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See auroras with SAS; visit, help clean up Bali with Garuda; Cathay’s free business upgrade

See auroras in Norway

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will fly from Narita airport to two Norwegian cities famous for the aurora borealis this winter. These direct flights will connect Tokyo with aurora-viewing areas near Evenes and Lakselv airports in just 10 hours.

The natural beauty, seen only in high latitude areas, appears in Norway quite often and as early as 5 p.m., a reasonable time when people are awake. Sunspot activities become active every 11 years, the same cycle as the frequency of auroras. The three years from 2011 will see frequent auroras, according to the national institute of the polar region, which has observation stations above the Arctic Circle.

SAS will fly from Narita to Evenes on Dec. 29 this year and March 16 next year. It will also fly from Narita to Lakselv on Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 next year.

These four flights are planned and operated in collaboration with JTB World Vacations Inc., Club Tourism International Inc., Nippon Travel Agency Co., Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Hankyu Travel, Finn Corp. and SAS.

“A coastal area such as Evenes or Lakselv is warmer than inland areas, and thus have the best conditions for aurora viewing,” said Taku Miyamoto, marketing director in Japan for the Scandinavian Tourist Board.

For more information, visit www.flysas.co.jp.

Cleaning up Bali Island

The airline Garuda Indonesia is seeking people to join a volunteer tour from Japan to clean up the Ubud district on Bali Island on Dec. 12.

The cleaning activity is called Ubud Clean & Green 2012, organized by Ubud Hotels Association, whose foundation anniversary falls on Dec. 12.

The association has conducted philanthropic activities such as blood drives and visitations of orphanages on the foundation day every year. The theme of the eighth anniversary this year is Magical 8, the concept of which is to conserve the environment of Ubud via spiritual tourism.

Ubud Clean & Green will start at Puri Lukisan Museum at 7:30 a.m. The association will also donate garbage bins to the Ubud district.

“We would be very happy if many Japanese come and become interested in conserving the nature and culture of Ubud with us through this event,” said Wayan Suambara, the leader of this year’s Ubud Clean & Green.

For more information, visit www.garuda-indonesia.co.jp.

Cathay’s business deal

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. currently has a campaign to switch from economy class on Japan-Hong Kong flights to business class for free for those who buy a premium economy class ticket from Hong Kong to elsewhere.

Premium economy lies between economy and business, but Cathay Pacific does not have the premium economy class for Japan-to-Hong Kong flights. It does have the class from Hong Kong to London, New York, Sydney and 21 other cities.

Cathay Pacific is accepting applications for the campaign through Dec. 21. Applicants will have to fly by Dec. 31 to get the deal.

With the deal, fares from Japan to Europe will start at ¥245,000.

To apply, passengers have to apply for the free upgrade by noon one business day prior to departure. They can apply by phone at 0120-46-3838, or email to tyo_eservice@cathaypacific.com.

For more information, visit www.cathaypacific.co.jp.