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If I ask a flight attendant

いつ、とうちゃくしますか?

versus

とうちゃくは何時ですか?

Is there any difference in nuance if I want to know how much time is left until we land? Meaning, I want to know how many hours and minutes we are airborne, not at what local time we are expected to land (figuring out the aircraft's timezone while in the air is not always easy).

I noticed that there already is a similar, more general question posted here, but mine is more specific.

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  • 1
    I have seen in older writing, such as 芥川良之助 stories, situations where the kanji 何時 is read as いつ. Feb 18, 2017 at 20:00
  • ^ Yes, いつ is sometimes written as 何時... (ところで芥川だけどね・・^^)
    – chocolate
    Feb 19, 2017 at 2:19
  • Not to mention that the time of arrival is written on in-flight displays :)
    – virgil9306
    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:43

2 Answers 2

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いつ means "When"

何時 means "What time"

To the first, she might answer "In an hour" "At 4pm" "Very soon" ect - just like in English. To the second, she would almost certainly answer "At 4pm"

Neither one will necessarily give time remaining in the air.

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  • So, if I want to know how much time is left until we land, what would I say?
    – Daniel
    Feb 18, 2017 at 9:19
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    @Daniel You'd say 「あとどのくらいで[着]{つ}きますか?」 or「[到着]{とうちゃく}まであとどのくらいですか?」 or 「[destination]まであとどのくらいですか?」
    – chocolate
    Feb 18, 2017 at 14:02
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    @Daniel You could also say 着くまでどんだけかかるの? どんだけ is common slang for どのぐらい. Feb 18, 2017 at 19:57
  • どんだけ is a collapsed way of pronouncing どれだけ. And どれだけ has a similar meaning to どれくらい/どのくらい. But... how come we can say 「到着まであとどれだけ/どのくらい/どれくらいかかりますか?」 but not 「あとどれだけで着きますか?」 or 「到着まであとどれだけですか?」(?▽?) –
    – chocolate
    Feb 19, 2017 at 3:12
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If we pronounce "何時" as "何時{いつ}," it is the same meaning of "いつ."

If we pronounce "何時" as "何時{なんどき}," it has the same meaning of "いつ," but it is the old-fashioned word.

「いつ、とうちゃくしますか?」 = 「とうちゃくは何時{いつ}ですか?」
This Japanese sentence doesn't tell what time in your mind, local time of departure area or local time of arrival.

You can clearly tell, 「現地{げんち}時間{じかん}でいつ、とうちゃくしますか?」 = 「とうちゃくは、現地{げんち}時間{じかん}の何時{いつ}ですか?」 or 「出発{しゅっぱつ}地{ち}時間{じかん}のいつ、とうちゃくしますか?」 = 「とうちゃくは、出発{しゅっぱつ}地{ち}時間{じかん}の何時{いつ}ですか?」

In general, we use the local time of the destination when we need the arrival time.

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