Friday, July 27, 2012
ANA kicks off daily Seattle-Tokyo service
ANA (All Nippon Airways) launched its daily Seattle-Tokyo service on July 25 with an afternoon reception at Sea-Tac International Airport that included a welcoming speech by Governor Christine Gregoire. The hour-long event also featured a performance by Kaze Daiko, a traditional Japanese drum ensemble based in Seattle. Authentic sushi and sake were served to guests, who ranged from local politicians to media representatives to inaugural flight passengers.
The new ANA service increases the number of non-stop flights to four from Sea-Tac to Japan. Delta flies to both Tokyo and Osaka, while United has one daily offering to the Japanese capital. Governor Gregoire called it a "vital link between Japan and Washington", acknowledging a strong trade/export relationship between the Asian country and our state, such as wine, apples and coffee (Tully's and Zoka coffee shops are now located within Japan).
Seattle becomes the 7th US gateway city for ANA, which also flies out of Los Angeles, Washington DC, Honolulu, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. In 2013, San Jose will be added. Company Senior Executive Vice President Keisuke Okada stated that the idea to make ANA an international airline competitor was initially planted here in Seattle when he attended a small conference hosted by Boeing many years ago.
ANA will operate a two-cabin 777-300ER to Tokyo until October, when it then switches to the heavily buzzed (and delayed) 787 Dreamliner. Currently, the departure flight leaves Sea-Tac at 1:15pm with arrival time at Narita International Airport at 3:45pm the following day. The return flight departs Japan at 5:25pm and lands in Seattle at 10:55am the same day. Total flight time to/from each city is about 10.5 hours.
Tokyo is an amazing destination with an up and coming gay scene that already thrives with dozens of bars in the Shinjuku Ni-chome and Shinbashi districts, and a few others scattered in nearby areas. Seattle Gay News' special Pride travel section, in the June 15 issue (online at http://www.sgn.org/), featured a cover piece on Tokyo. A separate travel feature on Osaka will print in September, followed by one on Kyoto soon thereafter.
For those business and leisure travelers planning trips to Japan and/or Asia, know that ANA is a Star Alliance member and your earned miles can be credited to your United or US Airways accounts. For more information, go to www.ana.co.jp.