Last week, I needed to make a work trip up to Tokyo. Of all direct flights to Tokyo, JAL was priced the lowest compared to ANA and SQ (SQ was almost double the price???) and hence following company policy, I was booked on JAL. As my previous domestic flight on JAL just a month ago was nothing fantastic due to limited service on their domestic sectors, I did not have very high expections. Boy was I wrong and JAL is as premium as any other premier carriers on their international sectors.
Checked in at Terminal One past midnight for th ungodly 0215am departure to Haneda. Even though the flight was totally full, there were no queues at check-in. JAL offers a very generous 2x23kg baggage allowance for Economy travellers.
Boarding pass issued (photo taken in lounge).
Using my Priority Pass, I visited the Terminal One SATS Premier Lounge to grab some supper. The lounge was very empty at the time.
Food and beverages selection was of good variety and quite tasty.
Departure gate was at C1.
08 November 2017 Japan Airlines JL 38 Singapore (SIN) - Tokyo Haneda (HND) B767-300ER JA608J Economy Class Flight Time: 6H18M
Boarding started shortly after I entered the gate, with priorities enforced. Economy boarding was by rows from the rear of the aircraft. Was warmly welcomed by the JAL crew upon boarding and proceeded to my seat, passing through the Business cabin.
A pillow and blanket were placed on each economy seat.
I would be seated at the aisle in the middle 3-seater on this flight. The legroom was great (34" pitch I believe) and IFE monitor was of high-resolution and touch-screen enabled. There was a USB charging port, another IFE remote and compartments for the nitty grittys on the seatback. However there were no footrests.
This B767-300ER aircraft has the newer B777-styled overhead bins. Cabin ambience was pretty soothing. Flight attendants were proactively assisting with the boarding process. I believe there were 5-6 cabin cre serving in Economy tonight.
Pillow, blanket and headset.
Inflight magazine and IFE guide. There was also a very thick onboard shopping catalog.
In the seat pocket was also a drinks menu.
6hr20min red-eye to Haneda tonight.
After boarding was completed, crew came around distibuting arrival immigration forms before pushback.
Safety video played during pushback. The safety video seemed to be out from the 90s.
Decided to watch a chinese romantic comedy for this flight.
Shortly after takeoff, cabin crew came round to distibute bottled water. This was very much appreciated on overnight flights to keep hydrated
Crew then came round to offer a light snack of rice crackers which was delicious. Alcoholic drinks were also offered from a basket while other drinks were available on request.
Watched the movie for about half an hour before I drifted to sleep. The IFE has a feature which allows the flight map to be shown over the movie.
After slightly more than 3hrs of nap, we were awakened 2hrs before arrival. Hot towels were offered to us to refresh. Thought the towels were not as thick and large as the SQ ones, they were still proper cotton towels. JAL must of one of the last few surviving carriers to offer hot towels in economy.
Breakfast service started soon after. Interestingly, even though it was a breakfast service, the full beverage selection, including soft drinks and wines, were offered on the meal cart. Service by the JAL crew were, as expected of the japanese hospitality, courteous, excellent and polite.
No menus were offered in economy, but the menu for the flight was viewable on JAL's website. This was what was offered for breakfast. There was no options to choose from.
Meal tray was delivered. On the tray was a salad with dressing, yoghurt, cut fruits, roll with butter and a main course of omelette with chicken sausage, potatoes and beans. Metal cutlery was used. Also had a coffee and apple juice, with the juice served in plastic cups much larger than on most other airlines. The quantity of the breakfast was definitely very generous and way better than breakfasts served on SQ.
Yoghurt, fresh salad and fruits.
The omelette was like the normal airplane omelette, but portion was pretty generous (beans were hidden under the cutlery). Overall a satisfying breakfast.
View of the B767 cabin after breakfast.
Visit to the lavatory, which was only equipped with the basic amenities. However, toothbrushes can be obtained from the crew.
There were handwritten notes by the crew pasted in at least 2 of the lavatories. A really cute gesture by the JAL crew.
A peek out of the aircraft window.
A look into the forward economy cabin during descent.
Reaching the destination soon. The crew serving my side actually came down the aisle to thank each and every passenger during the descent! Impressive! I think it was her own initiative as the other crew on the opposite aisle did not do the same.
We landed in Tokyo Haneda right on schedule and only had a very short taxi to the gate. Disembarked and passing the Business Class cabin.
Lots of JAL aircraft during the walk to immigration.
For this work trip, I stayed at Excel Hotel Akasaka. The room is spacious for japan standards.
The hotel offers either a Western buffet breakfast or a Japanese set breakfast. I had the Japanese selection on both days at the hotel.
Since this was a work trip with working lunches and dinners, I would not post much other than a Japanese bento lunch I had on the second day.
On the last working day, I and a couple of colleagues went out for our own dinner at Beefsteak Kawamura Ginza, a restaurant famed for its Kobe beef. We did not order the highest quality beef, but had the lower grade Tajima beef, but still a very good quality beef.
The elaborate meal commenced with 2 starters, a simmered beef in stock and a seared kobe beef dish.
Next was a very frothy and light carrot and potato soup. There were also a bread course and salad course which I did not take photos of.
The vegetables and beef were prepared right in front of us. End result, very delicious medium steak and crispy vegetables!!
Ended with a selection of desserts. It was a wonderful meal!
I extended a night in Tokyo and moved to another hotel for a night's stay. Booked Hotel Mystays Hamamasutcho, a 3-stars hotel near the monorail to Haneda. The room was of decent sized.
There was an Ippudo ramen restaurant just behind the hotel, where I grabbed a late ramen supper.
View from my hotel room the next morning, and the only free day I have in Tokyo.
A leisurely walk to Shimbashi after checking out of hotel and depositing luggage at 11am.
The walk to Shimbashi was to have the awesome Buta-don at Buta Daigaku.
SATS Premier Lounge
Singapore - SIN
Tokyo - HND
It was a very comfortable red-eye flight on JAL. The economy seat was spacious (though recline a bit limited) which allowed some sleep. Service was impecable and polite, and catering was generous. IFE selection, though not as much variety as the likes of SQ/EK etc, is sufficient for the mid-haul. Certainly a very good international flight experience on JAL.
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