Trip Preview: Golden Week 2017 (Mostly) in Europe

Trip Preview: Golden Week 2017 (Mostly) in Europe

As I will be taking a relatively long trip starting tomorrow night, I decided to write about my plants to give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of spotting and flight reports, as well as other articles in the coming weeks.

Large part of the trip will take place during the Japanese “Golden Week” which is a major holiday season here. It’s a series of (depending on the year, almost) consecutive national holidays on top of which many people take extra days off.

Getting to Europe

The main purpose of the trip is, as usual, to visit my family in Slovakia. As such, the first portion of the trip is getting to Vienna – an airport about an hour and a half away from my “European home.”

To get there, I will use the return portion of one of my previously booked tickets.

First, I will fly to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines on an overnight flight from Narita. Then, I will spend the day in Istanbul before continuing with Turkish Airlines to Vienna.

Turkish Airlines

As the weather is supposed to be good and I had a chance to see some of Istanbul city a couple of years back, this time, I am planning to do some spotting around Ataturk airport, and squeeze in a visit to the Istanbul Aviation Museum.

Time in Europe

In Europe, I initially planned a quick trip to Ukraine, but I will not be taking it due to time constraints.

I will still try to visit some of my “home” airports there for spotting. Depending on weather, I’ll try to spend some time at either Vienna, Budapest or Prague airport. I would love to catch the new Slovak governmental aircraft at Bratislava airport, but that might be difficult due to the unpredictability of their schedules.

Vienna Spotting

Going Back to Asia

After about a week in Europe, I will head back to Japan.

To “complicate” things a bit, I will first fly with Finnair from Budapest to Bangkok via Helsinki. It is the first part of an error fare ticket that I purchased a bit over a month ago. The ticket cost me about 250EUR for Budapest-Helsinki-Bangkok/Tokyo-Nagoya-Helsinki-Budapest… Not bad at all!

As Finnair offers the ability to bid on upgrades to business class, I decided to try my luck and bid 10EUR above the minimum of 320EUR for the Helsinki-Bangkok sector. I don’t have my hopes up, but let’s see – combined with the cheap economy fare, it would be a great value…


In either case, I am looking forward to flying Finnair for the first time in about 25 years! While my last longhaul with them was operated by an MD-11, the flight to Bangkok is scheduled to be operated by one of its A350s.

Going Back to Japan with an Indonesian Detour

To get back from Southeast Asia to Japan, I decided to use 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles that I recently bought to book a Jakarta-Tokyo-Bangkok ticket with Japan Airlines in business class.

The ticket was a great value, as Jakarta-Tokyo-Bangkok is considered a one way flight from Jakarta to Bangkok and costs only 25,000 miles. A similar itinerary, but with return to the same destination instead (such as Jakarta-Tokyo-Jakarta or Bangkok-Tokyo-Bangkok) would cost double!

Japan Airlines 767

I will use the return segment of the ticket to get to Bangkok for the Children’s Day airshow in January next year.

For the last missing segment of the trip back to Japan, I booked a flight from Don Muang to Jakarta on Thai Lion Air. I am looking forward to that one as I have not flown out of Don Muang before, and neither have I flown on a 737-900ER which is scheduled to operate the flight.

Thai Lion Air

Finally, as I will have slightly more than a full day in Jakarta, I decided to book a side trip to Yogyakarta to see some of the stunning sights the region seems to offer. I will fly there from Jakarta in the morning with Indonseia AirAsia and back at night with Garuda Indonesia – neither of which I have flown before.

Stay Tuned!

In the end, the trip will look something like the below (map generated by Great Circle Mapper):


Hopefully, everything will go according to plan, and in the coming weeks I will be able to start bringing you reports and reviews from the trip.

So, stay tuned!

List of Articles Related to This Trip

As I start posting the actual articles, I will start linking to them here, so that you can access them easily from one place.

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