Over the past couple of years, I’ve made six flights between Japan and the US. Five of these were on American Airlines’ Narita-Dallas/Fort Worth route, which I use because it’s cheap (both of my parents are retired AA employees) and fairly easy to connect to the Carolinas where my family lives.
I’ve noticed over time that there are very few Japanese people on this flight. The usual composition seems to be one-third Southeast Asians (particularly Vietnamese and Filipinos), one-third US military and DoD civilians, and one-third white guys connecting to and from flights to Asia. There are a handful of Japanese sprinkled about the cabin, but not many.
I’m sure that this is largely due to geography. Japanese expats and Japanese-Americans are clustered around the West Coast and the New York metropolitan area: there aren’t that many in Texas, or in any of the neighboring states for that matter. The Asian community in that part of the country is dominated by Southeast Asians.
But I also wonder whether Japanese people are just unwilling to fly American because the economy class service is so poor. I also flew the JFK-Narita route once last summer, and while there seemed to be more Japanese people on that flight, it was still the “local Asians” (mainly Koreans) who seemed to dominate the Asia/Pacific group on board.
Any other experiences of interesting ethnic combinations on particular flights?