This is one of the flights I was really looking forward to because I had read so many good things about Japan Airlines. This flight was memorable on many levels, I saw Aurora Borealis at 40,000 feet in the sky while drinking champagne!
Please forgive me, the pictures are not complete because most of the photos I took on my phone were deleted. I only manage to find a few photos on my Canon camera.
Tokyo to New York December 20 2015 Japan Airlines JL 6 11:10AM - 10:05AM 777 First Class Seat 1D
After arriving at Narita International I made my way through check-in. Japan Airlines First Class passengers has a dedicated First Class check-in, where no less than two agents welcome you into the zone before directing you to a free desk.
It was a smooth process and the agent was very friendly and polite. She instructed me to follow the sign and use the priority security for First Class passengers.
Within 2 minutes I cleared Narita security and made my through customs and immigration, which does not have a dedicated priority lane for First Class.
Airport & Lounge I arrived around 9AM and the First Class lounge was bustling! The lounge did not feel as exclusive as other airlines but there was a comprehensive self service alcohol counter, the machine beer dispenser.
The lounge offers complimentary massage and shoe shine service, however when I was there, the message wait time was over 1 hour and 45 minutes and the shoe shine was not open.
I took pictures of the buffet but it was lost. So here are some pictures I managed to dig up. Although the lounge did not have the exclusivity of First Class lounges and felt more like a business class lounge, the sushi bar was a nice touch!
Naturally I skipped the buffet of omelettes, Tokyo curry, rice, sausages etc and headed straight to the sushi bar, I love sashimi and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it at the lounge. I went back three times!
Eventually boarding was called and I headed to the plane.
The flight When I got onboard there were three flight attendants to welcome me. They were very formal and one showed me to my seat, 1D.
Although Japan Airlines calls this a “suite”, the seat is not as private as the “suites” you see on Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Etihad. But really I liked the seat it was really wide and comfortable.
I took a photo of the empty seat on my left, as you can see, there is plenty of room.
Here is a photo of the private cabin with only eight seats.
As soon as I settled down, I was asked if I wanted champagne, of course I did! It is Salon Champagne 2006! How can I say no?
Eventually the other passengers boarded and six seats would be occupied today, including a VIP passenger who was brought onboard by a JAL ground member. I knew he was VIP because when we landed in JFK, he was collected by JAL ground crew, and the VIP passenger was also separated from the rest of us at JFK baggage carousel. JAL agents also cordoned off a specific area at the carousel with red tape, collected the VIP passenger’s luggage and then he was taken through a fast lane. To this day, I have no idea who he is.
Anyway, despite having six passengers, the JAL crew were faultless and the service did not suffer. Menus and amenity kits were handed out. The crew asked me if I wanted to change into my pyjamas, and I said not yet, so she didn’t bring me my PJs. Later I was worried I would miss out so I had to ask for the PJs and she apologised. lol
Takeoff was on time and once we were at cruising altitude the crew sprung to action. The crew get down and speak to you at eye level, which was a nice touch. The champagne kept flowing.
Next a crew member came to take my order and I chose the Japanese menu but wondered if I could have the caviar from the Western menu. She said she had to check to see whether other passengers are having it and let me know. A few minutes later, she returned and confirmed I could have the caviar!
I chose the Japanese menu because when in Rome… and I thought they would excel at this considering I’m leaving from Tokyo.
Let the feast begin!
Five seasonal delicacies From left to right…
Simmered Yellowtail & Radish in Soy Sauce - Egg Cake - Scallop & Sea Urchin dressed with Mustard Vinegar Miso Simmered Conger Eel rolled with Yuba - Simmered Taro with stir fried Duck & Welsh Onion Everything on the tasting place was delicious, even the eel which I normally don't eat. I closed my eyes and put in my mouth and pretended it wasn't eel.
Owan Japanese clear soup with steamed prawn mousse & grated turnip. I like the broth and prawn mousse but bleh! i don't like turnips lol :)
Seafood Boiled Matsuba snow crab with citrus vinegar jelly & pickled radish Cold steamed egg custard with smoked potato potage Pureed welsh onion soup accompanied with caviar You pour the caviar into the egg custard and stir it, then eat. The soft custard contrast with the caviar and it was an interesting sensation in your mouth.
Dainomono Wagyu beef fillet sukiyaki accented with black pepper (top center) This fillet was so tender, I didn't need a knife to cut it and it just melted in your mouth.
Hanmono Steamed Koshihikari rice with Japanese (obviously bottom left) peppered flavoured young sardines see picture labelled below, which was really strange. It wasn't crunchy, it was soft and chew-ish like snake lollies but salty.
Steamed egg (center)
Tomewan Miso soup (bottom right) Japanese pickles (above the miso soup)
Sweets Roppongi Pudding Dekopon Orange, yuzu & coconut sorbet Ryugin’s specialty - Japanese style baked pistachio cake The pistachio cake was nice, not too sweet. The coconut sorbet and yuzu was refreshing, the sweatness of the coconut was able to balance the tangyness of the yuzu. The Roppongi pudding was very smooth, almost like a creme brulee.
I was so full by the end of the feast! but I am so glad I decided to have Japanese menu. This is one of the best meals I have ever. A cabin crew came to clear my table and suggested I also have the Sugaloabo Mont blanc! She insisted I have I said “Sure!”
Sugaloabo Mont blanc It is very very very sweet! Triple chocolate hit! wow!
For those who are interested, my seat mate next door had the Western menu and these are the pictures.
After that the three crew members brought out a tray of Japanese snacks and suggest I have one of each while I watch my movie, I couldn’t say no! Lol
After that feast, I went for a walk and checked out the business cabin and economy. I came back and started working on my notebook. Only problem I had was charging, the JAL charge didn’t have enough power to change my Asus ROG. So every time Windows loaded, it would shut down. This was the second time I couldn’t charge my notebook on the plane. The first time was on Virgin Australia’s 777. The JAL crew tried to reset the system but it was no help. I have subsequently learned from a friend that when that happens, I might have to take the battery out and just run the computer on A/C.
Anyway in the middle of the flight, a cabin crew came over and said "sorry to disturb you but the captain has informed me that there will be a light show!" I was puzzled because I thought we were going to have a disco. She said "come with me, its outside" I went to the empty window seat beside and pull up the slide and I watched the northern lights! I normally don't get excited but watching the northern lights at 40,000 feet was one of the most beautiful moments. I was speechless, all i could keep saying was "wwoaaahh"
JAL First Lounge
Tokyo - NRT
New York - JFK
The crew addressed me by as Mr. last name and were very formal, but I said just call me by my first name. We started to talk and gradually the crew became more relaxed and they were joking and laughing. They even told me I was their favourite passenger! But I bet they say that to everybody lol Although at the baggage carousel, the three First Class crew members broke away from the JAL crew and walked over to me, I heard my name called out and turned over and saw the three lovely ladies. We exchanged goodbyes, well wishes and a few bows. I have never encountered that, normally crew members just ignore you once the flight was over.
Well there was Aki, the Cathay Pacific First Class crew who chased me down at baggage claim to give me my sunglasses that I had forgotten and left onboard. That was an amazing touch.
Anyway this JAL flight is one of the best experiences in First Class I have ever had, the catering was A+ and I am so glad I chose the Japanese menu out of Tokyo because I rate it as one of the my best onboard meals ever, and the crew were A++. I can’t wait to fly JAL again!
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