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A million questions booking LON-TYO for a small child

A million questions booking LON-TYO for a small child

Old Sep 9, 19, 4:31 am
  #1  
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A million questions booking LON-TYO for a small child

evening all,

thanks for your ongoing support with my various travel mishaps over the last few months. I now have a further one. It will be slightly long winded for which I apologise

my best friendís boy has recently been discharged after 5 years of chemotherapy for leukaemia. This has basically wiped the family out emotionally and financially and since our friendship is based on studying Japanese together weíve hit upon the idea of a trip to Japan (I will fly from Australia and meet them there; they are based near EMA but itís probably as easy to just train to London and fly out of there)

given my priorities are minimising stress/cost for them they will fly direct from London on my dime. This will necessarily be in school holidays unfortunately

i have a stash of avios (approx 80000) that my idiot brother has not been able to use for anything after 5 years sitting in our household account. I also have 200000 LATAM multiplus points, although trying to use them makes me want to stick a fork in my eye as the interface is so poor

i suspect I wonít have enough avios to outright buy a redemption for 2 especially in school holidays; is it still possible to buy more avios to top up? Alternatively can I part pay with avios for a booking for someone else or is that verboten?

iím assuming that booking one redemption and one revenue ticket wonít work as he is below 12 and that would make an unaccompanied minor?

on board, does BA (or JAL) have any special treats for small boys that can be requested/paid in advance? He will be up for a flight deck visit but I expect that will only be arrangeable on the day? Can I preorder BA branded souvenir stuff from duty free?

he is also a big a380 fan (despite never having flown on one or even a plane...), however it seems TYO/KIX is always a Dreamliner of some kind?

thanks in advance for any help!

(please merge if there is a more appropriate home for this)
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Old Sep 9, 19, 5:58 am
  #2  
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Well done to the boy for beating leukaemia.

I can't help you with redemption options much or on-board treats for children as I'm pretty rubbish with all that but I'll try answering what I can.

I think I've seen some colouring kits and Sky Flyer (?) logbook being handed out to children on BA, and I believe they are free of charge. I have no idea what's available on JL for children.

You CAN pre-order BA-branded teddies and other toys from BA High Life Shop https://www.highlifeshop.com/ for delivery on the aircraft.

Aircraft-wise, KIX and NRT are 787s, HND is a 777 on BA, normally, from memory. JL has 777s and 787s on the routes from memory. No A380 on the route (the nearest BA destinations with the A380 to Japan is SIN or HKG).

Flight deck visit is unlikely to be granted on JL - I've never seen it happen. On BA, on the ground, if they have some spare time, generally either delayed departure, or after landing, it seems. Asking the cabin crew seems to be the procedure.

You might be able to book one redemption and one revenue. I'd say book the redemption first for the mother (it's harder to come by than revenue, of course so it's better to make the redemption booking first, and it's easier to do it in the mother's name, so that the booking is already there), and call to book the revenue ticket for the son and let them know his mother is already booked on a separate ticket. That should work, but call first to discuss it first. JL would take a UM from memory so it shouldn't really be an issue.

You can buy Avios to top up your balance, but assuming you're talking about a Y booking, 2 x revenue tickets might not set you back much more than 1 x revenue + 1 x Avios with topping up with money.
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Last edited by LTN Phobia; Sep 9, 19 at 6:07 am
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:03 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
I can't help you with redemption options or on-board treats for children as I'm pretty rubbish with all that.

I think I've seen some colouring kits and Sky Flyer (?) logbook being handed out to children on BA, and I believe they are free of charge. I have no idea what's available on JL for children.

You CAN pre-order BA-branded teddies and other toys from BA High Life Shop https://www.highlifeshop.com/ for delivery on the aircraft.

Aircraft-wise, KIX and NRT are 787s, HND is a 777 on BA, normally, from memory. JL has 777s and 787s on the routes from memory. No A380 on the route (the nearest BA destinations with the A380 to Japan is SIN or HKG).
yes I was idly looking at LHR-SIN on QF as easier for me to leverage various things, but interestingly qantas donít seem to sell a through ticket LHR-SIN-*anywhere other than australia* and it seems a fair way out of the way to go purely for the purposes of getting a specific plane type

iíd imagine that on BA the 777 in Y is the more comfortable option? Or obvs JAL...

iím not so worried about redemptions as seems like the cash tickets are cheap enough if booked at the right moment- around 3-4 months seems to be the magic number?

another thought occurring is whether I can book cash tickets for them and use my avios go upgrade to W?
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:04 am
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What a lovely gesture.

A quick look on the (rather dodgy currently) redemption flight calculator suggests that in Y, each pax is 62k off-peak (and a load of cash), so you don't have quite enough Avios, even for Y. You can certainly top up by buying Avios, but even with current 30% bonus, that's about GBP600 on top of the cash outlay for the Y redemption...I think it's actually cheaper to buy cash outright.

You can certainly part-way with Avios, and that will mitigate some of the cost.

Both JL and BA have some form of gift for young flyers. And for me, JL Y blows BA out of the water: the food in JL Y is superior to BA J almost all of the time (assuming they like Japanese food, which, if they don't, would be an issue for holidaying in Japan!).

Can't help with the LATAM issue.

tb
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:07 am
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As to your further question: upgradable Y fares to W are almost always more expensive than just buying a WTP ticket (unless only W bucket left for sale).

tb
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:11 am
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
[left]

yes I was idly looking at LHR-SIN on QF as easier for me to leverage various things, but interestingly qantas don’t seem to sell a through ticket LHR-SIN-*anywhere other than australia* and it seems a fair way out of the way to go purely for the purposes of getting a specific plane type
Don't even try that on BA. It's horrifically expensive due to the SIN-TYO leg (JL-operated). It'd have to be a separate ticket, and it won't be a cheap option. I wouldn't do it for the sake of a specific aircraft type. Besides, the flight times would be pretty nasty (the JL to TYO that is pretty reliably connectable from BA 11 is like post-midnight ex-SIN from memory, and it's not long enough to sleep properly, e.g. c. 6 hours, and JL have a nasty habit of turning the lights on well before landing - like 2 hours before, from memory).

If you really prefer to buy him a seat on the A380, try SQ. There are two per day from London from memory, to SIN, and then connect on a single ticket to TYO. It can be relatively cheap. SQ departure times may also enable them to fly SIN-TYO leg at more civilised hours.

Upgrading with Avios could be an expensive option - I think the cheapest tickets in Y are not upgradable? Plus finding two seats in WT+ can be difficult (JL flights cannot be upgraded with Avios).

P.S. I have added some comments to my initial reply to your OP.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:19 am
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Originally Posted by trueblu View Post
What a lovely gesture.

A quick look on the (rather dodgy currently) redemption flight calculator suggests that in Y, each pax is 62k off-peak (and a load of cash), so you don't have quite enough Avios, even for Y. You can certainly top up by buying Avios, but even with current 30% bonus, that's about GBP600 on top of the cash outlay for the Y redemption...I think it's actually cheaper to buy cash outright.

You can certainly part-way with Avios, and that will mitigate some of the cost.

Both JL and BA have some form of gift for young flyers. And for me, JL Y blows BA out of the water: the food in JL Y is superior to BA J almost all of the time (assuming they like Japanese food, which, if they don't, would be an issue for holidaying in Japan!).

Can't help with the LATAM issue.

tb
yes. I know it sounds awful but he will most likely have a lot of questions for the flight crew and I imagine BA pilots would be better equipped to handle this. My thoughts are perhaps BA outbound and JAL inbound
(although if JAL wonít be up for a flightdeck visit that concern is obviously gone anyway- I wonder if itís even worth me emailing to ask? Itís amazing what doors childhood cancer can open)

forgive me probably yet another rookie question but I can combine a W outbound with Y inbound (on a different carrier...)?

Last edited by nancypants; Sep 9, 19 at 6:36 am
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:23 am
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I have little to add on redemption practicalities but as you mentioned school holidays do you mean summer 2020? Be warned that the Olympics are in Japan next year from 24 July - 9 August and the Paralympics from 25 August - 6 September. Expect travel to Japan to be much more in demand and expensive, redemptions very hard to find, and the same for hotels. Apologies if you already knew this.

I've managed to get a flight deck visit - for grown ups, not even children! - by asking the CC nicely if it would be OK at the end of the flight during disembarkation if the Captain isn't too busy. However as you say that's one to request on the day, not in advance, and best done out of earshot of the child in case for operational reasons it doesn't turn out to be possible.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:25 am
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Different classes inbound/outbound is completely OK. But easily booking online may be another matter. If just BA, this is very easy, but if you want to mix BA/JL and classes, I would recommend either calling BA to price up, or some travel agent. JL call centre in London is extremely polite, but rather bizarre...they only issue paper receipts, for example.

I have to be honest, in Y, flight crew may not have a huge amount of time for inquisitive small people, which is a shame, but the truth of the matter. But for sure, BA will be vastly superior to JL in this regard.

Good luck!

tb
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:27 am
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Originally Posted by gingerlucy View Post
I have little to add on redemption practicalities but as you mentioned school holidays do you mean summer 2020? Be warned that the Olympics are in Japan next year from 24 July - 9 August and the Paralympics from 25 August - 6 September. Expect travel to Japan to be much more in demand and expensive, redemptions very hard to find, and the same for hotels. Apologies if you already knew this.

I've managed to get a flight deck visit - for grown ups, not even children! - by asking the CC nicely if it would be OK at the end of the flight during disembarkation if the Captain isn't too busy. However as you say that's one to request on the day, not in advance, and best done out of earshot of the child in case for operational reasons it doesn't turn out to be possible.
i was leaning towards either Easter or whatever the October ish holidays are called (2020 so especially for October I appreciate things may have changed by then)- October would work better for me with work and other planned trips

agreed on disappointment although the various upheavals and sensible parenting means he is well conditioned to disappointment these days

he will likely be far more excited about the Shinkansen. I donít expect ďflight deck visitsĒ will be even a faint possibility there!!
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:28 am
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The other option for flight deck visits of course is either to route via Manchester (is this even slightly sensible from Nottingham?!) or even from EMA or BHX on some European carrier. But then I have no idea if things are possible
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:36 am
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
[left]

yes. I know it sounds awful but he will most likely have a lot of questions for the flight crew and I imagine BA pilots would be better equipped to handle this. My thoughts are perhaps BA outbound and JAL inbound
Yes. BA pilots by and large seem excellent with children. JL ones are likely to struggle to communicate to a large extent (especially with children's English) - I haven't met or overheard many JL pilots with what I'd classify as 'good' English. That is, if a flight deck visit is granted at all, which might be unlikely on JL, whereas BA seem to be quite accommodating.

Originally Posted by gingerlucy View Post
I have little to add on redemption practicalities but as you mentioned school holidays do you mean summer 2020? Be warned that the Olympics are in Japan next year from 24 July - 9 August and the Paralympics from 25 August - 6 September. Expect travel to Japan to be much more in demand and expensive, redemptions very hard to find, and the same for hotels. Apologies if you already knew this.
People seem to be finding redemption flights but decent hotels seem to be horribly expensive. Annual events that are not Olympics-related are rescheduled at other times so as not to inconvenience the visitors and end up with horrifically low visitor numbers.

Besides, summer is THE worst time of the year to visit Tokyo. Too hot and humid, and prone to absolutely throwing it down with rain, and getting hit by a typhoon from time to time...

I'd take Feb or May half term if it must be during a school holiday. Feb would be colder but cheaper (and crisp winter there is very nice, nothing like the English winter), and May would be much warmer but not hot yet (usually). It avoids all the more crowded, expensive times (e.g. sakura, the Olympics etc).

I see you mentioned October - that should also be pretty nice. Not hot any more, but not cold yet, and no crowd, hopefully - post-Olympics there might even be a lull in travel to Japan which might cause the price (fares + room rates) to drop. Easter would be sakura season next year so probably advisable to avoid it (the price does go up because of both Easter and sakura).

Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
The other option for flight deck visits of course is either to route via Manchester (is this even slightly sensible from Nottingham?!) or even from EMA or BHX on some European carrier. But then I have no idea if things are possible
Don't complicate things for the sake of a flight deck visit that might not be granted...

I'd suggest taking him to the Emirates Aviation Experience at the Emirates AirLine in London. It's a pretty decent set-up at a very low-cost. https://www.emiratesairline.co.uk/lo...on-experience/
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Last edited by LTN Phobia; Sep 9, 19 at 6:55 am
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:41 am
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I wonder if itís a matter of policy? JAL was the first airline a worked for (long story and a long time ago, iím not sure I have any useful contacts there now), I might see if I can ďreach outĒ and get some clarity on that part
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
iíd imagine that on BA the 777 in Y is the more comfortable option? Or obvs JAL...
I would think the JAL 787 with a 2-4-2 layout would be the most comfortable option in Economy for 2 persons.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
I wonder if it’s a matter of policy? JAL was the first airline a worked for (long story and a long time ago, i’m not sure I have any useful contacts there now), I might see if I can “reach out” and get some clarity on that part
I've just looked into it and apparently it's total no, across all Japanese airlines, apparently. Not even on the ground. That explains why I have never seen it happen.

There are maintenance facility tours that JL run, though (might only be in Japanese).
https://www.jal.co.jp/kengaku/ (sorry, I can't find the link in English)
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