Insane Japanese Domestic Boarding
I'm inbound on an Asiana flight from Seoul, touching down at Haneda, Tokyo with not too much time to spare until my upcoming Fukuoka flight takes off. As we're taxiing on the tarmac I'm preparing a speedy exit. I should be fairly ok being seated in the biz cabin, we get to the gate, door opens, and I'm off. Walking fast. I get through immigration in no time, pick up my beloved Rimowa (priority tagging does works amazingly well in Asia), and get a nice, expedited custom control, done, out the door and... transfer desk, got it. Check-in and re-tagging of my bag is a breeze and I'm off to the transfer bus to get to the domestic terminal. I realize I'm good on time with a comfortable buffer of ten minutes or so, and dive into the ANA lounge, it happens to be just next to my gate. I grab a diet coke and manage to do a few minutes of work. I head back out to the gate, expecting boarding to be well underway but...
....no. Nothing. People are waiting patiently, I have no clue what the information display says, but I'm assuming there is some sort of delay. 12 minutes before scheduled departure and still no action. Then, with no more than ten minutes to go, boarding starts. Tons of people. It's a 747 packed with almost nothing but economy class. I blip my way through the gate, it responds with a nice Japanese mini-song rather than your average western soulless beep, I find my seat, and... whoa. I've never seen such an amazingly self-optimized mass of human beings board a plane. Those ten minutes are perfectly sufficient to get everyone on board and we're good to go right on time. Insane.
Another insane thing is the pure volume of traffic from Haneda to Fukuoka. 50 flights each day. Five zero. Using mostly widebody planes. Crazy stuff, but it seems to run like clockwork. And in Fukuoka my bag pops out as carousel item number one. The only one screwing things up is me, jetlagged and all I manage to leave my laptop behind in 14K. But that's a whole different story.