Review of Japan Airlines flight San Francisco Tokyo in Business

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL1
Class Business
Seat 8K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 11:15
Take-off 25 Dec 15, 00:45
Arrival at 25 Dec 15, 05:00
JL   #13 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 134 reviews
dw55
By 4578
Published on 20th January 2016
This is the second leg of my five-segment flight from Los Angeles to Taipei.
1. American Airlines, AA5941, LAX-SFO, First Class http://flight-report.com/en/report-12916.html
2. Japan Airlines, JL1, SFO-HND, Business Class [This report]
3. Japan Airlines, JL25, HND-PEK, Business Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-12939.html
4. Dragonair, KA997, PEK-HKG, Business Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-12953.html
5. Cathay Pacific, CX474, HKG-TPE, Business Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-12978.html
6. Hong Kong Airlines, HX253, TPE-HKG, Business Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-12991.html
7. Thai Airways, TG601, HKG-BKK, First Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13002.html
8. Thai Airways, TG614, BKK-PEK, First Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13015.html
9. Air China, CA887, PEK-LAX, First Class - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13022.html

I have been excited about this flight since I booked this flight through AAdvantage in April 2015. I've been literally looking at my itinerary and previewing the menu every other day until the day of departure. I was excited to be flying JAL again - it had been 10+ years since I flew with them twice a year when I was in college. I was also excited to try their award-winning Sky Suite.

My flight from LAX arrived at Terminal 2. I had to exit the secure area to take the AirTrain to the International Terminal.

I checked in again at the JAL counter to get my boarding pass. The agent offered to re-tag my bag all the way to TPE, so that I wouldn't need to take my bag out and recheck it at HKG. She had to walk to airside to retrieve my bag and tag it, which was really great service.

The black and white JAL boarding pass - no more colored ones I had 10+ years ago.
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JAL has its own lounge at SFO, but was near capacity when I visited. I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures there with so many people around.
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I tried to find a better spot to take a picture of the plane, but this was the best I could find.
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My seat - 8K. Headphones, pillow, blanket and slippers were waiting for me on the seat.
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JAL 777-300ER business class features a 2-3-2 configuration, but is designed to provide aisle access for every seat.
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TUMI amenity kit. I'm still at the stage of collecting amenity kits and usually keep them unopened, which kind of defeats their purpose.
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Menu
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The suite
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Since it was a late night flight, only a snack set of sushi and egg tofu was offered after take-off, which was a little disappointing. It tasted good, but not great. As a sushi lover, I just had to order a second set. Also, I fell in love with the JAL signature kiwi juice when I flew with them 10+ years ago. Good to know they still offer it.
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The seat in flat bed mode. Mattress is available for extra sleeping comfort. The screen provides privacy from neighbor. I had a very good sleep on the bed.
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Midnight snacks - steamed rice with chicken and egg threads in Japanese green tea, Häagen-Dazs ice-cream, and my favorite kiwi juice.photo DSC06873

Oshibori and grape juice upon wake up
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Japanese breakfast with nine seasonal colorful delicacies in Kobachi bowls. This is my all time favorite in-flight meal. Fruit plate and ice-cream were extra orders. They barely fit on my table.
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There were several flights arriving around the same time. Immigration took almost 30 minutes. After that, Tokyo was just a short 30 minute train ride from Haneda Airport.
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My 9-hour adventure in Tokyo began with sushi at the Tsukiji fish market.
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Verdict

Japan Airlines

9.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering9.5

JAL Sakura lounge

7.4/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services8.0

San Francisco - SFO

8.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Tokyo - HND

8.6/10
Efficiency6.0
Access9.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

I have been really excited about this flight since the day I booked it. 11 hours were just too short to enjoy this flight. Lounge was crowded, but I didn't spend much time there. In-flight service was great, as expected from a Japanese carrier. Lack of full dinner after take-off was a little disappointing, but I guess most passengers prefer to get in bed as soon as possible. Seats aren't too wide, but are very private (with privacy screen up) and comfortable in all positions - upright, lounging or sleeping. Immigration was longer than expected, but the airport itself was just a short train ride to Tokyo. I had about nine hours to explore the city before my next flight to PEK.

Information on the route San Francisco (SFO) Tokyo (HND)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route San Francisco (SFO) → Tokyo (HND).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 11 hours and 13 minutes.

  More information

14 Comments

  • Comment 155457 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    Welcome and thank you for sharing your FR's full of nice pics.

    JAL has its own lounge at SFO, but was near capacity when I visited. I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures there with so many people around.
    - It can get crowded and catering is limited. I personally prefer the BA Galleries.

    Since it was a late night flight, only a snack set of sushi and egg tofu was offered after take-off, which was a little disappointing.
    - Your midnight offering was a bit better than what I got as a midnight snack flying back from HND a few years ago. For an Asian carrier, one would expect a more substantial meal from JL. I understand that on red eyes, especially long
    hauls, the majority of passengers prefer to go right to sleep, but in a premium cabin there should be a choice whether the passenger want to sleep or have a full meal. The luxury to have choices is a perk when riding up front.

    It's a good thing that one can order snacks on demand later during the flight.

    Also, I fell in love with the JAL signature kiwi juice when I flew with them 10+ years ago.
    - So did I. As far as I know Sky Time comes in two versions - kiwi and yuzu.

    Japanese breakfast with nine seasonal colorful delicacies in Kobachi bowls. This is my all time favorite in-flight meal.
    - Lovely set up. Japanese meal is better ex-HND/NRT. Meals from outstations like SFO are contracted from specialized caterers and brought to the big kitchens of LSG Sky Chef or Gate Gourmet.

    • Comment 332876 by
      dw55 AUTHOR 45 Comments

      I agree there should be a choice of a snack or full meal after takeoff.
      It turns out I didn't have enough time and stomach space for more snacks.
      I didn't know there's a yuzu version of Sky Time. I don't think it is offered on this flight though.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Comment 155488 by
    Nick 172 Comments

    Wow, thanks for this report! Your window seat had a ton of privacy. It also seemed comfortably wide despite the 2-3-2 configuration.

    • Comment 332877 by
      dw55 AUTHOR 45 Comments

      Yes, indeed. Maybe not as wide as seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, but it's really comfortable.

    • Comment 332878 by
      dw55 AUTHOR 45 Comments

      Breakfast was served around two hours before landing. Actually I requested fruit plate and ice cream be served along with my meal. I like my table to be full for picture taking.
      Yes, the screen is really big. Too bad I didn't have enough time to enjoy it.
      Sadly the fish market will be relocated soon. I'm glad I had the chance to visit before the relocation.
      I think 11 hours are the minimum for me to enjoy a long haul flight - two meals, in-flight snacks, sleeping and maybe a movie.

  • Comment 155517 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR!

    As jetsetpanda said, the Sakura Lounges are generally disappointing in quality and comfort.

    The catering on this flight is a little weird. I would have expected the larger meal after take-off and the snack before arrival, but maybe they gear the catering towards the business passengers who need a full meal before directly heading into the city for work. I do find the on-demand catering that JL offers to be very good so you could always order as much as you want if you want more food at takeoff. The donburi they offer are excellent.

    I will note that it seems the breakfast service looked rushed, they gave you the fruit plate and ice cream the same time as your kobachi? What time did they start the breakfast service?

    The SkySuites can appear squeezed from cabin shots, but I think the window seats offer a great deal of privacy especially if you want to sleep. You forgot to mention how huge the screen is with these seats. Maybe you didn't use the IFE, but I think it 23 which is enormous.

    Thanks for sharing this great report, the HND arrival is so much better than NRT since you got to actually use that 9 hours in Tokyo. Nothing beats food at the fish markets. And if you think 11 hours is too short to enjoy this flight, be glad you didn't book the really short HND-SFO flight ;)

  • Comment 155522 by
    757Fan 521 Comments

    Nice review of your flight with JAL. It looks like you had a nice flight with them! Food looks tasty, and with a very late evening departure, it's nice they served the lighter meal right after takeoff, and something a bit more substantial after some good sleep, as if I was in your shoes, I wouldn't have been very hungry so late at night after departure.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 155535 by
    pitcain747 93 Comments

    Beside sushis, was there anything else offered on the 1st service ?? Unfortunately I am not a great fan of sushis and I would have been seriously disapointed if it is the case ! Just as KE who only offers Shrimps as apetizer even in First class !

  • Comment 155953 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4845 Comments

    Thanks for sharing another great report!

    That means I had to pick up my bag and recheck-in at HKG
    - That's really great service! Like I was saying in your last report, I've had agents offer to do this before at transfer desks and lounges before and I'm always very appreciative as I know this is going above and beyond. Now you will be able to enjoy the lounges in HKG without having to worry about your bag.

    JAL has its own lounge at SFO, but was near capacity when I visited. I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures there with so many people around.
    - Yeah, it can get pretty awkward taking pics when lounges are full--I still have a difficult time taking pics of food in lounges as there are always so many people, but usually take a few quick pics of the lounge surroundings discretely.

    JAL's new Business class seats are a good design allowing for aisle access for everyone and seem to offer a lot of privacy. Seems perfect for a long TPAC flight!

    The sushi in the first meal looks good, but I agree with you that this meal is a bit disappointing. Although departure is at a late hour, they should still offer the option to have a full meal for those who haven't had the opportunity to eat dinner or eat in the lounge. The Japanese breakfast looks great!

    Awesome that you were able to work in a long connection in Tokyo to go into the city.

    • Comment 333347 by
      dw55 AUTHOR 45 Comments

      It turned out I had a tight connection in HKG, so this really helped!
      After the privacy screen goes up, it may feel claustrophobic for a while, but overall the Sky Suite is an excellent product.
      Thanks again for reading!

  • Comment 156822 by
    socalnow GOLD 864 Comments

    Thanks for this great report Dw55. Having recently had my first flights on JAL I am a big fan of the airline.

    AL 777-300ER business class features a 2-3-2 configuration, but is designed to provide aisle access for every seat.
    -It's a great looking and innovative seat.

    Since it was a late night flight, only a snack set of sushi and egg tofu was offered after take-off, which was a little disappointing.
    -Could you have supplemented this with other snack options form the menu if desired?

    The seat in flat bed mode. Mattress is available for extra sleeping comfort.
    -Looks like a great space for sleep. A mini-F suite!

    This is my all time favorite in-flight meal.
    -Visually stunning presentation. I'm glad I don't have to wash the dishes for JAL...

    Thanks again and happy flying.

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