Japan Airlines’ Mysterious New Dallas – Nagoya Flight

Covering the return of international flying from Dallas – Fort Worth, Kyle Arnold flags a new flight from American Airlines joint venture partner Japan Airlines that I hadn’t noticed.

Dallas will actually have flights to more international destinations this month than it did two years ago (56 vs. 52), thanks to American Airlines destinations that have been added to Mexico and Central America offsetting losses in long haul.

But the flight that’s most striking to me is the addition of Dallas – Fort Worth to Nagoya, Japan. It’s striking to see a new destination in Asia, a previously unflown route, and while Japan is closed to most U.S. visitors. And it’s surprising to see the flight so full:

Now, it only operates twice from Dallas to Nagoya, and operates just one time from Nagoya to Dallas, according to Cirium Diio Mi data. And it doesn’t operate at all come April.

The only time I can remember a mainland U.S. – Nagoya flight is United’s old San Francisco – Nagoya flight which was driven by Toyota cargo. If you couldn’t find award space between the U.S. and Asia, you could always book half the passenger cabin in business or first class on points on this flight which was generally empty in the passenger cabin, full in the cargo hold.

So my first thought was that the DFW – Nagoya flight was driven by cargo, but the flights look to be fairly full with passengers, which leads me to think this is driven more by a specific group of passengers and event though I do not know who or what.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Delta flew (flies) DTW to Nagoya for many many many years. So not sFO as only one.

  2. “The only time I can remember a mainland U.S. – Nagoya flight is United’s old San Francisco – Nagoya flight which was driven by Toyota cargo”

    Delta operated DTW-NGO service for years pre-covid anywhere from a couple times per week to near daily and has it in its schedules again this summer

  3. NW used to have a DTW-NGO flight operated by a 744 in the 1990’s. I flew it in the summer of 1998, redeeming 50k miles for F class MNL-NGO-DTW-DCA. I was the only passenger in F to DTW and had 4 crew members helping me! I do remember looking at the J and Y cabins and they were decently full.

  4. America West (which is basically American today) used to fly JFK-PHX-HNL-NGO on a 747. That was a great flight. I remember the caviar, pupu platters, and hand carved meats from a silver tray in F

  5. @JJ – Interesting, I did not recall that. Portland – Asia flights were tough two decades ago with many passengers originating in Asia hesitant to take those flights because US CBP at the airport made it known as ‘Deportland’

  6. JAL sent out emails last month announcing these NGO flights. ANA sent an email in Jan, announcing SFO and LAX to NGO flights. March 22 to April 18. No clue as to what, “Due to specific travel demands” means?

  7. JAL flew this over the holidays as well. Maybe that was in 2019 though. Lots of Japanese ex-pats here in DFW now with the Toyota HQ.

  8. Could just be linking up Toyota’s world headquarters near Nagoya to their US headquarters in near Dallas for some type of meeting / corporate event.

  9. JAL and ANA have these special flights mainly for Japanese workers that get sent back to their Japanese HQ before the new physical year starts on April 1st.
    ANA for example has those short term flights

    SFO-KIX, March 13
    SFO-NGO, March 20
    FRA-KIX, March 12 & 19
    FRA-NGO, March 14 & 21
    ORD-KIX, March 20
    ORD-NGO, March 13
    LAX-NGO, March 12

    and probably some more!
    All served by 777-300ER

  10. My first thought also was that this was Toyota related. Although back when they were here in So Cal, top execs would fly corporate aircraft.

  11. Gary,

    From which site did you pull the flight itinerary (including available classes) info? It looks pretty useful, with regards to knowing what’s available.

    Thanks
    BC

  12. JohnB – I also was wondering what demand they were referring to in the email. Cherry Blossoms?

  13. Not only is Toyota’s North America HQ in Dallas, their pickup development and manufacturing facility is in San Antonio, other facilities are either in Tennessee, Kentucky, or Alabama, all are conveniently access to DFW.

  14. Currently onward domestic connections from TYO-NGO cannot be taken (due to self-quarantine measures in place upon landing in Japan). Public transport or Shinkansen is also not allowed, so this route is served on a very limited basis for the convenience of auto folks, other Japanese based in nagoya

  15. Without reading other people’s comments.. and sorry if it’s repeat info…. But.

    I think Delta does detroit-nagoya and/or minneapolis-nagoya…

    ANA is adding ord – ngo starting I think this March but no, ngo – ord

    I’m hoping JAL will follow suit (since we relocated to Aichi but my home state is Illinois)

    And as for speculation as to why this is happening is probably because a good chunk of Toyota moved from kentucky to Irving (I think, at least somewhere close to dallas) a while ago and since Nagoya is the closest airport to Toyota, Aichi, they’re probably adding that new route.

  16. Off topic, how do you access fare availability like you did in the photo of the almost sold out flight?

  17. Very odd that you did not indicate that Kyle Arnold is the aviation reporter for “The Dallas Morning News.” The flight very likely will be operated with a 787, as it was in December. That is not the aircraft pictured. And how do you know Y is “full” and not zeroed out?

  18. Doesn’t mean the flight is actually full. It just means it has almost sold out of its allotted seats. There could be cap restrictions going there. If JAL was only selling 60 seats and they’ve sold 60 tickets, it won’t sell anymore, but the plane will be fairly empty!

  19. Almost seems like a repatriation flight, but organized not by a country but a company or companies.

    My bet is on something automotive related.

  20. Probably temporary schedule only for March for expats and their families from Toyota to return directly to Nagoya. Toyota NA is in Plano and Japan HQ is near Nagoya. That way they can quarantine at their home without stuck in Tokyo for 14 days. Japanese fiscal year begins April and that’s when companies do org restructures. It makes sense to me but I wish they continued April and going forward because I’m from Nagoya and I don’t know when I get to visit my family…

  21. The flight number indicates it’s a charter or special flight of some sort…

  22. I can not speculate, but Toyota has been expanding its factories/assembly lines and its suppliers in the Sunbelt states. Japan’s new season school commenced in April, and the families are returning just in time for the new school to begin.

  23. I’d imagine the single NGO-DFW flight is to position the 77W back to Dallas to pick up some more Toyota employees going home to Japan. There wouldn’t be as much eastbound demand because Japan to US passengers are allowed to make domestic connecting flights in the US, whereas in the other direction you aren’t allowed to take domestic scheduled flights for two weeks after entering Japan.

  24. I remember a group of medical professionals (pre-pandemic) were going to a conference in San Diego and got Air France to offer a non-stop from Paris twice. AF sold it as a revenue flight.

    I also join in the suspicion it is Toyota-related and JL is offering up the extra seats for revenue.

  25. Mr. Aochi’s comment is right. This is just seasonal personnel change time in Spring in Japan every year. That’s commonly know among Japanese society as season of Jinji Ido(staffs position would be reshuffled, often includes promotions among employees ) Other major personnel change time would be in Autumn as well. Summer and winter would be much scale down. Majority of big Japanese corporation has commonly staffs reassignment typically in March or October. Surely Japanese carriers know that temporally movement demand up, so there are opportunities to fill the passengers with those employees and family members relocation between US and Japan.
    Because Toyota related corporations are more condensed in southern states, though.

  26. Dfw-ngo is probably because of toyota relocating to Dallas. Nagoya is home of toyota and these flights are offered around school holidays.

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