Review of Japan Airlines flight Chitose Nagoya in Economy

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL 3118
Class Economy
Seat 15A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:50
Take-off 21 Feb 16, 19:15
Arrival at 21 Feb 16, 21:05
JL   #7 out of 96 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 172 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 1010
Published on 16th November 2016
Background:

As a reminder, this was a weekend trip up to Sapporo I took back in February on an AA award ticket; the routing was:

Part 1 – NGO-CTS [JL 3105, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – CTS-NGO [JL 3118, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – You are here

This report will cover the flight from CTS to NGO. The JL Sakura Lounge was closed for renovations, so no lounge stop in this report. There will be an Otaru(小樽) tourist bonus at the end.



Pre-flight:

After a ramen dinner, I walked to the JR Station to catch the train back to CTS. It’s JPY 1070 (~$10) and takes ~40 minutes. The trains leave every 15 minutes or so during the day so its an easy connection out to Chitose.

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Arriving at CTS, I follow the signage to the JL side of the airport.

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FIDS.

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The JL check-in counters. Since this was an AA award ticket, I couldn’t do any sort of ticket manipulation on JL’s website so needed to speak to an agent to get a boarding pass and select my seat. The agent was very quick and gave me 15A at my request (you’ll see why I picked this seat later on). She also informed me that the JL Sakura Lounge was closed for renovation and that there was a meal voucher instead. She handed me a voucher for JPY 1000 (~$9) and a sheet of paper that lists all the places I could use it.

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With boarding pass in hand, I went to go in search of a way to spend this voucher. I didn’t spend it on food, instead I found a special souvenir that I used it to buy, which will be revealed at the end of the FR.

The main lobby at CTS.

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Smile Road :)

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Boo, the observation deck is closed for the winter.

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There was a small little museum at the airport that had some old JL uniforms and models of the old JL and NH liveries.

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Not much to spot from the windows in the food court. Just a NH B738 and NH B773.

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I went to security about an hour before my flight, and the lines were light.

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My plane is listed as Gate 17.

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I passed the closed JL Sakura Lounge on my way there.

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Seating areas at CTS along with JL branded charging stations and massage chairs.

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My JL B738 waiting outside.

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————————-

Japan Airlines, JL 3118
Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [JA312J, delivered May 2008]
Departure: 19:15 (ATD: 19:53)
Arrival: 21:05 (ATA: 21:24)
Flight time: 1:31


As this sign indicated, boarding was promptly started at 19:00 for our 19:15 departure.

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JL and OW elites were called so I headed down the jetbridge.

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BC B738 nextdoor.

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3 FAs greeted me in the galley. I asked if I could take some cabin shots and they politely stepped aside and let me get some clean shots of the new cabin on this B738. You can see the rows of Class-J in the front in the 2-3 configuration followed by the standard 3-3.

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My seat in Row 15, which is the first row of Economy.

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I picked this seat since it has unlimited legroom (~60”)

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The purser came by and handed me a blanket and a candy.

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The other advantage of this seat is that there are no seatmates since these are blocked off seats since it is the first row of the 2-3 to 3-3 transition. Unlike most carriers, JL considers these seats unsafe since you’d be sitting right in the aisle and mark them as “do not sit here.”

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The grand pitch as represented by this Japanese businessman.

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The audio controls.

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Seatback contents.

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Safety card for this B738.

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Skyward, which is highlighting Southern France.

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The BC B738 is also getting ready to leave.

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We finish boarding on time and the moodlighting comes on.

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Jetbridge retracts.

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The safety video plays on the overhead screens as the FAs do the demonstrations.

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Deicing our wings prior to pushback.

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As we pushback, the snow starts to come down hard. The pilot immediately comes on and announces that the airport is shutdown due to inclement weather, but we will sit on the tarmac anticipating a reopening during a break in the snow.

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As we sat there, the FAs quickly get up and come through the cabin offering candies from a tray to passengers.

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After about 20 minutes, the snow lets up a little and we start to taxi out to the runway.

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Approaching the runway, there is a fleet of plows clearing it off. I’m guessing the CTS ground crews are very accustomed to this type of weather.

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After the caravan of plows pass us, we turn onto the runway to align for takeoff.

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The turbines wind up and we are quickly lifting up over CTS.

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The cabin during the ascent.

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Service starts immediately. The drink offering is standard. What I should mention is that even on domestic flights, the FAs leave the “missed service” tags on seats for sleeping passengers, never seen this on a domestic flight before.

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My tray table.

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I request coffee.

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As the cart made its way back to the galley after service, the FAs were offering refills so I took a second cup of coffee.

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After the drink service, I saw the FAs handing out the toys to the kids. I asked the purser if I could have one and she quickly presented me with some gifts.

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The flight was quiet, but around Matsumoto, the FAs did another drink run offering juices from a tray as well as more candies.

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I had terrible shots of Nagoya on arrival, but I wasn’t alone in attempting to capture the moment.

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We made up a lot of time caused by the delay and only touched down 15 minutes late. We pulled in next to this 7G A320.

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The purser thanked me for flying as I deplaned.

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Since this was my last arrival into NGO, I had to take a picture of the maneki-neko figurines in the baggage claim (they come from Tokoname, the city the airport is in).

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Exiting towards the train.

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As always, the Meitetsu service into the city is quick and efficient. How efficient? Well, we landed at 21:24 and I was able to catch the 21:37 train.

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And, without further ado, my gift from CTS using the JL voucher. I found a store that sells airline merchandise so was torn between a stuffed animal and a model. The stuffed animal won: my AirDo (HD) bear, kawaii^^ The wooden train that they give kids on the JL flight is equally cute.

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And that concludes this series, thanks for stopping by!





***BONUS***: Some shots of Otaru (小樽).

The views from the train ride out.

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Downtown Otaru.

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The famous canals of Otaru.

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Mercure Hotel Sapporo.

See more

Verdict

Japan Airlines

7.3/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering7.5

Chitose - CTS

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Nagoya - NGO

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

JL is right up there with NH in terms of service on domestic flights. Other than the lack of any sort of food, the soft-product on JL is top notch. They handled the delay departing perfectly. Weather is not their fault, but the pilots quickly updated us and the FAs quickly sprung to action to offer candies during the delay.

Cabin comfort: The new JL B738 cabins are comfortable. Plenty of seat pitch and with a light load, there was plenty of room to spread out. The JL cabins are clean and well maintained as one expects in Japan.

Crew: Solid JL crew. Mainline JL seems to have more senior crew members and that leads to a very professional performance. Lacking English ability, but they make up for it with service.

Meal and catering: Candy handed out during boarding and a simple drink service of coffee/tea/water/juices after take-off. I was surprised to see a second drink run on a flight of this length. The only times I've seen second drink passes are on longer flights down to Okinawa.

Entertainment: No newspaper offered. standard seatback literature. The overhead monitors played the moving map and news headlines, same as what NH does (unless they show variety programming or infomercials...).

Related

14 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 374270 by
    fiftytwo GOLD 1390 Comments
    thanks for this report and all infos !

    60'' is just huge . In some J seats , the length is around 72'' . Why this configuration of two seats ans one blocked ? Is is an emergency exit ??

    The funniest thing is about these “missed service” tags and the audio still working . In europe we can still dream about it

    • Comment 374347 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      "thanks for this report and all infos !"
      - Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      "Is is an emergency exit ??"
      - It is where a bulkhead is supposed to go. You can see that a hard bulkhead could be installed in this cabin in front of my seat, but JL has not elected to do so yet.

      "The funniest thing is about these “missed service” tags and the audio still working . In europe we can still dream about it"
      - Pretty much anywhere in the world outside of Asia you can stop dreaming of it ;)
  • Comment 374282 by
    jetsetpanda 2283 Comments
    Hi Michael and thank you for sharing this great FR.

    "3 FAs greeted me in the galley. "
    - With some airlines you can hardly get a FA to look at you when you board sometimes.

    "You can see the rows of J-Class in the front in the 2-3 configuration followed by the standard 3-3."
    - No separation? I realize that it is a short domestic flight, but still.

    "I picked this seat since it has unlimited legroom (~60”)"
    - Fantastic pitch!

    Another great experience flying JL domestic. Service is great even for such a short flight.

    Gorgeous bonus as usual.



    • Comment 374346 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      "No separation? I realize that it is a short domestic flight, but still."
      - Don't confuse the name Class-J with "J". It's not meant to be a business class. It is their attempt at Main Cabin Extra or EconomyPlus or Comfort+. It's an add-on when you purchase an economy ticket ranging from JPY1000 up to JPY5000 depending on availability (extremely good value if you get it for JPY1000). There is no service improvements, they get the same drink service and no snack. They get slightly different blankets (red versus grey) and I think they get to board after elites. The benefit is a wider seat and more legroom. You can still get stuck with a middle seat in Class-J. This is why the system is confusing, because if you bought an international J ticket and had to transfer into a JL plane for a domestic flight, you'd get bucketed into Class-J since that is the best they can offer you. JL does have a real F product for domestic flights, but is only offered on wide-bodies mainly leaving out of HND so it's very limited in scope. That F service is similar to what NH offers for it's "Premium class," which is a truer J product. (Here: https://www.jal.co.jp/en/dom/service/f/ )

      Thanks for stopping by Adan!
  • Comment 374285 by
    Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10390 Comments
    Merci Michael. ^^

    "She handed me a voucher for JPY 1000 (~$9) and a sheet of paper that lists all the places I could use it." -> So a visit to the JL lounge costs 1000¥ ?

    It could be funny to try to sit on the "do not sit here" seat. lol

    "I asked the purser if I could have one and she quickly presented me with some gifts." -> Kids are not always the young passengers. ;)

    "The stuffed animal won: my AirDo (HD) bear, kawaii^^ " -> Even cuter with that blue ribbon. ^^
    • Comment 374345 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      "So a visit to the JL lounge costs 1000¥ ?"
      - I felt it was on the low side too, $10 can get you a lot of onigiri, but wouldn't cover the cost of the alcohol I was about to drink ;)

      "It could be funny to try to sit on the "do not sit here" seat. lol"
      - You know, some people might enjoy the experience of sitting on a seat like that ;)

      "Kids are not always the young passengers. ;)" <== Still a child at heart^^

      Merci pour ce commentaire Clement^^
  • Comment 374312 by
    AK 1083 Comments
    Interesting to see the mini-museum. I missed it when I flew from CTS to KIX last summer (I was in a hurry anyways....). That's funny to see that the skirts of the flight attendents shrinks with time. Maybe it if global warming ? ;)))

    Thank you for this report
    • Comment 374344 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      "That's funny to see that the skirts of the flight attendents shrinks with time."
      - But then they start to get longer again^^ I think the shortest was the one from the 70s/80s.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
  • Comment 374456 by
    KL651 TEAM 4533 Comments
    Thanks for this FR.
    Did everybody get a blanket or just you because of your small talk with the FAs upon boarding ?
    Once again attentive and personnalized service on JAL.
    • Comment 374569 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      Merci pour votre commentaire^^

      "Did everybody get a blanket or just you because of your small talk with the FAs upon boarding ?"
      - I'm not that special ;) They walked them out to the priority passengers (OW and JL elites) then once the rest of the people boarded, they walked down the aisle offering them to passengers. This is standard protocol on all JL and NH domestic flights that I've taken.

      "Once again attentive and personnalized service on JAL."
      - I found the crews to on JL to be older than NH, which often translates to more attentive service.
  • Comment 374704 by
    Rl 777 806 Comments
    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    “After a ramen dinner, I walked to the JR Station to catch the train back to CTS. It’s JPY 1070 (~$10) and takes ~40 minutes.”
    - Not bad, not bad.

    Nice shots from the airport.

    Stunning spotting shots, you did well with them considering how much glare is created with artificial light with no light outside.

    The cabin looks great and that pitch is just amazing.

    A solid drink service on this flight, not bad.

    Nice to have those gifts!

    Absolutely wonderful bonus at the end, thanks for sharing :).

    Have a good one, see you!
    • Comment 374763 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      "Not bad, not bad."
      - The price isn't bad for the distance, but a 40-minute train ride is pretty long. The old airport in Sapporo was downtown (OKD), but it mainly handles turboprops now.

      "The cabin looks great and that pitch is just amazing."
      - My only criticism is that I don't like the purple, but I find the JL cabins to be much cleaner looking than the old NH cabins with blue cloth seats.

      "Nice to have those gifts!"
      - It's a reminder of the good old days, my parents still have collections of playing cards from the legacy US carriers.

      Thanks for stopping by!
  • Comment 375073 by
    757Fan 632 Comments
    Great report, Michael! It looks like you had a good flight with JL, and great to get that 15A seat. That legroom looks amazing! My wife and I funnily enough just came back from AUS-MSP yesterday, and we were in the bulkhead row of a Delta CRJ-900. The legroom was huge in that row too, but nothing compared to your photo!

    Looks like it was a cold and snowy night for flying!
    • Comment 376512 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1930 Comments
      Thanks for stopping by Matthew!

      "My wife and I funnily enough just came back from AUS-MSP yesterday, and we were in the bulkhead row of a Delta CRJ-900."
      - I've been on the DL CRJ-900s too, their soft bulkhead is really good too, the only problem is that the aisle seat is in the middle of the F aisle and you get whacked by passengers and carts. JL was smart enough to block those seats off on this plane.

      "Looks like it was a cold and snowy night for flying!"
      - They were cancelling later flights so I was definitely lucky to get out of there. I'm sure JL would have put passengers up in hotels, but spending the night at CTS was not in my plans ;)

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