I was quite excited for my first time trying an Asian carrier’s first class product! Japan Airlines had recently updated their planes, so that was another plus to fly the Japan Airlines Tokyo Narita to Los Angeles new first class product. I booked this ticket last summer at 62,500 AA miles per person one-way obtained from Citi AA credit cards and AMEX SPG points transferred to AA miles.
After our visit to the JAL first class lounge, we made our way to a new 777-300 airplane. We were directed to our seats 2D and 2G, which is the 2nd.row of seats in the first class cabin. Although they call their seat a SKY SUITE, there is no door and you can still see the person at the window seat from the middle and vice versa. Our flight was full with 8/8 seat occupied because it was close to the New Years holiday. In addition to my pictures, you can see JAL’s official site for more pictures and info about JAL’s new product.
Menus were already placed at our seat and pajamas were offered right away. The JAL pajamas are very comfy and the quality is quite good. I was surprised that we weren’t given amenity kits until after dinner.
The seats were wide and there was plenty of storage. The first class was equipped with the SKY Magic system where you can order items with the remote controller. However, I was informed that this function was not working.
Meal service started promptly after take off. My wife and I naturally chose the Japanese option because we love Japanese food. The meal was a kaiseki meal, which featured more traditional foods that didn’t appeal as much to our Asian American tastes. If you don’t know what a Kaiseki meal is, watch Netflix Mind of a Chef Episode 10 (Japan). The food wasn’t bad, but I think it was a little too fancy for my tastes. I was hoping it would just be nigiri sushi and sashimi. Instead, it started off with Caviar, which I don’t really get. I only took a few bites and ate some of the cauliflower cake thing. Pretty sure I just wasted like $50 or more :(.
Service was quite attentive and the stewardess would ask me if I would want something else to drink right when I finished my drink. I was able to sample both champagnes they had on board, the Salon 2002 and the Deutz 2000. The Salon was good, with a slight bitterness/dryness. The Deutz was a bit sweeter, which I liked more. I don’t normally drink expensive champagne so I’m not sure if you care about my opinion or not. I was shocked that the average price of Salon champagne is about $400 a bottle! My tastes are definitely not sophisticated because Deutz cost about $60 per bottle in comparison.
The Japanese meal finished off with a traditional azuki bean dessert, but I’m not a big fan of red bean. I asked if I could have the fruit because my neighbor was eating it and it looked great.
Even though the meal service was great, it took literally almost 2 hours. I wanted to get some sleep so it would be easier to recover from jet lag. After the meal service, there was probably only about 6.5 hours left in the flight, so I watched Despicable Me 2 to help me sleep. Also, they finally distributed the amenity kit, which wasn’t anything fancy. However, they did give us a Shiseido amenity kit, which is a high quality Japanese cosmetic company.
I asked the stewardess to make my bed, and she pulled out a tempurpedic mattress from the bulkhead. Yes, a tempurpedic mattress. I don’t think I ever slept on a tempurpudic mattress, let alone on a plane. It was so comfy that I knocked out until 20 minutes or so before landing. The stewardess had to wake me up to get ready for landing. I woke up quite confused, but well rested from the nice sleep. I was hoping the flight was longer so I could get more than 4 hours of sleep.
I was able to have a cup of coffee before we landed to help myself wake up. It amazes me that the Japanese always pay so much attention to small details. They placed the cup with the “F logo” facing me. They did not serve breakfast, but you could order snacks as you pleased. We also received some fancy chocolate as a thank you gift at the end of the flight.
Our flight landed right around 9AM, punctual as always with Japan. Overall, Japan Airlines’ New First Class is by far one of the best flights I’ve ever taken because of the service and awesome hard product. However, I’ve only been on one other first class flight, which was from LAX to London on British Airways first. I felt that the service and seat was far more superior than British Airways, with JAL’s food being slightly better. I think that JAL’s first class ground services can be improved to compete with the other airlines. The flight schedule was not that ideal because the meal service takes a while and does not give you much time to sleep. Even though it was the most comfortable sleep I’ve had on a plane, but it wasn’t the best sleep I had on a plane because of the short flight duration. Nonetheless, Japan Airlines new first class did not disappoint. At 62,500 AA miles, it’s a steal for a nice first class experience. Good bye Asia, see you soon (very soon).