Note : this FR has been originally published in french (FR4712)
I'm pleased to share with you with this flight operated by Japan Airlines. Already had the opportunity to flew with them but today the flight is special. Indeed, JAL is a good company in term of catering and services but so far they were only offering lie flat seats. But, at the beginning of this year, JAL has introduced a novel concept called Sky suite on their 777s with a novel business and first cabin class with real lie-flat seats. Since July, JAL is operating a flight between Paris and Tokyo (JL 405 / JL406) with a retrofitted 777 so it was the opportunity for me to discover and to share with you the experience in this new business class.
The routing for this journey :
- Amsterdam (AMS) - Paris (CDG), Air France, AF5376, Premium Eco., A321, FR4696in french - Paris (CDG) - Tokyo (NRT), Air France, AF278, Premium Eco, B777-300ER, FR4699in french - Tokyo (NRT) - Paris (CDG), JAL, JL405, Business, B777-300ER, right now
Early in the morning, I woke up for taking my bus for Narita
After a 1H30 journey with a shuttle bus (pretty convenient as it's connecting directly my hotel to the airport), I'm standing in front of the terminal 2.
I'm going to business counter for getting my boarding pass. The check-in made by a nice lady has been fast and efficient. She took also her time for explaining me the location of the various JAL lounges in the terminal.
Flights timetable, my flight for Paris is announced on time.
Thanks to a priority lane for business passengers and frequent flyers, the security check was done quickly.
Let's go to the Sakura lounge !
This L-shape lounge is pretty big and bright and also equipped with design furnitures.
Really surprised by this poor foods and drinks selection and I got the impression of being in a UA lounge :-)
In fact, there is a catering area and you must go upstairs for finding it.
Once upstairs, it's really a different lounge with a consequent offers of cold and hot dishes : eggs, sausages, noodles…
Annoyed by the noise of this crowded lounge, I moved toward the other part of terminal by using a small automated shuttle.
Spotting session :
- B787 bound for Boston
- A330 China Airlines
- 767 JAL pushback
- A330 CX bound for Hong-Kong
- a second Dreamliner bound for Helsinski
I'm not a big fan of spotting so it's time for me to go the Sakura lounge located close to my departure gate. As usual, I got a warm welcome but simultaneously by 5 cute JAL girls…. waaaoww
Getting to the lower level dedicated to the business passengers as the ground level is for first class passenger only. No surprise with a lounge similar to the one I visited 1 hour ago but it's smaller and less crowded.
There is also a relaxing zone and also you can enjoy a massage in massage armchairs.
The foods and drinks offers is more restricted compare to the main lounge but we can also find here sushis and sandwiches.
My small selection
Here we can have a nice view on the tarmac but unfortunately it's exclusively JAL aircrafts.
My plane for France
It's time now to join my gate.
Still 10 minutes before the boarding as mentioned on the boarding pass but everything is quite calm at the gate.
The boarding is delayed at 10H45 and the team in charge of it start to prepare everything.
After the usual greetings from the staff and first class passenger boarding, it's my turn to board.
I can now discover this Sky suite. My first feeling is that it's pretty crowded with a configuration a la BA. The major difference is that the configuration is 2-3-2 ( stagerred seat with a slight gap between the seat position) implying that there is much more room than with the BA's configuration (2-4-2).
The cabin colors are warm with a common motif found on the headrests, pillows and on the mattress that can be put on the seat. The mattress is currently stored in the luggage compartment (blue bag on the picture).
Focus on the seat, the pillow is a high quality ergonomic pillow.
The ottoman seems to be in leather and you can have an idea of the pitch which seems to be infinite.
The screen is pretty big and on the next picture you can observe the shifted position of my neighbor's seat.
The privacy is absolute and I can say that I have a suite a la EK but much more smaller :-)
Seat remote control.
and the IFE's one which is tactile.
Active noise canceling headset Panasonic.
In my point of view, the only drawback is the seat accessibility for seats located either at the window or in the middle of the cabin. Indeed for accessing them, you should better be slim otherwise you must select an aisle one !!!
There is no welcome drink but FAs are giving us a bottle of water.
FAs are also offering newspapers in japanese, english or french.
Pushback almost on time (10 minutes delay).
During the taxi, I can see aircrafts that are not belonging to JAL or Oneworld
and especially our famous french grouper-fish in the distance.
Take-off for a 11H40 hours flight which is pretty short today with an expected landing 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
Once the Pacific cost reached, the plane makes a U-turn.
Mount Fuji, somewhere on the picture :-)
Narita just below us
and we are following our journey to Paris. Please also note the quality and resolution of the IFE screen.
As said previously, the IFE remote is tactile and the Magic 5 system is the next generation of JAL's IFE. The number of movies available is OK but far away from what we can find on SQ or EK.
Once the cruising altitude reached, a first drink was proposed by the FA with a very simple choice : orange juice or champagne. Cheers !!!
and a second FA is coming with a hot towel.
The menu is then distributed and I'm really surprised by the diversity, the richness and the quality of all dishes offered for a business class. The JAL service menu is pretty simple. Indeed after a classical service for lunch where you can choose between a japanese and a western style menu, you can order anything you want up to 1H30 before landing.
The lunch started with tasty amuse bouche (AJililo garlic prawns and sweet corn mousse with sea urchin & consomme jelly) and a glass of excellent riesling made in a small alsatian village where my parents are living !!
The starter is a selection of nine seasonal colorful delicacies in Kobachi bowls (don't be afraid I'm writing a FR and not poetry). Really speechless with the outstanding qualities of fishes and vegetables used to prepare theses small starters.
For a convenient association :-)
The main dish came and again it was really good and just want to say that the cutlassfish was outstanding.
While waiting for the dessert, playing a Pac-Man or a Tetris is quite relaxing :-)
and finally, the dessert is served. Excellent like the whole lunch.
We are now flying over Russia.
A coffee is served by the FAs but unfortunately there is no expresso so to get over this, I'm ordering a cognac :-)
Before having a small nap, I want to explore the aircraft.
The economy cabin with a 3-3-3 configuration.
The premium economy section
I'm making my bed but don't you think that something's missing ??
It's obvious, the mattress is missing and very quickly a FA is coming for installing one on the seat.
The seat in bed position is really comfortable and I felt asleep for a 3 hours nap and when I woke up, we were close to the Arctic Ocean.
Small tour around the galley where FAs are preparing foods and drinks for the cabin. I really admire the way they have been hardly working with always a smile. Close to the galley, a dedicated space acting as a bar is available. Quite surprising as you can have everything you want directly at your seat.
It should be possible to order directly with the IFE remote but unfortunately the order function was not active on this flight.
It's now time for a snack and I order the smoked salmon & cream cheese bagel sandwich. It was also really good.
We are still flying over Siberia.
When we went along Sweden, I made a last order and choose the lobster which was really tasty.
We are now close to Paris
Landing 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
After a long taxi, we arrive at the terminal 2E
Before leaving the aircraft, a last view of the business class cabin.
Here we have the first class seat with a similar configuration to the business but with much more space :-)
JAL Sakura Lounge
Tokyo - NRT
Paris - CDG
had high expectations level before taking this flight and I have absolutely not been disappointed. I read that the seat was awarded by Skytrax as the best business class seat for 2013 and even if I can have doubt about Skytrax impartiality, I can only say that the sky suite concept is excellent. Moreover, the combination of this novel business class cabin with a high quality catering and services by FAs lead to a product that is comparable to SQ, NH and top business class products. The IFE is the only weakness of the product due to a limited number of movies available compared to various companies.
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