Airfare Alert! Delta flights to Japan on sale for April and May

This offer appears to have ended (Updated 3/2)

Today Delta Air Lines launched a sale on its flights to Tokyo Haneda – the ones that land and take off during the late night/early morning hours. The fares for flights connecting to these are also discounted.

The Economy airfare on Delta from Los Angeles is $600 round-trip… that’s right, ROUND TRIP, for flights departing and returning on all dates in April and May, except Fridays and Saturdays. Flights from Seattle to Haneda are $680 round-trip for almost the same time frame.

Lowest airfares from connecting cities:

*San Francisco, $615 r/t

*Las Vegas, $615 r/t

*Denver, $782 r/t

*Dallas DFW, $797 r/t

*San Antonio, $841 r/t

*Houston, $913 r/t

*Minneapolis, $931 r/t

*Chicago, $841 r/t

*Orlando, $745 r/t

*Baltimore, $841 r/t

*New York, $745 r/t

*Boston, $942 r/t

Note that you may have to connect once OR TWICE in either direction for the trip. Also, as I’ve mentioned on the blog before, it’s HANEDA. You’ll need to do some research to figure out the best options to/from the airport late in the evening, and you will also want to double check your departure time going back to the US… If it’s a 12:10 AM flight on a Monday, then be sure to show up on Sunday night!

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Airfare Alert – Chicago to Japan for $759 round-trip on United Airlines

Discovered today is a discounted airfare from Chicago O’Hare Airport to Tokyo for last minute travel in early March.
The dates for departure and return are extremely limited – either March 3 or March 5 for the departure, and March 7, 12, 14, 21, 24 or 28 for the return.
The flight out to Tokyo leaves Chicago at 1:10 PM. After a connection in San Francisco you arrive at Haneda Airport at 10:30 PM the next day.
The return trip, however, requires you to fly from Haneda Airport to Beijing, China, and after a 5 hour layover, return on United’s nonstop flight from Beijing to Chicago.
A search on the United Airlines website yielded a sample fare of $759 round-trip.
If you prefer to fly nonstop both ways from Chicago, the cheapest nonstop fare is currently $1,115 round-trip on ANA, United, JAL and American.

This fare was checked 2/18/15 10 AM Eastern, subject to change.

Airfare Alert – Las Vegas to Japan for $700 round-trip

Posted last night on my Facebook page:

I’m here in Las Vegas where the Rugby Sevens tournament has just wrapped up. While looking for Japan airfares for a friend out here, I found some interesting information worth sharing.

There’s a last-minute airfare deal from Las Vegas to Japan for travel in late February or early March. The deal is on Hawaiian Airlines to Osaka’s Kansai Airport. The itinerary requires you to take Hawaiian’s early morning (1:45 AM) departure from Las Vegas to Honolulu. There is an eight-hour layover, which means you might be able to sneak away for a nice Hawaiian breakfast! Arrival in Osaka is the following day at 7:05 PM. The return leaves Osaka at 9:05 PM, arriving Honolulu the same morning once the time changes take effect. After a 5 1/2 hour layover for customs (and a potential Hawaiian lunch), you are back in Las Vegas at 11:40 PM.

All in all, it’s a total 25 hour journey going from Las Vegas to Osaka if the stopover in Honolulu is included, and about 18-19 hours on the way back.

While Google’s airfare search spit out a round-trip fare of $851 round-trip, a direct search on the Hawaiian Airlines website brings the fare down to as low as $700 round-trip. While the dates departing to Japan are limited to late February and early March, the time frame for the return seems to be slightly loose. If I remember correctly, Hawaiian Airlines will allow you to check up to two bags at no charge for the journey (per person).

If long layovers or trips are not your forte, for another $300 more or so you can fly from Las Vegas to Tokyo on American/JAL connecting in Los Angeles.

This airfare was re-checked on Monday afternoon February 16 (Pacific Time) and is subject to change! 🙂

Last-minute fare from New York to Tokyo $922 round-trip

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A last minute fare exists on United Airlines for travel from New York to Tokyo, costing just $922 round-trip. It’s a great deal if you want to spend a weekend in Tokyo.

You must depart from Newark Airport on the morning of Wednesday, January 28 and connect in San Francisco, arriving in Haneda Airport at 10:35 PM on Thursday, January 29. You are then free in Tokyo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before departing early Monday morning, February 2, from Haneda on an All Nippon flight to Hong Kong, connecting after a 6 hour layover to the nonstop United Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Newark Airport. Arrival time back in Newark is 1:50 PM on February 2. You can check up to two bags at no charge for your itinerary.

The information in this post is accurate as of Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 1 PM Eastern Time and is subject to change.

Double American Airlines Miles to/from Japan

Announced this week is a promotion for American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier members to earn double the normal number of miles on select routes to/from Japan and a few other cities in Asia that are operated by either American Airlines or Japan Airlines. If you are big on frequent flier miles, this is a promotion you may wish to consider.

The offer is valid on all First class, all Business class, and “select” Economy fares on NONSTOP American and Japan Airlines flights between Tokyo Haneda airport and San Francisco, and between Tokyo Narita and the following cities: Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), and Vancouver (YVR). Click here to read the full terms and conditions, and to register. You must book and complete all travel by March 21, 2015.

In addition, double miles are being offered on nonstop flights on Japan Airlines from Tokyo to the following Asian cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Dailan, Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore and Delhi. Click here to read the full terms and conditions, and to register. You must book and complete all travel by March 20, 2015. Blackout dates are: From Tokyo, February 23-March 1, and returning to Tokyo, February 13-18.

Read the terms and conditions carefully, because the most discounted fares are ineligible for the double miles promotion.

For example, if you wanted to fly from New York to Japan in February (from the 4th to the 11th), I sampled a fare of $1,328 round trip, connecting in Los Angeles on the way to Tokyo and connecting in Chicago on the way back. You’d think you’d earn the double miles on the Los Angeles-Tokyo and Tokyo-Chicago legs, right? But upon closer inspection, the prospective flights would be booked in O and Q classes, which are all ineligible for the double miles offer.

To see what would be eligible, we can go to Google ITA Matrix and search for the fares. Pull up the advance routing codes and enter for both legs of the trip:

AA,JL+ /f bc=s

This forces the matrix to search for any direct flight on AA (American) or JL (Japan Airlines) with the booking code of S, which is the least expensive fare bucket permitted for the double miles.

When we search now, we get a result of $1,704 round-trip, which is for the nonstop from New York to Tokyo on JAL, booked through American Airlines codeshare. Quite a hike from the original $1,328 fare quoted!

If we add an X to the routing codes to look for connecting flights, so that it looks like this:

AA,JL+ X /f bc=s

We then get a $1,696 round-trip fare, connecting in Los Angeles. For that, you might as well pony up $10 for the nonstop!

If the matrix does not come up with any results, you can change the S (in bc=s) to the next letter that is permitted, such as V, L, etc.

It turns out that you CAN book this round-trip on the American Airlines website, and the S fare will show up. In case it does not, however, you might have to give American Airlines a call and ask them to make a reservation that is eligible for the double miles bonus, and hold the reservation. Then you can go online to your AAdvantage account to complete the ticketing. I have read some people that have done this to save on the $25 American Airlines telephone charge, but I’ve never tried this on my own.

In effect, you will be paying extra to secure the double miles. How many miles would you get?

Great Circle Distance of 6,745 miles between New York JFK and Tokyo Narita
x 2 (round-trip) =
13,490 miles
x 2 (Double miles bonus) =
26,980 miles

Congratulations, you just earned yourself a round-trip MilesAAver domestic ticket for one person on American Airlines within the contiguous US and Canada! Essentially, any nonstop AA or JAL flight over 6,250 miles booked accordingly will give you enough miles for the free domestic ticket. Boston, Chicago and Dallas flights are over this number, while flights from the West Coast will leave you a little short.

If you have an American Airlines credit card, you can earn bonus miles from the cost of the airfare… 3,408 miles in the New York-Tokyo example.

Is it worth it to pay the extra to secure the miles bonus? In an era where other airlines are switching miles-earning to a revenue model, which to many is making American Airlines the more frequent-flier airline (failed grammer of the day on that one), this is an offer to seriously consider. Then again, if you are more price-conscious, don’t worry about double miles. Besides, for February 4-11, the cheapest fare is still $1,328 on American. 🙂

As always, I disclaim any responsibility if you decide to do some fare-hunting. Corrections from any savvy travelers out there would be greatly appreciated! The fares in this post are correct as of January 24 2015,12 Noon Eastern Time, and are always subject to change.

Down goes the ANA fuel surcharge

ANA, one of Japan’s two major international airlines, has announced decreased fuel surcharges on International fares, in line with what JAL announced last month. The fuel rates can be found at this link. Like JAL, the ANA fuel surcharge will drop to US $173 on flights between Japan and many long-distance destinations such as North America, Europe and Oceania. This fuel surcharge will not take effect, however, until February 1st. Fares on ANA ticketed/purchased BEFORE February 1st will still be subjected to the higher US $259 fuel surcharge on the routes listed above.

It pays to wait, especially if you are considering ANA’s new Houston-Tokyo route launching later this year.

A few Christmas gifts from ANA and Japan Airlines

I have some interesting news to report from the two Japanese airlines, All Nippon (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL), which are sort of a little Christmas gift for those interested in using those airlines to fly to Japan… though you are going to have to wait one or two months if you want to take full advantage.

Star Alliance carrier ANA has announced wonderful news that they are going to increase their free checked baggage allowance from one piece of luggage to two pieces. This is a revision from a policy announced last year that reduced the free checked baggage allowance. But don’t itch to get your ANA tickets right away.. the policy applies only to economy tickets purchased on or after January 8, 2015. So if you purchase a ticket prior to that, you will still be allowed only one free checked bag. The new two bag policy is wonderful news for those who want to bring home more souvenirs from Japan, given the weakness of the yen and the new tax refund policy for foreigners. The new policy matches the current policy of JAL and a few other carriers, but keep in mind that ANA’s checked bags in Economy must weigh no more than 23 kg/50 lbs each, and size must not exceed 158 cm/62 inches for the total of length, width and height.

On another ANA-related story, they will be launching nonstop service from United’s hub in Houston to Tokyo in June 2015.

You may have heard in the news that while crude oil prices have reached a 5 year low, many airlines are still keeping their fuel surcharges high and are not dropping them … prompting some in the US congress to consider launching an investigation. But if you are a fan of Oneworld’s Japan Airlines, you will be happy to know that they are the first airline to reduce their fuel surcharges. JAL monitors fuel costs every two months and revises their fuel surcharge policies on that same frequency. They recently announced that they will be amending fuel surcharges for tickets issued between February 1 and March 31, 2015. This means of course, if you purchase your ticket BEFORE February 1, you will still be subject to the higher fuel surcharge. Examples: The current fuel surcharge of US$259.00 for flights from North America, Europe and Oceania to Japan will be reduced to US$173.00 in February and March. The surcharge from Hawaii would drop from US$166.00 to US$105.00, and the surcharge from the Philippines would drop from US$80.00 to US$49.00.

Whether it’s the new two bag allowance on ANA or the reduced JAL fuel surcharges (one would expect ANA to follow suit on that, too), good things come to those who wait…. to purchase their tickets.