cost carrier (LCC) sector. Not anymore, as Japan Airlines (JAL) had announced the launch of their LCC outfit ZIPAIR Tokyo this week. Initial offerings will be to open two lines: Bangkok – Narita, and Seoul – Narita. ZIPAIR will use a pair of Boeing 787-8 planes, with a projected start of operation by Summer 2020. This is the first solely-owned LCC under JAL, as Jetstar Japan is a joint venture with Qantas. Future plans include US to Japan for possible 2021 launch, which currently no LCC serves.
  • Keisei “Tokyo Shuttle” online booking and discount to end by March 27th (Narita Airport to Tokyo): Keisei Bus had announced new schedules for their “Tokyo Shuttle” airport bus service. This is to adjust with the opening of Narita International Airport Terminal 3 after expansion. Along with the rescheduling, their online booking will end by March 27th. Currently, Keisei offers a 100 yen discount on the fare for Narita to Tokyo for online reservations. The announcement cited online bookings lock up too many seats from walk-in customers, which lead to delays and long queues. Online booking for Tokyo to Narita Airport is not affected in this change.
  • The brand new Onomichi Station is now open: We mentioned the rebuild of JR Onomichi Station back in last September. While the construction took longer than expected, it was completed recently. It is now opened for passengers and travelers. You can find the station in its full glory in the attached article. The station had a hostel for cyclists, lovely shops, and special waiting area for Twilight Express Mizukaze.
  • [Tokyo Excursion] Plum Blossom Festival up to March 31st: With cherry blossoms starting really soon (news last night show projected blossom time as early as March 20th), it’s going to get crazy for cherry blossom sites everywhere in Japan. Want to avoid that while still going for a bit of flowery scenery? Mito in Ibaraki might be a good option. Mito is about 2 hours away from Tokyo on regular trains (1 hour and 10 minutes on Limited Express trains). Kairakuen Garden there was rated among the best three ancient gardens in Japan. It is one of the best sites for seeing plum blossoms, with thousands of plum trees . Their annual Plum Blossom Festival had been going on since late February. It should be over pretty soon, with the unusually warm weather, though it is still worth going there this weekend.
  • Osaka Airport buses to offer joint free wifi service: There are eleven airport bus providers operating from Osaka’s airports (Itami for local, Kansai International for international flights). A Wi-Fi provider called Wired and Wireless had struck a deal with these bus operators for a joint free wifi service called “Airport_Bus_Free_Wi-Fi”. It will be implemented to all the buses in the operation gradually from now on. The user interface will have 14 languages to choose from, and the service is unlimited for three hours.

That’s it for this week! I am a little behind schedule this week, as I am prepping something special for release later this month. Stay tuned, and see ya all next week!