Review of Japan Airlines flight Kaohsiung Tokyo in Economy

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL812
Class Economy
Seat 17K
Flight time 03:45
Take-off 19 May 16, 09:05
Arrival at 19 May 16, 13:50
JL   #6 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 152 reviews
By 2194
Published on 5th August 2016

Graduation Trip – The AvGeek Style | Flight #15

Hello, this series covers a total of 34 flights that I took during my graduation trip from May to July 2016. You are strongly recommended to read the full introduction in Parts 1 or 3.

In this part, I begin to embark on my first ever journey across the Pacific, heading to USA for the very first time in my life. I was really fortunate to be travelling on Japan Airlines (IATA: JL) for this Transpac itinerary that covers 6 flights to and fro. This report, however, covers just the regional JL flight from Taiwan to Japan. Just a precautionary message before you move on, though, the report is ~6,000 words long – it may take you quite some time to get through it. xD

After the flight report, there will also be a tourist bonus that covers an introduction of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple near NRT. I will provide you with the public transport directions as well.

A look again at the map and flights included in this series:

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(All flights in Y unless otherwise stated)

Flight #01 (CLICK HERE) 28.04.2016 / BR216 / SIN-TPE / B77W
Flight #02 (CLICK HERE) 30.04.2016 / BR215 / TPE-SIN / B77W
Flight #03 (CLICK HERE) 01.05.2016 / CX710 / SIN-HKG / A333
Flight #04 (CLICK HERE) 04.05.2016 / KA454 / HKG-KHH / A320
Flight #05 (CLICK HERE) 08.05.2016 / KA451 / KHH-HKG / A333
Flight #06 (CLICK HERE) 08.05.2016 / CX739 / HKG-SIN / B773
Flight #07 (CLICK HERE) 08.05.2016 / BA15 / SIN-SYD / B77W
Flight #08 (CLICK HERE) 09.05.2016 / QF461 / SYD-MEL / B738
Flight #09 (CLICK HERE) 13.05.2016 / QF37 / MEL-SIN / A333
Flight #10 (CLICK HERE) 14.05.2016 / JL38 / SIN-HND / B763
Flight #11 (CLICK HERE) 14.05.2016 / CI101 / NRT-TPE / B744
Flight #12 (CLICK HERE) 14.05.2016 / CI309 / TPE-KHH / B738
Flight #13 (CLICK HERE) 15.05.2016 / GE361 / KHH-MFM / A320
Flight #14 (CLICK HERE) 17.05.2016 / GE362 / MFM-KHH / A320
Flight #15 (THIS REPORT) 19.05.2016 / JL812 / KHH-NRT / B763
Flight #16 (COMING SOON) 19.05.2016 / JL786 / NRT-HNL / B763
Flight #17 (COMING SOON) 19.05.2016 / AA162 / HNL-LAX / A320
Flight #18 (COMING SOON) 30.05.2016 / AA5955 / LAX-SAN / ERJ175
Flight #19 (COMING SOON) 30.05.2016 / JL65 / SAN-NRT / B788 / Business Class
Flight #20 (COMING SOON) 31.05.2016 / JL811 / NRT-KHH / B763
Flight #21 (COMING SOON) 01.06.2016 / GE207 / KHH-KNH / ATR72
Flight #22 (COMING SOON) 01.06.2016 / B78890 / KNH-TSA / MD-90
Flight #23 (COMING SOON) 02.06.2016 / CI102 / KHH-NRT / B738
Flight #24 (COMING SOON) 02.06.2016 / QF62 / NRT-BNE / A333
Flight #25 (COMING SOON) 03.06.2016 / QF613 / BNE-MEL / B738
Flight #26 (COMING SOON) 10.06.2016 / QF153 / MEL-AKL / B738
Flight #27 (COMING SOON) 15.06.2016 / NZ8109 / WLG-NSN / DHC8
Flight #28 (COMING SOON) 19.06.2016 / NZ628 / ZQN-CHC / A320
Flight #29 (COMING SOON) 21.06.2016 / QF138 / CHC-SYD / B738
Flight #30 (COMING SOON) 21.06.2016 / QF493 / SYD-MEL / B738
Flight #31 (COMING SOON) 24.06.2016 / QF422 / MEL-SYD / A332
Flight #32 (COMING SOON) 24.06.2016 / BA16 / SYD-SIN / B77W
Flight #33 (COMING SOON) 02.07.2016 / QF38 / SIN-MEL / A332
Flight #34 (COMING SOON) 02.07.2016 / QF37 / MEL-SIN / A333

The Flight

Japan Airlines JL812
Aircraft Registration: JA611J
Origin: Kaohsiung International Airport, Taiwan (KHH)
Destination: Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan (NRT)
Date: Thursday, 19 May 2016
STD/STA: 0905h (UTC08:00) to 1350h (UTC+09:00)
ATD/ATA: 0858h (UTC08:00) to 1327h (UTC+09:00)
Estimated Duration: 03 hours 45 minutes
Actual Duration: 03 hour 29 minutes
Flight Distance: About 1,508 miles / 2,427 km

Welcome to Part 15 of this series! I’m done with Asia for now, and shall head to North America for the next few days of my graduation trip.

My final destination in this routing was Los Angeles, and this was how I flew there:

14. MFM-KHH GE362
15. KHH-NRT JL812 (We are here!)
16. NRT-HNL JL786
17. HNL-LAX AA162

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JL812 is quite an early morning flight, departing from Kaohsiung just after 9am every morning. This therefore translated to a need for us to be at the airport by 7am. Technically, it was possible to catch the metro bound for the airport, but we chose the more convenient transportation mode – a taxi, given that we have two large luggage with us.

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The early morning taxi ride took us about 20 plus minutes to reach KHH, and we arrived at the airport at about 6.40am, which translated to a 25-minutes wait before the check-in counters open.

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JL uses counters A12-A20 at KHH. There were 3 Business class counters, 3 Economy class counters and 1 counter dedicated to tour groups.

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I have the oneworld Sapphire membership because of my Qantas (IATA: QF) Gold status. That gave us the privilege of using the Business class priority counters, since Japan Airlines (IATA: JL) is a member of the oneworld Alliance.

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As expected of a Japanese carrier, check in began promptly at 7.05am.

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Minutes later, the check in agent handed us six boarding passes; 3 for each of us. (KHH-NRT-HNL-LAX)

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Usually, JL uses the China Airlines (IATA: CI) Lounge in KHH. But on that day, we were asked to head to the EVA Air (IATA: BR) Lounge instead as the CI Lounge was presumably overcrowded.

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A crowd began to build up at the JL counters as we were leaving for the airside area. You can see that there were also quite a significant number of tour groups on our flight – this isn't unexpected as Japan is one of Taiwanese's favourite destinations.

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Within the next 10 minutes, we were already heading through security and immigration. Our flight was reflected as an on-time departure from Gate 32.

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Departure formalities were completed in another 5 minutes due to my eligibility of using the frequent visitor counter and my mom's eligibility of going through the automated clearance lanes.

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Once airside, we turned right towards the BR Lounge. But before that, I spotted a beautiful aircraft that was to be withdrawn from service soon, at that time. In fact, I'd be flying on its farewell flight at a later point in this series and I was really looking forward to it.

UNI Air / MD90 / B-17920 / BR780 KHH-CGO

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This beautiful MD90 was bound for Zhengzhou that morning, a service operated on behalf of its parent airline EVA Air.

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Knowing that this aircraft was probably nearing the end of its service, I couldn't help but to take more photos of it. I kinda like how the engines are located at the back of the plane.

After a simple planespotting session, it was time to head to the BR Lounge.

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This lounge admits Star Alliance Gold members. Being a oneworld Sapphire member, it was pretty exciting for me to explore a Star Alliance lounge. If not for the opportunity that day, I probably won't have any other chances in the near future to enter the BR Lounge here at KHH.

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If you are a holder of certain specific Citibank or American Express credit cards, you'll be able to use this lounge as well.

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Stepping in, we were greeted by two friendly lounge attendants. One of them looked a little lost when I passed her our JL boarding passes, but her colleague (probably the more experienced one) was able to immediately point out to her that “oneworld Sapphire on JL has access this morning.”

This was a simple lounge with quite a decent number of seats available. The seats were arranged so neatly and it made the entire lounge feel extremely tidy – something I loved a lot.

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We placed our belongings on the seats near the entrance and I went off to explore the lounge a bit…

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… while my mom tried using the lounge Wi-Fi, which had a pretty stable connection.

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The first impression I had of this lounge was so much better than the two adjacent lounges (Dragonair and TransAsia Lounges) that I visited in Parts 5 and 13 of this series, respectively.

We were one of the first few passengers to enter the lounge, so I seize the opportunity to snap more photographs for this report. Enjoy!

Don’t you agree that the clock (in the above picture) is so stylish? I’d love have one of this at home.

There was a business centre with 2 ASUS desktops and a printer.

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Many magazine titles were on offer as well.

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It didn’t take us too long to realise that the seats we chose were a little noisy, given that the television was right beside, and as more passengers began to filter in, many of them sat right opposite us and thus it became a little awkward.

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Most of the lounge guests were probably on the EVA Air Macau-bound service or the UNI Air Zhengzhou flight.

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We decided to stay at our seats for the time being, since they were nearer to the buffet counters.

Speaking of which, the buffet spread was seriously quite awesome. There were so many choices on offer and many of which were very traditional Taiwanese breakfast options. That’s really something commendable on the part of EVA Air given that they are one of the biggest Taiwanese airlines around. This makes me wonder how the China Airlines Lounge is like in KHH; hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit it in future.

(I am proud to have reviewed the most number of lounges in KHH on this website – there are four airlines lounges in this airport and I’ve already reviewed three of them.)

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Let me just list down some of the food choices on offer:
- Sweet potato congee with side dishes
- Vegetable bun
- Mocha flavoured bun with egg custard filling
- Oyster sauce pork bun
- Taitung meat bun
- Red bean paste bun
- Shao Mai
- Taiwanese meatballs
- Fried rice with pork in XO sauce
- Stir fried konnyaku
- Scrambled egg with cream mushrooms
- Hot soup (not in photographs)
- Assorted bread
- Chips
- Baked sweet potatoes
- And a little bit more that I did not photograph…

Ask any other regional airport airlines lounges around to try and beat that list of breakfast choices! Isn’t it amazing?

There were lots of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available as well. But with regards to the drinks, I’d like to draw your attention to the interesting-looking cup dispenser. I suppose it acts like a disinfectant, so maybe we can call it the “disinfectant coffee/tea cup dispenser”?

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Anyway, the cups that I got from that dispenser was warm and that, by itself, was pretty cool.

For hot drinks, there were tea, soymilk and different types of coffee available.

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(Photo above) The white-coloured machine right beside the coffee machine is a water dispenser. It’s capable of dispensing cold, warm and hot water.

(Photo below) And if you don’t feel like getting hot beverages or alcoholic drinks, fret not! Continue to be spoilt for choices.

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Two thumbs up to the EVA Air Lounge at KHH! I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the best lounge in this airport, but I will only be able to conclude if this is in fact true after I’ve visited the China Airlines Lounge (and maybe the one other contract lounge) at KHH.

Anyway, enough compliments for this lounge. Let’s settle down and eat my breakfast. I took a plate full of food choices that looked delicious and also a cup of traditional Taiwanese soymilk, which tasted quite authentic.

Along with my breakfast, my mom and I each had a packet of the EVA Air-branded mixed nuts and rice crackers. This is what you’ll typically get on BR flights (you can read more about BR flights in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series).

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Almost everything on this dish tasted perfect, or if not, at the very least really decent.

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After my breakfast, I went to take a look at the lounge’s washroom. In comparison to the other two adjacent lounges, this BR lounge has a really nice toilet facility – well furnished and sparkling clean. The KA lounge has a decent washroom too, but it’s a little on the small side. As for the GE lounge, it doesn’t have such a facility and lounge guests are directed to use the public toilets in the terminal.

For the last half an hour in the lounge, we shifted to a corner in the lounge with more privacy. My mom and I took a table each.

You can see where are the power sockets in the photo below.

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I got myself another can of drink while I completed both our Japan arrival forms – we were going to be in transit at NRT but would be heading out of the airport to kill some time, and also to get a very brief first look of Japan.

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I didn’t manage to finish the forms though; there were quite a lot fields to fill in. And I was constantly distracted by Whatsapp messages on my phone.

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5 minutes before the scheduled boarding time, at about 8.30am, we got up from our seats and left the lounge for the boarding gate.

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KHH is a small regional airport and it took us only a few minutes to get to Gate 32. Boarding began the moment we arrived. It was 8.35am, exactly.

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We were able to board early before the crowd filled up the entire B767. Down the jet bridge we go, on to a journey across the Pacific.

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We first passed by the really stylish regional J seats. These seats don’t look extremely comfortable, but I love the seat cushion’s design.

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In contrast, the greyish Economy class seats look a little boring on first glance. This was my second time on board a JL B767, but my first on one with a regional configuration. (Read more about my first ever JL flight on one of the airline’s long-haul B767 fleet!)

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It should be quite obvious that JL has a policy of shutting all windows when the aircraft is on the ground. In fact, on all 5 JL flights I took in this series, we were not asked explicitly to raise our window shades for take off and landing. I observed this on my AA flights as well. This is something new to me, as passengers were always asked to raise windows shades during the take off and landing phases on all my other flights with other airlines.

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I snapped these photos seconds after I arrived at my seat. In the next few minutes, every single seat will be taken up and the flight was eventually fully loaded – not surprising though, as this is the norm on many Taiwan-Japan flights.

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Before we embark on our 3.5h flight to Tokyo, let’s explore the seat features first! The IFE screen was of a much smaller size as compared to what we saw on the B767 with long-haul configurations.

It was still easy and intuitive to use, but the screen’s resolution was not the best you would find out there.

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I studied a semester of Japanese in university, but I’ve since returned most of my knowledge of the language back to the professor. I selected English on the IFE; the other available languages were Mandarin and Korean.

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The remote control was nicely contained in the armrest and there was no way I could “accidentally” press any of its buttons with my arm/elbow.

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This is how it looks like once you pull it out. Pretty standard and nothing special.

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The headrest was comfortable, but the legroom was not. The seat pitch was probably at 31” but it felt slightly tighter than that. I wouldn't be able to tolerate it beyond 4h, so the flight’s duration of 3.5h was still very much bearable.

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There was a footrest, which I used for a while at the beginning of the flight, but I didn’t quite enjoy its existence thereafter.

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And now, let’s look into the seat pocket.

Argh! JL are you serious? I didn’t believe I was seeing this but I actually did. I should have flagged this out to one of the FAs but I forgot to do that.

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To be fair, the Taiwanese ground crews were the ones who did the aircraft cleaning. So… Let’s forget about this for now.

I took photos of the seat pocket contents at a later part of the flight. But just to make reading my reports more consistent and smooth, we will flip through the contents first, before moving back to the flight itself.

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Here’s a glimpse at the network map for JL; showing all the direct flights from TPE/KHH to various Japanese ports.

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There was a drinks menu in the seat pocket as well.

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And of course, the safety information card – which looked as boring as JL’s safety video…

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The waste bag wasn’t very interesting as well. But at least there’s the JL logo.

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Standard Economy class headsets were distributed soon after boarding was done, and I spotted the old JAL logo on the headset.

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Of all the amenities provided and facilities found on board this B767, I would think that the blanket’s design looked the nicest. It was made of quite a comfortable material as well!

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Back to the flight, we were ready for departure in 20 minutes. And I noticed that JL has the protocol of flight attendants making the announcement “This flight is now ready for departure” whenever boarding is completed and doors are closed.

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(UTC+08:00, Taiwan time)

0855h Ready for Departure
0858h Push Back
0905h Taxi to Runway
0912h Take Off from Runway 09
0917h Seatbelt Signs Off

I switched my IFE screen to the front camera and while we were pushing back, the welcome announcements were made in three languages.

Seriously, I really enjoy listening to JL’s cabin announcements. Anyway, it was a Taiwanese FA who was making the Mandarin announcements.

A glimpse of the 100% full flight; most passengers were Taiwanese.

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Two local Taiwanese carriers taxied past us while we were starting up our engines.

This GE A320 was operating the twice-weekly flight to Fuzhou in Mainland China.

TransAsia Airways / A320 / B-22317 / GE3664 KHH-FOC

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As the engines began to roar to life, a Mandarin Airlines E190 taxied by. I’ve always wanted to fly on Embraer aircrafts and will finally have the chance to do so when I return from USA.

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This E190 was on a very interesting rotation. It would be flying to Hong Kong as a Mandarin Airlines service. Following, it would take on the role as a China Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Tainan and back to Hong Kong, before returning to Kaohsiung as a Mandarin Airlines flight again later on in the day.

Mandarin Airlines / E190 / B-16821 /

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The safety video with an ancient feel was then broadcasted throughout the cabin.

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Seriously, after watching safety videos on Air NZ, Qantas and even EVA Air, I just think JL can come up with something much better! (: Do it man Japan Airlines.

Oh well, but please, ALWAYS watch the video and your crew during the safety demonstrations. As I’m writing this report, Emirates just had an unfortunate (but fortunate) accident in Dubai. Unfortunate – because the B773 might not be airworthy anymore; fortunate – because everyone’s safe and sound.

With all that blabbering done, “I wish you a pleasant flight (report)” :P

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Back to the front camera. It was so cool to have both the camera and the window view – I couldn’t make up my mind as to where to look during take off.

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We got ahead of this ATR on some domestic mission and got onto our runway first.

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Off we go!

We had very good aerial views of Kaohsiung soon after take off, and I kept myself really busy by holding my camera on one hand for the video, and taking photographs using my iPhone on the other hand.

Enjoy the photos!

The seatbelt sign went off at 9.17am, and by then, most people were already asleep.

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I stood up to walk around the aircraft and take some cabin shots before my fellow passengers start waking up and loitering around the aisles.

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Then, it was time to visit the lavatory, which was very clean. I found it quite amusing that there was a total of four “no smoking” signs in the washroom. Three on the door and one on the waste disposal bin.

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On top of that, there were notices in three languages warning about the danger and consequences of smoking on the aircraft.

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The hand soap was JL branded.

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And the waste bin was labelled with 6 languages – I wonder why.

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Passengers are warned once again about the consequences of lighting a cigarette on board. Just don’t ever do it.

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I got back to my seat as we were travelling along the western coastline of Taiwan.

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Just as I was settling down into my seat, the captain came on the PA system and made his welcome announcement in 4 languages! He did it in Japanese, Mandarin, Taiwanese and English. And what’s interesting was, he told all of us to look out of our windows as we were flying past Mount Yu (玉山 Yushan), what a thoughtful Captain!

Anyway, take a look at the video and enjoy the scenic views!

And here are some photos to complement those of you who are giving the video a miss. (Who knows? Maybe you are reading this at work? xD)

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After enjoying the scenery outside, the aircraft continued to climb above the clouds.

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I lowered the window shades and began to work on the rest of the arrival immigration forms.

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Since my phone was on flight mode by then, there were no Whatsapp messages to distract me, so it didn’t take me too long to get those forms done.

This was a brochure we took back at the check-in counters earlier that morning. It contained information about a countrywide free Wi-Fi network in Japan. I tried it in Narita later on in the day, and it worked at some locations.

The next time you are heading to Japan, try to look out for these brochures and you may then be able to get free Wi-Fi at various locations.

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I applaud JL crews for their effort in preparing for common circumstances that they may face on flights to and fro various countries. I can imagine a Korean version of such signage on JL flights bound for Seoul/Busan.

Soon enough, my brunch was served on a very unique looking tray. But let’s take a look at the contents on the tray first, before looking at the “unique” aspect.

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Metal utensils came along with a pair of chopsticks.

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The main dish was pork with Japanese rice – really tasty and nicely prepared.

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For the sides, we had a nice mushroom salad, some edible but unimpressive dessert, and a few slices of really fresh Taiwanese fruits.

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I also asked for miso soup, and it was quite salty in my opinion – but probably something relatively usual in Japan.

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And here’s the “unique” part of the meal tray – it had a HEATER! Or whatever you call that – I don’t know. But I found it really, really cool. Because of this “heater”, your main dish will remain hot for an extended period of time. It made the meal even nicer than it already was.

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Out of my 5 JL flights in this series, I only recall seeing such a feature inbuilt in the meal trays on my 2 flights to and fro Taiwan. I don’t know, but is this actually related to my understanding of how Taiwanese people love to have their food really hot? (I personally prefer that as well.)

If that is truly the case, then JL is a pretty amazing airline. Really.

I was done with my meal in about 15 minutes.

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Very quickly, the empty tray was cleared from my table and hot drinks were offered. I grabbed a cup of mediocre coffee.

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I think I do agree with Marathon that Taiwanese might just have a very different preference for coffee? Oh well, even though this is Japan Airlines, I won’t be surprised if they made special arrangements to serve Taiwanese coffee on board…!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not criticising coffee in Taiwan. But in general, I just find that tea in Taiwan tastes much, much better than coffee. Bubble milk tea, you know?

After the meal service, the purser came through the curtains from Business class to assist her colleagues at the back of the cabin.

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When the meal service concluded, this was our location – already in Japanese airspace and fast approaching Japan.

In this map, you can see how close Korea is to Japan. Jeju and Fukuoka is only 228 miles apart, but there aren’t any scheduled flights between this city pair.

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I was tired at this point in the flight. My mom and I spent almost the whole day before our US trip packing our luggage. It was both our first time travelling so far (even though I fly on average 40-50 flights a year), so I guessed we were both pretty excited.

But before I fell asleep, I flipped through another magazine I found in the seat pocket. Most of its contents were in Japanese, which I couldn'"/>

At this point of the flight, I fell asleep. Time check: 1054h (UTC+08:00, Taiwan time).

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And about an hour later, I woke up. Time check again…
(UTC+08:00) 1153h
(UTC+09:00) 1253h – Just about 20 minutes to touch down.

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Just as I woke up, our Captain’s voice sounded throughout the cabin, again in 4 languages. I like how JL has the policy of requiring the pilots to inform passengers in advance when exactly they are switching on the seatbelt signs for approach and landing.

Just like how CX pilots always end off their pre-landing announcements with “cabin crew, 30 minutes to landing”, a JL pilot will typically say, “ladies and gentlemen, in 5 minutes, I will be switching on the seatbelt signs…” before they proceed with the flight information updates.

Like I said, JL does not have a policy of asking passengers to raise window shades during approach or landing. But I have that rule for myself, though. (:

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During the approach, I managed to dig out yet another magazine / shopping catalogue from my mom’s seat pocket.

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Apart from shopping information, this literature also contained public transport information. And given the geographical landscapes of Japan (a country made up of numerous islands), domestic flights are in abundance and many towns/cities have airports.

Anyway, the “JAL Japan Explorer Pass” was being advertised in this small booklet. Basically, a foreign tourist would be able to book JL domestic flights on the airline'"/>photo 158photo 159

And there were a lot more information found inside.

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For example, I think I spent about 5 to 10 minutes staring at these maps.

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Oh and Tokyo also has its version of the Airport to City express trains. The Japanese train networks are super complicated and I’ve never got the time to understand them. Nonetheless, I am finally planning to tour Japan in 2017/2018 so perhaps, it’s about time to read up about this amazing destination.

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Here’s a recording of the landing preparation announcements. The FAs were again reminding passengers about the precise timing whereby seatbelt signs will be switched on.

And this is a video of the approach into NRT and the announcements made after touch down.

It’s worth watching! I guess I am becoming a fan of JL’s cabin announcements. Hahaha.

Again for the benefit of those of you reading this report at work… Or maybe on a metro/bus/tram? Here are the photographs of the approach.

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(UTC+09:00, Tokyo time)
1304h Signs On
1316h Touch Down on Runway 34R
1327h Arrived at Gate

Passengers were reminded by the cabin crews during the announcements after landing to “refrain from talking on (our) mobile phones just in case we bother our neighbours” – something you will hear only on Japanese carriers, I guess.

The taxi to our gate took another 10 minutes or so, and there were a few planes I managed to spot.

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Japan Airlines / JA861J / B787-9 / JL408 FRA-NRT

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TransAsia Airways / B-22607 / A321 / GE606 GE605 TPE-NRT-TPE

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Philippine Airlines / RP-C9924 / A321 / PR427 NRT-MNL

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Finally, we approached our gate and stopped beside another Manila-bound aircraft – a fellow JL B763.

Japan Airlines / JA608J / B767-300ER / JL745 NRT-MNL

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As were arriving at our gate, another set of announcements was made to request that passengers remain seated.

We arrived early at 1.27pm, and the flight concluded with one last announcement, presumably requesting the cabin crews to disarm doors and cross check, but made in Japanese. It is interesting that JL translates such an announcement to English by stating briefly “this is for cabin attendants” – it’s a small gesture that possibly goes unnoticed by many, but actually, I find that this really is a very thoughtful detail because it allows us English-speaking passengers to understand that the announcement has nothing to do with us. (Scroll to the last bit of the video to hear it.)

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We disembarked from the aircraft soon after and headed to immigration.

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If you listened carefully to the announcements made after landing just now, you’d remember that the FA told us to collect something from the cabin attendants when disembarking. Here’s it – a shopping coupon!

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Welcome to Japan!

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If you are in transit, feel free to join the Narita Transit Programme! Sadly, you must arrive before ~1pm to be qualified for a layover tour. Any flight arrivals after that will miss the final daily tours departing from the airport – we missed it.

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Downtown Tokyo is just 36 minutes away, so visiting the city is possible if your layover is long enough. Ours was not, in our opinion, so we just stayed within the city of Narita.

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We were out in the arrival hall by 1.56pm – about 30 minutes after our flight’s arrival.

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We turned left after heading out of customs check, which was conducted by a very friendly customs officer.

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And we deposited one of our hand carry bags with the JAL ABC, the airport baggage service.

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The service costs JPY520, and that’s about USD5.10/EUR4.60/SGD6.90/TWD163/AUD6.70.

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After that, it’s time to head downstairs and hop on to the train at B1F!

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Tourist Bonus

This bonus consists of the public transport directions to and introduction of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple – a very popular layover destination for transit passengers going through NRT, like us.

It was also our very first time stepping foot into Japan (my previous entry into the country consisted of only a bus ride from HND to NRT, and I don’t consider that as a visit), so I guess I will be sharing some of my first impressions of Japan. For some of you who may have visited this beautiful country countless of times, I think it may be interesting to see Japan from a fresh new perspective again! (:

Prior to our arrival at NRT, I have already checked the directions to get to the temple. I knew it would just a short train ride away, but was nevertheless pretty excited and eager to hop on to a Japanese train for the very first time in my life.

There was relatively good and clear English signage on the ticket machines so getting our round trip tickets were supposed to be easy.

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Nonetheless, I still failed to locate the correct ticket machine and had to eventually seek help from a station staff. She pointed at the “right” machine and I went over to get two round trip tickets. Each ticket was JPY480 (about USD4.70).

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Every rapid train bound for Ueno will call at Narita – which is one stop away from NRT Airport.

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These trains depart from Platform 3.

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It felt so surreal to step on a Japanese train, because I had seen this scene so many times in TV dramas, movies, documentaries and the Internet. I finally stepped foot into one of those trains, and the experience was really quite exceptional I’ll say.

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The ride from Narita Airport Terminal 2/3 to Narita will take about 10 minutes.

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For reference, this is the timetable for trains bound for Narita Airport and beyond. Take note that those departures marked with “芝” and “東” do not call at Narita Airport. All other trains will head to the airport.

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We followed the yellow signs and headed in the direction of the temple.

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If you do plan to pay a visit to the temple, follow these landmarks on the way and you won’t go missing. It was just one straight road down with very little cross-junctions. Directions to the temple were aplenty along the way.

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The street that led us to the temple felt so cultural and… Japanese(?) Being a first timer here in Japan, I guess I shouldn’t quite yet be discussing about what’s Japanese and what’s not. But the cleanliness of the roads, quietness of the surrounding and politeness of people we met along the way were just aspects we’ve expected to see in Japan – and they were true!

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I bought these snacks while my mom shopped at some of the souvenir shops along the way. They weren’t very impressive, so you can consider giving them a miss even if you see the stall. Save your yens for nicer foods down the road – I’ll come to that.

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Because of my mom’s interest with almost every single shop on the street, we took about 30 minutes to finally arrive at the temple.

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This was the maximum zoom my camera could achieve. But this photo provides a proof that the temple is pretty near to the airport. If I’m not wrong, that was an Air China aircraft.

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Before one heads into the temple, it is a common practice to first wash your hands and rinse your mouth.

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The sequence to do so is: wash your left hand first, then your right hand"/>photo 206

It was then time to head up to the temple via the steep stairs. I’ll spare you with the history and detailed introduction of the temple but provide you with its official website so that you can learn more if you want to.

(Here you go!)

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These are Japanese amulets that can be purchased in the temple. If you read in detail and study what each of them represent, they can be pretty meaningful and interesting. These will also definitely be good souvenirs to bring back home from Japan.

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We continued to explore the temple for a while more before heading back to the street we came from.

And importantly, it was then time for lunch!

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I read online that the unagi restaurants near the temple are famous.

But I also knew beforehand that the meals could be quite pricey. For our case, an unagi bento with miso soup cost us JPY3,200 (~USD31.40).

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However, the fish was really delicious and it went extremely well with the rice. I definitely had a very good lunch that day, but my mom merely ate a little bit of the fish and drank the miso soup – she doesn’t eat much seafood.

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It was then time to head back to the station. The time by then was about 4.30pm – slightly less than 3.5h before our next flight. We returned to the airport early, as we wanted to reserve enough time in the JL lounge

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In time for the 4.42pm train bound for NRT Terminal 1.

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The train departs from Platform 5 and it arrived at 4.42pm, but left slightly after 4.43pm – 30 seconds behind schedule! Hahaha, sorry I didn’t mean to scrutinize the schedule to that level of detail.

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There weren’t many travellers utilizing this service to the airport. I believe most people will still prefer the Skyliner express airport train service, which is presumably faster and more comfortable.

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After 226 photographs and 7 videos, I am finally done with this report. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it and didn’t find it too annoyingly long-winded?

I’ll see you guys on my next JL flight bound for Honolulu!

さようなら! (“Sayonara” Good Bye!)

(To be continued)

This report was completed in Singapore, on 5 Aug 2016 at 11:24pm (UTC+08:00)."/>
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Japan Airlines

Cabin crew9.5

EVA Air Lounge


Kaohsiung - KHH


Tokyo - NRT



Japan Airlines: Unsurprisingly, the airline performed really well on this flight and I am giving them a high score, except for the cabin comfort – the old seats, tight seat pitch and rubbish found in the waste bag; those were some reasons for a reduction in the score for this area. Otherwise, JL has a really nice soft product and pretty comfortable regional hard product.

EVA Air Lounge: I guessed I have said enough in the report itself. As an airline lounge in a regional airport like KHH, I think this lounge has outperformed the other two KHH airline lounges I’ve visited prior to this (KA and GE Lounges). If you are a Star Alliance Gold member, or if you are flying on BR’s Business Class from KHH, don’t miss this lounge. Do let me know what you think too!

KHH: Very pleasant departure experience from KHH. I like it that the airport isn’t too far from the city and my mom’s place. Especially since we had to reach the airport relatively early.

NRT: Narita Airport is pretty functional but definitely it’s showing its age, a little. Given that Terminal 2 opened in 1992 (as old as me!), I would think that the terminal building is very well maintained to date, even though it may get a little boring if you stay in the terminal’s airside area too long without lounge access.



If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 361636 by
    Numero_2 10004 Comments

    Thanks Kevin !

    I'm not suprised about the quality of the BR lounge at KHH : I've visited the TPE and BKK ones and I'd say they are truly high level lounges.

    The tray built-in heater is something I've never seen before ! Thumbs up to JL for having such innovation for Y catering.

    So, do you like Japan ? :P

    See you !

    • Comment 372978 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 173 Comments

      Hey there!

      "I'm not suprised about the quality of the BR lounge at KHH : I've visited the TPE and BKK ones and I'd say they are truly high level lounges."

      Haven't been to any other BR lounges before. But this one really impressed me quite a bit!

      "The tray built-in heater is something I've never seen before ! Thumbs up to JL for having such innovation for Y catering."

      It's weird however they only have it on the Taiwan sectors.

      "So, do you like Japan ? :P"

      I can't wait to go back for a real, good long holiday...!

      Cya and I will be back soon with more reports!

  • Comment 361662 by
    Tim84 15 Comments

    Thanks for the brilliant and comprehensive report! I am flying JAL from KIX - LAX in a couple of weeks' time (for the first time) and am not sure what to expect; I have heard mixed reviews about their hard product, and also their in flight catering. Looking forward to reading your trans-Pacific report next!

    • Comment 372979 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 173 Comments

      Hey there Tim! Thanks for your compliments!

      My reply came pretty late so I guess I can now ask you - How was your flight on JL?

      JL definitely has got pretty solid soft product, but their hard product is a hit or miss I would say?

      My transpac reports will be up soon - sorry for the extended delay!

  • Comment 362118 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5606 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this well written and detailed report with nice pics as usual! This JAL 763's cabin seems much older than on my SIN-NRT, though it looks very well maintained and clean (except for the rubbish . I guess they use these cabins on the shorter routed like this one. Overall, a good flight with JAL.

    • Comment 372980 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 173 Comments

      Hey there Kevin! Thank you for your compliments. Yes, these are older cabins I think, probably those that JL uses on its regional routes.

      I flew both on the new and old 763 cabins in this series, and actually I do prefer to old ones a bit more. The seat cushioning was better and more comfortable, despite the reduced legroom.

      Thanks! (:

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