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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

JAL MD-90 retirement tour

JAL to organize retirement tour for the MD-90
JAL to organize retirement tour for the MD-90. Image from Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines (JAL) announced couple weeks ago that it will be organizing a 2-day retirement tour for the MD-90 on January 12 2013 and promised to release more details on November 20 2012, which is today! So here are the details of the retirement tours. JAL has scheduled JA8070 to be used on this tour. It is the only MD-90 painted with the new livery because it was due for a paint job as part of the maintenance. But of course this could change due to aircraft maintenance and routing. There will be a total of 3 flights: Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Kushiro (KUH) and Kushiro to Oita (OIT) on Day 1 and Oita to Tokyo Haneda on Day 2. Below is the details of the itinerary.


Itinerary of JAL MD-90 retirement tour
Itinerary of JAL MD-90 retirement tour. Image from Japan Airlines

Day 1
First Flight HND to KUH
JAL has scheduled the HND-KUH flight to depart in the early morning so you can enjoy the sunrise up in the sky and the beautiful runway lightings at HND. The flight is scheduled to depart HND at 5:50 and you must report to the tour by 5:25. The flight will fly over Miyako, Asahikawa, Memanbetsu and Nakashibetsu and is scheduled to be the first flight to land at KUH on that day. The expected flight time is about 2 hours. 

After that, you will be staying at KUH for 3 hours and can take as much photos as you wish and spend some time at the airport.

Second Flight KUH to OIT
This flight is scheduled to depart at around 11:00 and the flying distance is around 900 miles. JAL planes to take the shortest direct route for this flight and will fly over the Hidaka Mountains in Kushiro, Hakodate, Sado, Sakaiminato and Iwakuni. Due to strong westerlies during this time of the year, the ground speed could reach as high as 350 knots. The expected flight time is 3 hours and the flight is scheduled to arrive at around 14:30. According to JAL, this flight can demonstrate the performance limits of the MD-90 (somehow I don't like the sound of this LOL). Lunch will be served during this flight.

One of the reasons OIT was chosen was that it used to be JAS training base and you can see MD-90 doing touch and go at OIT all the time (KUH is no stranger to MD-90 either).

Upon arrival, you can take some time to snap some photos but don't spend there for too long as you have to head to Beppu for the next part of the event. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to the hotel.

Talk at Hanabishi Hotel in Beppu
JAL has planned for a MD-90 talk for the aviation geeks. You will get the chance to meet the flight and cabin crews and listen to their stories of MD-90. Also you will have a chance to ask them questions at the reception party after the talk! The event is scheduled to end at 21:00. After that you can enjoy the onsen at your hotel

Day 2
Free Time
Breakfast at the hotel will be provided. After that, it's pretty much free time until your flight in the afternoon. 

Third Flight OIT to HND
The return flight is scheduled to depart at around 14:30 and you can report to the airport as early as 12:30. The flight will fly over Shikoku and a completely different weather condition is expected compared to the one that demonstrated the MD-90's performance limits the day before. Expected arrival time is 16:00.

Also, JAL plans to use the rear airstair for boarding and deplaning for these flights if weather and airport conditions allowed. This is usually not done and could be quite an experience!

Bonus Tour
There is a bonus hanger visit on January 11, the day before the official tour. You will be able to take pictures with JA8070 at the hanger (but if that's not possible due to operational reasons, a regular hanger tour will be given). The tour will start at 15:30 and end at 17:30.

Reservation of the tour will starts at 10:30 JST on November 29 2012. There are limit of 130 seats and JAL will cancel the tour if there are less than 100 participants. But since this is a chartered flights, NO MILES nor FLY ON POINTS will be earned. So don't do this as part of your mileage run :)

To participate in this tour, it will cost you JPY79,800, which includes tickets on all three flights and the hotel. But if you want to upgrade your hotel or pre-assigned a preferred seat, it may cost you extra or could save you some money. Below are the surcharges for advanced seat assignments.


JAL MD-90 N12 configuration seat map
JAL MD-90 N12 configuration seat map. Image from Japan Airlines

Class J
Bulkhead Class J window seats (2A and 1K): +JPY29,000
Bulkhead Class J aisle seats (2C, 1H): +JPY22,000
Regular Class J window seats (3-5A, 2-5K): +JPY24,000
Regular Class J aisle seats (3-5C, 2-5H): +JPY18,000

Economy Class (in front of the wings)
Extra legroom window seats behind Class J (15AK): +JPY18,000
Extra legroom aisle seats behind Class J (15CJ, 16H): +JPY14,000
Window seats (16-28AK): +JPY12,000
Aisle seats (16-28C, 17-28H): +JPY6,000
Middle seats (16-28J): FREE


Economy Class (over the wings)
Emergency exit row window seats (30-31AK): +JPY18,000
Emergency exit row aisle seats (30-31CH): +JPY14,000
Emergency exit row middle seats (30-31J): +JPY7,000
Window seats (33-35AK): +JPY9,000
Aisle seats (33-35CH): +JPY4,000
Middle seats (33-35J): FREE

Economy Class (behind the wings)

Emergency exit row window seat (39A): +JPY18,000
Emergency exit row aisle seat (39C): +JPY14,000
Last row window seats (41AK) where part of the window is blocked by the engines: FREE
Last row aisle seats (41CH): -JPY3,000
Last row aisle seats (41J) which is marked as super bonus seat: -JPY10,000

Window seats (36A, 40A, 36-40K): +JPY11,000
Aisle seats (36C, 40C, 36-40H): +JPY5,000
Middle seats (36-40J): FREE

For more details on this tour including pictures of some special seats on the plane and more background on MD-90, you can refer to JAL website (Japanese only)

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