Going to Japan for New Years, many questions.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by U88, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. U88 macrumors member

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    #1
    Is $1400 for a round trip non-stop plane ticket too pricey? I want to go from December 17 to January 2. I will have home-stay worked out so no need for hotels or daily transportation. But I am spending my own money and $1400 seems like a lot. That would only get me to Tokyo and I'd have to take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyushu, and that might cost me anywhere from $50-$125, I'm not even sure. Or I could always spend $1600 on connecting flights to Fukuoka but I would spend a night layover in Tokyo, and I would have to leave on December 18, and not arrive in Fukuoka by the 20th. That cuts my time in Japan short 2 days from the first flight plan.

    Does expedia have spontaneous deals that happen? Perhaps any good coupons? Maybe someone who's had experience with going to Japan during the holidays could offer me any good advice. Really, the airfare and some spending money is all I'm worried about. I can't leave any earlier than December 17th because of college exams. Thanks!
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    You got a ticket during the holiday season. I don't know what US flight prices are like, but I think it's reasonable. What do you expect that that time? The Japanese may not really celebrate Christmas, but January 1-4 is New Years in Japan, and it's the biggest and most important holiday in Japan. Even if it weren't for Xmas, I assume prices would be expensive at this time.
     
  3. magamo macrumors 6502

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    #3
    When I bought round trip tickets to Japan, usually they cost $800~$1500, thought they weren't during the holiday/new year season. I guess there are cheaper tickets than expedia offers because round trip tickets "from" Tokyo I bought in Japan were generally less expensive. But I'm too lazy to shop around so I always use expedia.

    By the way, a Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Hakata costs about $250. There are ways to get a cheaper ticket, but I kind of think it's too difficult if you don't speak Japanese. Probably your host family can help you with that for your Kyushu-to-Tokyo ticket, I think.
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #4
    Surely purchasing Japan Rail Pass for a week, which would allow you to use the Shinkansen as much as you want for a week, would be a better deal. :confused:

    You need to get it BEFORE going to Japan though. In other words, you would need to get it in your home country.
     
  5. magamo macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Ohh, I didn't know there is such a great discount ticket!

    Anyway, I googled a little, and it seems local people in Kyushu travel by air when they go to Tokyo rather than by Shinkansen. I don't know how much a round trip between Tokyo and the local airport in Kyushu, but I guess a flight ticket is a lot cheaper.
     
  6. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #6
    The Nozomi Shinkansen take 5 hours from Tokyo to Hakata, whereas the slower Hikari Shinkansen takes 6 hours - that is also the only one you can catch with the Japanese Rail Pass. The Nozomi also costs ¥22000 or so each way ($250).

    That said there are some airlines who are cheap. http://www.skymark.jp/en/ seem to charge about ¥10000 each way, though probably more at New Years and you can't book the flights yet.
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #7
    Its worth noting that the Shinkansen is pretty damn good. They do always run on time - they have an average delay of 6 seconds - and they do run every 30 minutes. So don't feel that not flying is a terrible mistake or something.
     
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #8
    you don't say where you're flying from so it's a little hard to judge whether that's a good price

    a quick search on Kayak.com for los angeles to tokyo on those days turned up fares starting at $1106 rt......myself, I think it's a bit early to be buying for those dates. I suspect you should be able to find some sales with good prices after the summer
     
  9. U88 thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    I'm flying out of Seattle/Tacoma International Airport. I guess expedia's prices are quite high for the connecting flights from San Fran to Tokyo (Haneda) with an overnight layover there, then catching a flight to Fukuoka would cost $1606 as early as December 18. That means I'll be at my host family's house at probably 11 am on the 20th. Leaving Friday the 17th, expedia has the price jacked up to $1900! :O

    I used kayak.com comparing all the airfare sites and they all come up to about $1594-$1600ish after taxes. So it seems like that's the price I'd have to look forward to. Unless you know of any strategies to get there cheaper? It seems like the shinkansen may not be an option because the price total would just outweigh the cost of flying.
     
  10. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #10
    Internal flights you get with an international connection are generally very cheap in my experience - that's often the way to go - especially in Japan where there aren't any truly cheap flights.
     
  11. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #11
    Note on airfares. Expedia doesn't make prices. Airlines make prices and sites like that fetch them from Altéa and the like. Discounted fare buckets for that time of year are usually sucked up by mid-late August, so don't be counting on some sort of magical reduction in price.

    And as Eraserhead suggested, book it in a single ticket with a connection. That should also save you the trouble of having to transfer between Narita and Haneda.
     
  12. U88 thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    I see. So I guess I should be on the lookout for discounts in a couple weeks, but not count on it.

    What do you mean by "book it in a single ticket"? If I were to spend $1600 on the flight with 2 connections, I would go directly to Haneda, not needing to find transportation to or from Narita. Here's a screenshot of what my entire flight plan would look like (On Dec 18th):

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the page stretch, I had to scale the screenshot because the text was hard to read.
     
  13. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #13
    That's exactly what I mean by booking it under a single ticket. Just don't book SEA-NRT/HND only to book the domestic segment on a low cost carrier, as it will ultimately cost more even if the fare at first glance seems cheaper.

    Sorry, I was a bit behind on how much traffic has been getting moved out of Narita to Haneda as of late. Only in the last few months have carriers been able to bid on slots and start long-haul flights from there so I was under the assumption that you'd probably end up flying to NRT and having to transfer.

    If the above itinerary is $1600, that seems to be a pretty normal discounted economy fare for transpacific travel. I'd bite on that once you have the funds available. Available fare classes will only start moving towards full fare as time moves on.
     
  14. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #14
    I just checked kayak again and the cheapest they show is $1581 for SEA to Fukuoka ....that takes you thru vancouver to tokyo-narita and from narita to Fukuoka. It's just under 20 hours and no need to go thru Haneda for an overnight wait

    as others have suggested, don't break your trip down and try to buy segments yourself; the airlines will most likely give you a better price for a ticket priced all the way from seattle to fukuoka

    well, in my experience; buying this far in advance you're paying about as max price as you're going to get.........the bucket shop fares may not get any better, but after the end of summer when the airlines start advertising their fall and winter fares, you're apt to get sales as the airlines react to computer tracking of their ticket sales. That wont amount to a "magical reduction in price" but rather just the standard marketing the airlines do and that means sales when necessary to help fill those planes......it happens all the time
     
  15. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #15
    Advertised sale prices typically only reflect the 1-3 lowest fare buckets. For high-peak travel seasons like mid-December through early January, almost all available slots in those fare classes are taken by the end of August. So despite the fact that the sale prices exist, finding a date and connection pattern that actually matches both the specified discounted fare and the TOC on the sale will be difficult.
     
  16. U88 thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    So I should buy soon rather than wait until September to see what the fall/winter fares will look like?
     
  17. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #17
    The fall/winter fares are already loaded into the system. While it's certainly possible that if it turns out to be a slower than expected travel season, the lowest available fares will drop by 5-8%, those will be difficult to come by, especially when you're dealing with two domestic legs on either end (counting YVR-SEA under that category). Just deal with it now; the chance that fares will fall by a small amount is far outweighed by the chance that you'd get stuck paying for a ticket on a M or B fare.
     
  18. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #18
    well, your experience may vary......but a friend who works at Delta tells me that when their computers show that sales aren't matching what the profiles say should have been sold by certain dates, then they'll go to sales of various sorts.

    The fares that airlines allot to bucket resellers may well disappear from the market by the end of august, but the fares the airlines offer themselves become more flexible........although I certainly agree that the holiday season means the OP will have an extra issue to deal with
     
  19. U88 thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Alright that makes sense. I need to know how much insurance costs are for flight tickets too. Not to jinx myself in any way, but if I do get terribly sick, what kind of protection is there for a somewhat unlikely cancellation?
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    You should definitely get full travel insurance (to cover healthcare etc.) and that should cover the flights if its bought first.
     
  21. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #21
    Sorry if you're confused, but a fare bucket is just another term for class of service. L, U, T, Q, M, B, Y, etc. It's not something that is sold off to another website. Assuming that L is the lowest fare class (it is on some carriers, but everyone uses different letters), once that is gone on a segment, city pair, date, etc, it can no longer be booked. If a route is advertised on sale using the L bucket, it won't work in many scenarios if the exact criteria are not met.

    Say the OP books a T fare now. By the end of August one might be left with choices from Q and up due to inventory control. Instead of releasing more inventory on L, U, or T fares, they'd simply lower the prices on Q or M fares (B and Y "full fares" tend to stay pretty constant). There's no specific formula that always works, but it's most likely that even if a reduction in price did occur for the more expensive buckets, it would be more expensive than what a T fare is today.
     
  22. U88 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    What exactly are Q and M fares compared to T, L, and U fares?
     
  23. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #23
    These are all different classes of economy class tickets and they have different restrictuions.
     
  24. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #24
    Depends on the carrier. The order in which I posted the letters represents a common way of organizing restrictions on tickets, where L would be most restrictive and Y would have zero restrictions. There's really not much difference that you'll notice unless you bother to read the fare rules. Cheaper fares are simply more restrictive, and some airlines will decrease (or even block) mileage accrual on the lowest fares. It's really not anything that you need to worry about, I was just trying to explain how it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a better price in a month.
     
  25. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    #25
    And certainly not at christmas - lots of other people will be flying too.
     

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