Review of Japan Airlines flight Tokyo New York in First

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL6
Class First
Seat 2G
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 12:01
Take-off 21 Sep 18, 11:13
Arrival at 22 Sep 18, 10:14
JL   #13 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 134 reviews
hometoyyz
By SILVER 1579
Published on 16th January 2019

Introduction


Hello, Flight-Report.com community, and welcome to my latest whirlwind adventure to Asia, featuring a healthy dose of Cathay Pacific First Class, a bit of Business Class and First Class with JAL, and brief experiments with Porter Airlines economy class and Delta regional jet.

With this report, the much-delayed finale to this series, we finally bring this epic home and get ready for a new year of flights.

I apologize if this report lacks some of the vivid descriptions many of my reports feature. I’m unfortunately writing significantly after the fact, and the memories have faded somewhat. But it’s still a story worth telling. So let’s tell it.


The Rundown



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Background & Booking


We covered the booking of this one in the background of the MNL-NRT sector, so let’s get right into it. Check out the previous flight-report for the full story of how this ended up getting booked. It’s a bit of an adventure in its own right.


When last we saw our intrepid flight-reporter…


As the previous flight-report came to a close, I had just settled in for a night’s sleep at the First Cabin Haneda capsule hotel after flying up from Manila. Quite the experience….. I recommend trying it sometime.

I set an alarm for 6:00 am, but ended up waking up a little before 5:00 am, so I ended up getting about seven hours’ sleep in my capsule. It was a bit early, but I might as well get going, I figure.

That means I have to get to the international terminal, which is accomplished by a very short bus ride. The bus is easily found right outside from First Cabin, and in fact, there’s one at the bus stop when I show up. Score! 


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While that’s quick and efficient, it also means that I’m here almost an hour before check-in opens. The international terminal is pretty dead quiet at this hour, the only exceptions are a few fellow early-arrivers, and a smattering of people trying to get some sleep in various public areas.   

Unfortunately, one of the things not open at this hour is JAL's check-in.


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So it’s time to explore the landside of the international terminal and kill a little time. My first stop is an attempt to enjoy the fantastic observation deck at the terminal. Unfortunately, it’s a little less fantastic this rainy September morning. The rain and cold combined with a pretty quiet apron at this early hour mean no repeat of my previous Haneda avgeekout.


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So back inside we go. Fortunately, Haneda’s international terminal offers some pretty interesting spaces, including shops and restaurants in a charming Japanese small town feeling area, and a recreation of the icon Nihonbashi bridge which is all but mandatory to photograph.


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The Nihonbashi also offers a fantastic view over the departures level of Haneda, which is still pretty quiet. Other airlines are checking in, but all is still pretty quiet at JAL.


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]Check-n and security


Minutes before 6:00, a group of agents arrives en masse to staff First Class check-in. I’m about third in line by the time I join the lineup, but it still takes less than five minutes to get my boarding pass, get the classy red JAL First Class luggage tags attached to my bags. Unfortunately, all the window seats are taken, so I’ll have to content myself with 2G. Bother.

Security doesn't look  like it will be a problem at this hour.


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The sign is true to its word. The entirety of security and immigration took less than five minutes to complete, and I was airside in the terminal by about 6:10.


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JAL First Class Lounge HND


JAL’s First Class Lounge at Haneda was pretty quiet by the time I showed up, having opened just minutes earlier. But I was somewhat hungry and looking forward to enjoying the facilities.


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After checking in, the first thing one notices is a bank of lockers for storing any carry-ons one doesn’t intend to use while staying. Since they’re not precisely packed at this hour, I grab one.


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 The lounge unfolds off this central corridor — most of the lounge areas on the left, and washrooms and other facilities on the right.


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Telephone cubbies. 


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And a business area. 


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Into the main seating areas of the lounge — it’s a pretty large space and appears to have the pretty standard JAL lounge feel. Gotta love those seats long the window for spotting opportunities. 


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More seating and the dining room area. 


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FIDS and magazines on offer. 


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More seating on the far end of the lounge, past the buffet. 


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Speaking of the buffet…. It’s a pretty extensive offering available this morning, although it lacks the awesome NRT lounge feature of sushi chefs preparing awesome little tidbits in front of you.  



I start breakfast with a sampling of various simple goodies, accompanied by my guilty pleasure Japanese soft drink, Pocori Sweat. All was pretty good. 


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Nobody at the chef station as of yet, so it’s time to sample a little bit more — a very JAL combination with some JAL beef curry, miso soup, and the outlier, a scone.


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One of the real gems of the lounge is the area called the RED Suite. Set at the far end of the lounge, it’s a lounge-within-a-lounge that features a lot of dark wood, and fascinating JAL memorabilia from throughout its long history. There’s also a games room, some seating areas, a shoe shine service, and… oh yes… their high-end champagne and sake offerings. An enjoyable place to check out and grab a drink — and it would seem to be an excellent place to sit if you want decent privacy. While there’s a fair bit of foot traffic with people coming in to grab a drink or two, not many people seemed to sit down here.



Back in the central part of the lounge, the chef is at his station and is preparing breakfast galettes.


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Who am I to say no? It’s a lovely little treat and goes so nicely with the Laurent Perrier.


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Having had more than my share of breakfast, it’s time to grab a shower — I figured the First Class Lounge would be a better place to do that than the shared shower area at First Cabin. It’s immediately available and is a beautiful, tastefully designed space if nothing overwhelming. The water pressure and temperature are perfect.


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Feeling refreshed, I grab a seat by the windows and putter a bit online. WiFi is free and fast. About 9:00 am, my eye catches a 77W being towed towards me, and towards the gate from which we’re supposed to be departing.


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Yep, sure enough, that’s my ride alright.

A few minutes before ten, I decide it’s time to take the short walk to the gate and get ready to head for home.

While the JAL First Lounge in Haneda probably comes in a nidge behind its Narita sibling in my heart, mostly due to the lack of sushi, it’s still an excellent lounge in the upper tier of First Class lounges, if somewhat behind some of the world leaders.

Down at the gate, boarding for First Class is called at about 10:15, and away we go!


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The Flight Report


Flight: JL6
From: Tokyo Haneda (HND)
To: New York Kennedy (JFK)
Date: 9/21/2018
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: JA742J
Seat: 2G
ATD (STD): 11:13 (10:40)
ATA ( STA): 10:14 (10:35)

Before I get into flight-report, I’d like to discuss the elephant in the room, at least in my mind. While everything was objectively good on this flight, for some reason it just didn’t connect with me in terms of memories the way other similar First Class experiences have. I can’t quite put my finger on why — as looking back at it, I remember things fondly, but it just didn’t leave the same impression. I can’t point to any significant faults, but a big part of the reason it’s taken so long for me to get this written is that I just don’t feel as strongly about it — good or bad — as I have other experiences.

Now that that’s out there, let’s get into it, shall we?

For this flight, I’m seated in 2G, the middle-right aisle seat in the second (and last) row of First Class. We were completely full at eight of eight for this flight.


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While it’s not fully enclosed, JAL’s First suites have a nice enclosure and offer good privacy. They’re a big, comfortable leather seat that you sink into. Quite a nice seat.

And privacy is decent — 2K is the only other passenger I could see from my seat, and I could barely see her at all.


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On the table in front of the monitor is a handsome folio containing menus, shopping details, U.S. arrival forms and the code for free WiFi offered to First Class passengers.


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Slippers, and amenity kit, as well as the first of many cubbies located along the inside wall of the suite.


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Moving back, JAL offers full-size Bose noise-cancelling headphones in First Class, which are of course excellent. Behind that, there’s the safety card and magazine, and a little area for drinks.


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Further still, a pair of storage cubbies, and seat controls. The cubbies contain the wired remote for the IFE, which is definitely necessary because that display is a long way away.



Finally, charging and USB ports are located in the front cubby. 


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Legroom shot and a look at the “foot well.” Lots of space, and good storage too.


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The display is large and offers excellent resolution. 


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As I explore my seat, I’m greeted in turn by flight attendants. Nakano would end up leading service for my aisle and was warm, friendly and polished, if not overly chatty. Sort of exemplary excellent Japanese-style service. Tanaka would also introduce herself, although I didn’t get to know her very well. And finally, Hagihara, the in-flight service leader for this flight, a bit more senior to the other two, but very charming.

Nakano offers a pre-departure drink, suggesting champagne. Again, who am I to say no?


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 As we settle in, let’s take a look at the menu. I’ve already seen it on JAL’s website, but just for reference on what’s about to come.

Drinks.



And then food. 



The amenity kit is different from what I’ve had on previous JAL F flights — a simple fabric pouch instead of the familiar Samsonite-branded hard case.


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And the contents, which are nothing special. 


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 About 10:40, Hagihara makes the most Japanese announcement ever, apologizing for a delay due to baggage loading. Oh great, how long is this gonna be?

“We expect to depart in about two minutes.”

Alrighty then. It actually ends up being more like five minutes before the safety video rolls — but still, we probably didn’t need an apology.


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Sitting in an aisle seat in the middle means no departure shots for me, so I entertain myself instead by choosing my first film selection for the flight. Not bad, really.


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Once we cross 10,000 feet, Nakano is back offering a hot towel and asking for drink selections. I ask for some more of the Cristal and a glass of sparkling water with ice. Both are promptly delivered, accompanied by some tasty amuse bouche tidbits.



 For lunch, I request the Japanese menu but ask if I can have the caviar service from the Western set first. Nakano says she’ll have to go check — I guess with the cabin full, there’s a chance all the caviar could be going out to passengers who requested the Western menu.

But she returns a couple of minutes later with the requested goodies. While it’s a small portion, I like the JAL presentation — an ideal little sample with lovely presentation of the onions, chives and egg accoutrements.


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Lunch continues full-speed ahead, with Nakano replacing dishes as I complete them, but not feeling rushed at all. The appetizer course, which is a collection of six little samples, comes out next and is always a highlight for me. The eel and the alfonsino and burdock with truffle sauce were my favourites here, but everything was very good.



Up next, the soup — not bad, but I’d prefer miso. Of course, that’s to come. 


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That’s followed by the smoked bonito and the crabmeat with salmon roe. Again, quite pleasant.



And then we get the main course, simmered duck, which is quite delicious as well. I was given the choice of regular rice or vegetable rice simmered in duck stock, and I have to choose the latter. It proves to be a great decision, as it’s quite flavourful, perfectly prepared, and the “vegetables” are predominantly mushrooms, which works very well. The dish is accompanied by Japanese pickets and miso soup.



This has been quite the feast, but it comes to an end with a dessert trio of mascarpone mousse, adzuki beans, and a couple of very rich truffles. I request a cup of green tea along with it.



Finally, a bottle of water is offered, with Nakano asking if I would like anything else. Who can I resist? I request a bit of the Hibiki, because whiskey. Say it with me, everyone — for relaxing times, make it Suntory time.


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As I watch my movie, Nakano appears again, offering me the skincare kit, which is separate from the amenity kit in this case and includes products from Shiseido that I will ultimately not end up using but still have somewhere in my office.


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No flight-report is complete without unnecessary lav shots, so here’s a look at one of the F lavs at the front of the cabin. Other than the fancy Japanese toilet, and a few amenities, it’s pretty simple.



The other First Class lav is a bit more elaborate, with a bench and raised floor that can be put down for changing. Which brings to mind the fact that pyjamas have not been offered. Strange. Is JAL doing away with these, or have they not been loaded? The woman in 2K is the only passenger wearing JAL PJs. Did she bring them with her from a previous flight, or did she ask and receive? I mean to ask Nakano about it, but forget to do so.


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I love that Japanese airlines post this info panel with flight aircraft details. I wonder if the plane got ferried from Narita for this flight, or what its story is.


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The crew has set up a little mini-bar area next to door 1L. 


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 With my movie done, I make my next selection. I’d not heard of this before, but enjoyed Mackenzie Davis in Halt and Catch Fire, so figure I’ll give it a shot, and it’s quite enjoyable, even though watching Charlize Theron play the ageing mother who’s struggling to regain a youthful outlook doesn’t exactly make me feel young.


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By this point, we’re rapidly approaching the International Date Line and about to back in time.


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 I request Nakano to set my bed up before I start the movie, but miss the opportunity to ask about pyjamas. With the mattress pad in place, it is, of course, quite comfortable.


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When the movie ends, we’re coming up on Alaska. 


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I’m not feeling sleepy yet, so one more film. 


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 When it’s over, I slip into a couple of hours of sleep, taking up as we’re over the western midwest. 


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Shortly after I wake, Nakano approaches and asks if I’d like anything to eat before our arrival into JFK. I request the Japanese Set Plate and have a cheese plate to follow it, and this time, I will not forget to try the Queen of Blue tea, having read so much about it.

I’m not a huge tea fan, but the Queen of Blue is quite enjoyable. I’m glad to have had the experience.


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The Japanese Set Plate is up next. The Waygu beef is delightful, and I’m tempted to ask for a second helping, but in the end, I don’t. The side dishes are nothing special.



The cheese plate is a lovely presentation, with interesting accoutrements. 


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With my pre-arrival meal over and movie both over, I decide it’s time to check out the free WiFi. It’s easy to connect, and speed is decent. Good enough for a corporate shot, that’s for sure.


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 Shortly after my meal is done, Nakano stops by to offer her thanks for me flying with them and offers me a couple of chocolates as a farewell gift.


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 Arrival into New York is a bit ahead of schedule, and the taxi is pretty short by JFK standards, bringing this trip in JAL F to an end. 


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Arrival and transit in JFK


 We were quickly let off the plane, thanks for flying with JAL, and in the loose at JFK. We arrived very close to customs, and with Global Entry by way of Nexus, it was only about 15 minutes for me to get through customs and get over from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 on the train. Not bad at all!


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I was already checked in for my Delta flight back to Toronto, booked on a one-way reward ticket in economy and upgraded to First Class at the five-day window, so it only took me about another seven minutes to get through the PreCheck lane and airside at JFK T4.


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I had a few hours before my flight back to Toronto, so I decided it was time to head to the lounge.


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It was a pleasant September afternoon, so I killed a good amount of time on the SkyDeck, which was mostly private, and of course, offered fantastic spotting opportunities.


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Getting home


 Unfortunately, my 5:00-ish flight home to YYZ was delayed repeatedly by a mechanical problem with the CRJ-900 on which we were flying, and we ended up leaving about 7:45, getting into Toronto about 9:00. Other than that unfortunate and uncharacteristic delay, it was a pretty standard Delta Connection flight. I had a tequila and Bloody Mary Mix, and something from the snack basket. That’s about all there is to say about this.

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Verdict

Japan Airlines

8.2/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering8.5

JAL First Class Lounge

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services8.5

Tokyo - HND

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

New York - JFK

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

I don’t know what it was about this flight, but it just never “clicked” for me. The food was good. The service was good. The seat was good. Was it that it was coming at the end of a busy week of travel with some really big highs? Was it too much in too short a time? Was it the non-window seat? The missing pajamas? I can’t quite put a thumb on why I don’t look back at this flight as warmly as I do my other First Class adventures. All in all, it was a pretty darned good experience, and there’s nothing I’d rate particularly low or big misses in terms of service. And yet, it’s just not there for me.

Oh well. You can’t win them all. I don’t look back on this flight badly… but it lacks the fondness that other flights in this series and other, similar series have for me.

Despite my puzzling feelings towards this flight, JAL First remains an absolutely world-class experience. Try it out for yourself, and I’m pretty sure you’ll end up with more positive memories than I seem to have of this one.

Related

13 Comments

  • Comment 484300 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4845 Comments

    Hi HometoYYZ, awesome report as always!

    I have no desire to ever try a capsule hotel. I'm not particularly claustrophobic, but I think I'd develop it! It's good that Haneda has so much stuff landside, unlike most airports. Keeps you from getting totally bored out of your mind as you wait for check-in to open. Too bad it was rainy and there wasn't much to see on the observation deck at that hour.

    "After checking in, the first thing one notices is a bank of lockers for storing any carry-ons"
    - Which doubles as a capsule hotel in the evenings ?

    "Telephone cubbies."
    - Every lounge should have these! I would be so thankful to never again have my lounge experience tarnished by a self-important Jack@$$ bragging loudly on the phone about what a master negotiator he is--we've all experienced "that guy"

    The HND First Lounge looks really big and pleasantly uncrowded. The buffet looks good, though as you mention, it's lacking the NRT sushi bar. And all JAL F lounges are lacking proper table service, which really should be standard for true Intl F lounges. I will say I'm impressed they had Vietnamese spring rolls, yum! You don't see that too often in lounges.

    It's odd how some flights can be good and still leave us with a feeling of indifference or lack of excitement. I've experienced this a few times and usually end up not writing a report--of course, in my experience, this usually happens on boring domestic F flights, not JAL F...haha. Honestly, I think part of it is that, for those of us who fly a lot and are generally familiar with products and services a carrier offers, we tend to have certain expectations and when a flight doesn't 100% meet those expectations, it can leave you with a feeling of...meh, something's missing here. In you situation, I think not being able to get a window seat would have been the one thing that put a damper on the experience. It would just stick in the back of my mind like "Ugh, this flight could have been that much better!"

    That being said JAL F is a solid high-end F product and you rated the experience accordingly, and fairly!

    • Comment 484309 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts!

      “I have no desire to ever try a capsule hotel. I'm not particularly claustrophobic, but I think I'd develop it!”
      - I can respect that. It’s not for everyone. I found it quite easy to get adjusted to, but I’m a pretty good sleeper (except when I’m not.) I’d say, though, if you can sleep in a lay-flat seat in a plane, you can probably sleep in a capsule hotel. Now the shared facilities, I’m less picky about. Especailly having to figure out the esoterica (to a North American) of figuring out what footwear to wear where.

      “Which doubles as a capsule hotel in the evenings”
      - I’d say we’ll know within six months whether anyone in RM at JAL reads this site.... ?

      “Every lounge should have these! I would be so thankful to never again have my lounge experience tarnished by a self-important Jack@$$ bragging loudly on the phone about what a master negotiator he is--we've all experienced "that guy"”
      - Oh man, do I agree. I think it’s less a concern in Japan than in the land of the dudebro salesguy in North America. But yeah, we need these in lounges over here. Sadly, we seem to be moving away somewhat from having them. It’s too bad. Even in the tranquil surrounds of the LH FCT, I found value in ducking into one of these for thirty minutes when I had a call to take, or needed to concentrate on something for a while.

      “And all JAL F lounges are lacking proper table service, which really should be standard for true Intl F lounges.”
      - I think it’s pretty much the same over at NH. They’ve got the made to order noodles, although not table service, while JL has the chef stations with either sushi at NRT or galettes and whatever they offer the rest of the day at HND.

      “It's odd how some flights can be good and still leave us with a feeling of indifference or lack of excitement. I've experienced this a few times and usually end up not writing a report”
      - The thought crossed my mind, believe me. But I’d already done most of the trip, so I figured I should see it through. Although actually, spending the time to write this yesterday somewhat rehabilitated the experience in my mind. I still won’t look at it glowingly as I have other flights — say the BOS-HKG earlier in this series — but going back through it systematically for the FR made me think “Y’know, this was actually pretty good.” Some of the dark clouds have lifted.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you flight-reporting as therapy.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to continuing your mileage run adventure. Happy flying!

      • Comment 484350 by
        KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4845 Comments

        Yes! Flight-Report really is therapeutic! The act of writing a report and reliving a flight during the process, and then having those memories out there to look back on is always therapeutic for my AvGeek soul ❤✈

  • Comment 484304 by
    atco SILVER 112 Comments

    Hello Hometoyyz,

    Another wonderfully comprehensive and superbly written report.

    I wonder if its was the lack of the window seat that made this flight drift off into OK rather than great territory. I go a bit stir crazy without a window seat, as happened once on a KUL-LHR flight and it was amazing how much the lack of the window affected me. Sometimes I just like to gaze out of the window for long periods and of course for takeoff and landing there's always something happening outside.
    The missing PJ's seems like a bit of a service fail there, that should be pretty standard for an International F cabin. Perhaps it wasn't any one thing but a combination of lots of small things that got to you?

    Regarding the aircraft, I don't intimately know JAL's schedule but its possible if they only have a limited number of International long hauls out of Haneda that rather than basing or ferrying aircraft around they operate a pattern something like this:
    NRT-JFK-HND-JFK-NRT

    The Japanese airlines are an interesting dilemma for me. While their is a constant stream of the highest praise for their F experience I'm not sure I'd enjoy it that much. I don't like Japanese food (I suspect my rather basic and pre-historic food likes are going to be a source of constant amusement for everyone here!) so I'm not sure how much I would get out of it. The highlight of both ANA and JAL always seems to be the Japanese meal feast. I'm not sure those rather horrible looking ANA boxes appeal to me much. Would it still be worth experiencing JAL without the Japanese meal course?

    Thanks for another awesome report, looking forward to your next adventure!

    • Comment 484310 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Atco,

      Thanks for the kind praise, and for your thoughts. Much appreciated.

      “I wonder if its was the lack of the window seat that made this flight drift off into OK rather than great territory.”
      - Funny that both you and Kevin zoom in on this immediately. I think that may be part of it. Although I suspect your latter theory of a few little things adding up in the end is closer to the actual answer.

      “Regarding the aircraft, I don't intimately know JAL's schedule but its possible if they only have a limited number of International long hauls out of Haneda that rather than basing or ferrying aircraft around they operate a pattern something like this:
      NRT-JFK-HND-JFK-NRT”
      - You’re probably right, actually. I forgot that when they moved the second NRT-JFK frequency to HND, they upgauged it to 77W so they’ve got two planes with F going to JFK every day. Used to be a 787. So that would make sense.

      “Would it still be worth experiencing JAL without the Japanese meal course?”
      - While I think a lot of the magic is the exquisite Japanese meal, I would still recommend the experience without it. The western meals have always looked good to me too, I’ve just tended to opt for the Japanese because it’s such a unique experience if you’re coming from a typical western meal style. But on JL, I’ve stuggled becuase the western meal sometimes includes options for a nice Waygu beef steak, which would seem to be right up your alley.

      Beyon the meal, the Japanese airlines in F especially, and in J as well, feature pretty fantastic service from very polished crews, great seats (particularly JL), solid IFE, and a pretty good overall experience. But if you don’t care for sushi, don’t prioritize NRT over HND for departures. If you can stand sushi at all, try for NRT, becausde the fresh-made sushi there is amazing.

      Thanks for your feedback, and happy flying!

  • Comment 484377 by
    Rewardflying SILVER 447 Comments

    Hi Hometoyyz, nice report, great photos. Sad you didn't think it was one of the best FC experiences to be flown. You must try again!

    My first stop is an attempt to enjoy the fantastic observation deck at the terminal.

    -Too bad North American airports don't treat avgeeks with the same respect!

    While the JAL First Lounge in Haneda probably comes in a nidge behind its Narita sibling in my heart, mostly due to the lack of sushi, it’s still an excellent lounge in the upper tier of First Class lounges, if somewhat behind some of the world leaders.

    -Beautiful lounge. It's on my list to visit. The Red Suite looks pretty cool.

    For lunch, I request the Japanese menu but ask if I can have the caviar service from the Western set first.

    -Proper JAL ordering etiquette. You and I need to teach Socalnow how to do this. He always goes western.

    I wonder if the plane got ferried from Narita for this flight, or what its story is.

    -They might do what ANA does in Chicago, Their morning flight is from HND and returns as the morning flight to NRT. Then the evening flight from NRT returns as the evening flight to HND.

    i’m not a huge tea fan, but the Queen of Blue is quite enjoyable.

    -Love this tea!

    Thanks for the report (and fond memories!)

    • Comment 484413 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi RF, thanks for stopping by!

      “Sad you didn't think it was one of the best FC experiences to be flown. You must try again!”
      - If you insist….

      “Proper JAL ordering etiquette. You and I need to teach Socalnow how to do this. He always goes western.”
      - If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. And I suppose, a chacun son gout. I’m pretty sure the western is excellent too, but I really love the approach of little samples of all kinds of things I probably wouldn’t find myself eating in other situations.

      “They might do what ANA does in Chicago, Their morning flight is from HND and returns as the morning flight to NRT. Then the evening flight from NRT returns as the evening flight to HND.”
      - That would seem to make sense.

      Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and happy flying!

  • Comment 484426 by
    ISTFlyer GOLD 188 Comments

    Hi hometoyyz and thanks for sharing this report,

    -I have never flown JAL in the past so this was a great opportunity to discover the airline and have a thought which airline that I could use my BA Exec Avios when there would be enough miles to travel long haul premium. It's also nice that you were able to book this flight with AS miles with a quite low amount of tax.
    -The lounge experience was really better than I expected from JAL, I hope you enjoyed it, especially those food and beverage offerings that look delicious. I also liked the touch that they have luggage lockers at the lounge.
    - Even though the amenity kit from Etro seems like a business class amenity kit and the seat looks a bit old, it's nice to have a newer IFE system and a working wi-fi would give you a pleasant experience onboard. But, as you mentioned, a window seat could certainly improve your in-flight experience.
    - The best thing that I enjoyed was the meal services that offer two actual full course dishes and one actual refreshment dish which all looked delicious. Also the chocolate offering at the end was a great. I never think any European carrier doesn't have this much on any of their First Class routes. JAL is definitely offering a world-class service.
    - And, I would also like to mention that you were lucky to clear immigration in T1 ( with Global Entry ) and pass to T4 within 15 minutes. I have never arrived to T1 but I know friends that waited 3-4 hours to only pass the desks where fingerprints and photos are taken.

    Thanks for sharing this report and hope to see you in another one.

    • Comment 484508 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Eryorulmaz,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

      “I have never flown JAL in the past so this was a great opportunity to discover the airline and have a thought which airline that I could use my BA Exec Avios when there would be enough miles to travel long haul premium.”
      - I hope you drew a positive impression in spite of my ambivalence towards this flight. JL F is great. Although if you were to ask me of the F products you can book with Avios I’d make first on my list, I’d have to say CX.

      “The lounge experience was really better than I expected from JAL, I hope you enjoyed it, especially those food and beverage offerings that look delicious.”
      - The lounge was very good indeed, and everything tasted excellent. I’d like to check it out again for lunch or dinnertime, to see what the chef station has to offer then.

      “The best thing that I enjoyed was the meal services that offer two actual full course dishes and one actual refreshment dish which all looked delicious. Also the chocolate offering at the end was a great. I never think any European carrier doesn't have this much on any of their First Class routes. JAL is definitely offering a world-class service.”
      - I love the way the two Japanese airlines handle their Japanese meals in both First and Business, the way you get to sample a little bit of everything from their cuisine. And they certainly go way beyond the types of Japanese food to which I am typically exposed.

      “And, I would also like to mention that you were lucky to clear immigration in T1 ( with Global Entry ) and pass to T4 within 15 minutes.”
      - I know, right? I mention it because I thought it was a miracle. I made a note of it at the time and backed it up by checking my photos — the picture of the “We look forward to seeing you again” scene and the lobby of T4 are actually just 15 minutes apart. It’s remarkable for an airport the size and scale (and reputation) of JFK.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Comment 484885 by
    YGeorgeW SILVER 83 Comments

    Thanks for the report Hometoyyz!

    “Unfortunately, all the window seats are taken, so I’ll have to content myself with 2G. Bother.”
    -Is there no way to select your seat ahead of time?

    “Nakano offers a pre-departure drink, suggesting champagne. Again, who am I to say no?”
    -Which one was served on the ground? This looks like a fabulous choice of champagnes.

    “Alrighty then. It actually ends up being more like five minutes before the safety video rolls — but still, we probably didn’t need an apology.”
    -Gotta love Japan!

    “The other First Class lav is a bit more elaborate, with a bench and raised floor that can be put down for changing. Which brings to mind the fact that pyjamas have not been offered.”
    -How big were the lavatories, it actually looks a little cramped.

    “Lunch continues full-speed ahead, with Nakano replacing dishes as I complete them, but not feeling rushed at all.”
    -The meal looked fantastic! It’s almost like a 15-course tasting menu.

    “I don’t know what it was about this flight, but it just never “clicked” for me. The food was good. The service was good. The seat was good. Was it that it was coming at the end of a busy week of travel with some really big highs? Was it too much in too short a time? Was it the non-window seat? The missing pajamas? I can’t quite put a thumb on why I don’t look back at this flight as warmly as I do my other First Class adventures. All in all, it was a pretty darned good experience, and there’s nothing I’d rate particularly low or big misses in terms of service. And yet, it’s just not there for me.”
    -It happens, but do you think perhaps the full F Cabin might have also contributed?

    Thanks again.

    • Comment 485076 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi YGeorgeW!

      Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts.

      “Is there no way to select your seat ahead of time?”
      - There is, but the window seats in row two were taken when I booked, and JL “blocks” the row 1 windows for its own elites until 24 hours pre-flight.

      “How big were the lavatories, it actually looks a little cramped.”
      - They’re nothing special in terms of size, thought the one in the middle of the plane is slightly larger.

      “The meal looked fantastic! It’s almost like a 15-course tasting menu.”
      - It is indeed. I really like this approach to the meal, especially as I have to little access to this style of Japanese cuisine otherwise.

      “It happens, but do you think perhaps the full F Cabin might have also contributed?”
      - Possibly? Likely a lot of little things, including my own tired frame of mind by the time this flight came around.

      Thanks again for your comments!

  • Comment 485067 by
    socalnow GOLD 864 Comments

    I’ve been looking forward to this one Hometoyyz and thank you for sharing. I flew JAL F yesterday and had a pleasant experience but not perfect.
    “One of the real gems of the lounge is the area called the RED Suite.”
    -I marvel at how underutilized this beautiful space is. Kudos to the design team. There’s just nothing else like it in F lounge ecosystem.
    “Back in the central part of the lounge, the chef is at his station and is preparing breakfast galettes.”
    -That looks great. Is it a soft runny egg, I hope?
    “While the JAL First Lounge in Haneda probably comes in a nidge behind its Narita sibling in my heart, mostly due to the lack of sushi, it’s still an excellent lounge in the upper tier of First Class lounges, if somewhat behind some of the world leaders.”
    -Well summed up in my experience. I think if you are inclined to the Japanese perspective on luxury this lounge will rank high for you.
    “While everything was objectively good on this flight, for some reason it just didn’t connect with me in terms of memories the way other similar First Class experiences have.”
    -What?!?! I’m personally insulted. Would a private jet be more suitable to Emir Hometoyyz? Does Canada even have Sultans or Princes? Kidding aside, it’s a curious sentiment. The lack of preferred seat maybe? The omission of the lounge wear? I’ve also felt that the language barrier with some Japanese crews can temper the “relationship” that is fostered. The chats and banter can’t be as engaging.
    “For lunch, I request the Japanese menu but ask if I can have the caviar service from the Western set first.”
    -The best of both worlds. What a journey with the kaiseki meal. The presentation is superb. Did you ride with the Cristal the whole way?
    “As I watch my movie, Nakano appears again, offering me the skincare kit, which is separate from the amenity kit in this case and includes products from Shiseido that I will ultimately not end up using but still have somewhere in my office.”
    -Can I have the cleansing foam? I like that stuff for a face wash.
    “I wonder if the plane got ferried from Narita for this flight, or what its story is.”
    -I assume it’s a HND-JFK-NRT-JFK-HND kind of routing. I’ve been on a bunch of JAL 773ERs and never seen one that says based in Haneda come to think of it.
    “I’m not a huge tea fan, but the Queen of Blue is quite enjoyable.”
    -I have the same affinity with tea as you but that QOB is something quite unusual and special.
    Thank you again for sharing this flight. Despite your lack of visceral connection with the experience the report is still gold standard.
    Happy flying Hometoyyz.

    • Comment 485078 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hello, Socalnow, and thanks for stopping by.

      “I flew JAL F yesterday and had a pleasant experience but not perfect.”
      - Likely more sunny than my own assessment, but I look forward to checking it out. You certainly do rack up the award miles, don’t you. I admire it! I’m slowly rebuilding my AS mile stack in anticipation of the next CX or JL trip.

      “I marvel at how underutilized this beautiful space is. Kudos to the design team. There’s just nothing else like it in F lounge ecosystem.”
      - I wonder if it’s because it’s so designed it doesn’t really feel like a place to sit and chill for an hour or two? I’m not sure, but it’s a great space.

      “That looks great. Is it a soft runny egg, I hope?”
      - It was, indeed, a very runny egg.

      “What?!?! I’m personally insulted. Would a private jet be more suitable to Emir Hometoyyz? Does Canada even have Sultans or Princes?”
      - They refused to peel my grapes for me! THE OUTRAGE! And we don’t have sultans or princes… but I suppose if the current PM is re-elected, we may begin to start talk of an indirect monarchy, with two multi-term Trudeau reigns.

      “Kidding aside, it’s a curious sentiment. The lack of preferred seat maybe? The omission of the lounge wear? I’ve also felt that the language barrier with some Japanese crews can temper the “relationship” that is fostered.”
      - Yeah… like I said, it’s weird. And perplexing. Probably a bunch of little things. Everything you mentioned, leftover sleep deficit, being a little less of a perfect experience than the wonderful BOS-HKG segment? Anything and everything, I believe.

      “The best of both worlds. What a journey with the kaiseki meal. The presentation is superb. Did you ride with the Cristal the whole way?”
      - I did have a refill or two, but switched to just water as the meal continued, as I’m wont to do.

      “Can I have the cleansing foam? I like that stuff for a face wash.”
      - Now I’m curious to try it out. But naah… if I can find it when I get home, you’re welcome to it.

      “Thank you again for sharing this flight. Despite your lack of visceral connection with the experience the report is still gold standard.”
      - Thanks for the kind words. I tried not to let the lack of exuberance impact my coverage of the flight.

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