Access to the resorts of Niseko, Furano, Kiroro and Rusutsu just got a little easier, quicker and cheaper. With Finnair's new flight route to Hokkaido starting in December 2019, you can now arrive in Sapporo both more refreshed and a with a little more change in your pocket.
Japan's north island is known for huge snowfall and is firmly on the wishlist for many skiers and snowboarders. Whether you are seeking powder or prefer to stick to the pistes, you'll find plenty of the white stuff in Hokkaido, and the food and culture are enormous fun to experience, turning your usual ski holiday into an unforgettable adventure.
This kind of adventure has always required some effort, with a typical journey time of 15+ hours. However, for the coming winter Finland's largest airline, Finnair, will be flying directly into Sapporo, avoiding the transfers across, and sometimes lengthy stopovers in, Tokyo. Your flight from London will stop instead in Helsinki for as little as one hour, meaning you can make the journey in 13 hours. Even better, if you're flying from Manchester, the time saved is closer to five hours, with one less flight involved.
The one-stop flights will run twice a week from London and Manchester, departing on Sundays and Thursdays, arriving in Sapporo the following day. Returning, departures from Sapporo will be on Fridays and Mondays, arriving the same day. Checked luggage allowance is two pieces per person, so you can take a regular suitcase plus a ski or board bag at no extra cost. Plus, on average, flights will cost around £100 less than those offered by British Airways and JAL.
There is no compromise on comfort either, as the plane scheduled for the new route is the Airbus A330, a twin-aisle widebody which can carry between 277 to 440 passengers, with a range of high quality seating options and a cabin known to be one of the quietest in the skies.
Good news if you've been meaning to tick Japan off your list but didn't fancy the lengthy journey or the price tag!