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.
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.
A very grand entrance…
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!
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.
After waiting for a bit at the counter, a pair of seats finally opened up so I took a seat with my first offering.
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.
After my shower, I scurried off to my gate which was quite a hike from the lounge. We are departing from Gate 66.
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.
Our bird today, a B767-300ER.
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.
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.
The little 6” IFE.
Earbuds were preplaced in the seatback pocket.
The IFE controls were located in the armrest, but fortunately recessed so you don’t accidentally press anything with your elbow.
A weird feature of this plane is that the seats don’t all have the same fabric pattern. My seatmate has different fabric.
A look out the window confirms our registration and gives a nice view of the B77W heading to ITM.
The FAs pass through cabin offering blankets, I’ll take one.
Our neighbor get backed up revealing a B788 behind it.
We get backed up giving a view of the B77W waiting for us to clear their path.
The safety video plays while we taxi to the runway.
AA B772 leaving for DFW.
EY A345 getting towed to a gate.
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.
Cabin shot before the drink service, the IFEs played some travel programs.
A cup of coffee for me.
A quick stop to the lavatory. Very metallic.
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.
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.
The domestic terminal is quiet with only a JL B738 and NH B735 in sight.
I wait for the masses to deplane in order to get some cabin shots on my way out.
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.
JAL Sakura Lounge
Tokyo - NRT
Nagoya - NGO
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.
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