NARITA -- Applications for special New Year's Day flights operated by All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) have closed, with would-be fliers scrambling for the chance to get on the first of the flights to take off from Narita Airport east of Tokyo, in addition to the annual departure from the capital's Haneda Airport.
The odds of getting a ticket for the flights to see the first sunrise of 2021 is about one in 12 for the flight departing Narita International Airport, and around one in 11 for the flight leaving Haneda Airport. The plane lifting off from Narita will be a popular Airbus A380 jet with livery designed to turn the superjumbo airliner into a sea turtle lookalike, and that usually plies the Tokyo-Honolulu route. Although it is the first time for the dawn trip to start at Narita, it garnered slightly more applications than the Haneda flight.
Passengers will be able to view the first sunrise of the New Year as well as Mount Fuji during the flight lasting some two hours, and they will also be treated to traditional Japanese osechi-style bento lunch boxes plus commemorative gifts.
The Haneda flight will be the 21st arranged by the airline since the annual event began in 2001, and will be operated on a Boeing 777 aircraft designated for domestic flights. Economy class aisle seats for the Haneda flight cost 35,000 yen (about $335), while premium class window seats cost 80,000 yen (about $766). Prices were set higher for the Narita flight, with economy class aisle seats costing 40,000 yen (about $383), and first-class window seats costing 125,000 yen (about $1,198). First-class and premium class tickets were more popular among applicants for both flights.
On the popularity of Narita flights, ANA said, "There were many applications for flight plans that included staying at a hotel on New Year's Eve, which matched the needs of customers who want a taste of travel."
(Japanese original by Tadakazu Nakamura, Narita Bureau)