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I saw a Japanese Instagram user's video where two people were on a plane. (They were recording themselves with a phone's front camera.) At the end of the video the other person said 「行ってきます」 repeatedly appearing to say bye to the video's watchers.

I thought the phrase 「行ってきます」 was usually said in the context of home or the workplace when expecting someone to reply in person. This usage here struck as unusual to me. Is it really unsual or am I missing something?

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  • It might help to remember that it's not merely a stock expression, but also think about what the words themselves mean.
    – Leebo
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 1:25

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That would be a completely standard and natural use of the phrase. You do not need to be at home or your workplace to say 「行ってきます」 to someone.

Basically, you only need to be going from Point A to Point B to say it (as long as Point A is "relatively" close to where you are usually found). In this case, the two persons must be going away from their own town, correct? If so, their own town would be Point A.

Sometimes when I am going from home to another place by bike, my neighbors stop me to say hi. They ask where I am headed to and I reply, for instance, "To the mall." Then, they often say 「行ってらっしゃい」, to which I naturally reply 「行ってきます」. Note that this conversation is taking place on the street, and not at my home.

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