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Amazing F experience followed by a disappointing one

Amazing F experience followed by a disappointing one

Old Jan 12, 20, 6:33 pm
  #1  
mhy
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Amazing F experience followed by a disappointing one

Just got off JL4. Did JFK -> NRT (JL3) and NRT -> JFK (JL4) in F.

JFK->NRT was amazing, easily the best flight I've ever had. FAs were incredibly attentive, efficient, and friendly. Near the end of the meal service I was asked if I wanted my bed made, to which I said yes. Immediately I was shown to the lavatory and given PJs to change into. Once I changed, the FAs took my clothes and hung them on a hanger in the closet.
After a brief nap I awoke, FA came by and asked if I wanted anything to drink or eat. I had a drink and the JAL Ramen. We chatted for a bit and they would come by every 30 min or so (minimum) to see how I was doing and if I needed anything. Around 3 hours before landing, I had the Japanese pre-arrival meal, and immediately was asked if I wanted to undo my bed. I agreed and went to the lavatory to change, where I was given my clothes on a hanger. Even after that, FAs stopped by to make sure I had something to drink, or just to chat.

NRT->JFK was the opposite. FAs were polite, but not proactive at all. After the main meal was over, I was given a bottle of water, then I stayed awake for about 5 hours because I wanted to adjust to the new time zone. Not once during this 5 hour period was I asked if I needed anything, offered food/drink, or checked on at all. After 5 hours awake (it was 2AM Japan time by now) I decided to go to bed and flagged down an FA to have my bed made. I also had to ask for PJs, as they were not given proactively. Also, I had to store my clothes in the overhead bin myself as no one offered to hang & store them. I slept for about 4 hours, and awoke 3 hours before landing. There was minimal service until 1.5 hours before landing at which point an FA asked me if I wanted anything to eat since they were closing the galley. I asked for the Japanese meal, which they offered to set up in the empty seat next to me (this was the only plus of the flight). All in all, disappointing given how good my outbound flight was. I shouldn't have wasted 45,000 miles to upgrade.

So the question - is what I experienced on NRT-JFK the norm and I just happened to have a fantastic outbound flight?

Note 1 - I gave holiday chocolates to the crew on my outbound. However, I neither expected (nor should there be) any difference in service resulting from this. I did get a few extra thank-you's from crew in the other cabins and a thank you note.
Note 2 - JL4 was a night flight, departing at 7:30PM. Is this why there was not as proactive service as passengers are expected to be asleep for most of the flight?
Note 3 - I purchased revenue J tickets and spent miles to upgrade. I was JMB Sapphire on the outbound and JMB Diamond on the inbound. If I had spent $10k on a flight like that, I would not be happy.
Note 4 - I am a native Japanese speaker so communication wasn't an issue.

Very disappointing indeed and I wish I hadn't spent the miles. The service was business-class level at best, or worse.

Last edited by mhy; Jan 12, 20 at 7:33 pm
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Old Jan 12, 20, 9:07 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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It's been 10 years since I last flew international F, so I can't comment on whether your experience is commonplace. But I would suggest you send JL an email with your comments. I think they will take it seriously. (There is a place on their website where you can submit comments. The one time I had a serious complaint, their website people were very responsive. Much better than the telephone reps who blew me off. And yes, I am fluent in Japanese, so no communication issues here either.) .
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Old Jan 12, 20, 11:11 pm
  #3  
mhy
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Originally Posted by Unimatrix One View Post
It's been 10 years since I last flew international F, so I can't comment on whether your experience is commonplace. But I would suggest you send JL an email with your comments. I think they will take it seriously. (There is a place on their website where you can submit comments. The one time I had a serious complaint, their website people were very responsive. Much better than the telephone reps who blew me off. And yes, I am fluent in Japanese, so no communication issues here either.) .
Thank you, I have sent an email. Will see how they respond.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 12:28 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
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Originally Posted by mhy View Post
Thank you, I have sent an email. Will see how they respond.
Dont they ask you to do some survey after each flight where you will be in the draw for some random lucky draw Miles or Wifi vouchur?

I remember there is a check box they indicate that you want responses from JAL based on the feedback given?
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Old Jan 13, 20, 12:41 am
  #5  
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The JFK NRT flight should be the norm, and the return flight the big failure.
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Old Jan 13, 20, 2:10 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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JAL is one of the Best, Usually.......

My last 4 flights on JAL have been some of the Best First Class flights I have ever had. Service, drinks, food all beyond fantastic.......Hard products, seat and videos are OK, not the best, but far from the worst. Overall I would take JAL First over Singapore, Etihad or Emirates in First class.....my experiences have been that good. Singapore's A380 has 12 F seats and only 3 flight attendants!!!! I had three flight attendants with 8 people on JAL First and JAL's food offerings were FAR FAR better then Singapore......Singapore Air F food has been terrible over the last 18 months.....I have had a few JAL Clunkers however thankfully they are few and far between. Tomorrow We are off again in F on JAL and we could not be happier. Sorry you had a bad experience.....I would have called the head purser over and explained my expectations, that has helped a bit in the past......Cheers!
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Old Jan 17, 20, 7:08 am
  #7  
mhy
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I received a reply from the customer service center this morning. Basically they apologized for the substandard service, informed me that this was not up to the standard they expect from their cabin crew in international F and that they would forward my original email directly to the crew management on my flight. There was no offer of compensation.

I’m going to consider this case closed and am willing to accept it as a one-off mishap. I’d still like some of my miles back, but at least I didn’t pay cash.

Last edited by mhy; Jan 17, 20 at 7:56 am
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Old Jan 20, 20, 11:01 pm
  #8  
TA
 
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I was also a bit disappointed in a similar way on a recent pair of J flights SFO-HND-SFO.

Maybe because on the outbound the flight was quite sparse (xmas day), and I had the pleasure of having every request fulfilled with a smile. Like: ordering alternating courses from the Japanese / Western menu, requesting extra of the Japanese appetizer box (from the main meal) during the "anytime you like" portion of service. Not having to wait more than 3-4 min between seeing any flight attendants come through the cabin.

On the way back, polite but non-negotiable "no" for picking and choosing meal components out of order. 10 min between seeing flight attendants who I could flag down to request something. The cabin was not quite full, but close. And maybe the short flight time 9.5 hours? I still ate my fill though and enjoyed it, though marginally less.

I don't know how JAL could work out compensating you for reporting something so "soft", though, as compared to a seat or video failure. At least there's actually a "crew management for your flight" to have given feedback to. It just goes into a black hole with most carriers.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 11:09 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
I was also a bit disappointed in a similar way on a recent pair of J flights SFO-HND-SFO.

Maybe because on the outbound the flight was quite sparse (xmas day), and I had the pleasure of having every request fulfilled with a smile. Like: ordering alternating courses from the Japanese / Western menu, requesting extra of the Japanese appetizer box (from the main meal) during the "anytime you like" portion of service. Not having to wait more than 3-4 min between seeing any flight attendants come through the cabin.

On the way back, polite but non-negotiable "no" for picking and choosing meal components out of order. 10 min between seeing flight attendants who I could flag down to request something. The cabin was not quite full, but close. And maybe the short flight time 9.5 hours? I still ate my fill though and enjoyed it, though marginally less.

I don't know how JAL could work out compensating you for reporting something so "soft", though, as compared to a seat or video failure. At least there's actually a "crew management for your flight" to have given feedback to. It just goes into a black hole with most carriers.
J is not catered to the same levels as F so being able to do pick and mix between the Japanese and Western menus is a rare luxury that you got to experience. To the extend that they could have accommodated you, they probably would have. But realistically speaking with an almost full J cabin their hands are far more tied. And an entire 10 minutes between seeing a flight attendant is something to remark as a negative? By most standards, even in F, that is pretty good.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 9:11 am
  #10  
mhy
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
I was also a bit disappointed in a similar way on a recent pair of J flights SFO-HND-SFO.

Maybe because on the outbound the flight was quite sparse (xmas day), and I had the pleasure of having every request fulfilled with a smile. Like: ordering alternating courses from the Japanese / Western menu, requesting extra of the Japanese appetizer box (from the main meal) during the "anytime you like" portion of service. Not having to wait more than 3-4 min between seeing any flight attendants come through the cabin.

On the way back, polite but non-negotiable "no" for picking and choosing meal components out of order. 10 min between seeing flight attendants who I could flag down to request something. The cabin was not quite full, but close. And maybe the short flight time 9.5 hours? I still ate my fill though and enjoyed it, though marginally less.

I don't know how JAL could work out compensating you for reporting something so "soft", though, as compared to a seat or video failure. At least there's actually a "crew management for your flight" to have given feedback to. It just goes into a black hole with most carriers.
In my return F flight, I am pretty sure there were stretches of 20-30min where I did not see a single crew member passing through the cabin :P

I agree with the previous poster that mixing the Western/Japanese menus is normally a luxury in J, and sometimes not possible in F either.
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Old Jan 22, 20, 9:21 am
  #11  
TA
 
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ah, I see. Well, I guess I got lucky then on the outbound.
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