Goin' down to ol' Tokyo town
August 8, 2014 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Going to Japan in October and the tickets I'm looking at offer me one of three US airports to transit through. Which to choose?

So what say you, AskMe? Should I go for JFK, BOS or ORD? I'd like to make the getting-there part of my trip as painless as possible (flying with JAL, if it matters).
posted by bulgroz to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
In October it shouldn't matter. I've never been through BOS, so I can't comment. JFK is a dump. I like ORD, it's pretty. But huge.

I'd just pick whichever flight is most convenient/cheap and do that. Shortest layover without having to worry about customs factors as well. I'd say about 2.5 hours is good. Any more, then you're hanging around the airport, any less and you're stressing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:52 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

BOS would allow you to fly on a 787 - not sure if the others do as well. That may be a feature or a bug depending on your point of view :-)
posted by scolbath at 9:55 AM on August 8, 2014

BOS is smaller and has a better on-time flight percentage than the other two. Both ORD and JFK are huge (you might have to ride a people-mover just to switch terminals) and have some of the worst delay statistics in the country.
posted by theodolite at 9:57 AM on August 8, 2014

Having had periods of my life where BOS and JFK were my home airports, as well as having flown through ORD a number of times, I would say you should pick BOS.

EVERY time one of the airlines has lost my luggage, I've had a connection in ORD.

Logan is kind of a smaller airport compared with JFK and O'Hare, but (I think) it's nicer (admittedly I haven't been to JFK in at least 15 years), and tends to be better as far as on-time flights are concerned. International Arrivals at BOS is in a clean and well-lit hall, whereas at JFK International Arrivals feels like a kind of prison with very long hallways.

Fun Fact: ORD as an airport code comes from the airport's original name -- ORcharD Field.
posted by tckma at 10:06 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

JFK really depends on which terminal you're in - but for a JFK->NRT flight, you'll probably go through Terminal 4, which has been newly renovated last year and has been remarkably fast and airy and pleasant.
posted by suedehead at 10:37 AM on August 8, 2014

I've had good luck on that flight through BOS (which is sounding like the consensus). For what it's worth, there's not much in the way of food in the international departures hall (a Starbucks, a Burger King, and a sandwich place), but JAL feeds you well on the flight. The 787s are new and clean but don't get properly dark; bring an eye mask.
posted by chocotaco at 10:45 AM on August 8, 2014

Don't know about BOS or JFK, but at O'Hare, JAL and International flights leave from the "International Terminal" (terminal 5) which is separated geographically from the main terminals (1-3). Your flight will likely arrive at terminal 1, 2 or 3. You'll then need to take the airport train to the international terminal. Its not a painful transfer, but you definitely do not want to do it with tight time constraints. That said, once you're at the international terminal, you are basically separated from the brunt of O'Hare pedestrian traffic. You can sit and chill there quite comfortably. (I've flown to Narita on JAL from there with ho hassles, but I started from Chicago, so I didn't need a connecting flight to get to the airport.) Have fun!
posted by ScaredOfWidths at 12:53 PM on August 8, 2014

Seconding what theodolite said about ORD and JFK being horribly delayed. They both have runway setups that force them to slash takeoffs and landings with stormy weather. BOS is not exactly a bowl of roses, but it's the more pleasant choice.
posted by wnissen at 2:10 PM on August 8, 2014

Response by poster: It seems I'm going to try for BOS, then (because consensus and 787).

Thanks all! (Not marking any answer as best, because these were all useful.)
posted by bulgroz at 9:29 PM on August 8, 2014

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