Review of Japan Airlines flight Shanghai Tokyo in Business

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL872
Class Business
Seat 7A
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 03:00
Take-off 18 Sep 18, 09:00
Arrival at 18 Sep 18, 13:00
JL 157 reviews
By 2081
Published on 5th November 2018
Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. This is the remnants of a trip that was mangled by “Super Typhoon” Mangkhut, cancelled, and then resurrected on a whim. I'll spare you the details of my fretting and weather watching in the days leading up to departure but suffice it to say they were abundant. I canceled my original award ticket and the entire trip for that matter. Until I resurrected it the next day.

Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:

Delta Air Lines, LAX-PVG, A350-900, Business, Delta Sky Club T2, NRSA

Japan Airlines, PVG-NRT, 787-8, Business, VIP Lounge, Alaska Mileage Plan (This report)
Japan Airlines, NRT-LAX, 777-300ER, First, JAL First Lounge (Plus bonus Qantas LAX F Lounge), Alaska Mileage Plan

Check in and a trip to VIP Lounge #36….or #39….or?

Terminal 1 at Shanghai Pudong airport houses mostly Sky Team Airlines and a couple One World and non-alliance carriers. I used to think T2 was the nicer of the two terminals but I think they are both equally average.

photo 20180918_071635

Check in with JAL was fast and friendly.

photo 20180918_071533photo 20180918_071628

I don't really know what lounge I was in. I think it was probably #39 as it wasn't the MU #36 lounge, I walked past that one on the way in. There was a person stationed before the elevator to the lounges but I didn't stop to check in with them, I assumed the agent was there if you needed assistance.

photo 20180918_082446photo 20180918_082450

The lounge was far nicer than expected. It was quite large with many different seating options including private cubicles There were several beverage and snack stations and a cooked to order noodle bar. Let's have look around.

photo 20180918_074852
photo 20180918_074859
photo 20180918_080021
photo 20180918_080034
photo 20180918_080045
photo 20180918_080055
photo 20180918_080058
photo 20180918_080138
photo 20180918_081046

The highlight of the food and beverage offerings was the noodle bar with made to order noodles and an assortment of dumplings available.

photo 20180918_074936
photo 20180918_075037
photo 20180918_075154
photo 20180918_075159
photo 20180918_075202

I requested the shredded pork noodle soup and picked a plate of kimchi and BBQ pork. All of the items were perfectly fine. I can eat noodle soup for all of my meals so I'm a happy camper when a noodle bar is available.

photo 20180918_075425photo 20180918_075429

A look at the other food and beverage stations.

No one will confuse this lounge with The Pier in Hong Kong but it did exceed my expectations for a contract lounge at a Chinese airport. It may be faint praise but it's something other than a complaint.


Boarding was organized and in typical Oneworld fashion half of the passengers are in the premium lane.

photo 20180918_082721photo 20180918_083224photo 20180918_083401

This 787-8 featured the older style angle-flat J seats.

photo 20180918_083746
photo cropseat

photo 20180918_083901

I like the bulkhead, seat 7A, in this configuration as there is plenty of space to get up from the window seat even if the seat next to you is fully reclined. The engine and wing views are excellent too.

photo 20180918_083908photo 20180918_083917photo 20180918_085434

A look at the seat controls, IFE remote, stored IFE screen, and headphones.

Service was excellent starting from the greeting at the door and including a personal greeting by name from the purser. The menu was already positioned in the seat pocket.

photo 20180918_090259
photo 20180918_090411
photo 20180918_090415
photo 20180918_090419
photo 20180918_090422
photo 20180918_090435
photo 20180918_090446
photo 20180918_090449
photo 20180918_090454
photo 20180918_090457
photo 20180918_090514

In an unusual twist of fate we departed PVG on time with no ATC shenanigans.

I deployed the IFE and moving map as service was beginning.

Out over the East China Sea.

photo 20180918_094508photo 20180918_094515

The quintessential oshibori is delivered warm and fragrant.

photo 20180918_094800

Looking across the aisle from 7a.

photo 20180918_094636

The meal was delivered with the beverage of my choosing, the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve. There was not a separate bar service.

photo 20180918_101129

The presentation of the meal is excellent and the variety of flavors and textures are a hallmark of Japanese cuisine. There's Yuba and okra with shrimp, fruit, pickles, shrimp paste and veggie roll and grilled chicken, stuffed shiitake, eel, and smoked salmon. I enjoyed a taste of each item and found some to be more favorable than others.

The main for the Japanese selection was steamed white fish and mushroom rice. The fish was remarkable tender and the yuzu chili sauce was a nice enhancement to an otherwise mild fish.

photo 20180918_101137

Dessert was offered and I accepted a mango mouse.

photo 20180918_103136photo 20180918_103142

Overall the meal was of good quality and certainly more interesting than something I would expect on a flight in the US at breakfast time.

I made a trip to the lav after breakfast. It is spacious and well appointed.

A look around the cabin at cruise.

photo 20180918_111353photo 20180918_111907

Soon we were starting the decent into Narita.

The flight touched down on time and we taxied to the terminal 2 satellite and parked next to a Nok Scoot 777 bound for DMK.

photo 20180918_120340photo 20180918_120342photo 20180918_120401
See more


Japan Airlines

Cabin crew8.5

Lounge #69


Shanghai - PVG


Tokyo - NRT



The Ground Service: Check in was quick and courteous.

The Lounge: Expectations were exceeded by virtue of being quite low. I was pleasantly surprised by the lounge in terms of varied and ample seating as well as a good selection of food including made to order noodle dishes.

The Cabin: The seat on this 787-8 is a dated previous generation J seat. It's perfectly fine for this type of mission, day time short flight, but I would not enjoy a long haul flight in this product.

The Crew: Kind, generous, and gracious service was in abundance as had bee my experience flying with Japan Airlines.

The Food and Beverage: Above average here in that there was interesting option on a <3 hour breakfast flight. Not every flavor or texture in Japanese cuisine agrees with my culinary sensibilities but on the whole I was quite pleased.

Overall: Japan Airlines is very consistent in offering a high quality experience in their premium cabins. While the hard product on this aircraft doesn't represent the best JAL has to offer I still enjoyed my time on board.

Thank you for reading and happy flying.

Information on the route Shanghai (PVG) Tokyo (NRT)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 8 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Shanghai (PVG) → Tokyo (NRT).


The airline with the best average rating is Japan Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 48 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 473909 by
    ThomasDutch BRONZE 597 Comments

    Nice report :). and btw you are definitely correct on the lounge you were using!

  • Comment 473941 by
    pokcay 68 Comments

    Thanks for the report! Trying out JAL J class is one of my bucket list. Their food presentation is always on point!

  • Comment 473942 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6063 Comments

    Thanks for another beautiful report. Glad you were able to make the trip work despite the WX issues. JAL, along with CX and QF are some of the main reasons I stick with oneworld. I'm also pleasantly surprised by that lounge...whatever number it is, lol. the seats are great for regional flights like this, but a TPAC would not be pleasant and wouldn't be the kind of experience you'd expect from JAL. Though I don't think they're running many of these 788s with the old seats on 2 routes maybe? Maybe more, no idea.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 474064 by
      socalnow AUTHOR 978 Comments

      Hi Kevin and thank you for the note.

      " JAL, along with CX and QF are some of the main reasons I stick with oneworld."
      -High praise that occasional alliance flights make up for the misery of AA :P

      "Though I don't think they're running many of these 788s with the old seats on 2 routes maybe? Maybe more, no idea."
      -YVR and SAN last I checked. The new SEA flight will have the Apex. It's odd that a carrier as well regarded as JAL would send this configuration on a TPAC. Perhaps it's even more odd that a 787 ever saw these seats at all...

      Thanks again Kevin and happy flying.

      • Comment 474562 by
        KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6063 Comments

        "High praise that occasional alliance flights make up for the misery of AA :P"
        - Haha, I's kinda sad. Nevertheless, I'm keeping a close eye on UA as it seems they're actually improving, which I never thought possible, whereas AA has been stagnating after a few years of going in the right direction and it seems lately that they're having more and more service issues

        "YVR and SAN last I checked. The new SEA flight will have the Apex. It's odd that a carrier as well regarded as JAL would send this configuration on a TPAC"
        - Ah, that's what it is! I knew about SAN, but didn't know about YVR. I know they used to run these on miserable on such a long flight.

        "Perhaps it's even more odd that a 787 ever saw these seats at all"
        - It really is. JAL did a great thing by putting in 2-4-2 in Economy, but I don't know what they were thinking with the old angled lie flats on a brand new plane.

  • Comment 474150 by
    Rewardflying 493 Comments

    Hi Christian, as nice report as always.

    Nice lounge isn't it? PVG and PEK are opposite ends when it comes to lounges it seems.

    How'd you snag 7A? I thought they blocked those seats. Did you pre-assign or get it at checkin? Terrible seat for a new aircraft however. Looks they are finally changing San Diego to apex from these angle flats early next year.

    Glad to see you got the Japanese meal, now you need to try international! Got a kick out of their monthly beef preparations.

    happy reward flying!

    • Comment 475864 by
      socalnow AUTHOR 978 Comments

      Hi Mark and thank you for the note.

      "Nice lounge isn't it? PVG and PEK are opposite ends when it comes to lounges it seems."
      -Color me surprised. I was not expecting a perfectly respectable business class lounge. The lounge JAL uses in PEK is of very poor quality. PEK does get the better JAL seat...

      "How'd you snag 7A? "
      -I went on theJAL site and selected it. I have been able to select it on prior trips too.

      "Glad to see you got the Japanese meal, now you need to try international!"
      -Always go with the airline "local" cuisine in J. In F that's not my policy...

      Thanks again Mark and happy flying next week with QR and SQ!!!

Login to post a comment.