Review of Japan Airlines flight Tokyo Nagoya in Economy

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL 3087
Class Economy
Seat 50K
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 30 Oct 15, 18:30
Arrival at 30 Oct 15, 19:45
JL   #13 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 134 reviews
NGO85
By 2202
Published on 10th December 2015
Background:

This series will cover a recent trip back to the US that required me to be in the greater Los Angeles and Boston areas.

Part 1 – NGO-NRT [JL 3084, Boeing B737-800, ClassJ] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12225.html
Part 2 – NRT-LAX [AA 170, Boeing B777-200ER, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12253.html
Part 3 – LAX-BOS [B6 288, Airbus A320, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12303.html
Part 4 – BOS-NRT [JL 7, Boeing B787-800, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-12421.html
Part 5 – NRT-NGO [JL 3087, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – You are here

This report will conclude this series by covering the JL Sakura Lounge in the domestic terminal at NRT and then the short hop from NRT to NGO aboard JL.


Pre-flight:

After clearing customs, I went over to the JL domestic check-in counters. There was little activity so I was immediately helped by an agent. She takes my boarding pass and double checks my baggage tag. She types for a bit and looks confused. She looks up at me and says, “This ticket is for Economy, but you have a J-Class fare.” Types some more, “I’m sorry, but J-Class is full. I’ll put you on the waiting list.” She hands me a new boarding pass and staples my waiting list card to the back stating that they’ll let me know at the gate if there are any no-shows. This whole fiasco would be avoided if JL allowed people to pick seats on domestic flights online! I could have pre-selected a seat before my trip and wouldn’t have to rely on a random seat assignment at check-in. This is a domestic flight and Economy and J-Class are essentially the same so I don’t care about being in Economy, but it’s the principle!

I forgot to take pictures of the check-in area and security area (way too tired). There was no one in line at security and I was quickly on my way to the JL Sakura Lounge.

photo 1

A very grand entrance…

photo 2

The agents at the counter welcomes me, scans my boarding pass, and then waves me in. I request a shower and she said that all the showers are currently in use. She hands me a buzzer and tells me to come back when it starts to vibrate.

The entire food and drink selection in the Sakura Lounge. The only food was some muffins in the corner and then bags of otsumami. The drink selection was also bare bones. This lounge is almost as bad as the NGO domestic lounge!

photo 3photo 4

The seating area. The seating area is weird how it all faces the windows, and there is definitely not enough room. The windows are misleading, there isn’t actually a tarmac view; it is a view of the check-in area. There was a small annex to the right near the bathrooms.

photo 5

After waiting for a bit at the counter, a pair of seats finally opened up so I took a seat with my first offering.

photo 6

After a 35 minute wait, my buzzer starts to vibrate. I was actually getting nervous because my buzzer went off 25 minutes before the boarding time for my flight so I knew I had to quickly shower and get out of there. The shower room is dark and is not very nice looking (a common trend in my Sakura Lounge experiences). It reminds me a lot of a business hotel in Japan.

The vanity.

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The shower.

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After my shower, I scurried off to my gate which was quite a hike from the lounge. We are departing from Gate 66.

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We are sharing a gate area with a flight to ITM. The seating area is completely full so I stand upstairs until the B77W to ITM is boarded.

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Our bird today, a B767-300ER.

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——————————-

Japan Airlines, JL 3087
Equipment: Boeing B767-300ER [JA843J, delivered November 2004]
Departure: 18:30 (ATD: 19:09)
Arrival: 19:45 (ATA: 19:52)
Flight time: 0:43


Boarding was called 10 minutes late. Special assistance boarding was followed by JL/OW elites. General boarding was then done. My boarding pass was scanned and the agent stops and looks at what was stapled behind it. She looks up and starts apologizing profusely for not having any no-shows for J-Class. At least JL knows they are at fault for overselling J-Class, but then do nothing to compensate.

Fuselage shot.

photo 16

Some FAs were standing there welcoming people aboard. Not very enthusiastic or warm. I make my way to the back of the bus. My seatmate is already there so no seat shot (there are cabin shots at the end during deplaning). The pitch leaves a lot to be desired for my 182cm frame.

photo 18

The little 6” IFE.

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Earbuds were preplaced in the seatback pocket.

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The IFE controls were located in the armrest, but fortunately recessed so you don’t accidentally press anything with your elbow.

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A weird feature of this plane is that the seats don’t all have the same fabric pattern. My seatmate has different fabric.

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A look out the window confirms our registration and gives a nice view of the B77W heading to ITM.

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The FAs pass through cabin offering blankets, I’ll take one.

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Our neighbor get backed up revealing a B788 behind it.

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We get backed up giving a view of the B77W waiting for us to clear their path.

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The safety video plays while we taxi to the runway.

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AA B772 leaving for DFW.

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MM A320.

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EY A345 getting towed to a gate.

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We are third in line for takeoff. We finally lift off almost 40 minutes late…

…But the good news is that we take a route that brings us right past Tokyo.



The safety card for this B767.

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Cabin shot before the drink service, the IFEs played some travel programs.

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A cup of coffee for me.

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A quick stop to the lavatory. Very metallic.

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I nap for the rest of the trip until we start our descent into NGO. We get a blurry shot of Nagoya as we descend.

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We land from the north and make a U-turn back to the domestic side of the airport giving a glimpse of the international activity. EY is ready to leave for PEK and the HNL flights are also awaiting departure.

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The domestic terminal is quiet with only a JL B738 and NH B735 in sight.

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I wait for the masses to deplane in order to get some cabin shots on my way out.

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Deplaning, a neutral goodbye and I head to the baggage claim. My bag is the second one off the carousel and I’m quickly on the train home for a couple of days rest before heading out again to Copenhagen in the next series.
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Verdict

Japan Airlines

6.0/10
Cabin4.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering5.0

JAL Sakura Lounge

4.8/10
Comfort2.0
Meal/catering2.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services8.0

Tokyo - NRT

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness10.0

Nagoya - NGO

8.6/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

A subpar domestic flight in Japan and an easily forgettable flight experience, but at least I got to try a new JL aircraft. Average service, an uncomfortable seat, and a significant delay leaving NRT. The domestic JL Sakura Lounge at NRT is a joke.

Cabin comfort: Full cabin and vintage seats. The seat pitch is really tight for me (182cm), but for a 50-minute flight you just put up with it.

Crew: Average greetings boarding and deplaning. Did their service with a smile and that's it. Standard crew for a Japanese domestic flight.

Meal and catering: Drink service only. No candies like on NH.

Entertainment: No newspaper offered. The IFE is old, but played travel programs. Standard seatback literature.

On-time performance: We only landed 10 minutes late, but the 40-minute late departure on a 40-minute flight is really annoying at the end of a long day traveling.

Information on the route Tokyo (NRT) Nagoya (NGO)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Tokyo (NRT) → Nagoya (NGO).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Japan Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 11 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 152379 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4835 Comments

    I'm glad that you posted a report on a JL 763ER because I'll be taking one in January. I really hope that the ones used on SIN-NRT are not the same as these. A 763 with no winglets must be ancient and the cabin looks like it's seen better days. That postage stamp sized IFE also screams old-school. Though it is good that the IFE control is recessed, I don't like that it is still in the armrest. It's always awkward for shared armrests.

    Ok, so explain this Class-J ticket thing to me. You had a class J ticket, but they oversold Class-J and because you can't select seats on domestic flights ahead of time, you got stuck in Y because you were on a plane from BOS during the online check-in window for this flight? Does that sum it up correctly? If that's the case, I'd be majorly P.O.'d! I don't get the part about having a Class-J fare, but an Economy ticket. Is it the equivalent of what we call Y-up fares in the States? An economy ticket with instant upgrade? So I assume there was no comp since you were technically booked in Y? These kinds of tickets are such scams. People get nasty surprises all the time when the ticket they buy is advertised as Domestic F or Business, but then when a cancellation or delay comes along, they are rebooked in Y with no comp. I find that to be an unethical ticketing practice.

    • Comment 330206 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks Kevin!

      A 763 with no winglets must be ancient
      - Actually, it is only 11 years old so fairly young for a B767. This is a domestic B763 (probably used to be used on regional routes or flights to Hawaii) so you will not get this plane, don't worry. You'll get a B763 with JAL Sky Suites II (https://www.jal.co.jp/en/inflight/inter/business/c_seat/index5.html).

      Ok, so explain this Class-J ticket thing to me
      - This ticket was booked through a travel agent as full-fare J with JL. Since this ticket was not directly booked through JL's website, you are not able to access the seat selection for domestic flights (don't ask me why...). The problem with Class-J is that it is not really a business class product (NH's Premium class is). Anyone with an economy ticket can upgrade themselves into Class-J by paying the nominal fee. Therefore Class-J seats are not really being reserved for business class passengers. Since I couldn't access my seat selection, I was not assigned a seat yet and therefore the JL system must have seen open Class-J seats still available and kept selling them off to Y passengers. So by the time I got to NRT and got a seat assignment there were no more Class-J seats left even though I had a business class fare that qualified me for a free Class-J seat. Overall, it's a very poor way to treat their premium class passengers coming off international flights. Maybe a good comparison is MCE on AA?

    • Comment 330210 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4835 Comments

      you will not get this plane, don't worry. You'll get a B763 with JAL Sky Suites II
      - Woohoo! Thanks for the info! JAL's website sucks btw...hard to navigate, some really old school features, and funny English translations.

      Ah ok, I get it now. So technically Class-J doesn't have it's own fare bucket--it's basically MCE+ since the seats are actually a little wider. It's messed up not to let a higher fare pre-assign seats in CLass-J when not bought directly from JAL. It seems that JAL has some outdated IT when it comes to Travel Agency booking and codeshares. I'm also having the same problem where I can't pre-assign my seats on JL because I bought through AA as an AA flight number. I called both JL and AA ExPlat lines and both told me that there was nothing they could do about it. Totally unacceptable as a oneworld Emerald IMO!

  • Comment 152389 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    This is a domestic flight and Economy and J-Class are essentially the same so I don’t care about being in Economy, but it’s the principle!
    - That is so messed up. As you said, if they allow pre-assignment of seats this could be avoided. I personally think that any J fare should be allowed to select seats - it's part of the premium perk.

    The entire food and drink selection in the Sakura Lounge. The only food was some muffins in the corner and then bags of otsumami. The drink selection was also bare bones. This lounge is almost as bad as the NGO domestic lounge!
    - That is very disappointing. Also the arrangement of the seating area lack privacy.

    After a 35 minute wait, my buzzer starts to vibrate. I was actually getting nervous because my buzzer went off 25 minutes before the boarding time for my flight so I knew I had to quickly shower and get out of there.
    - Talk about doing a quickie. ;)

    The domestic flight on JL is nothing to rave about. At least you got to try a new JL plane.

    Thank you Michael for sharing this conclusion to your series.

    • Comment 330207 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      That is so messed up.
      - I couldn't phrase it better ;( You can see the response to Kevin above for a description.

      I personally think that any J fare should be allowed to select seats - it's part of the premium perk.
      - Doesn't BA charge J-passengers for seat selection?

      That is very disappointing. Also the arrangement of the seating area lack privacy.
      - It was a very poor lounge experience again with JL. The NH lounges are much better, the ANA Arrival Lounge is much nicer and bigger than the little old JL Sakura Lounge.

      At least you got to try a new JL plane.
      - You always have to find the small positives in any experience :)

      Thank you Michael for sharing this conclusion to your series.
      - Thank you for your comments Adan, I'm trying to finish off all my series in order now, maybe...

    • Comment 330211 by
      jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

      If you fly within 5 days it is free, otherwise it is EUR 66 or USD 83 to reserve a seat in advance. This is mind blowing and wrong in so many ways.

      Looks like your SK is up. I will take my time reading it with a hot cup of tea. ;)

    • Comment 330208 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      Now I know that not only CA is downgrading passengers. ;)
      - But CA upgraded you to a very nice hotel room^^

      The lounge is very tiny and has the typical Japanese domestic offering.
      - This lounge offering is typical for a minor airport, but NRT is a major hub for connections off of international flights, it should be at least as good as the ANA Arrival Lounge. NH is a much more consistent domestic product and find them to be the better of the domestic carriers. I've heard a lot of people in Japan say they only fly NH and now I can see why; JL is very meh

      See you for the A343 ride !
      - It's ready when you are ;)

  • Comment 152395 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 8912 Comments

    Thank you for sharing !

    Now I know that not only CA is downgrading passengers. ;)

    The lounge is very tiny and has the typical Japanese domestic offering.

    Finally I think NH offers a stronger product on this route, at least the lounge itself is better than that crappy Sakura.

    See you for the A343 ride !

  • Comment 152506 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for concluding another great series with us!

    I don't think there's much to say about the lounge, very basic and not competitive at all. You must've taken a pretty quick shower in order to make it in 25 minutes!

    This ticketing and seat selection 'issue' is ridiculous, more than disappointing... No compensation is even more upsetting.

    The seat pitch looks very tight, thankfully the flight was short. The IFE system is a complete joke, probably okay for a short domestic hop like this one but not on a flight of 3-4 hours.

    Nice spotting shots at NRT, great shots of Tokyo after departure!

    Well, I guess the nice part is that you got to fly on a wide-body instead of a 738 if that matters...

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 330260 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you very much for your continued support!

      Thank you for concluding another great series with us!
      - Almost all caught up!

      This ticketing and seat selection 'issue' is ridiculous, more than disappointing...
      - Domestic flights in Japan are very stressful. They are meant to be stress-free since you don't have to check-in and just show up, get on a plane, and go (like how you would on a train), but for someone that wants a specific seat, it is a nightmare.

      great shots of Tokyo after departure!
      - I've never seen this route out of NRT before, normally we fly over the ocean and then cut into NGO from near Hamamatsu.

      The IFE system is a complete joke, probably okay for a short domestic hop like this one but not on a flight of 3-4 hours.
      - This plane will never fly further than 2 hours in this day and age (retired from international duty). This is the original cabin from when the plane was delivered in 2004. I guess back then it was modern, lol.

      Well, I guess the nice part is that you got to fly on a wide-body instead of a 738 if that matters...
      - That's all that matters to me :) I get tired of flying the same thing all the time, I prefer to try different products.

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