Review of Japan Airlines flight Los Angeles Tokyo in First

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL61
Class First
Seat 1K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 12:30
Take-off 24 May 17, 13:00
Arrival at 24 May 17, 17:30
JL   #11 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 174 reviews
Rewardflying
Published on 1st July 2017
photo jl61 cover

Welcome back to what I am referring to as the round the world trip with no fresh air.

If you didn't see the first post of the trip that sets up this madness, here is a link to it on rewardflying.com

I arrived at TBIT LAX with maximum time to enjoy the Qantas First Class Lounge. Check-in was a breeze and security wasn't too bad as well.

photo jl61 borading compositephoto jl61 lounge view 2

Off to the lounge following my JAL map.

photo jl61 lounge mapphoto jl61 lounge room 1

Other bloggers have proclaimed the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX to be the best lounge in the United States. While I don't have the same comps, I post no argument. To begin it's a beautiful lounge.



There are various stations throughout where you can find snacks and beverages.

photo jl61 lounge bar 2photo jl61 lounge bar 3

Hey, they even have different size chairs for different size folks.

photo jl61 lounge chair 1

The Spring menu was available today. Breakfast is served until 11:30 with lunch at noon.

photo jl61 lounge menu comp

Forecasting gastronomic pleasure ahead on JL61, I refrained, except for…

photo jl61 lounge food 3

Disappointing.

Let's get on the jet.

Champagne or juice along with an oshibori was offered immediately. I'm pacing myself on the drink even tho it is 5 in Tokyo, 5AM.

photo jl61 welcome

First class was 8 for 8 today with yours truly getting the last window seat, right side, row 1.

photo jl61 cabin 2photo jl61 cabin 1photo jl61 cabin 4

A quick peek into the two row mini-business cabin behind first. Doesn't look too shabby either.

photo jl61 cabin bc 1photo jl61 cabin bc 2

While these are "open" suites they are extremely private.

photo jl61 cabin 3

After some thought I've given these seats my personal highest rating, a 10.

photo jl61 seat compare

Realistically I'd take any of them as they were all good and had their highlights (plus they are first class seats going somewhere internationally!). But to me JAL was better against the competition simply because it doesn't have any faults. It was comfortable as a seat and a bed. It had plenty of room with privacy. Storage was superb and the IFE monitor was excellent. Granted my list isn't all inclusive and this is just a seat/bed comparison.

Lufthansa: Great seat, uncomfortable as a bed. The JAL airweave mattress was outstanding for sleeping.
Etihad: Say what! Better than the Apartment? Yes, while the Apartment is exclusive and secluded, the bed is narrow and uncomfortable plus you can't recline the seat.
Cathay Pacific: The JAL seat is similar but was more comfortable as a bed and has a better monitor. You can have a dining partner with both seats.
ANA: JAL has superior storage, which wasn't hard versus ANA's Square as that one is poorly designed. The JAL Suite was better thought out in my opinion, and more comfortable as a bed and a seat. Plus ANA's Square blocked the window.
Thai: The main reason against Thai is the bed, among other faults. Thai has that uncomfortable hump in the middle when lying down.
United: While United's bedding is second to none, the design of the JAL Suite beats the Global First pod in every other category.
Qantas: QF turns into a comfortable bed but it's an old design and JAL has better storage, IFE monitor and you can look out the window!

Plane-sighting had A380's going trans-Atlantic.

photo jl61 trans atlantic a380

And 777's going trans-Pacific., including JL61, JA740J

photo jl61 trans pacific 777

Time to go.

photo jl61 away they go

Favorable winds took a direct route across the Pacific as opposed to heading north along the Alaskan coastline.

photo jl61 flight aware 1

JAL's service was precise and immaculate. The cabin was under the control of 4 Japanese women who all introduced themselves as well as spoke excellent english.

When faced with this choice what would you do? These champagnes run from $200 to $500 per bottle according to a Google search.

photo jl61 menu bev champagne comp

Can you blame me?

photo jl61 bev chanpagne comp

While I sip on this how about a look around the seat and a visit to the lavatory to change into these Porsche Designed incredibly comfortable pajamas.

photo jl61 amty pj4

The standard 777 lavatory stocked with dental assistance and well, you have to love the Japanese propensity for personal hygiene.

photo jl61 cabin lav 2photo jl61 cabin lav 1photo jl61 cabin lav 4

The lavatory in the first class cabin was a little larger and Natsuke, one of the lovely flight attendants on today's flight, prepared it for me to change into what are now my favorite airline pjs.

photo jl61 cabin lav 3

Properly attired for a 10 hour flight it was back to the champagne and a look around. The seat comes with an instruction manual.
photo jl61 seat instructions comp

This is not your average pillow.

photo jl61 seat 1

Nor is this your average monitor.

photo jl61 seat monitor

Only Etihad has a better monitor in my travels, although Asiana has the largest I believe. Someday…

Who needs an overhead bin when you have an ottoman.

photo jl61 seat storage 2

Storage areas around the seat were plentiful with the game controller stashed away. These bins were very deep.

photo jl61 seat storage 5photo jl61 seat storage 7photo jl61 seat storage 8

Along with a nifty place to re-charge your electronic devices and have them out of the way when you don't need them.

photo jl61 seat storage 4

The seats have multiple control pads as well as access to the monitor remote controller and a tidy up mirror.

photo jl61 seat control 1-1photo jl61 seat control 2photo jl61 seat control 3

The pod has reading lights on both sides with one side doing double duty as the headphone hook.

photo jl61 seat acc 1photo jl61 seat acc 2

It does get to be time for bed at some point. The only problem is the drink, food and service is so good on JAL, who wants to sleep? But if you do the airweave mattress is like sleeping in your own bed. The duvet is soft and warm. The pillow is large. My recommendation, watch TV in bed while eating and drinking.

photo jl61 seat bed 1photo jl61 seat bed 3photo jl61 seat bed 4

When it came to amenities there was no let down as well.

photo jl61 amty 1photo jl61 amty 3


A useful kit along with a large sample of, in my case, men's skin care products.

photo jl61 amty kit 1photo jl61 amty kit 2photo jl61 amty kit 3
And Bose headphones.

photo jl61 amty 4photo jl61 amty 5

But the hit, for me, was the Porsche Design Sleepwear.
photo jl61 amty pj2

I would buy this product.

photo jl61 amty pj3photo jl61 amty pj1

The inflight entertainment systems is quality as well. Easy to operate with the handheld controller that gave access to plenty of movies and tv shows to watch on the oversized monitor.
photo jl61 ife control 1
Jphoto jl61 ife control 4photo jl61 ife control 3

The only issue was ordering food via the system which apparently JAL doesn't offer on any flight, at least the ones I've taken because it's always out of order.
photo jl61 ife control 2

The airshow is fine as well.

photo jl61 ife air show 1photo jl61 ife air show 2

And a touch of class, free Wi-Fi for first class passengers. While I didn't have a speed test app on my phone, I was able to send a photo over the Pacific which I could not do when paying for wi-fi on ANA last summer.

photo jl61 amty wifi pass

Hungry, or maybe just annoyed I've saved the food for last?

photo jl61 menu food cover

Starting with the beverage menu.

photo jl61 menu bev 1

Liquor & Spirit
photo jl61 menu bev 2

Champagne
photo jl61 menu bev champagne

Wine selections.

photo jl61 menu bev white winephoto jl61 menu bev red wine

Specialty Japanese wines and sake.

photo jl61 menu bev jap specialties

Specialty Coffee and Tea as well.

photo jl61 menu bev coffee-tea

Food menus consisted of Japanese and Western fare along with Ala Carte and prior to arrival dining.

Japanese - to be my choice
photo jl61 menu food 1st japanese

Western
photo jl61 menu food 1st western

A La Carte
photo jl61 menu food ala carte

Pre-arrival
photo jl61 menu food 2nd serving

The tray is removed from its locked position under the monitor and the table is set.

photo jl61 food1 pres 1

While pondering what I'd already decided the amuse was served.

photo jl61 food1 amuse 1

Natsuke made it clear that even if I ordered from the Japanese side, I could partake in a Western appetizer. Let's see…

photo jl61 food1 cav 2photo jl61 food1 cav 4

Probably my only compliant for 11 hours was there was only 3 blinis. The white truffle honey was outstanding.

photo jl61 food1 cav 6

At this point I went kicking and screaming away from the champagne to this French Bordeaux, which is about a $60USD bottle of wine.

photo jl61 bev red wine comp

I had decided on having the Japanese entry when I booked the flight. First up was Kozara.

photo jl61 food1 kozara pres

Clockwise from 12.

Egg cake topped with Caviar

photo jl61 food1 kozara 2 egg cake

Jellied Spring Vegetables

photo jl61 food1 kozara 3 jellied veg

Sea-bream Roll with Vegetables

photo jl61 food1 kozara 5 sea bream 1

Shrimp Patty with Japanese Style Salad

photo jl61 food1 kozara 4 shrimp patty

Jellied Foie Gras & Spinach

photo jl61 food1 kozara 1 foie gras

All were delicious and restaurant quality with only the Sea-bream being slightly dry and "gasp" a small bone.

Next was Owan - Japanese Clear Soup with Scallop Cake

photo jl61 food1 owan 2photo jl61 food1 owan 1

The Mukozuke and Azukebachi were served on the same plate.

photo jl61 food1 mukozuke-azukebachi pres

Mukozuke - Seared Tuna & Steamed Sea Urchin, I don't recall ever having fresher Sashimi, although the owner of the sushi place I visit wouldn't be happy with that comment.

photo jl61 food1 mukozuke-azukebachi tuna 2

Soy Sauce Foam

photo jl61 food1 mukozuke-azukebachi soy foam

Azukebachi - Smoked Salmon & Scallop with Citrus Soy Jelly

photo jl61 food1 mukozuke-azukebachi salmon-scallop

On to the main course

Dainomono - Japanese Style Beef Steak

photo jl61 food1 dainomono 1

Beef can never be prepared properly on a plane????

photo jl61 food1 dainomono 3

Served with steamed rice and a spicy mustard and/or wasabi for the beef along with Japanese Pickles

photo jl61 food1 dainomono 2photo jl61 food1 dainomono 4photo jl61 food1 timewan jappickle 1

Next presented without a request was the cheese course. I was only happy to oblige. Natsuke explained the cheeses describing the brie as "cream cheese".

photo jl61 food1 cheese 2

Finally it was dessert time. Natsuke proactively brought something from the Western side along with the Minamoto Kitchoan which is a delicious cookie. She paired it with Jasmine Cream with Pear from a place in Los Angeles named Jin Patisserie.

photo jl61 food1 kanmi 1photo jl61 food1 kanmi 2photo jl61 food1 kanmi 3

Both were delicious, and not too sweet.

I asked for some coffee

photo jl61 bev coffee comp

Natsuke returned in 4 minutes to press.

photo jl61 bev sugar

Later on I tried this special Royal Blue Tea "Queen of Blue".

photo jl61 bev tea comp

There are 3 versions of this tea with JAL offering the least expensive "deluxe" version. At around $40 a bottle it is anything but inexpensive. What it is however is impressive and delicious. From the Royal Tea online shop:

"Toho Beautiful" named by Queen Victoria of the British Empire is the finest blue tea representing Taiwan, which has been loved all over the world. The story of the tea is unique, and when a small insect named Unka chews the tea buds during the summer tea picking time, the bitten part promotes natural fermentation and has a unique gentle sweetness flavor. It is also a valuable tea to harvest only the part of the young buds carefully once a year, in the summer.
Royal Blue Tea has a collection for each grade as "Queen of Blue".Deluxe is equipped with JAL international first class all-round, Belgium · Monde Selection received the third consecutive Gold Award.
· Exquisite refreshing and elegant refreshing, "ladies of tea"
It is a sweet scent and soft taste like fruit and honey due to grace brought by unca. Although it is close to black tea, it is a sweetness with no astringent and clean. It is compatible with any dish, it is delicious with no tired eyes.

Mid-flight I ordered the JAL Healthy Ramen Noodles. This was probably my least favorite item on this flight.

photo jl61 food2 ramen noodles snack

For the pre-arrival meal I stuck to Japanese, why mess with success? Although the Rossine Style Foie Gras Slider was tempting.

photo jl61 food2 pres

Dainomono - Grilled Black Cod "Saikyo Miso" flavor

photo jl61 food2 dainomono blk cod 1

Kobachi - Cold Savory Egg Custard (yum)

photo jl61 food2 kobachi egg cust 1

And a second helping of Miso soup, I saved you from a view of the first serving.

photo jl61 food2 miso soup

All in all, spectacular food and drink on Japan Airlines.

Upon arrival in Japan I was given a "fast track" pass for immigration and was outside the terminal in less than 15 minutes from exiting the plane.

photo jl61 flight path 1

For more on this flight, including ways to redeem the fewest points, go to rewardflying.com
See more

Verdict

Japan Airlines

8.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering9.0

Qantas First Class Lounge - TBIT

8.3/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services9.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Tokyo - NRT

8.3/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

What more can be said? The worst part of this flight was arriving.

Information on the route Los Angeles (LAX) Tokyo (NRT)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 10 avis concernant 3 compagnies sur la ligne Los Angeles (LAX) → Tokyo (NRT).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Singapore Airlines avec 8.7/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 11 heures et 38 minutes.

  More information

18 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 402587 by
    socalnow 976 Comments
    Deja vu...
  • Comment 402658 by
    Razza_Pr 216 Comments
    Hello, rewardflying, and thank you for this FR!

    JL F promises and delivers nothing short of fine quality all-around.

    The caviar on top of the egg cake sounds like a rather unusual combination. How did it taste?

    "I don't recall ever having fresher Sashimi"
    -When you've got the chance, do visit the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I'd also recommend restaurants like Sushi Ichi or Sukiyabashi Jiro for top marks sushi restaurants, Uosei if you're an adventurous foodie and would like to try the Japanese delicacy that is fugu ;)

    It's lovely that JL has partnered with Minamoto Kitchoan for the Japanese dessert. Though I'm somewhat surprised that they decided to serve the matcha-flavoured Senbei as opposed to vanilla. Maybe I should try the matcha one next time I get the chance..

    Thanks again for this FR. I look forward to reading your upcoming reports!
    • Comment 402885 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
      Hello Razza_Pr,

      "When you've got the chance, do visit the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I'd also recommend restaurants like Sushi Ichi or Sukiyabashi Jiro for top marks sushi restaurants, Uosei if you're an adventurous foodie and would like to try the Japanese delicacy that is fugu ;)"
      -so my freshest comment was purposely meant as a dig to the owner of that local place. He had a laugh. To your point, I've been to the old Tsukji market, I believe they recently moved and visited Yasada sushi, on par but not quite with Jiro, expensive but not as. And I'm not THAT adventurous for sure:)

      The egg cake caviar took a backseat to the main caviar event. Honestly I don't remember, other than I ate it. It is a strange combo come to think of it. And matcha tea in a cookie , who knew?

      Thanks for stopping by.
  • Comment 402661 by
    hometoyyz 539 Comments
    Good to see this review, Rewardflying. And what a treat to have this and Socal's as back-to-back reads on the same route. When I saw that, I had to quickly check the date to see if you guys were on some sort of epic adventure together.

    As usual, everything looks so good -- both the seat and service, but especially the food and drink.

    I liked the Qantas lounge as well -- and based on that menu, I admire your restraint in not sampling too much ahead of time.

    Thanks again, and safe travels!
    • Comment 402886 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
      "I had to quickly check the date to see if you guys were on some sort of epic adventure together"
      -you might be on to something there, road trip anyone??

      Had to pace myself, the only going overboard is LH first class lounge! Wiener schnitzel and a a few apple strudel and....

      Very impressed with JL. Definitely a do over. Thanks for your comments!
    • Comment 403147 by
      socalnow 976 Comments
      "I had to quickly check the date to see if you guys were on some sort of epic adventure together"
      "-you might be on to something there, road trip anyone??"
      -Heck yeah, where do I sign up? Do I have to go all the way to Perth?
  • Comment 402801 by
    airtraveladdict 117 Comments
    It is wonderful to read a JL trip report, it brings back memories of my flight.
    JL's Seiji Yamamoto menu is exquisite, not beautifully presented meals but also delicious as well.
    And the service on JL is very warm too!
    Glad to see you drank Salon :) it is also my favorite drink.
  • Comment 402887 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
    Thanks for your comments airtraveladdict. Well I know for sure my Salon indulgence will be limited to JL , but I agree with you. Quite nice. Thanks for stopping by.
  • Comment 402939 by
    CAPTAIN87 72 Comments
    Thank you for the report. The japan Airlines Is always à pleasure for the eyes. I like te spirit of the qantas lounge. Not really What you could expect from à first lounge but good surprises instead

    The cabin doesn't look as good as singapore or air france but there Is a real spirit of japan with the catering and the service from the all crew.

    Always a pleasure to read you here or on the website.
  • Comment 402943 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
    Thanks for your comments Captain87. I would love to experience Air France someday in the new la premier cabin. Their ground services I understand are incredible as well. SingaporeAir too. JL is lacking in this area. If not for the Qantas lounge they'd be in trouble on the ground at LAX.
  • Comment 403145 by
    socalnow 976 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this experience with us Rewardflying.

    "Other bloggers have proclaimed the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX to be the best lounge in the United States. While I don't have the same comps, I post no argument."
    -Well said. I haven't found a comp for the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX but I'm happy to keep looking... The AMEX lounges are nice and the new Flagship Dining looks promising. The Polaris lounges? I doubt it...

    "First class was 8 for 8 today with yours truly getting the last window seat, right side, row 1."
    -We even had the same seat! Was yours assigned at the airport as well? The call center wouldn't let me have it in advance. I wonder if I should have HUCA.

    "Beef can never be prepared properly on a plane????"
    -JAL sure does prove the exception to the rule. The meal on the whole looks stunning and the care in service you received seems to match.

    "Mid-flight I ordered the JAL Healthy Ramen Noodles. This was probably my least favorite item on this flight. "
    -I really enjoyed this vegetarian take on ramen. The picture you have below this statement is certainly not the dish I had. So that could explain the difference in opinion.

    "What more can be said? The worst part of this flight was arriving."
    -Isn't that the truth! The good news is that when you arrive you're in Tokyo!

    Thanks again for this FR and happy flying.
  • Comment 403356 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
    I love Perth. Virgin Australia 21,800 EY points from Melbourne, one of my fav flights all time.
  • Comment 403359 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
    "The Polaris lounges? I doubt it..."
    -Not QF First but pretty nice. Good food, premium booze, attractive club, showers, day rooms. Small but they are expanding at ORD.

    JL can be aggravating on seat selection. They block 1K for airport assignment and we both got lucky to get it. They refused to pre-assign it even though there was only 1 other seat open 2G. They love to block most of the seats on the 787 business cabins as well. How did you get row 7? When I flew that aircraft on AA points, AA assigned me 1K 10 months in advance. JL kicked me out to 8A not once but twice. Day of departure row 1 and 7 were gone. Not that it's a huge deal, but seems it's getting more common certain seats are being blocked. Pay $200 for a crappy Swiss seat, please... Rants over!
  • Comment 404133 by
    indianocean SILVER 7574 Comments
    Just like I just wrote on Christian's report, I'd love to fly on JAL First Class.
    Service looks so perfect and the food so good. How about the wines? OMG

    You never experienced Singapore Airlines Suites yet?

    Thank you for sharing
  • Comment 404407 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
    Hi Indianocean, thanks for stopping by. You will love JL, hope you fly with them soon. As far as:

    "You never experienced Singapore Airlines Suites yet?"
    -Soon, counting the days!
  • Comment 405146 by
    jetsetpanda 2283 Comments
    Hi Rewardflying and thanks for sharing this fabulous FR.

    Now I feel that my JL F experience from CDG-HND pales in comparison to yours and that of Christian. I did not received a F tag for my cabin luggage nor pajamas. Oh and I didn't get my first choice for dinner :P

    "Other bloggers have proclaimed the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX to be the best lounge in the United States."
    - QF excels at its lounges so I wouldn't be surprised. I have visited the ones in HKG and SIN and one time tried to visit the one in LAX after a transcon flight in F. I was denied access but then surprisingly i was allowed at the Oneworld J lounge. Go figure.

    "A quick peek into the two row mini-business cabin behind first. Doesn't look too shabby either."
    - I've heard that those staggered J seats can be "claustrophobic".

    "Who needs an overhead bin when you have an ottoman. "
    - JL encourages pax in F to use that space to store their bags.

    "Probably my only compliant for 11 hours was there was only 3 blinis. "
    - The quest for perfection is constant. ;)

    "Mid-flight I ordered the JAL Healthy Ramen Noodles. This was probably my least favorite item on this flight. "
    - You even had the special chopsticks for F.

    Overall great catering as usual on JL. The cheese presentation could have been a bit better in my opinion.

    it's hard to be disappointed by jL no matter which class you happen to be.
  • Comment 405299 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments
    Hi Jetsetpanda, yes I recall reading your report on JL CDG-HND and losing some of my anticipation for JL first class. I wonder, I had a great US-Japan business class experience and a not so great Japan-India business class experience. Maybe 2 JL standards?

    I also recall reading where the QF lounge in LAX was not properly admitting patrons. It had to do with connections and were only allowing outbound F if I remmber. Subsequently the issue was addressed by management and entry rules were clarified. Maybe you had the misfortune to have tried gaining access during this time?

    "I've heard that those staggered J seats can be "claustrophobic".
    -Think that came from me! But better than another cabin or two behind!

    And yes, it was the FA who personally stored my bag under the ottoman.

    Thanks for your comments!

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