Review of Japan Airlines flight Tokyo Beijing in Business

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL 25
Class Business
Seat 3A
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 04:10
Take-off 27 Nov 16, 17:20
Arrival at 27 Nov 16, 20:30
JL   #11 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 124 reviews
jetsetpanda
By SILVER 1848
Published on 22nd January 2017
After an enjoyable stay in Tokyo for a few days, it was time to return back to SFO. I have originally used award miles for a HND-SFO tkt on JL, but upon finding a USD 378.66 (EUR 357.11) one way from PEK, I decided to cancel the award and just purchase the ticket to get more miles in my TK acct. I needed to meet the 15,000 miles within the first year of being matched into their program in order to get a second year extension and this fare was just handy.

Below is my schedule:

SFO-LHR on BA Y - click here.
LHR-ARN on BA Y - click here.
ARN-PRG on SK Y - click here.
PRG-CDG on OK Y - click here.
CDG-HND on JL F - click here.
HND-PEK on JL J - you are here.
PEK-SFO on UA Y - click here..



Tokyu Stay


I stayed at the Tokyu Stay in Shinjuku - a new business hotel that was centrally and conveniently located to the places that I wanted to visit. It is a few steps from an exit to the Shinjuku-chome metro station. Getting there and back to HND required 2 station transfers and going from the train to the metro - a somewhat challenging and complicated task.



photo tokyu stay 15 - copyphoto tokyu stay 14 - copy


Nicely appointed room w/Japanese touches like clothing spray, pant presser, bidet. warm toilet seat and yukata (loungewear).




View from my room behind the bed.

photo tokyu stay - copy


JAL F check-in


As a Oneworld Emerald, I can check in at the F counter. I did not have any problem finding it and walked towards the agent that was standing at the entrance of the line. Upon seeing me she bowed and escorted me to the front of the counter. She then went around and proceeded to check me in. The personal touch by the staff provided a great impression and really made you feel like a valuable F pax.




I cleared security and passport control quickly and it's now time to explore the lounges. I started with the CX and JL ones near gate 114. Unfortunately the JL Sakura Sky View lounge was closed so I went to the CX lounge above.




Cathay Pacific Lounge


I was welcomed into the lounge and made a left turn to the noodles bar after reception. The dining area was pretty spacious and featured tables with individual stools and benches.

Entrance.

photo cx lounge  hnd - copy


Noodles bar and dining room.



Menu.

photo cx lounge  hnd 30 - copy


I ordered a bowl of wonton noodles. I already ate the stalk of veggie before I realized that I had to take a pic.

photo cx lounge  hnd 39 - copy


Right after reception there is a small counter where you could order the displayed snacks from an attendant. It seems that with this new set up CX is trying to eliminate the "help yourself" buffet concept. In a way this could be more hygienic and might translate into less waste.



Only the desserts were self serve.




The bar area.

if you take a right after you enter, you will pass by the computers and finally end up in the bar - an elegant and comfy area.



The rest of the lounge is a very inviting space with a mixed of open and private seating.




The views to the tarmac are fantastic. I grabbed myself a front row seat with some snacks.

photo cx lounge  hnd 44 - copyphoto cx lounge  hnd 43 - copy

Snacks.

photo cx lounge  hnd 40 - copyphoto cx lounge  hnd 47 - copy

Views.




[align=center]JAL First Class Lounge

After an enjoyable stay at the CX lounge, it was time to walk towards gate 112 and check the JL F lounge. I was welcomed by the attentive staff and invited to turn to my right and enter the F lounge. The Sakura lounge for J pax was on the same level to the left.

Entrance.

photo jl f lounge  hnd 1 - copyphoto jl f lounge  hnd 2 - copy

There is a business center with individual seats offering privacy before entering into the main lounge.

photo jl f lounge  hnd 3 - copy

Interior.




Buffet.

Supposedly there is a teppan station staffed with chefs at certain times but I did not encounter this feature when I visited. The buffet display had a variety of foods that one would find in a good J class lounge like salad bar, soup, hot dishes, sandwiches, small plates and desserts. The catering was satisfying but it didn't strike me as being associated with a F lounge, especially since there was no sit down facility where you could order "a la carte".

Beverages.



Buffet.



My snacks.



RED Suite


This separate room inside the lounge is considered an attraction by itself. It is quite an unique place that combines elements of a library, museum, playroom and gentleman's club. Its sober and elegant ambiance allows adult pax to relax and escape from the airport environment. There was a shoe shine station but it was not staffed and a drink station with champagne, sake and other alcoholic drinks.



Memorabilia display.



Beverage corner.



Game room.



I wanted to take a shower before my flight and went directly to the shower reception desk. It appeared that these facilities were shared with the Sakura lounge and once I rang the bell a staff member appeared within seconds. I surrendered my boarding pass in exchange for a shower room key.

The shower room was functional but did not have a toilet. It was just a sink and the shower.



JAL 787 HND-PEK


I proceeded to the gate and placed myself on the priority line. There were 4-5 agents getting ready for the flight and once the wheelchair passengers boarded they started general boarding. The agents were very strict in enforcing priority boarding.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 14 - copy

Upon boarding there were 2-3 FA's welcoming passengers aboard. I quickly took my seat and my neighbor showed up minutes later. The cabin was configured with the old angle lie flat seats and a blanket along with headphones were placed on the seat.



Menu.

The menu was inside the magazine pocket and it had a minimalist and simple cover.



Beverages.




Pre-dept. drinks were offered but I declined. Afterwards packaged amenities were offered from a basket.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 24 - copyphoto jl 25 hnd-pek 23 - copy

Taxiing out on a rainy night.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 26

Cabin.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 30 - copy


Soon after we leveled off, FA's started the service by offering oshiboris followed by placing the linen on the table.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 31 - copyphoto jl 25 hnd-pek 33 - copy

Beverages were served with packaged snacks. I ordered Skytime which was kiwi flavored. For those who have tried real natto, the dried version is milder and tastes slightly sour.



The meal presented all at once.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 40 - copy

I love the presentation of these appetizers.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 42 - copy

Simmered prawn with minced chicken cake.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 51 - copy

Marlin sashimi with steamed anglefish liver served with citrus soy jelly.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 52 - copy

Braised pork belly.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 53 - copy

The fish was delicious and not overcooked at all.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 45 - copy

Dessert.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 54 - copyphoto jl 25 hnd-pek 56 - copy

Another round of oshibori to finish the meal.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 57

FA's were attentive throughout the flight. I requested an extra blanket and the FA unwrapped it before handing it to me. Also when I requested a pen, she made sure that it was clicked down and ready to use before giving it to me. That kind of attention to detail is what makes JAL such a preferred carrier.

Eventually we started our descent into PEK.

Landing in PEK.

photo jl 25 hnd-pek 59 - copyphoto jl 25 hnd-pek 60 - copy

We parked at T3 and after clearing Immigration & Customs i took the shuttle to the Langham hotel.


***BONUS***


Dinner at the famous Tsunahachi restaurant in Shinjuku, which specializes in tempura. Frying the food in freshly pressed sesame oil results in a more "aromatic" crunch. it's forbidden to take pictures inside, so I quickly snapped this shot of my meal. My dinner set included anago eel, shrimps and vegetables.

Tsunahachi.

photo dsc06833 - copyphoto dsc06832 - copy


Around Shinjuku.




Shinjuku at night.




Gyoen Park.

See more

Verdict

Japan Airlines

8.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering10.0

JAL First Class Lounge

8.5/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment8.0
Services9.0

Tokyo - HND

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Beijing - PEK

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

I was glad that I arrived at the airport early and had the time to explore the CX and JL F lounges. Personally I love the ambiance of the CX lounge and the staff was on top of things. The JL F lounge was spacious and the Red Suite is a great addition that sets it apart. I gave me the feeling of being a kid in a candy store and the JAL memorabilia on display is not to be missed. Catering was solid, but for being a F lounge I was expecting more in that league like a personalized meal service in a sit down restaurant or dedicated rooms to rest.

My first ride on the 787 proved to be an enjoyable one. Comfort was fine for a flight of this length, but the angled lie flat seats are not my favorites and it is a challenge to get out if you have a window and your neighbor's seat is fully extended. The plane felt quiet and the service from the crew aboard was great. I love their attention to details and appreciate the professional and smiling demeanor. The meal was well presented and delicious. I really enjoyed my dinner with a fish that was moist and perfectly cooked. I think serving ice cream as dessert in a premium cabin is a bit of a shortcut and I personally I would prefer a less "industrial" dessert.

Overall JL is a great carrier and I was happy with my choice.

Informations on the route Tokyo (HND) Beijing (PEK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Tokyo (HND) → Beijing (PEK).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 4.0 hours and 5.0 minutes.

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8 Comments

  • Comment 382897 by
    Rewardflying GOLD 401 Comments

    Thanks for the report jetsetpanda. Great photos too! I recently flew JL 787 to HKG with this cabin and agree that it's fine for a couple hours. Your experience was similar to mine, JL's catering is impressive. I too did the trek from Shinjuku to HND so I can relate, but HND is a nicer airport than NRT I think. How did you gain access to the first class lounge in HND if I might ask?

    • Comment 382936 by
      jetsetpanda SILVER AUTHOR 2277 Comments

      Hi Mark.

      ".. but HND is a nicer airport than NRT I think."
      - I haven't been to NRT so I can't compare, but this will change in Feb. when I fly NH and use NRT to connect to CGK.

      "How did you gain access to the first class lounge in HND if I might ask?"
      - I'm Oneworld Emerald through AA (EXP).

      Thanks for your comments.

  • Comment 382915 by
    indianocean SILVER 6022 Comments

    Well, hard choice between the CX lounge and JAL FCL. Both are very nice. Good thing you had enough time to visit them both.

    I really like the new CX lounge design and I have to admit that I prefer CX to JL at HND. CX:1 - JL:0

    Catering onboard lookz absolutely amazing. Every dish, small or big, looks so tempting. But I'm disappointed with the dessert. There are so many great japanese cakes and desserts, why give a foreign ice cream?

    OMG, Adan, what have you done? Now I want to go back to Japan again. Too bad you were not allowed to take pix in the restaurant.

    Thank you my friend

    • Comment 382943 by
      jetsetpanda SILVER AUTHOR 2277 Comments

      Salut mon cher Bernard.

      I agree with you. I'm also partial to the CX lounge and this was a business one. There was something about the decor that I found very appealing - comfy, sophisticated and lots of individual seats with well though design. The JL F was nice and I had fun exploring the Red suite, but the lack of "a la carte" dining and open feel did not strike me as too exclusive for F. It would have been interesting to compare it to the Sakura lounge but I did not venture there.

      "There are so many great japanese cakes and desserts, why give a foreign ice cream?"
      - Just like CX intra-Asia J. I feels like a "shortcut". Apart from the dessert the rest was brilliant.

      T"oo bad you were not allowed to take pix in the restaurant."
      - Maybe it's a good thing. I might have gotten carried away. ;)

      Thanks for your visit and support as usual.

  • Comment 382967 by
    757Fan 461 Comments

    Another great report, Adan. JAL Business Class looks great and the food looks delicious. Great as well that you were able to get on a new Dreamliner!

  • Comment 384250 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    The hotel room looks good, nice view too.

    Beautiful pictures from the lounges. It does not hurt to visit both when you've got time :).

    Wonderful spotting shots.

    It is always interesting to try out a new type.

    The product looks good for these regional flights, I like the colours used in the cabin. The presentation of the meal was really nice.

    Amazing aerial shots!

    Thank you for the excellent bonus.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 384262 by
      jetsetpanda SILVER AUTHOR 2277 Comments

      Hi RI 777.

      "The hotel room looks good, nice view too."
      - It was a small but cleverly appointed. I was surprised that it had a good view.

      "It is always interesting to try out a new type."
      - A highlight for an avgeek.

      "The presentation of the meal was really nice."
      - It showed care in the details.

      Thank you very much for your comments. See you later.

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