Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

Japan Air Lines' Return to Seattle Inaugural Flight March 31, 2019

Japan Air Lines' Return to Seattle Inaugural Flight March 31, 2019

Old Apr 12, 19, 11:34 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
Japan Air Lines' Return to Seattle Inaugural Flight March 31, 2019

JAL’s Return to Seattle March 31, 2019




This is Part 2 of my double inaugural weekend in Japan. Both Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines (JAL) have announced their inaugural flights to Seattle and both inaugurals happened on the same day – March 31, 2019. While I am interested in both inaugurals, I decide to go with JAL because Cathay Pacific has a pretty bad record with ceremonies and gifts on inaugural flights especially ex-Hong Kong. In the end, I actually sort of regret not doing the Cathay Pacific because of a personal reason. One of my favorite Hong Kong pop bands, “Dear Jane,” is actually the their special #CathayJetsetters and I would be sitting in the same cabin with these four gentlemen. Cathay Pacific did actually have some nice inaugural gifts this time. But in the end, JAL brought out their super star -Hiroshi Abe, (阿部寛) who has been featuring in all the commercials for the new Seattle flights. After almost 27 years, Japan Airlines once again flew to Seattle daily from Tokyo Narita. While there was plenty of celebration for the resumption, I actually was a bit disappointed with the cabin service, and even the return Seattle to Tokyo Narita was not up to par. It was not bad, but other than Ban, the purser of business class, the rest of the crews looked stressed. The other white coat purser was even borderline rude. I sincerely hope it was just an “one off” experience. The new APEX suites configured 787 was comfortable and introducing the BEDD menu on the Seattle flight was a positive step. Given the connections that Alaska Airlines can provide, these JAL Seattle’s flights hopefully will work this time. I have included the report on the return segment so you will have an idea on the operations in Seattle. JAL does not depart from the South terminal, but rather the end of the A concourse. They also use the Club at SEA lounge instead of BA lounge, which some of us predict here. I have also included photos of the new reopened JAL first class lounge in the 4th floor of the main concourse at Terminal Two, and the photo album for the new JAL lounge will also be provided below. I hope you will enjoy the photos and reports.

Photo album of JL 68/67:
http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Ca...attleInaugural

New JAL First Class Lounge (4th floor of main course)
http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Ca...lassLounge2019

March 31, 2019
JL 68 NRT-SEA Lv1805 Arr1105 Boeing 787-8 JA838J

Check-in:




Check in was straightforward at the JAL First Class area, and as an Oneworld Emerald member, I was able to take advantage of the empty and efficient check in counters. I then proceeded to the priority security lane and immigration was rather quiet on this Sunday afternoon (but it was a completely different story at Okinawa, where I departed from earlier this morning.)
Just a beautiful Spring afternoon here in Narita


My first stop was gate 62, as JA838J has spent for the past few hours. It did not fly off to another destination this morning. The plane was delivered to JAL on November, 2014, and is barely five years old. It looks sharp on this early Spring afternoon here in Tokyo.








Gate 62 was getting ready for the inaugural ceremony in an hour or so.



Since it was still early, I headed to the JAL First Class Lounge, unknowingly that this was my last visit to the 3rd floor lounge before they also got a major renovation too. I went to the sake and sushi bar of course.




A last look at the buffet… the new lounge will no longer feature a large buffet but rather a kitchen to table a la carte menu concept!




The first-class lounge receptionist reminded me that there was a ceremony taking place at Gate 62 at 5pm. So I headed over there around 4:30pm.








Here are the contents of the inaugural gift bag.



Certificate


Sticker


Notebook





Two very young-looking pilots were walking around the gate area with this photo frame and asking passengers to take photo and put them in IG… they were also passing out stickers too.



Ceremony started right on time at 5pm.




There were some English announcements but most of the speeches were made in Japanese only.
However, the attention was all shifted to the surprise of the day – actor Hiroshi Abe…
He is very tall and looked really good given he is 54 years old.





There was a short Q&A session with Abe but it was conducted in Japanese only. It sounded like a typical “saying hi” and “congrat to JAL” type conversation.

Ribbon cutting ceremony:







Setting up for boarding at gate 62:




Boarding was slightly delayed because they got a last-minute handicapped passenger. I think this man possibly got into some kinds of accident at Tokyo so the ground staffs were caught off guard with his status. He was also in business class so it delayed the process a bit too. During the flight, the F/As including the off-duty pilot had to help lifting this guy up from the seat, when he went to use the facilities. Maybe that added to the stress of the crews this evening.

At 5:52pm, boarding finally began and Abe was here to say goodbye to passengers. Many Japanese passengers went to shake hands with him.



Another angle of JA838J


Ban, the head purser, was there greeting passengers. She was the best (perhaps the only good) F/A during this flight.


Galley decoration


Amenities were already waiting at the seats – a pair of headsets, amenity kit, menu, & slippers and there are two additional gifts for business class passengers – a plane model and pluff toy




Pre-takeoff champagne


Door was closed early at 6:14pm and the flight was full this evening in both cabins.
I did not take many cabin interior photos especially I got a seat at row 3. Fortunately, the return flight featured a half full business class cabin and I got an empty seat next to me. I will feature more cabin and seat photos in the return segments. You can find those cabin and seat photo towards the end of my album.

We pushed back from the gate at 6:19pm, and of course, we got the traditional goodbye from the ground crew.


Last edited by Carfield; Apr 12, 19 at 11:59 am
Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 12, 19, 11:37 am
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
Part II

We took off from R/W16R at 6:46pm for the eight hours and ten minutes flight to Seattle. It was a pretty straightforward over the water flight. We pretty much climbed up to 39,000 feet during the night, and did not see land till passing Sekiu, Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Ludlow, Braintree and Vashon Islands, and then Tacoma before turning back towards Sea-tac airport R/W34.

Cabin service began shortly after seat belt sign was turned off at 7:04pm.
As I said earlier, unlike its sister route to Vancouver, Seattle flights feature the full long haul BEDD menu with canapés, and then an a-la-carte on-demand menu for the rest of the flight. Main course from the Western menu was plated individually in the galley, instead of served in a casserole dish.

Here is the wine list for March 2019:
Champagne & Wine
Champagne
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra Brut N.V.
Or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve N.V.

White Wine
Kleine Zaize Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017
Or Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay

IGP Collines Rhadaniennes “La COmbe Pilate” 2016
Or Cline Viognier North Coast USA Or Stepp Pinot Blanc Germany

Rapaura Springs Classic 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Or Dr. L. Riesling Qualitätswein Feinbherb Germany

Red Wine
Chateau Loudenne, Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
Or Felino Malbec Mendoza Argentina

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Pinot Reserve 2017 Pinot Noir
Or Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Qaulitätswen Trocken Germany
3/1 AMR

Sake
HAKURAKUSEI Junmai Daiginyo Miyagi
RAIFUKU Junmai Daiginjo AIAYAMA Ibraki

Hot towel in a lacquered tray was passed out at 7:13pm.


Followed by linen placed on the tray table


Japanese Menu
This menu is created by Chef Jun Kurogi of “KUROGI” Shibadaimon Tokyo.

Sakizuke
Sesame Tofu Wasabi
Created by Chef Jun Kurogi

Moral Mushroom Flan
Broad Beans
Created by Chef Shinobu Namae

Spring Haze – Selection of seasonal colorful delicacies
Jellyfish dressed with Sesame Vinegar Sauce
Simmered Prawn
Kelp Roll with Herring
Dried Mullet Roe
Japanese Omelette
Simmered Bamboo Shoots with Dried Bonito Flakes
Mustard Flavored “Nanohana” Vegetable
Tuna “Sashimi”
Sweet Vinegared Yam
Tender-simmered Abalone
Simmered Asparagus

Dainomono
Grilled Ginger Beef
Simmered Mackerel with Miso Sauce
454 kcal

Steamed Rice
We are pleased to offer freshly steamed “Yukigura Imazurimai” Koshihikari rice

Miso Soup
Japanese Pickles

Kanmi
*Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights

Green Tea

Western Menu
The menu is created by Chef Shinobu Namae of “L’ Effervescence” Nishiazabu Tokyo

Amuse Bouche



Sesame Tofu Wasabi
Created by Chef Jun Kurogi



Moral Mushroom Flan
Broad Beans


Hors d’oeuvre



Horse Mackerel Escabeche


Asparagus Honey Mustard Sauce


Conger Eel & Ratatouille


Sakura Shrimp Potato Salad


Braised Duck Breast & Burdock


[Sea Salt, Butter, and Pepper]


Main Dish Choice
Wagyu Beef Sirloin Steak
Port Sauce, Japanese Pepper Butter
433 kcal





Port Sauce on the side


Medium


Or
Seasonal Seafood
Basil Anchoïade Sauce
213 kcal
Or
*Poêlée of Atlantic salmon in Clam Chowder
213 kcal
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights

Light vegetarian menu is also available from ANYTIME YOU WISH.
“Soy Meat Fajita Sour Cream”

Special Bread from Maison Kayser


Petite Nature


Matcha Green Tea Ekmek


Dessert
*Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights




Coffee Tea

Special Seattle menu



Special menus to celebrate the launch of the Tokyo-Seattle Route

Thank you for flying with us today.
To celebrate the launch of the Tokyo-Seattle route, we are offering special menus for dinner today only.
We hope you enjoy them.

Main Dish (Western Menu)
Poêlée of Atlantic salmon in Clam Chowder

Kanmi (Japanese Menu)/Dessert (Western Menu)
Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse


I got a cheese plate after dessert because I was still a big hungry.




Bottled water was passed out after dinner – JAL uses a rather large sized bottle too!


As I said earlier, the crews looked a bit stressed. The Singaporean F/A, Cynthia, did a greeting to me after takeoff, as she noticed my Chinese last name. Unfortunately, she did not work my side of the cabin. Of course, the F/As were not rude or anything. They did their job efficiently but at times, I felt that they were a bit robotic. They usually were more enthusiastic on these inaugural flights, but other than Ban, the head F/A, no one seemed to be particular impressed with the new destination. I usually like to ask the cockpit crews and cabins crews to sign my first flight certificate and most F/As would have no issues. I did it on my previous ANA inaugural flight to San Jose, CA, as well as JAL inaugural flight to Kona. However, I approached the wrong purser. I should have asked Ban. This purser immediately rejected my request about the cockpit crews because she said that she could not get into the cockpit, and I was a bit taken aback. I guess she caught my shock and tried to change subjects. However, she reluctantly agreed to ask the rest of the cabin crews to sign my first flight certificate. I really did not expect that kind of reaction on a Japanese airline. Next time, I will just go with the crews that I know and stop presuming the white coat F/A is more well-trained and refined.

I slept for a few hours before waking up to the sunrise.



I headed to the self-service counter and took a few pictures there.








Assorted Snacks




Galley at door 2


Door





Ban saw me at the door and asked me to sign the pilot’s log book.



Bathroom – that infant changing table is basically unrealistic, unless your babies are really small.





Japanese bidet


Amenities – toothbrush sets, mouthwash, and lotions



I also want to discuss the bathroom situation on these newly reconfigured 787-8s. Unlike the 787-9s that had three bathrooms including two next to Door 2R and 2L, there are only two bathrooms in the business class section – one located in the front next to the cockpit and one in the mid-cabin behind Door 2R. There was long queues during the busy post-departure and pre-arrival times, and the F/As did not have time to check out the bathroom’s situation. Given to the full flight this morning, the bathrooms were constantly occupied. You really had to queue up to secure the space. It was hard to ask them to add a bathroom now but JAL should be aware of it.

For some reasons, the F/As turned on the lights really early at 00:36am Tokyo time/8:36am Seattle time. There got to be a better way to do it for these short overnight flights. As most of us know, the Japanese are extremely punctual and the a la carte cutoff time was 90 minutes prior to arrival. The F/As really wanted to make sure everyone got to order “breakfast” before the cutoff time. I will rather they serve breakfast at 90 minutes prior to arrival on the Vancouver flights. Maybe they need to think about “breakfast cards” concept so they don’t need to turn on all the cabin lights this early.

The sun was already rising by this time.


I then ordered my breakfast, which consisted of the special savory pancake set for the Seattle flight and the special Michelin Star’s “Tsuta” ramen. The pancake was a mistake because it was too filling. The pancake was more like a bread bowl than a normal pancake. It is good that only Seattle flights feature these odd pancake dish. The ramen was fine and it was better to have it in the ground at their stores. I also prefer the other ramen JAL serves.



Here is the full a la carte menu:
Anytime You Wish
We are pleased to serve following menus at any time after the first meal service. Please ask our cabin attendant by 1 hour and 30 minutes before landing.

Light Meal
Soy Meat Fajita
Sour Cream
Recommendation for light vegetarian

JAL The Curry
JAL original chicken curry supervised by “Hashimoto” in Kumamoto, listed as a 1-star restaurant in the “Michelin Guide Kumamoto and Oita 2018 special edition.”

Beef Plate

Noodles
JAL Original “Japanese Soba Noodles TSUTA” Ramen Noodles in Soy Sauce Soup
Please enjoy rich aroma of truffle oil



Japanese Hot “Udon” Noodles
Edible Wild Plants

Sandwich
Salmon Bagel Sandwich
“Sangenton” Pork Cutlet Sandwich

Cheese Selection
Assorted Cheese


Refreshment
Fresh Fruits
Yogurt Fruit Sauce
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream – Vanilla, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry

The following menus are created by renowned fine cuisine producer and chef – her home ground is Paris – Fumiko Kono.

“Fumiko’s Japanese Set Plate”
Dainomono
Cubed Tuna “Sashimi” & Avocado Japanese Pepper Leaves
Green Leafy Vegetable & Quinoa dressed with Sesame

Soup
Japanese Clear Soup
“Hana-fu,” Shaved Kelp

Steamed Rice
Japanese Pickles & Soy-simmered Kelp

“Fumiko’s Western Set Plate”
Main Dish
Roast Lamb with Herb Breadcrumbs & Japanese Pepper Paste
Seasonal Vegetables

Fromage Blanc Mousse & Citrus Fruits

Special Bread from MAISON KAYSER
Petite Nature
Smoked Pain de Campagne
You can enjoy your breads with olive oil
We are pleased to offer you jam. Please ask your cabin attendant.

Western Set Plate
The following set plate is also available.

Original Pancake
Raw Ham, Cheddar Cheese
(Limited menu only for the Tokyo-Seattle Route)




Fresh Fruits


Hot green tea to end the meal





After breakfast, the F/A passed out another inaugural gift, which was a shoe horn keychain, and I was not sure if economy class passengers received the same additional gift. It might be just a small extra something for the premium cabin.




We finally saw land and entered the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.




Seattle



Sea-tac


Tacoma




A Delta Embraer was landing in parallel to us too




We landed on R/W34R at 10:56am local time. It was a beautiful day here in Seattle. Unfortunately, there was no water salute for our arrival.




Taxing to Gate S16


We were greeted by local staff and we got a small luggage tag gift from Port of Seattle.



New Check-in area



JA838J being towed to its departing gate at A concourse


Ban was once again there to say goodbye to passengers and I will argue that Ban is perhaps the only F/A, who provides the perfect service, and is enthusiastic about JAL’s return to Seattle. Despite seeing those two planes – KE 77W and DL 359 parked, the immigration and custom hall was completely empty. Most of the KE passengers were already processed by then. With global entry, I was in the baggage claim area at no time, and bags came out at 11:18am – sixteen minutes after we parked at gate S16. I was able to get into the train back to the main terminal by 11:30am.
Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 12, 19, 11:39 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
The Return on JL 67 SEA-NRT Part I

April 4, 2019
JL 67 SEA-NRT Lv1415 Arr1625+1 Boeing 787-8 JA836J

Check-in:
To no surprise, JAL check-ins are located towards the end of the terminal along with all other international airlines. There were separate premium and economy class lanes but things were not particularly busy this afternoon.
Swissport was the ground agent here at Seattle for JAL. Most of the agents were still learning and even as the check in area looked fairly empty this afternoon, it took them a while to process each passenger. The agent was very apologetic but since they have many connecting passengers heading to various SE Asian countries, they needed to check on all their visa requirements. I was connecting to Hanoi this afternoon and the agent had to check with her supervisor too. She was friendly but they were all still learning. She then printed out my boarding pass and gave me a map to the Club at SEA in Concourse A.






Information sheet


Thankfully, JAL has now enrolled in the “TSA-PRE” program and I went through security within ten minutes. I grabbed a quick bite because I am not sure about the food offering at the Club at SEA and does not want all the way to Concourse B for the Centurion Lounge, which possibly has a waitlist at these busy afternoon hours.

One good thing about the Club at SEA is that the gate is right across from the club. The lounge is also used by Aer Lingus, EVA Air, Hainan Airlines, Norwegian and Xiamen Airlines, too. I presume those airlines used the gate here at the end of Concourse A now.

You have to walk up the stairs to reach the lounge in the upper level.


The lounge itself was fairly good-sized and could handle one single international flight at one time. If they opened up the new international facilities, they might need more spaces for expansion if more international airlines will fly into Seattle. The agent made a point telling me that there was a special room in the back for JAL passengers. She definitely wasn’t lying about having a ROOM in the back, but let takes a look at the main lounge. I have to say the food was fairly decent for a domestic lounge and I even like it better than Centurion Lounge’s pretentious food. There was a full salad bar with sandwiches, as well as Chicken Noodle Soup.




The Bar



Menu


Sandwich Menu


Main Buffet






Soup and bread


JAL Room





Guess what are the special foods for JAL passengers


LOL Instant Noodle Cups – but to give them credits, they used Japanese brands, not the fake American ones.



Basically, the JAL Room was a joke, and my feeling were “why bother?” The room made the whole lounge smaller than it should be. I would rather them taking down the wall and made the space more open. The special cup noodles are nice gestures but I notice other passengers coming into the room and eating those noodles too. There was no way for the staffs to monitor instant noodle consumption. Why don’t they just have them out during the times that the JAL flights operate? Separate the lounge into small cubicles does not make sense.

Gate A13 – Japan Airlines’ temporary home at SEA
I did not like the gate because you could not get a view of the aircraft due to all the construction around. They are building a new immigration/custom hall here at Concourse A, as well as a pedestrian bridge to the South Satellite.




Boarding began at 1:46pm, and unlike in Tokyo, there was not a clear Emerald/Diamond boarding lane. However, given to our light load, it was okay. Maybe once the construction was completed, they could set up a proper Emerald priority lane.

This time I got some cabin pictures, as I boarded among the first group.

Business Class cabin









Economy Cabin after the aft business class cabin
And yes, JAL has maintained its comfortable 2-2 seating.



Contents at the seat – amenity kit, slippers, headsets, and blanket



Bottled water – Crystal Geyser


Immigration & custom form with passenger survey pamphlet



The seat


Seat Control Panel


Power outlet & USB port


I had pre-takeoff orange juice this time and yes, they were served in plastic. JAL emphasizes on safety duties for F/As prior to takeoff, so the limited pre-takeoff beverage was only offered for long haul flights.


Door was closed early at 2:06pm, and I got an empty seat next to me. It allowed me more spaces to spread out my stuff and I could watch my laptop during the flight. We pushed back at 2:14pm.








We took off from R/W16C at 2:35pm and flying time was nine hours and thirteen minutes.




Tacoma and Goodbye Sea-tac

Goodbye Seattle




Our flying time this afternoon was nine hours and thirteen minutes. Our flight route took us over Bremerton, Hite Center, Joyce, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and then Tofino, before reaching our initial cruising altitude of 38,000 feet. Then, we climbed to 39,000 feet before entering the Alaska airspace. We passed Little Koniuji and Shumagin Islands, and then Cold Bay airport. Then we slowly climbed to 41,000feet, as we crossed the Northern Pacific Ocean. Then we entered the Japanese Inland by passing Kamisu and Tsuchiura, before landing in Narita.

With a light load in business class, the service began shortly at 2:48pm with the hot towel service.


Then our beverage and lunch orders were taken, and for the return flight, I decided to try the Japanese menu.

For the amuse bouche, I chose to have a glass of French Chardonnay to accompany the two small dishes.


Here is the wine list for April 2019, which is slightly different from the March one.
Champagne & Wine
Champagne
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra Brut N.V.
Or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve N.V.

White Wine
Albert Bichot Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay 2017
Or Kleine Zaize Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017

Stepp Pinot Blanc 2018 Germany
Or IGP Collines Rhadaniennes “La Combe Pilate” 2016

Ken Forrester Petit Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Or Rapaura Springs Classic 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

Red Wine
Felino Malbec Mendoza 2017 Argentina
Or Chateau Loudenne, Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Pinot Reserve 2017 Pinot Noir
Or Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Qaulitätswen Trocken Germany
4/1 AMR

Sake
TOYO BIJIN Junmai Daiginjo Yamaguchi
AKABU Junmai Daiginjo Iwate

Lunch then began at 3:18pm Seattle local time and here is the menu and photos of the meal.


Japanese Menu

Sakizuke


Tomato Mousse, Bocconcini, Genovese Sauce


Marinated Zucchini, Smoked Sardine, Anchovy Cream [Shrimps were also used on this amuse bouche.]



Irodori Gozen ~ Selection of seasonal colorful delicacies ~



Simmered Chinese Cabbage Roll Stuffed with Minced Chicken



Yam Jelly


Simmered “Nanohana” Vegetable & Abalone


Simmered Bamboo Shoots & Conger Eel Japaense Pepper Flavor


Grilled Duck Breast with Miso Sauce


Japanese Omelette
Tender Simmered Octopus
Simmered Shrimp
Mashed Pumpkin Ball


Dainomono




Braised Beef & Tofu with Sweet Soy Sauce


Sake Steamed Sea-bass with Minced Shrimp Sauce


Steamed Rice
We are pleased to offer freshly steamed Koshihikari rice


Miso Soup


Japanese Pickles


Kanmi
Mascarpone Yogurt Mousse



Green Tea


Western Menu
Cuisine By Naoki Uchiyama

Amuse Bouche
Tomato Mousse, Bocconcini, Genovese Sauce
Marinated Zucchini, Smoked Sardine, Anchovy Cream

Hors d’oeuvre
Assortment of Appetizer Plate
Prosciutto & Artichoke
Tamarind Duck & Edamame Hummus
Tuna Agrodolce
White Asparagus Tartelette

Main Dish Choice
US Prime Beef Tenderloin
Madeira Sauce, Whole Grain Mustard Artichoke Salsa
Or
Sautéed Sea-bass
Yukon Potato Gnocchi
White Asparagus Carbonara Sauce

Light vegetarian menu is also available from ANYTIME YOU WISH.
Vegetarian Ricotta Cheese Lasagna Eryngii Mushroom

Assorted Gourmet Breads

Dessert
Mascarpone Yogurt Mousse

The lunch service was completed in an hour and the duty-free service was launched. JAL really pushed its duty free service much and offered two cart service in almost all flights - one after the main meal service and one after the second meal/snack/beverage service.

In terms of entertainment, MAGIC VI was featured on these new reconfigured 787 planes. The contents were average with the usual array of Hollywood, Asian and Japanese movies, but the television programs are much more limited. I did not even bother using the entertainment program on all four segments of this trip, and just watched the moving map. WIFI is also available and I paid $18.80 for a 24 hours access pass. I found it to be a great bargain. The coverage was mostly good, except after crossing the International Date Line and two hours prior to entering the Japanese Air Space. I was even able to download a few MSNBC podcasts along the way, so I can keep track of the unbelieve news cycles these days. Flightradar24 also worked well throughout the flight too.
Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 12, 19, 11:44 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
JL 67 Part II

As promised, here are some photos of the seats in various positions.

Here is the seat in the “lounging” position:




Seat in full flat position



JAL offers an “Airweave” mattress for its business class passengers. However, they are also self-service. They were placed in various overhead bins, and the F/As would not remind you about it. Even if they walked past you and saw you getting ready to go to sleep, they would not say a word. Thankfully I read about it and there were three sets located right in the overhead bin above me. So I just helped myself to it.



I made my own bed and took these pictures.






And yes, there is a divider between all the pair seats




I believe JA836J always has the APEX suites, as I noticed plenty of signs of “aging”


Then I went to take a nap and had a good two to three hours sleep.


Self-service counter – assorted snacks and Jean-Paul Hevin’s chocolate thins – they are delicious





There was no origami or any decoration at the self-service counter, and that was a sign on how service went on this flight. The crews were definitely doing the minimal, despite the small load. They answered every call button and did everything by the book. However, there was just not that extra “oomph” or warmth that JAL is known for. The service was not bad but just lacked the extra factor that made JAL better than other Asian airlines or even better than ANA. I will rate this set of crews the worst out of my four JAL flights I did on this itinerary (HAN-NRT-SEA and back) but just a word of caution, even JAL’s worst is better than American Airlines’ good days.

Takefumi – Japanese Bamboo Foot Messager was available


The crews switched on the light at 9:49pm Seattle time/1:49pm Tokyo time, and they began taking order for any pre-arrival meal services. This time I decided to try Mapo Eggplant Rice and Vegetarian Tonkotsu Ramen, along with some fresh fruit to end the meal. These light meals are really quite small these days and you really need to order at least two dishes to feel full.



Here is the a la carte menu:

JAL’s Recommendation
Mapo Eggplant Rice Bowl



Light Meal
Vegetarian Ricotta Cheese Lasagna
Eryngii Mushroom
Recommendation for light vegetarian

Vegetable Curry with Hokkaido Potatoes & Onions

Noodles
JAL Original Healthy Ramen Noodles from Kyusyu “Kyushu Jangara”
~Healthy ramen noodles of vegetable origin in pursuit of good taste (UMAMI*) without using meat, topped with Yuba Roll~




Japanese Hot “Udon” Noodles
Seaweed

Sandwich
Pork Cutlet Sandwich

Cheese Selection
Assorted Cheese

Refreshment
Fresh Fruits



Ice Cream

Japanese Set Plate
Dainomono
Grilled Salmon Salted Rice Malt Flavor

Kobachi
Sautéed Burdock & Carrot Julienne

Steamed Rice
Miso Soup

Western Set Plate
Main Dish
Beef Steak Bibimbap Style

Greek Yogurt
Mango Sauce

Wing shot out from Door 2L


For the rest of the flight, I just listened to my podcast and read my Andrew McCabe’s book.
Descent soon began at 3:03pm and we stayed at 16,000fet a bit. Then we had our final descent at 3:26pm.




Ibaraki Airport


We landed on R/W16R at 3:48pm and then parked at gate 64 eleven minutes later.



JA836J actually would fly back to Seattle that evening.

Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 12, 19, 11:45 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
JAL New First Class Lounge

As promised earlier, I visited the new JAL First Class Lounge at Narita during my layover, before my flight to Hanoi. Basically, JAL reopened the fourth floor first class lounge, and now the third-floor lounge was mostly closed, as I presumed that they would get a similar face lift. For now, partner airlines’ emerald members would turn away until the full lounge was done in September. The new lounge was beautiful and its theme retains its Japanese ambience but with a modern touch. There are many power outlets and USB Ports throughout all the seating area. They were sometimes hidden, but they were there. The buffet was changed into a more kitchen to table concept, instead of just a buffet. However, they are still mostly self-service, unlike other Asian and Middle East airlines, which offer a table waiting service. The Sushi bar was of course retained and now there was a ramen bar, along with a range of Western dishes preparedly freshly by staff that you can order a la carte. There is still a buffet for breads, pastries and sweets, along with assorted soups and the JAL famous curry. There are plenty of beverage stations across the lounge, which was quite large. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Floor Map










Sushi Bar








Kitchen table





Buffet






Another section





Message Chair








Shoe-shining service too








I love these range of postcards of previous JAL inaugural flights!




In conclusion, I hope you enjoy the trip report. I wish JAL success on the new Seattle flight snd hopefully they can address the F/A service a bit. Maybe it is time to add back one more F/A to assist with the a la carte service, or at least make them less stressful.

Carfield
Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 13, 19, 7:18 am
  #6  
757
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: St. Paul, MN
Programs: Delta GM, IHG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 330
As always, a great report and photos, Carfield. My wife and I have actually been considering going to Japan through Seattle here later this year, and so great to see your report on JAL. Looks like they offer an excellent service. Thank you for sharing!
757 is offline  
Old Apr 13, 19, 11:44 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Frisco, TX
Programs: The Airline Run by Doug P
Posts: 17,776
Thank you for a wonderful and descriptive trip report Carfield!
enviroian is online now  
Old Apr 13, 19, 1:16 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: HKG
Programs: CX Gold
Posts: 97
Thank you for sharing Carfield! You take some great photios and of course I wouldn't expect pictures of the menu, always neatly typed up by you.

How was the Wagyu Sirloin?

Despite your comments on mediocre service, I'm still looking for an opportunity to fly JAL J or F, however CX is just too convenient for me in terms of direct flights to the destinations I need to travel to. Your TR makes me think I should go out of my way at least once just to experience it.
somemale is offline  
Old Apr 14, 19, 11:15 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
Originally Posted by somemale View Post
Thank you for sharing Carfield! You take some great photios and of course I wouldn't expect pictures of the menu, always neatly typed up by you.

How was the Wagyu Sirloin?
.
The Wagyu Sirloin was pretty good!

Carfield
Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 14, 19, 12:34 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Houston
Posts: 66
Thanks Carfield for the great trip report. I have one question. How wide would you approximate the ledge to the side of the seat. I have a CPAP machine, and it is approximately 6.5 inches wide. I'm hoping that the ledge with the curved extension near the top of the seat is wide enough for my CPAP..

You wouldn't happen to be flying CX from Seattle to Hong Kong anytime soon would you? My flights are in January. CX from Seattle to BKK connecting at HKG, and BKK to SEA on JAL.
diverg is offline  
Old Apr 14, 19, 5:55 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Singapore
Programs: CX Gold, Krisflyer PPS, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Platinum
Posts: 579
Awesome report - the food looks amazing and delicious! Curious about the Pilot's travel log book....what did you write and others? just signing it ?

Sorry to hear about the crew - it is the same with SQ lately, it gets very robotic and minimalist. You would expect a bit more excitement
sl00001 is offline  
Old Apr 14, 19, 10:34 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York
Posts: 6,562
Originally Posted by diverg View Post
Thanks Carfield for the great trip report. I have one question. How wide would you approximate the ledge to the side of the seat. I have a CPAP machine, and it is approximately 6.5 inches wide. I'm hoping that the ledge with the curved extension near the top of the seat is wide enough for my CPAP..

You wouldn't happen to be flying CX from Seattle to Hong Kong anytime soon would you? My flights are in January. CX from Seattle to BKK connecting at HKG, and BKK to SEA on JAL.
Unfortunately I really don't know the answer to your question. Plus the APEX suites are a bit different from other seats. Some of the aisle seats have side storage bin. But I lean to "NO" to the CPAP machine. Perhaps someone at the JAL forum will have a better answer.

No to CX... I avoid redeye flights at all costs.

Sorry and I wish I can be more help!

Carfield
Carfield is offline  
Old Apr 15, 19, 10:56 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Moreland Hills (CLE)
Programs: Over-entitled UA 1.3MM Gold, AA Gold, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Discv, Marriott Plat, Hertz PC
Posts: 5,503
Great report and pictures. Thank you!!!
Billiken is offline  
Old Apr 16, 19, 8:25 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Tokyo
Programs: Marriott Plat, HH G,Hyatt E,*A Gold, OW Emerald.
Posts: 2,544
Great report!
Tokyoite is offline  
Old Apr 23, 19, 5:05 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,388
Great inaugural report as always, Carfield!

It's a shame the JAL crews didn't live up to expectations on these new flights, you'd think they'd roster the A Team for the first rotation.
Coathanger is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread