Japan Airlines First Class takes the flyer experience to a whole new level! JAL reforms the entire inflight experience and ensures that customers are lavished in comfort and luxury during the entire journey. Unlike business class, JAL does not overlook a single detail. As JAL tries to reclaim the title as Japan’s leading airline, the company does a fantastic job in First class. Japan Airlines has revamped their inflight experience starting with the forward most cabin! Want luxury, try JAL First Class!
JAL First Class Boarding & Pre-Flight
After a lengthy stay in the Qantas LAX first class lounge, I made my way to the gate right at boarding. At 1:15pm, 30 minutes prior to our schedule departure JAL was offering pre-boarding only. Pre-boarding is for those who needed extra time boarding and does not include First Class or Business Class passengers. Shortly after, First Class and OneWorld Emerald elite boarding was announced, and I boarded behind approximately 15 other people, none who were in first class, but must of be OneWorld Emerald.
As every other person made their way down the jet bridge, I turned left towards the first jetbridge which was reserved for First Class passengers only. The agent working the bridge bowed and welcome me aboard and pointed me down the jetbridge. I wasn’t even half way down before another flight attendant at the door greeted me with a smile and a bow.
Once on board she showed me to my seat and refused to let me store my own bag. With a smile the lovely flight attendant insisted she did it. I was then offered champagne or orange juice and a hot towel to refresh myself.
Shortly after, I was provided Pajamas and when I exited the bathroom from changing the FA was ready to hang my clothing. I was truly impressed with the attentive service!
Japan Airways First Class Seat
Japan Airways First Class cabin on the 777 has eight suites for eight passengers. Each row has four forward facing suites. The two seats in the middle of the cabin are ideal for passengers traveling together. There is a privacy divider if traveling solo and sitting in the middle.
The suite is very large and open. There is no privacy door, but since the cabin is small a door is not necessary. Each throne is 22 inches wide, nearly two full feet and the suit is slightly wider.
Each seat comes with Bose noise-canceling headphones and a 23 inch TV. Remotes, storage and more are all within reach. The wood-grain interior reminds me of a 1990s library.
The ottoman is under the desk and the desk does fold away. This allows for a guest to join you in your suite for dinner. Unfortunately, the guest must also be traveling in First. No visitors from Business or Economy can dine with a First Class guest. So book together and don’t leave your travel companion hanging. Or, if you meet someone at the gate hope they’re in your cabin!
Seat controls and other items such as power are all hidden, but easy to find under the panels around the seat.
The power bank is out of reach and hidden near the TV. I do wish there was a closer option.
Seat controls are intuitive and easy to use, with the highlight being the massage function. Different lightening options include overhead, just the foot well, and a magazine reading light.
JAL First Class Inflight and Dining
We pushed from the gate about 10 minutes late and were airborne after a short taxi with no delay. Off to Tokyo we went, on the lovely 773ER. Service in the air started promptly after the seat-belt sign came off, approximately 10 minutes in flight.
Drink menus and hot towels were distributed followed by slightly frozen canapés and a first round of drinks. First, I opted for the 2002 champagne Salon and I moved to wine later on. Once the hors d’oeuvres were finish, another hot towel was offered. The wait between our snack and dinner included several refills of bubbly and a pre-package snack. I opted for the dried shrimp, but everything from nuts to squid were available.
Dinner includes a lot of bread options and a steady stream of 2002 Salon champagne and water. Dinner was delightful. I could not make a decision on which appetizer, so the FA offered me both!
First, I had the Caviar Appetizer – YUMMM! Second, I indulged with the Lobster and Tomato appetizer.
The food kept coming and each time I had less than a 1/3 of a glass of water or champagne the FA arrived unannounced and refilled my drinks. Everything throughout dinner was perfect! Nothing was under or overcooked and service was spot on throughout the entire experience.
Finally, Dinner was rounded off with scrumptious dessert and some of the best coffee I’ve ever had inflight, thanks to JAL café lines “coffee of the month” which featured Grand Cru Cafés – Bellavista Farms.
After dinner I was sleepy, the flight attendant made my bed which included turn-down service with a mattress pad. My throne transformed into a 6’5″ bed.
Along with turn-down service, each passenger receives an amenity kit with a second shiseido amenity kit. The amenity kit had everything I need, and then some and was a great addition to my suitcase for the vacation ahead.
The turn-down service was nice, however, with only a mattress pad and no sheet I could only think just how many other travelers slept and sweated on the same mattress pad. Japan Airways cabins are like mini saunas! By the time I woke up, my mattress pad was more of a human size maxipad! I swear the cabin temperature breached 85 as I woke up covered in my own sweat!
Service throughout the flight remained spot on. I slept for about 6 hours and then woke up to a flight attendant that was eager to make my bed and offer me more food. I couldn’t resist the temptation to eat some more so I ordered a few midflight snacks and indulged slightly more before the flight ended.
Before landing, arrival meal service was available. The option of both western or Japanese meals are available. This time, I went for the Japanese dish.
Japan Airlines First Class Final Thoughts
JAL 787 business class experience did not impress. Over a year later, Japan Airlines First Class rocked my socks! Flight attendants are very attentive and proactive. Japan Airways First Class hard product was among the best I’ve. When I compare JAL’s First Class to Etihad, American, TAM, Lufthansa, Singapore, Malaysia, or Cathay Pacific, it’s my favorite. This is even more true for OneWorld carriers. Yet, I say this carefully with one caveat, a cabin crew can make or break an experience. So if you can, choose a good crew :). If you do, you too will love your JAL First Class flight. Otherwise enjoy the product.