Greetings Flight Report community and welcome to a series of reports covering a quick trip to Hong Kong on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific. This was a bit of a last minute affair and a sort of Father's Day gift. I had been pining for some JAL F time and when I saw a seat on LAX-NRT leaving on Father's Day I signed up. I was very indecisive about whether to stay in Tokyo or travel beyond. In the end I decided to continue to HKG. The return was up in the air until the last minute. I thought about Delta HKG-SEA but that is a tough one on us NRSAs. I figured HND was a good option in terms of connection and a morning arrival. With the Delta HND-LAX departure in mind I booked HKG-HND via Cathay Pacific. Never one to leave well enough alone I was considering CX all the way to LAX when I stumbled on to JAL HND-SFO F space. Yes, I would get home later but I would have a nice 5 hour stay at HND to enjoy the observation deck and lounges. Very tempting. Add in the access to the lovely CX F lounges in HKG due to the onward connection to Oneworld F at HND. I decided to use JAL on the way back too.
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
Japan Airlines - LAX-NRT - 777-300ER - First - Qantas First Class Lounge - Alaska Mileage Plan Japan Airlines - NRT-HKG - 787-8 - Business - JAL First Lounge Satellite - Alaska Mileage Plan (This Report) Cathay Pacific - HKG-HND - 777-300ER - Business - The Wing and The Pier - BA Avios (Coming Eventually) Japan Airlines - HND-SFO - 777-300ER - First- JAL First Lounge - Alaska Mileage Plan (Coming Eventually) Alaska Airlines (Skywest) - SFO-SNA - ERJ-170 - First - Air France Salon Lounge - Alaska Mileage Plan (No Report)
JAL First Lounge Satellite
I would have preferred a longer transit at NRT. I really enjoy just being "in Japan" even if it's simply enjoying the lounges or strolling through the airport and browsing the omiyage. It wasn't to be on this trip. i had about an hour and twenty minutes. Transit security was brief as there was only 1 passenger ahead of me in the queue. After security I was somewhat lost. I hae virtually no experience at NRT T2 and especially the satellite portion of the terminal. This is an awkward sensation for a person that could navigate Narita T1 in complete darkness. Soon enough I meandered past the JAL lounge complex and presented my boarding pass for the flight to HKG. I was invited to use the First Class section of the lounge.
It's a smaller space than the sprawling, two level, main terminal F lounge. It was also quite crowded given the evening departure bank and the liberal Oneworld lounge policies. I found a comfortable seat with a nice view of the ramp.
I didn't have time for a shower, or the energy. Food was not even considered although I did walk through the nicely appointed dining room with a fairly extensive selection of buffet options. The main lounge has the made to order sushi. I found a nice respite in the Suntory.
I left the lounge early to wander the busy satellite terminal. JAL's evening bank to onward Asia destinations as well as several AA flights to the USA were in various stages of boarding. I wish I had taken teh time to visit the Admirals Club. I'm always keen to see a new lounge.
I arrived at the gate just as boarding commenced.
The plastic flyer.
Boarding was through L1 rather than L2. The 787 has a grand entry way at L2.
I chose 7-Alpha due to comments about extra legroom and they proved correct. There would be no need to step over a seatmate in this row.
The seat is underwhelming, to say the least. Excellent for regional flight of 3.5 hours but this aircraft/configuration flies t-pac missions as well.
Views from seat 7A.
The load was fairly light in J and judging by the time to board Y might not have been full either. We pushed on time.
Some cool traffic on the way out to 16R.
Unfortunately I was on the wrong side to get those beautiful sunset views of Mt. Fuji.
I donned the slippers that had been placed in the literature pocket.
The menu for the trip down to Hong Kong.
Sake, Spirits, Etc.
Orders were taken and I indicated my preference for the Japanese meal. This was noted but the Service Manager returned and asked if I would consider the Western meal as they didn't have enough Japanese meals. I reiterated my preference for the Japanese meal.
Let's check out the IFE. If the bulk head seat has a drawback it would be the smaller IFE screen that interferes with access to the tray table. The smaller size is somewhat offset by sitting closer to the screen.
My preferred channel.
Drink orders were taken and the table linen was laid. The Noise canceling headphones were of decent quality.
I opted for some water with ice and a glass of the champagne. Some snacks were placed on the table with the drinks. I didn't try either of them. Additionally, I didn't favor the Charles Heidsieck Brut either. After all the Salon on the way to NRT I don't think any champagne had a chance right then.
The meal trays were hand delivered from carts in the service area adjacent to my seat. I enjoyed the presentation and range of flavors and textures on offer.
I requested a sake to enjoy with the meal. The Tenki Junmail Dai-ginjo was recommended and enjoyed.
Ice cream was offered to finish the meal.
I dozed off for the rest of the flight and awoke to landing preparation announcements. I was treated to views of Victoria Harbor as we made the approach to Chek Lap for an on time arrival.
Thank you for coming along and please feel free to follow @theonlywaytofly on Instagram for previews of upcoming Flight Reports. My Flight Memory
JAL First Lounge
Tokyo - NRT
Hong Kong - HKG
The Ground Service: None.
The Lounge: The lounge is adequate. The better experience can be had at the main terminal F lounge.
The Cabin: The seat is a dated design but would be acceptable for a flight of this duration. Longer flights where sleep would be appreciated and they are a deal breaker.
The Crew: The service was attentive, gracious and precise. My 1st choice of meal was accommodated, which I appreciate.
The Food and Beverage: I was happy with the variety and presentation of the meal. The sake was a nice accompaniment.
Overall: The transition from world class international first class to regional business class is always stark. It's hard for me to separate these experiences and view the J segment by itself rather than through the prism of experience on the t-pac. With that in mind I will conclude that the JAL regional J offering is of high quality only compromised by the dated hard product.
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