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Narita transfer question 2019/2/26 06:34

We currently have tickets on United arriving at Narita at 1:55 pm. Due to a schedule change, we need to get to Kyoto the next morning and are thus looking at flights from Narita to the Osaka area airports. There is an ANA flight from Narita to Itami at 4:40 pm and another at 6:10 pm. Given that we will have been traveling a long time we would prefer to take the earlier flight.

I understand that the recommended time for transfers (coming from an international flight) at Narita is 1 hour and 50 minutes, so it seems that we should be fine in terms of time if we take the 4:40 pm flight. On the other hand, I have definitely traveled internationally when customs and immigration have taken over two hours (but not in Japan) and I do not relish missing a flight (United and ANA are Star Alliance partners, which should help if we get into difficulty, but the two flights will not be on the same ticket). We will be seated fairly close to the front of the plane.

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of the Narita airport (for example, will we need to change terminals, etc.) that can help us decide whether we have enough time to make the 4:40 pm flight?

Thank you for your time.
by Catalana (guest)  

Re: Narita transfer question 2019/2/26 12:54
If you arrive and depart from Narita, then it should be fine as long as the plane isn't too late with delays. Immigration and customs in Japan is fairly efficient and you will have plenty of time.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Narita transfer question 2019/2/26 15:00
I do not know the date, why do not you look into another flights for KIX instead of NRT?

Or, stay Tokyo, take Shinkansen Nozomi on next morning first train 6:00 am dep fr Shinagawa or Tokyo.

Or, enjoy Tokyo then take a night bus for Kyoto fr Shinjuku or other major dep spots.
by Hishogai (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Narita transfer question 2019/2/26 20:47
United and ANA are Star Alliance members and code-share flights. They both land at Terminal 1. Your ANA flight will also depart from Terminal 1.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Narita transfer question 2019/2/27 01:21

I'm honestly not sure why you're not considering just taking the train. If you leave Narita at 15:44 on the NEX you can be in Kyoto via Nozomi shinkansen by 19:17. If you take a 16:40 flight, you will get to Itami about 17:40 and even if you have no check ins the fastest you are going to get to Kyoto Station via direct bus would be 18:40 and that is assuming you make a 17:50 bus. You're more likely to take the 18:10 bus and get to Kyoto Station at 19:00. You are saving about ~20 minutes, but there is also a chance you could take an earlier NEX/Nozomi combination. The plus of the train is there is more flexibility if your flight to Japan is delayed and I personally find sitting on the train a lot more comfortable than sitting on a plane. Flights to/from Japan can be delayed. My flight out of NRT on ANA to LAX (and the originating flight on ANA) were both delayed by over 1 hour because of mechanical issues.

If you do decide to fly and your flight into Japan is delayed please talk to your airline/flight attendants in advance. We were met by an ANA representative once deplaning who gave us some passes to make Customs easier. We too were on separately ticketed flights as we had a change of plans. I think the biggest issue is just how crowded Customs is and how quickly they get your luggage out. It was waiting for out suitcases that took the longest during our transfer. We did make our connection.

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Narita transfer question 2019/2/27 03:19
Thank you for your replies. We cannot re-book onto a flight directly to the Osaka area. Of course that would have been preferable had we known we needed to be in Osaka.

I will look into the train to Kyoto. I had looked at this originally and the cost was more than flying and it seemed to be more complicated then simply changing planes. In addition, we will have one large piece of luggage and I was concerned about taking it on the train (we will have it shipped ahead from Kyoto back to Tokyo while we go on a short side trip with just a small piece of hand luggage for a day). But I agree that a train is more interesting and comfortable, and does increase our flexibility, which is an important point.

I appreciate learning that we will not need to change terminals and that the time for the transfer should be sufficient. It is very useful.

by Catalana (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Narita transfer question 2019/2/27 03:50

There should only be one transfer if you use JR the whole way. A NEX to Tokyo or Shinagawa and a transfer there to the shinkansen. Hyperdia thinks it is slightly faster to use the Keisi to Nippori and then changing trains there, but for convenience you can do it all by JR.

The Tokkaido line doesn't have as much space for large bags, though I have seen people balance them overheard on the rack. I've also seen people put them behind the last row of seats. The NEX will have luggage areas.

It will cost you more. That I am not going to argue, but I admit, I like the space and flexibility of the train. We are probably going to do that train trip in June and made that same choice last June as well. (Last time we did the 2 week rail pass though this time we will pay out of pocket and use the Nozomi and shave 30 minutes+ off of travel.) I don't have quite as big a financial loss as my daughter costs the same as an adult to fly, but costs less on the train. I admit, I like having the time to dink around Tokyo Station because my daughter is a picky eater and loves one of the ramen places in Tokyo Station. I probably will have my suitcase and won't takyuubin it to Kyoto since as of right now, my hotel is near the station. If we change hotels all bets are off. But I know my daughter gets antsy and wants to get moving vs. waiting in more lines in Narita.

Where I live there are no direct flights to KIX so I would always need to change in Narita and that might be true with where you are as well, so having the single ticketed destination might not have helped as much.

I guess you need to decide what is the most important, price or flexibility, but I wanted to make sure you knew that flying wouldn't necessarily save you any time.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

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