Qantas will be the first airline to launch nonstop flights between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport.
From 29 March 2020, the airline’s current daily Melbourne – Tokyo Narita flight will move to Haneda, which is closer to the city of Tokyo. Note that this is not an extra flight; the existing flight is just changing airports.
The Haneda flight gives Qantas customers much easier access to Tokyo’s city centre and one of the world’s most important business markets. Qantas has said:
We expect the new Haneda service to be particularly popular with business travellers, who will save more than an hour of transit time in getting to the city and also starts ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The flight times are moving back 1-2 hours depending on the season. That means that the flight to Japan will still be daytime and the flight back overnight.
Eligible Business Class passengers and Qantas elite status holders will be able to access the Priority Lane at the airport’s security checkpoint, as well as Japan Airlines’ Sakura Lounge.
Right now, I can see at least two Business Class award seats available from Melbourne to Haneda during the first week of July and the end of the Olympics in early August.
I can’t seem to find anything on Qantas’ return flight. However, Japan Airlines has loads of availability on its Tokyo Narita – Melbourne flight right now.
Customers already booked to travel from Melbourne to Narita will be automatically transferred onto the new service or can make alternative arrangements.
This announcement comes off the back of:
- Virgin Australia launching Brisbane – Haneda flights
- Japan Airlines moving its Sydney – Narita flight to Haneda
- ANA going from one daily Sydney – Haneda flight to two
Qantas has stated that:
Japan is arguably the most in-demand place in the world to visit in 2020 and our new flights will make it even more convenient to travel there from Australia.
The number of Australians travelling to Japan has more than doubled over the past five years.
Flights to Sapporo extended
Qantas timed the Haneda announcement well, with the airline’s first nonstop Sydney – Sapporo flights starting yesterday. They run three times a week until the end of March.
The airline took advantage of this opportunity to announce that they will extend this service for another ski season albeit for one month less. Flights will run again from 14 December 2020 until 27 February 2021.
Aircraft, cabin & routes
Qantas flies to Japan on the following routes:
- Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – Tokyo
- Sydney – Osaka
- Sydney – Sapporo (16 December 2019 to 28 March 2020 for ski season)
(Jetstar flies from Cairns and the Gold Coast to Tokyo, as well as Cairns to Osaka.)
All flights except Sydney – Tokyo are serviced by the Airbus A330 fleet, which feature Qantas’ modern Business Class product in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Business Class on Sydney – Tokyo’s Boeing 747 aircraft is an older affair, set up in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Premium Economy is not available on A330s but is on the 747.
How to book Qantas flights to Japan using your points
The four main points currencies Australia-based travellers can use on Qantas flights are:
Here is a comparison of one-way Business Class award pricing on these routes:
|American Airlines AAdvantage||40,000|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||70,000|
|British Airways Avios||77,250|
Taxes through Qantas are ~$190 departing Australia and ~$130 on the return.
Qantas continues to ride the wave of increased interest by Australia-based travellers for trips to Japan.
Make sure to book well in advance as award seats on these flights are highly sought after.
Supplementary images courtesy Qantas and Japan Airlines.