Yes, you read that correctly. I will be flying from Europe to Nagoya, spending the night and then heading home again.
The method behind this madness was as follows.
Having over a week off work over the Christmas break, I usually head a little further for a little longer. Having not really done Asia in a while, that was preferred. Although prices from London were ridiculously expensive. Well over £1000 in most cases.
As such, I decided to look at ex-EU fares. For those of you who don’t know what this involves, its basically booking your ticket to start outside the UK, and therefore not paying the UK taxes. Which are some of the highest in the world. As usual, Scandinavia was the cheapest place to start.
After many hours trying various combinations of start and end points, the cheapest ticket was a little under £350 from Oslo to Nagoya with stops in Helsinki and Tokyo along the way. The outbound flight from Europe to Japan would be with Japan Airlines.
The return sector from Nagoya would be to Stockholm, as this shaved off a further £150 compared to returning to Oslo. From Japan back to Europe, it would be with Finnair.
Being on somewhat of a OneWorld mileage run, this ticket earned me more British Airways tier points than your standard Club Europe return, which were generally going for a lot more than what I paid for this ticket. As an added bonus, the ticket was bookable with British Airways, meaning a very decent number of Avios too with the tier bonus. Had I booked through Finnair, I would have only earned the basic number of Avios.
But why only one night in Japan? For some unknown reason, flying on any other days during the Christmas break was around three times the price. Which was a bit of a shame, as I would only have one full day in Japan. But it was better than nothing.
Still, six flights on an airline that I’d only flown the once before and another that is pretty good for under £350 made up for that!
How To Get To Oslo
Next up was getting to Oslo. Annoyingly, one way tickets with pretty much all airlines from London were way more than I wanted to pay – North of £150. There wasn’t any reward flights available either, so I had to think outside the box a little.
As it turned out, I found a Norwegian flight between Copenhagen and Oslo for around £60. And there were a few reward flights between London and Copenhagen. Since I last booked a British Airways reward flight, it would appear that the taxes have been reduced significantly. I could pay 11,000 Avios and 50p to fly in Euro Traveller (economy) or pay £15 and the same number of Avios to upgrade to Club Europe (business). As I was expecting to pay the previous £17.50 taxes for a Euro Traveller ticket, then Club Europe it was, and saving £2.50 on what I’d planned on shelling out in the process.
Next up was the return from Stockholm. This proved to be a little more tricky. All flights to London were a little on the pricey side. I did come close to booking a £33 flight with EuroWings to Hamburg and a £44 EasyJet flight back to Gatwick. But the connection was just too tight for my liking, especially considering it would have been on separate tickets. There was a later EasyJet flight, but the total price only worked out to be £10 less than the cheapest alternative option from Stockholm. And it would have involved a 10 hour wait in Hamburg.
So, I took the cheapest sensible option – which turned out to be Finnair once more, heading back to Helsinki. For the flight back to London, there was the option of taking the A330. However, as I write this, I had only flown on one of those two days ago. The later flight meant that I wouldn’t require another early start and I’d get to go on a Finnair A321. Something that I’ve only logged the once.
In hindsight, I should have just dropped the Helsinki – Stockholm leg of the main ticket and booked Helsinki – London instead. But I only thought of that after I had booked the Stockholm – Helsinki – London ticket.
This Series Will Consist Of:
- Introduction: One Night In Nagoya
- British Airways Club Europe, London Heathrow – Copenhagen
- Copenhagen: In Pictures
- Norwegian Boeing 737, Copenhagen – Oslo
- Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo Gardermoen
- NoRRA Embraer E190, Oslo – Helsinki
- Japan Airlines Boeing 787-9, Helsinki – Tokyo Narita
- Tokyo: In Pictures
- Japan Airlines, Boeing 787-8, Tokyo Narita – Nagoya
- Four Points by Sheraton Nagoya, Chubu International Airport
- Japan Airlines, Boeing 787-8 Nagoya – Tokyo Narita
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge, Tokyo Narita
- Finnair Airbus A350, Tokyo Narita – Helsinki
- Finnair Airbus A320, Helsinki – Stockholm Arlanda
- Sheraton Stockholm Hotel
- Stockholm: In Pictures
- Aurora Lounge, Stockholm Arlanda T2
- Finnair Airbus A321, Stockholm Arlanda – Helsinki
- Finnair Airbus A321, Helsinki – London Heathrow
With regards to the hotels, I’ll explain my reasoning behind booking each of those in their respective reviews. But in a nutshell, I’d be spending the first night in the Radisson Blu at Oslo Airport, paying £135. Next up would be the Four Points by Sheraton in Nagoya, which was paid for with Marriott Bonvoy points. And finally, for the night in Stockholm, I looked to the Sheraton.
These would be my final flights of the year and indeed the decade. My total for 2019 comes in at 105, a little down on previous years. Although with more long haul trips under my belt, the mileage is roughly the same as in 2018.