Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Japan Airlines | JAL Mileage Bank
Reload this Page >

First and Business class for family - thoughts on this approach?

First and Business class for family - thoughts on this approach?

Old Aug 28, 14, 12:59 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,370
First and Business class for family - thoughts on this approach?

I'm looking at traveling to Japan next summer from ORD-NRT. We are a family of 4, with 2 boys who are 10 and 7. We've traveled in First and Business extensively as a family, QF, BA, DL, UA, SQ. No disciplinary issues, from a non-Japanese perspective. I used to work for Matsushita, reporting directly to Japanese. And my wife learnt Japanese as a 3rd language in college. We have some understanding of Japanese culture, but likely watered down by how flexible the Japanese we interact with were flexible.

Here's my thought. I'm thinking about taking first for my wife and I, and having my boys in the middle in row 5 in business. I've never split them with them internationally, but have domestically - with no issues. I'm cheap, wanting to only spring for 2J and 2F redemptions, as opposed to 4F redemptions. My boys appreciate J, but can't appreciate the additional F value - so why waste it? They are happy to be in J, but definitely register some negativity with Y.

Here are my questions:

1. I understand that this will be fine legally, since they may be considered unaccompanied minors. Any concerns?

2. Is the benefit of First over Business worth the extra logistics managing my boys in the row behind? I'll still need to recommend what they eat, when to sleep.

3. How flexible is JAL to a situation like this? Can they manage different approaches well? Are they the type "We're going to make this work", or "I can't see how this can work"?

4. Will we be able to dine with them? I'm thinking the boys sit in the ottoman seats, and are eating the J meal, while we partake in First meals. Perhaps my wife and I sit opposite, and they next to us? Is JAL flexible from that regard?

5. Will the First food be appreciated? I didn't really appreciate the taste of SQ's Kaiseki meal for example. But we (all) love Nobu.

6. Is Business class now so comparitively nice that First class is only different in the details? Like comparing a high end Benz to a Rolls (we don't have a Rolls, and don't have the real desire yet).

7. General thoughts?

Last edited by bmchris; Aug 28, 14 at 1:11 pm
bmchris is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 1:11 pm
  #2  
IMH
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Germany
Programs: BA Gold, Accor & IHG Plat, Meliá & HH & Marriott & Radisson Gold
Posts: 4,843
I'm going to limit myself to your question 7...

In the circumstances you describe I'd go for four J seats, if available. We flew JL F on that route last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it's probably the kind of treat best saved for when you and your wife are travelling without the children.

F and J passengers dining together doesn't sound desirable and isn't something I'd even consider asking cabin crew to facilitate.
IMH is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 1:13 pm
  #3  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 44,638
Terrible idea. If you can't swing 4 in F, fly 4 in J. Not so terrible,
Often1 is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 1:16 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,370
OK - the dining appraoch is not a big issue. Just a "what if" type of thing.

I was in QF F with my 10 year old (8 at the time). We had dinner together. I asked him if he wanted to have breakfast with me. He said no. And he was happy eating himself after I ordered for him.

And there I was thinking he would enjoy eating with his old man!
bmchris is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 1:17 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,370
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Terrible idea. If you can't swing 4 in F, fly 4 in J. Not so terrible,
Can you share thoughts? If I can consider workarounds for them, I may do it. My boys are generally well behaved. For example, I can give them an 8 hour holiday schedule (study, reading, play), and it is followed to the letter without deviation or complaint. I just make very clear the expectations and consequences up front.

I have no intention of creating any real discomfort for other passengers.

I may do the traiditional split. 1 parent and 1 child in F, and the others in J. I know that's worked without issue, and enjoyment, for us in the past. It's just that we're all a little older now, so I'd like to give them a bit more responsibility.

Last edited by bmchris; Aug 28, 14 at 1:24 pm
bmchris is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 1:24 pm
  #6  
IMH
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Germany
Programs: BA Gold, Accor & IHG Plat, Meliá & HH & Marriott & Radisson Gold
Posts: 4,843
Originally Posted by bmchris View Post
I have no intention of creating any real discomfort for other passengers.
You probably wouldn't, but the answer to your original "Is the benefit of First over Business worth the extra logistics managing my boys in the row behind?" is almost certainly "no".

If you can't get four seats in the same cabin then separating the adults as well as the kids is probably going to be less stressful -- you spend some quality time with one son in J while your wife enjoys F with the other.

(EDIT: you've just changed your post to include this "traditional split" as an option. Too fast for me.)
IMH is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 1:59 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,370
One other thought I had is that Business, in my case, is less congenial for pairs, than First. That's what started this train of thought - how would we sit in Business as 4 pax?

What I'm really after is thoughts on what others have done, and what didn't work out. Or what could possibly happen. And if that didn't apply to my case, then I would be less concerned. For example, I don't see my boys running up and down the aisle naked and screaming. But if there was an issue I could see occurring, that would give me pause.

I've also never flown JAL, or even had a meal in Japan without a Japanese host. So the attitude of the JAL flight attendants to me is unknown with kids. For example, I've found CX and SQ attendants to be flexible and doting. Whereas UA and AA have usually been indifferent, sometimes bordering on entitled.

Where would JAL attendants fall?
bmchris is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 3:25 pm
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Potomac Falls, VA
Programs: AA Plat 2MM, MR Gold, Avis Pref
Posts: 41,108
Originally Posted by bmchris View Post
I'm looking at traveling to Japan next summer from ORD-NRT. We are a family of 4, with 2 boys who are 10 and 7. We've traveled in First and Business extensively as a family, QF, BA, DL, UA, SQ. No disciplinary issues, from a non-Japanese perspective. I used to work for Matsushita, reporting directly to Japanese. And my wife learnt Japanese as a 3rd language in college. We have some understanding of Japanese culture, but likely watered down by how flexible the Japanese we interact with were flexible.

Here's my thought. I'm thinking about taking first for my wife and I, and having my boys in the middle in row 5 in business. I've never split them with them internationally, but have domestically - with no issues. I'm cheap, wanting to only spring for 2J and 2F redemptions, as opposed to 4F redemptions. My boys appreciate J, but can't appreciate the additional F value - so why waste it? They are happy to be in J, but definitely register some negativity with Y.

Here are my questions:

1. I understand that this will be fine legally, since they may be considered unaccompanied minors. Any concerns?

2. Is the benefit of First over Business worth the extra logistics managing my boys in the row behind? I'll still need to recommend what they eat, when to sleep.

3. How flexible is JAL to a situation like this? Can they manage different approaches well? Are they the type "We're going to make this work", or "I can't see how this can work"?

4. Will we be able to dine with them? I'm thinking the boys sit in the ottoman seats, and are eating the J meal, while we partake in First meals. Perhaps my wife and I sit opposite, and they next to us? Is JAL flexible from that regard?

5. Will the First food be appreciated? I didn't really appreciate the taste of SQ's Kaiseki meal for example. But we (all) love Nobu.

6. Is Business class now so comparitively nice that First class is only different in the details? Like comparing a high end Benz to a Rolls (we don't have a Rolls, and don't have the real desire yet).

7. General thoughts?

I just flew LAX NRT with JAL in F with my two teens (13 & 14). First of all IMHO, the F was nice, it blew away the trash we sat in on the AA 772 on the way home. Trash might be a strong word but after the JAL 773 that was my thought

My kids didn't really appreciate the F food. They ate it but would have been happier with McD's or similar. They would have been just fine in J.

What I would not have done is have them come to F to dine with me even if they had their own food. That is rude to the other F pax and to the J pax. The cabins should be separate and that includes this type of situation. My two cents is you should get four F if possible. The difference (at least for me) was 12,500 AA miles each way which was insignificant in my book. However J appeared nice to me. I would have been happy there too and our next trip to NRT will be in J most likely unless we get lucky and find 3 more F on the same flight. I'm not inclined to split us up.

For us, the journey is as much fun as the destination. I recommend all in F knowing full well availability may not allow that. Then everyone should go in J.

See I'm confused about your unaccompanied minors comment. Won't you have to pay if they are classified as UA?
TrojanHorse is offline  
Old Aug 28, 14, 3:32 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,370
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
See I'm confused about your unaccompanied minors comment. Won't you have to pay if they are classified as UA?
My understanding is that this is different from US airline policies. If you are on the flight, even in a different class, they aren't UA minors. And if you don't fly with them, at all, then they can still fly themselves as UA minors. There is no fee, but they need adult tickets. My thought was that an award redemption would make the adult vs child ticket a moot point.
bmchris is offline  
Old Aug 29, 14, 7:17 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Programs: JAL Global Club & oneworld Sapphire, ANA SFC & Star Alliance Gold
Posts: 3,169
Honestly JAL's J class is so nice now that I don't even think about flying F anymore. You've seen JL's website on the new J seat, right? It blows all other J products out of the water, IMO. And the menu variety, food quality, and crews are the best in the sky.

On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who is going to be outraged that there is no personal amenity bag (JL distributes amenities from a basket), then maybe you should fly F.

FWIW, my wife and I flew in J with our 5 year old son last month and it was wonderful.
Unimatrix One is offline  
Old Aug 29, 14, 12:21 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: SFO and SNA/LAX
Programs: JL JMB Diamond 1.4 MM, UA 1P 1.2 MM
Posts: 232
Originally Posted by bmchris View Post
I'm looking at traveling to Japan next summer from ORD-NRT. We are a family of 4, with 2 boys who are 10 and 7. We've traveled in First and Business extensively as a family, QF, BA, DL, UA, SQ. No disciplinary issues, from a non-Japanese perspective. I used to work for Matsushita, reporting directly to Japanese. And my wife learnt Japanese as a 3rd language in college. We have some understanding of Japanese culture, but likely watered down by how flexible the Japanese we interact with were flexible.

Here's my thought. I'm thinking about taking first for my wife and I, and having my boys in the middle in row 5 in business. I've never split them with them internationally, but have domestically - with no issues. I'm cheap, wanting to only spring for 2J and 2F redemptions, as opposed to 4F redemptions. My boys appreciate J, but can't appreciate the additional F value - so why waste it? They are happy to be in J, but definitely register some negativity with Y.

Here are my questions:

1. I understand that this will be fine legally, since they may be considered unaccompanied minors. Any concerns?

2. Is the benefit of First over Business worth the extra logistics managing my boys in the row behind? I'll still need to recommend what they eat, when to sleep.

3. How flexible is JAL to a situation like this? Can they manage different approaches well? Are they the type "We're going to make this work", or "I can't see how this can work"?

4. Will we be able to dine with them? I'm thinking the boys sit in the ottoman seats, and are eating the J meal, while we partake in First meals. Perhaps my wife and I sit opposite, and they next to us? Is JAL flexible from that regard?

5. Will the First food be appreciated? I didn't really appreciate the taste of SQ's Kaiseki meal for example. But we (all) love Nobu.

6. Is Business class now so comparitively nice that First class is only different in the details? Like comparing a high end Benz to a Rolls (we don't have a Rolls, and don't have the real desire yet).

7. General thoughts?
1)No concerns. Assuming you are right about the UA policies, having your 2 kids in J while you guys are in F shouldn't be a problem. JL FAs are wonderful and very kid friendly.

2)F is obviously better than J. Is it worth the logistics, only you can answer that.

3)No real flexibility is needed on their part. Your kids will be fine in J by themselves and especially if they are in row 5.

4)I would not recommend having them dine with you. That would be disrespectful to the other F passengers.

5)Assuming you are asking if your kids will appreciate the food, no. Get the western menu for them. If they are typical kids, they'll like the F snacks the most. Udon and steak sandwich.

6)Yes. F is still F, but J is just really nice now.

7)Assuming you are using miles, I'd recommend getting 4 F if possible. The incremental cost between J and F is so small, it's worth it for less hassle. The next best option in my opinion is 2 F (One for your wife and one child) and 2 J. Last option would be 4 J. I'm not familiar with the ORD route since I only fly out of LAX, but getting 4 in either cabin is very hard. Good luck.
Goosh is offline  
Old Aug 29, 14, 8:10 pm
  #12  
Suspended
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: HKG
Programs: A3, TK *G; JL JGC; SPG,Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,959
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 6_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/536.26 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0 Mobile/10B142 Safari/8536.25)

I would say 2f 2j
I personally think its good for kids tohv their own time by themselves. And considering they wont get the knife and kill each other, its hardly a prpblem there. I flew j and f this summer on jl- me thinks the biggest difference is the attention ud get. Food is equally nice (F more presentable anyhow) but miles of difference in alcohol... Which the kids wont enjoy.

Jl fa are of the utmost japanese-ness. They'll all sort of things to help of ur trip!
kaka is offline  
Old Aug 30, 14, 3:00 pm
  #13  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Potomac Falls, VA
Programs: AA Plat 2MM, MR Gold, Avis Pref
Posts: 41,108
Originally Posted by Unimatrix One View Post
Honestly JAL's J class is so nice now that I don't even think about flying F anymore. You've seen JL's website on the new J seat, right? It blows all other J products out of the water, IMO. And the menu variety, food quality, and crews are the best in the sky.

On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who is going to be outraged that there is no personal amenity bag (JL distributes amenities from a basket), then maybe you should fly F.

FWIW, my wife and I flew in J with our 5 year old son last month and it was wonderful.
J looked so good that I will give that a try next time just to try it

Even though the mileage to get first class is immaterial
TrojanHorse is offline  
Old Aug 30, 14, 11:15 pm
  #14  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Programs: Battleaxe Alliance
Posts: 21,449
Since it's a redemption, it may simply be the case of "availability (or the lack thereof) will make a decision for the OP" rather than the OP having much say on the matter.
LTN Phobia is offline  
Old Sep 2, 14, 8:18 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,370
One additional thought. On the way back, we're flying HND-SFO, which is a midnight flight, of just under 10 hours. I recall taking a SQ F flight once, from JFK-FRA, at a slightly earlier time. I didn't enjoy it that much, since dinner took so long, and that cut into sleep time. So we may end up just sticking with J on the return, just since it's mainly sleep time.
bmchris is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: