Currently, ANA’s only non-stop leaves JFK at 12:30 p.m., arriving at Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) at 3:25 p.m. the next day. Starting October 28, the carrier will add a second flight that leaves JFK at 5:55 p.m. and arrives at NRT at 9:05 p.m. Return flights leave at 11:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. local time, arriving at JFK at 9:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., respectively, on the same day the flight departed. In October, the departure time of the earlier flight will be moved to 12:15 p.m.
My first thought was that the 5:55 p.m. departure from JFK might be arriving uncomfortably late in the day, considering that passengers have to clear customs, then face a commute of approximately an hour into Tokyo.
I was pleased to learn that ANA offers a complimentary limousine car service to ANA Mileage Club members traveling on the afternoon flight in either First class or Business class, so it will pay to join the Mileage Club before your trip.
As of this writing on Sept. 12, an economy ticket for the afternoon flight leaving Sunday, October 28 and returning the following Sunday, November 4, can be purchased for as low as $1,393.80, while the lowest Business Class round trip ticket is $7,070.80, and First Class seats are available for as low as $15,094.80.
Generally, the earlier departures from both JFK and NRT carried higher prices than the later departures.
Flight times to NRT are approximately 14 hours, 10 minutes, while the return flights are 12 hours, 30 minutes. Either way, that’s a long time in an airline seat, which makes a Business or First Class seat all the more appealing.
Currently, the airline is operating Boeing 777 airliners on this route. According to SeatGuru.com, economy seats on ANA extended-range 777s feature a 31” pitch (the distance from the back of your seat to the seatback in front of you) and 16.5” width. Premium Economy seats, available on the 777-300ER, offer 38” pitch and 18.5” width. The extra space would be most welcome on flights of 12 to 14 hours.
ANA has an excellent reputation in the travel industry and boasts of a number of awards, including being named Best Transpacific Airline in 2012 by the airline review web site SKYTRAX.
United, American, US Airways, and Japan Airlines also offer non-stops from JFK to NRT.
All else bring equal, I recommend flying an airline operated by the country for which you’re headed. That way, you begin experiencing some of the flavor of your destination as soon as you board the aircraft rather than waiting until after you’ve cleared customs upon arrival.