Review of Japan Airlines flight Hanoi Tokyo in Business

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL752
Class Business
Seat 8A
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 05:15
Take-off 10 Oct 19, 00:10
Arrival at 10 Oct 19, 07:25
JL   #12 out of 136 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 137 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 1049
Published on 8th January 2020

Greetings flight report community and thank you for stopping by this report.

I've read about mistake fares but have always been too late to the party. That trend reversed as I sat in my den with my laptop on 12/31/18 and, as I often do, surfed over to one of my favorite miles and points blogs to see a post about some rather incredible airfares ex. Vietnam, in first class too. For fun I pivoted to an OTA website and sure enough, these fares were still live. I picked some random days and a few clicks later the tickets were purchased. Jennifer and I would be taking two trips to Vietnam and we were ecstatic. Please visit this post to read more about the planning and the first trip.

This series of posts will cover the second half of the mistake fare ticket. On this trip we added a visit to Laos and the enchanting Luang Prabang.



ACV Business Lounge


I get a kick out of this lounge because I lived in Arcata, CA for many years and our tiny airport uses the IATA code ACV. The ACV lounge in Ha Noi is roughly the same size as ACV, the airport!

We arrived at the lounge just after 21:00 for the 00:10 departure.


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There's a grand façade where a dis-interested lounge attendant scans boarding passes and collects lounge invitations. I never understood that redundancy.


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Lounge is one big room divided into several sections. The first section to the right of the entrance is the relaxation area with massage chairs. These would prove to be quite handy for a rest during our long visit.


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Seating to the left and right as you continue down the main path.


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The staffed bar has limited cocktail options and will serve you a bowl of Pho, instant no doubt. There are also packaged snacks available on the bar including various Lays potato chip flavors.


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The buffet and dining is at the far end of the lounge. Complete with a variety of hot and cold items. None of which seemed particularly appetizing to me.


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Overlooking the bar and seating area from the hot buffet.


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We took a seat along the edge of the dining area to enjoy some water and ramp views.


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Our stay was uneventful as we didn't partake in any of the food and only drank water. We had such phenomenal cuisine in LPQ I think we both were just trying to hang on to those taste memories a little bit longer. We left the lounge quite early to walk the concourse and do some shopping.


JL752 HAN-NRT


We arrived at the gate before boarding time commenced.


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Jennifer was in 8C and I was in 8A.


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The seat was stocked with the JAL buckwheat pillow, slippers, a light blanket, on-ear headphones, and a simple amenity kit in a draw string pouch.


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A bottle of water, Japan immigration and customs cards, breakfast order cards, menu and wine list, and amenity kit (8C the kit was on the seat and 8A it was on the shelf) were thoughtfully arranged on the shelf under the video monitor


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Slippers with shoe horn included.


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I'm not going to miss an airplane meal photo op!


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An oshibori was distributed before takeoff however I did not receive a PDB.


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The Apex Suite has a brilliant high definition monitor of sufficient size. It's essentially the width of the seat.


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A look at how 8A and 8C are arranged with the privacy screen open.


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Cardigan sweaters were offered for use on the flight. I accepted one.


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We pushed back on time and had a short taxi to 11R. Jennifer changed into her Cathay Pacific jammies on the ground and was asleep as the gear retracted. Ever the smart play on this short red eye flight.


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Not wanting to be out-poshed, I also changed into my CX jammies. The lav is fairly basic. Amenities such a toothbrushes and mouthwash were set out, I just got there first. The bidet toilet is a nice touch.


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The crew kept the cabin dark as most passengers went straight to sleep.


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Economy didn't get the same lighting (or lack there of).


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I am not able to get on an airplane and go straight to sleep. I need a bit of service before I turn in for the night. I opted for a bit of cheese and a glass of red wine. The flight attendant also brought some rice crackers. It's a fairly sad and spartan cheese plate but it was fine to nibble with wine as a late night snack.


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When she came to clear the cheese I asked for some water and Japanese whisky. Goodnight now.


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I woke to the sound of meal service and the smell of food. My table cloth was quickly laid and an oshibori and orange juice was delivered.


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The cabin was still dark for those sleeping so please forgive the lighting on the pictures. Everything is quite lovely in presentation and flavor. Of course some the textures of Japanese cuisine are an adjustment for a western palette. The salmon was nicely cooked and the rice was exceptional.


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Green tea was also offered.


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A very pretty day in Narita as we approached feet dry.


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We parked at a remote stand and bussed to arrivals.


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Some shots of the cabin as we deplaned.


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I'll take a remote stand any time!


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Tourist Bonus: Enchanting Luang Prabang


Bonus : Click here display
See more

Verdict

Japan Airlines

7.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.5

ACV Business Lounge - Terminal 2

7.1/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services7.5

Hanoi - HAN

7.2/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Tokyo - NRT

9.1/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

The Ground Service: N/A as a transit passenger connecting between two airlines and tickets. It was a bit of a disjointed process that involved waiting for a rep from JAL to come to the transit counter (30 minutes) and waiting for a government/security officer to return from break to let us upstairs for departure (15 min).

The Lounge: The old adage "not worth arriving early for" comes to mind. The ACV lounge is a completely average contract lounge.

The Cabin: Apex suites seem rather polarizing, like 787 windows (see what I did there!). I'm a fan for the privacy, aisle access, huge screen and spacious bed with no foot constraints. I will acknowledge that width and storage space are sub optimal.

The Crew: Not as many opportunities for interaction on a short red-eye but the high standard of Japanese service was met. Gracious, prompt, and polite at every turn.

The Food and Beverage: This is mainly a breakfast flight so in that regard it's hard to beat a Japanese breakfast for interesting flavors and textures. The departure service was limited to some instant noodles or a cheese plate. The wine, sake, and spirits options are impressive.

Overall: The circumstances of a short redeye flight don't give JAL much room to shine. That said the experience was as good as I can imagine given the parameters. Japanese hospitality is very unique and connects strongly with me.

Thanks for coming along on this series of flights and leaving any feedback along the way. Happy flying.

Related

4 Comments

  • Comment 536537 by
    YGeorgeW GOLD 147 Comments

    Thanks for the report Christian!

    None of which seemed particularly appetizing to me.

    - Sometimes it's best to save yourself for the onboard meal. Overall the lounge looked okay for a contract lounge - didn't seem crowded and was plenty spacious.

    An oshibori was distributed before takeoff however I did not receive a PDB.

    - That's interesting, perhaps it's standard for no PDB on such a late departure?

    It's a fairly sad and spartan cheese plate but it was fine to nibble with wine as a late night snack.

    - In theory you can enjoy dinner at the lounge and go straight to sleep on these flights, but that proves difficult when the lounge option isn't that great.

    Looked like this was a fine intra-Asia redeye. I've yet to experience Apex Suites on any carrier and look forward to doing so some day (though doesn't look likely for the near future, I've still got so many F products to try first!).

    • Comment 537142 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 960 Comments

      Greetings YGeorgeW and thank you for leaving feedback on this FR.

      That's interesting, perhaps it's standard for no PDB on such a late departure?

      I don't know. I've read that Japanese carriers don't offer PDB in J. I have a small sample size but I have received PDB service on ANA in J on NRT-KUL.

      I've yet to experience Apex Suites on any carrier and look forward to doing so some day (though doesn't look likely for the near future, I've still got so many F products to try first!).

      Priorities, priorities!

      Thanks again for the note and happy flying.

  • Comment 537236 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5036 Comments

    APEX Suites were some of the best J seats available out there before QSuites came along...and now ANA's "the Room". It's too bad they never really caught on with more carriers--because they take up too much floor space from what I hear. I like the APEX Suites design for the fact that you can sit next to your travel companion and don't have to sacrifice a window and still have aisle access! That's a trifecta of perfection for me...but I'm probably in the minority since I travel J mostly for leisure.

    Despite the very light 1st meal service, I will commend JAL for having 2 meal services on a 5h redeye...as you know, here in the US, that's the equivalent of an LAX-JFK redeye on which you usually get something equivalent to the 1st meal service...for a while there redeyes were not getting any catering at all on AA, but that's changed thank goodness. The breakfast looks delicious! Japanese carriers are truly masters of food presentation.

    Fantastic bonus of Luang Prabang! Very "Dépaysant" as we would say in French...there's no real English equivalent in one word that means "A complete exotic change of scenery from your own country" Haha.

    Thanks for a wonderful report as always!

    • Comment 537411 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 960 Comments

      Greetings KevinDC and thanks, as always, for the thoughtful feedback.

      APEX Suites were some of the best J seats available out there before QSuites came along...and now ANA's "the Room". It's too bad they never really caught on with more carriers--because they take up too much floor space from what I hear.

      The non-staggered nature of the APEX Suites probably require more floor space but I always assumed this was offset by the ability to have 2-2-2 seating while maintaining direct aisle access.

      I like the APEX Suites design for the fact that you can sit next to your travel companion and don't have to sacrifice a window and still have aisle access! That's a trifecta of perfection for me...but I'm probably in the minority since I travel J mostly for leisure.

      Agreed! I'll also add the advantage over QSuites / ANA The Room is the additional foot space when in bed mode.

      "Dépaysant" as we would say in French...there's no real English equivalent in one word that means "A complete exotic change of scenery from your own country"

      Thank you for sharing this linguistic gem. This conveys the sentiment of traveling in Laos quite succinctly.

      Happy flying Kevin.

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