Review of Japan Airlines flight Chitose Tokyo in Economy

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL 504
Class Economy
Seat 53B
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 01:40
Take-off 06 Feb 20, 10:00
Arrival at 06 Feb 20, 11:40
JL   #25 out of 115 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 146 reviews
Aigle_voyageur
By GOLD 1121
Published on 13th June 2020

お誕生日おめでとうございます ! (Otanjôbi ! Omedetô gozaimasu ! )


Well hello everyone ! Or should I say: こんにちは みなさん!(konnichiwa minasan !)

To be honest, I hate publishing a review without even starting from the beginning. But there is a good reason to do so…

Indeed, on the 13th of June 2019, precisely one year ago, JA-01XJ officially joined Japan Airline's fleet. the Japanese carrier took delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft in Airbus's factories, in Toulouse Blagnac's airport, France. A reception was held in presence of the website team. You can find their article here. (Warning: in French).

And in order to celebrate its first anniversary, I decided to publish my Sapporo - Tokyo Haneda flight I did in February 2020 in both languages at the same time.


The japanese ice route


If you want to see my new Japanese route:


Routing

  • AIR FRANCE 7703 NICE CÔTE D'AZUR => PARIS-ROISSY-CHARLES-DE-GAULLE Coming soon
  • AIR FRANCE 272 PARIS-ROISSY-CHARLES-DE-GAULLE => TOKYO HANEDA Coming soon
  • JAPAN AIRLINES 545 TOKYO HANEDA => KUSHIRO Coming soon
  • JAPAN AIRLINES (J-AIR ) 2712 OZORA MEMANBETSU => SAPPORO NEW CHITOSE Coming soon
  • JAPAN AIRLINES 504 SAPPORO NEW CHITOSE => TOKYO HANEDA You are here
  • AIR FRANCE 291 OSAKA KANSAI => PARIS-ROISSY-CHARLES-DE-GAULLE Coming soon
  • AIR FRANCE 7708 PARIS-ROISSY-CHARLES-DE-GAULLE => NICE CÔTE D'AZUR (+ JAPANESE BONUS) Coming soon

50 years to deliver the first airbus to Japan Airlines. on top of that, an Airbus A350 !


Since Airbus's creation on the 29th of May 1969, the European aircraft manufacturer had to wait the 7th of October 2013  to confirm a Japan Airlines's order. An exclusive A350 order with 31 firm and 25 optional aircrafts. Among the firm ones, there were 18 A350-900 and 13 A350-1000.

By the way, it was also the same day Air France and KLM both celebrated their 80th and 94th anniversaries.

That said, despite Japan Airlines's fleet is especially composed of Boeing aircrafts, the Japanese carrier leased from the 1st of October 2006 to the 1st of July 2013, 22 Airbus A300, meaning JAL isn't leaking experience.

However, Japan Airlines decided that its newest aircraft shall fly only on domestic routes. Ultimately, it shall replace all Boeing 777-200. The Airbus A350 made its first commercial flight ont the 1st of September 2019 from Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Fukuoka (FUK). The next airports were Nagoya, Naha, Osaka (even though these airports were used for training) or even, Sapporo !

Flights between Sapporo New Chitose (CTS) and Tokyo Haneda (HND) with JAL were numerous back then. On the 19 daily flights, all of them were operated in a Boeing 777-200. Except for 3 of them :

*The first, operated by a Boeing 767-300, departing at 09h20 A.M (flight JL 594).
*The second one is the 05h30 P.M. flight (flight JL 520) aboard a Boeing 737-800.
*Lastly, is JL 504 flight departing at 10h00 A.M. in Airbus A350-900 which is also the one selected by the Tour Operator !!!



Onward to the airport


We are reaching Sapporo New Chitose airport by train. The train arrived at 08h27 A.M.


photo 20200206_082736-heure-darrivee-du-train

From Sapporo's train station to the airport, you need approximatively 40 minutes. We must hurry up because the flight's check-in closes 40 before departure.
 
The organisation was far to be efficient. It got better only when a ground staff member is checking the waiting line for passengers who have an imminent departure.


photo 20200206_093918-check-in-48068

Security questionary. On Japan Airline's domestic flights, you can have an upgrade to Business/Premium eco for just 1000 yens. Very cheap, but not today for me.


photo 20200206_094401-questionnaire-de-surete

Now my baggage has been checked-in, let's go to the security control. At Sapporo airport, security control closes 20 minutes before departure. As for the boarding, it closes 10 minutes later.


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The Boarding Pass.


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When a mortal meets a legend…


We passed the security controls just in time, that our aircraft is here. So beautiful… so elegant ! It's almost like a yuki-onna. (雪女, "snow woman" in Japanese folks.)


photo 20200206_095028-la-yuki-onna

Our aircraft is JA-03XJ. Back then, it almost had 7 months.


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If you're an avgeek, you can find all special liveries on this aircraft.



Boarding has already started when we arrived.


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Onboard ja-03XJ


Precisely one year ago, the website team was present at the delivery ceremony but didn't go inside the aircraft, (because Japan Airlines scheduled on the 20th of June to unveil the aircraft's cabins) the time has come to finally discover the inside.


photo 20200206_095444-fingers

Our aircraft's neighbor JA-325J, is waiting of its passengers before heading towards Osaka Kansai (KIX).


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The famous mask on all recent Airbus's aircrafts.


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Door moment from the outside.


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The Tsurumaru Emblem is proudly shown here.


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The First class cabin


As I did mentioned earlier, JL put a domestic configuration on its A350-900. We're far away from "staggered" configuration as we're used to have on international flights.
 
First Class seats are configurated in 2-2-2. They were made by Jamco. The exact one that provided LATAM's current Business Class seats on A350 aircrafts.


photo 20200206_095535-cabine-first-1photo 20200206_095547-cabine-first-2

The Business class cabin


For Business class on the other hand, JL chose the "CL5710 Business Class seat" model from Recaro. A model we might easily mistake as a Premium Economy cabin due to its 2-4-2 configuration.


photo 20200206_095639-cabine-businessphoto 20200206_095553-cabine-business-49768photo 20200206_120441-cabine-business

the economy class cabin


As for the Economy, seats are the "CL3710 Economy Class seat" model, also provided by Recaro. The configuration remains the same as you can find on any other A350 except on French Bee, French airline (3-4-3 instead of 3-3-3).


photo 20200206_095657-economy-class-13367

For this flight, my seat is 53B. One of my companions inherited the 53A. I attempted to trade my seat for his, but it shall be a failure. (photo taken at the arrival).


photo 20200206_120349-vue-du-siege

Each seat has an operational IFE and a plug. The touchscreen is very responsive and you can choose between many languages.


photo 20200206_100318-ifephoto 20200206_100340-languesphoto 20200206_103531-prise

The legroom is comfortable for 1m80.


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The table.


photo 20200206_100247-tablette

Earphones are given by flight attendants.


photo 20200206_100226-casquesphoto 20200206_100310-casques

The headrest. You can adjust the height and the edges.


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the roof.


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Without of course, forgetting our aircraft's unique winglet.


photo 20200206_095926-winglet

The departure


Good point pour JL: The new safety video (released the 1st of september 2019), which you can see down below, shows to passengers the direct consquences if you're not following safety instructions. Whether inflight or in a evacuation. A point I didn't really see on other safety videos.

Something very odd though, the aircraft is defintely a 777.



Here is the safety card, the real one !


photo 20200206_105150-safety-cardphoto 20200206_105157-safety-card

We pushed with a 10 minutes delay. On this aircraft, you can choose between 2 cameras: the first one, located at the front of the aircraft.


photo 20200206_101254-avant-de-lavion

As for the other one, on the tail. You have an excellent quality resolution.


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We have 584 miles between Sapporo and Tokyo.


photo 20200206_102056-distance

Only in Asia…


photo 20200206_101627-salut

Let's go. We let Her Highness, "Princess" Peach pass. While we were on our way to the runway, I saw another Highness, a Thai Airways's 747 wearing Star Alliance's livery. But I wasn't fast enough to take a photo.



Lining up, and take-off.



Soon after take-off, I'm heading to the toilets at the rear of the aircraft. Although our aircraft was only 7 months old, galleys are good as new.


photo 20200206_104954-galleys

Door moment inside.


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One of my travel companions took the pose.


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On a Japanese domestic flight onboard a Japanese carrier, you might expect to Japanese lavatories, but here, you have western bathroom.



Flight attendants are getting ready for the service. Although back then, Covid-19 was still an isolated case, all flight attendants wore masks, without exception.


photo galleys-apres-toilettes-2photo galleys-apres-toilettes

The service starts.


photo 20200206_105226-service-81194

the catering is limiting to a drink, you could choose between all of them.


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Photo signature until the drama: my glass slipped from my hand.


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The cabin crew gave me another one although I said it was okay.


photo 20200206_110438-porte-gobelet

the inflight-entertainement


The offer in movies  on this flight is limited to two movies; a western one and a japanese one.


photo 20200206_100850-films

But the offer in series seems rather generous…


photo 20200206_101459-series

Those who love Japanese culture will easily guess which anime it is… ;))


photo 20200206_105550-anime

You can also read a manga in Japanese. Until now, it was exclusive onboard "Dreamliners" (Boeing 787).


photo 20200206_102207-manga

But you can also read one in English.


photo 20200206_102254-manga-vfphoto 20200206_102349-eng-manga

The arrival at tokyo Haneda


We're approaching our destination.


photo 20200206_112614-fin-du-volphoto 20200206_112644-modelisation

The mood-lightning is on and shows an orange dawn and cherry blossom rose colors. Is that a coincidence ?


photo 20200206_113440-mood-lightning

An airport I couldn't identify.


photo 20200206_114439-aeroport-non-identifie

Gear down !



In presence of Fujisan…


photo 20200206_114732-fujisan

… we're making our final approach.



We touched the ground very violently ! As a proof, the following picture has been taken at the exact moment of touchdown.


photo 20200206_114958-impact

We're leaving the runway.


photo 20200206_115024-on-quitte-la-piste

After a short taxiing, we are parking next to the "Nibanme" (JL's 2nd A350).


photo 20200206_115638-2eme

Everyone's up to grab its stuff.


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Disembarkation via the Economy and Business Class cabins. First seemed to be protected by flight attendants.


photo 20200206_120428-cabine-ecophoto 20200206_120455-business

While I got out, I took a shot about the fuselage, Rolls-Royce's motor and of course, the unique winglet.


photo 20200206_120526-fuselage-shotphoto 20200206_120511-reacteurphoto 20200206_120509-aile-gauche

At the same moment, I spotted this beautiful Boeing 767 wearing Mickey Mouse's 90th anniversary, coming from Obihiro airport (OBO).


photo 20200206_120603-mickey

Last view of our aircraft. Its next destination is Fukuoka airport (FUK).

さようなら JA-03XJ. そして, ありがとうございます. (Sayonara JA-03XJ. Soshite, Arigato Gozaimasu)


Translation: Goodbye JA-03XJ and thanks for everything.


photo 20200206_120631-notre-avion

We landed directly in the boarding area of the HND domestic terminal… Next stop, the baggage claim.



And careful to read the signposting "kudasai" ! For the anecdote, the guide and most of my travel companions blindly followed the crowd and almost got out without picking up their baggage !


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You can get rid of your used boarding passes and baggage tags in these trashes before you get back landside.


photo 20200206_122059-poubelles-pour-cartesphoto 20200206_122120-hnd-landside-domestic-93125photo 20200206_122124-hnd-landside-domestic

That's here my review from Sapporo to Tokyo has come to an end, on this special "anniversary" surprise. I hope you enjoyed it. If that's the case, do not hesitate to leave a like and to subscribe. I would be very happy. As for me, I thank you all for reading me an I wish you all safe flights wherever you are.


our flight's replay


photo vol-departphoto vol-croisierephoto vol-arrivee
See more

Verdict

Japan Airlines

8.5/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering6.0

Chitose - CTS

7.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness10.0

Tokyo - HND

9.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Japan Airlines did a serious wager by officially introducing an Airbus aircraft in its fleet. Despite the inflight-catering is limited to a simple drink, I have to admit that the bet is a success. But this success is especially due to the latest technology, as well in comfort as for the fuel consumption reduction. Let's just hope that the Airbus A350-1000 are gonna give the same results (and even better, I hope) on international flights...

Tops:

* cabine modern and comfortable
* IFE opérationnal for a 90 minutes domestic flight
* silent aircraft
* the cameras on the front and the tail of the aircraft
* excellent flight attendants

Flaws:

* the sketch when we arrived at Sapporo airport
* the safety video not really the best one about our aircraft
* inflight catering limited to a drink
* Inflight entertainement not as generous compared to international flights

Information on the route Chitose (CTS) Tokyo (HND)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Chitose (CTS) → Tokyo (HND).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 5 hours and 6 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

  • Comment 556309 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5331 Comments

    Hi Aigle-Voyageur, thanks for sharing this cool "1-year-birthday" report!

    The Boarding Pass.

    Oh wow...was there the option to have it in English? I assume you speak Japanese from the opening. But me, I would be lost with that boarding pass, haha. I can only read the departure time...or is it the boarding time ?

    A model we might easily mistake as a Premium Economy cabin due to its 2-4-2 configuration.

    It's interesting that JAL elected to put the A350 in a regional configuration, rather than long-haul. I guess they already have enough long-haul aircraft

    The configuration remains the same as you can find on any other A350 except on French Bee, French airline (3-4-3 instead of 3-3-3).

    And sister airline Air Caraïbes, as well. I can't even imagine what its like to fly Y on an A350 in 3-4-3. I already can't stand 777s in 3-4-3, yikes!

    Without of course, forgetting our aircraft's unique winglet.

    Beautiful! On an otherwise veeeery boring livery. I much preferred the previous colours over the new boring all-white.

    The cabin looks nice and the IFE images very crisp. An overall great experience for a 1.5h domestic flight.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 556439 by
      Aigle_voyageur GOLD AUTHOR 616 Comments

      Thank you fore reading my FR Kevin :)

      Oh wow...was there the option to have it in English?

      Honestly, I have no idea. The guide checked-us in via Internet because he had the booking reference. Once we were whecked-in, he gave us our respective boarding passes.

      I assume you speak Japanese from the opening.

      It was especially a way to get into the spirit.^^

      I can only read the departure time...or is it the boarding time

      It was the departure and arrival time

      It's interesting that JAL elected to put the A350 in a regional configuration, rather than long-haul. I guess they already have enough long-haul aircraft

      I have to admit I agree with you. Still, Japan's air domestic market is one of the world's most important ones. Besides, when you get an new type of aircraft, you need to get use to it, so flying on short distances is best before flying over long-haul destinations...

      And sister airline Air Caraïbes, as well. I can't even imagine what its like to fly Y on an A350 in 3-4-3.

      Oops. I forgot about it.

      Have safe flights. ;)

  • Comment 556498 by
    jish.b SILVER 285 Comments

    Very nice trip report! It had never occurred to me that JAL did not have Airbus aircraft until the A350s come. I love a very detailed report with many pictures, so thank you for that! I cannot wait for an opportunity to try out JAL some day.

    • Comment 556539 by
      Aigle_voyageur GOLD AUTHOR 616 Comments

      Thank you for your comment Jish. :)

      It had never occurred to me that JAL did not have Airbus aircraft until the A350s come.

      To say the least, I never thought JAL used Airbus aircraft before that order. Maybe we can think that the Japanese carrier is now following her rival, which is already used to Airbus A320/A321 and most recently the A380.

      I cannot wait for an opportunity to try out JAL some day.

      I'm sure you'll find the opportunity in due time. Perhaps when JAL will start receiving its Airbus A350-1000. Although I don't know which destinations it shall go yet, there's a good chance it might be one of JAL's most important destinations such as the United States or United Kingdom...

      Have safe flights. ;)

  • Comment 556634 by
    airplanelover1 23 Comments

    Hello Aigle_voyageur, I absolutely enjoyed the detailed trip report! Is this the only A350 with the domestic configuration? I find it interesting that they did not go for a higher-density configuration such as that on their domestic 787s or their 777s. Nevertheless, the interior looks great! Looking forward to trying JAL's long haul product some day! Thanks!

    • Comment 556676 by
      Aigle_voyageur GOLD AUTHOR 616 Comments

      Thanks for reading my review airplanelover1. I'm very glad to hear you appreciated it. :)

      Is this the only A350 with the domestic configuration?

      No, there's a second configuration indeed. And that one is way denser that the one I got here. (323 economy class seats instead of 263 economy class seats)

      Looking forward to trying JAL's long haul product some day! Thanks!

      If you plan to visit Japan, JAL is an excellent choice indeed. I suggest though you take a 777-300ER epuipped with Sky Suite because it's not a very high-density configuration.

      However, due to covid-19, Japan denied access to every passengers that stayed the less 2 weeks in contries affected by the pandemic until further notice. United States and France are both in the list right now. Besides, the Olympic Games were supposed to take place in Tokyo this summer have been postponed to next year...

      Have safe flights. ;)

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