Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. In this series I will present a really fun round-the-world party including Lufthansa, JAL, and ANA. While these are all familiar and sought after experiences for me I was able to bring a friend along this time and groom a new airline geek and Flight Report follower. We visited some fantastic lounges, saw some wonderful cities and were spoiled with culinary delights and divine intoxicants the entire way.
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
Check in was quick end efficient. We were able to secure window/aisle seats that are next to each other.
We made our way to the BGS (not so) Premium Lounge but I didn't document the experience. It was rather dreadful but it gave us a chance to drink some water and fill out our Japanese Immigration and Customs cards.
We arrived at the gate well into boarding and were able to head straight aboard.
This was my first time on an aircraft featuring the Apex Suites and I was happy to get a window seat as it appears to be one of the more popular J seats out there.
The cabin is clean and handsome. I'm immediately taken by the size of the IFE screens. Impressive.
Here's 9K, in the last row of the J cabin. The privacy is great after you raise the divider between 9H. The space to get in and out is a little tight and the shoulder space is somewhat constricting when compared with reverse herringbone configurations. Lake many J seats storage space is not plentiful.
Mark is in 9H.
Slippers and a light blanket are on the seat.
We are greeted by the flight attendant taking care of our section. She is absolutely adorable and addresses us by name and offers a bow. While oshibori is offered on the ground beverages are not.
Boarding is complete but some weather in the area has caused a delay. At least that is how it was presented to us byt he flight deck. One never really knows with the notorious Chinese ATC. I took the opportunity to put my seat flat and take a much needed nap. I woke up an hour later to the aircraft pushing back from the gate. I found the bed to be sufficiently comfortable and appreciated the larger foot well then some other J beds offer.
Taxi was short and soon we were aloft and eventually above the weather.
I got up to use the lav before meal service began.
Back at my seat I deployed the tray table.
Some music,moving map, and window IFE before meal time.
The menu for tonight's hop to Haneda.
The bar service was first and I requested Champagne and water. A rice cracker snack was served with the beverages.
I selected the Japanese set for dinner. It's a lovely presentation of flavors and textures. The Japanese pickles, eel, and beef main were all excellent as was the miso soup.
Ice cream and green tea for dessert.
A short nap after dinner and we were on approach to HND.
Bonus: JAL Maintenance Facility Tour and Sky Museum - Haneda
Bonus : Click here displayhide
With a bit of luck and the use of Google Translate I was able to book Mark and I on the JAL Maintenance Facility Tour. All dates were completely booked but I checked back frequently and 2 spaces appeared on a date and time that we could use. Getting to the facility was easy using the monorail that runs to Haneda Airport. The tour and access were outstanding and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a stay in Tokyo. The entire tour is conducted in Japanese however it's still worth it to non-Japanese speakers simply for the access to the hangers and tarmac.
We arrived slightly ahead of our tour time and presented our emailed confirmations to the staff at the lobby desk. We were both issued a colored lanyard (pink in our case) with a guest card attached. There is a QR code on the card that you must scan upon entry and exit.
After scanning and obtaining entrance to the facility we were given a room number to report to. There would be presentation and then time to enjoy the museum before we go to the hangers. The presentation was about 30 minutes. The presentor was a Japanese woman in a JAL uniform and she went over many of the operational branches of JAL from engineering/maintenance, flight ops., IFS, ramp/fueling, fleet, etc. There was an English language brochure to follow along but the slides on the screen were sufficient for me to understand.
The museum has a beautiful collection of models and uniforms with an excellent chronology of JAL's evolution.
There are disused passenger seats on display as well.
There are also various other exhibits based on the functional units that makeup an airline operation.
There was an opportunity to don a JAL uniform for a picture.
We reassembled into the conference room and were broken into smaller groups. Each group was assigned a guide. We had a fantastic guide who was extremely animated and passionate in his presentation of the tour. He led us into a hanger and on to a catwalk high above the floor. Again, all of his narration was in Japanese but the views were excellent.
The first hanger we visited housed a 767-300ER and 737-800.
After a short talk we followed the guide down a window enclosed elevated walkway that led form one hanger to the next. This time a 777-300ER was waiting.
Again a talk ensued but I was just enjoying being this close to this remarkable machine. When the talking stopped we were led to a wall with rows of filing cabinets. The tour guide opened a drawer and began issuing hard hats to all of the guests. Could it be that we were going to be granted access to the floor??? Yes!
We gathered on the hanger floor were we, presumably, discussed the 777. I was still in awe that we were permitted this close.
Our guide noticed a crew pushing a 767-300ER out of the next bay of the hanger and excitedly motioned us to follow him over and we escorted the 767 out onto the ramp like a group of wing walkers.
Standing on the ramp just outside the hanger we were treated to some great views and a further talk. At this point on of the other tour staff who had been serving as a spotter for our group (presumably to make sure no one wondered off) approached us and began speaking English. He asked if we could understand the guide and we let him know we could not. So he took it upon himself to give a private tour and answer questions. It was a really generous gesture. Based on my questions he assumed I worked in the industry and was quite surprised when I informed him I was simply an enthusiast. He let us know that this hanger was for major fault repair like an engine swap and not routine maintenance. The JAL engine shop is at Narita to if an engine goes bad at Haneda the replacement will be trucked across town.
We got a closer look at the 777-300ER before retracing our steps and ending the tour.
Despite the language barriers the tour is an absolute must for any commercial aviation enthusiast. It's free of charge as well.
BGS Premier Lounge
Beijing - PEK
Tokyo - HND
The Ground Service: N/A.
The Lounge: It's not a pleasant space. The furniture is quite worn and does not appear clean. The food on offer was not appealing so I did not partake in anything. There was cold water and beer.
The Cabin: I'm a fan of the Apex seat. The privacy in the window seat is fantastic, the screen is large with high resolution, and the bed length and width are sufficient.
The Crew: Virtually flawless, as expected. I can't comment on how the delay was handled as I slept through almost all of it. I assume updates were given but cannot confirm.
The Food and Beverage: An ample dinner was served featuring a great variety of tastes, colors and textures.
Overall: The Apex seat on the JAL 787 is an an excellent way to fly. I would not hesitate to select this aircraft/cinfiguration for a long haul flight.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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