- Introduction: A Quick Trip to Taipei
- EVA Air Business Class Review (Royal Laurel Class) LAX-TPE
- Grand Hyatt Taipei Review
- JAL Business Class Lounge TPE Review
- JAL Regional Business Class Review TPE-NRT
- JAL First Class Lounge NRT Review (Sakura Lounge)
- Japan Airlines First Class Review (Sky Suite) NRT-LAX
Japan Airlines First Class Review
The lounge was disappointing, but I had high hopes for this flight. I was greeted as I boarded the plane and was walked to my seat, which was a whole 4 steps away in 1A. As I do on all my long-haul flights, I started taking pictures of the seat and cabin. One of the flight attendants offered to take a picture of me, which I agreed to do. I think the flight attendants on Asian carriers are much more friendly and inclined to offer to take a picture of you if they see you with a camera.
I was offered a choice of champagne or orange juice, and I picked the latter. The flight attendants also started bringing all the passengers their pajamas one by one. I wanted to get some sleep on this flight to test the special memory foam mattresses they provide, so I went to the to change immediately in the lavatory. The lavatory was extremely small and was pretty standard – so much so that I didn’t even bother taking any pictures (and it was hard to with how cramped it was).
I was also given an amenity kit and a separate Shiseido Men “skincare essentials” kit, which I thought was kind of cool. Women had a separate amenity kit. I went back to my seat and finally sat down for a few minutes, and I must say the seat itself is very comfortable. It doesn’t look fancy and doesn’t have the most appealing colors, but it’s really a great seat.
So far I’m extremely impressed – the pajamas are my favorite of any airlines (high quality, comfy, not too hot, and have pockets), the amenity kit was impressive, and the seat is very comfy. I then started to explore the other features of the seat and storage around it.
The first thing I noticed was the IFE remote, which looked more like a cell phone than an actual remote. It was fully touch screen and very user-friendly, and even had a mouse built in to it to control the screen. This was my first experience with a touch-screen IFE remote (I later experienced it on Asiana’s A380 First Class that I already reviewed), and I was very impressed.
There was also some storage next to the seat and noise cancelling headphones near the TV. The footrest that was under the TV was wide and there was plenty of room for storage under it. The tray table is the table that’s above the foot rest – it slides all the way towards the seat when it’s time for a meal or if you need to work (similar to Thai A380 First Class, which I haven’t written a review on yet).
Japan Airlines First Class Dinner
Menus were distributed after takeoff. The full-size images of the menus are below (click to enlarge):
The Japanese meal did sound good, but I still opted for the Western option of the “Kuroge-Wagyu” Fillet. I decided to skip the Amuse Bouche altogether.
I started the meal with some apple juice and an appetizer that wasn’t listed on the menu. The flight attendant set down the three small plates and explained that the first was beef, the second was sea urchin, and the third was ham. I let the flight attendant know that I don’t do ham and she promptly picked up the third plate.
These small bites were nothing special. They had interesting textures but not the best tasting food in the world. The flight attendant then formally set my table and provided me with a small bag of snacks plus a plate with salt, olive oil, and butter. I was also given a choice of breads.
I gobbled up my first piece of bread pretty quickly and the flight attendant noticed and brought me the basket to make another selection. The next course was caviar.
The presentation wasn’t exactly traditional (at least not compared to other airlines I’ve eaten it on) but I’m not one to be picky with caviar. I’d have preferred a mother of pearl spoon like on Asiana First Class rather than the steel one, but no biggie for me.
At this point the flight attendant again saw me taking pictures of all my food and offered to take another picture of me while the meal was on my table, so I agreed. She even said she’d come back again when I received the main course. The flight attendants were all extremely friendly throughout the flight and there were no communication issues at all.
Next up was my entree, which was the “Kuroge-Wagyu” Fillet.
This was plain and simply the best entree I’ve ever had on an airplane. The beef was tender and flavorful, but all those small veggies you see in the picture made all the difference. When I read the description that said “Enjoy the myriad textures of 15 different Spring vegetables” I completely dismissed it thinking that it’s probably just a normal piece of beef. Boy was I wrong – every bite included so many flavors and textures that I really started to chew my food more slowly to enjoy it all. I HIGHLY recommend you order this if it’s an option on your flight!
And as promised, the flight attendant returned to take pictures of me with my fillet. She even took pictures at multiple angles so that they wouldn’t all look exactly the same.
It’s also worth pointing out that my glass of apple juice was never empty – it was being refilled whenever it got below half a glass. Every aspect of the food service was wonderful throughout the meal. Thankfully it wasn’t over yet, as there was still dessert to go!
Dessert was a baked strawberry tart that came out warm, with a side of pistachio ice cream. It was absolutely delicious. The ice cream was a bit too frozen but man…it was just so good. And thankfully that wasn’t even the end of dessert!
Next up was a small brick of dark chocolate, and it was definitely the gourmet stuff. It was a great way to end the meal. The appetizers weren’t the best, but the entree and desserts were really fantastic to go along with great service.
Japan Airlines First Class Bed
I wanted to get some sleep after the meal, and it looked like we were getting heavy tail winds so our flight was due to land really early. I headed to the lavatory and asked a flight attendant to set up my bed for me, which she happily agreed to do. When I got back I got my first glimpse at the memory foam “mattress” that they use:
Wow! It spans the entire width of the seat, and if you notice the black label on the left side of the picture, it says “Hard.” When I got back to my seat the flight attendant said “I set up the bed using the firm side of the mattress. If it’s too hard just let me know and I can flip it over for the soft side.” I was perfectly fine with it the way it was. I also received a memory foam pillow and a regular pillow as well.
This bed is one of the most comfortable beds in the sky in my opinion. I like it better than Cathay Pacific First Class and Qantas A380 First Class. In the last few months I’ve flown Thai A380 First, Etihad First, Singapore Suites, and Lufthansa 747-400 First (haven’t written full reviews of these ones yet), and I still prefer this JAL First Class bedding. It was that comfy.
I slept like a baby for the next 5 hours until they made the landing announcement with about 1:20 left in the flight. I was immediately asked if I wanted anything to eat. I wasn’t particularly hungry given that dinner was only a few hours earlier, so I decided to order just fruit and orange juice. I was also given the option of adjusting my seat from bed mode to seat mode before eating.
The fruit and juice were both very good and perfect for me since I wasn’t that hungry.
Unfortunately the flight was already coming to an end after a very short 8.5 hours because of tail winds. But the flight attendant still brought out some coffee for me without asking if I wanted any. I don’t drink coffee at all, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway. I still didn’t like it.
Passengers were also handed a parting gift. I wasn’t sure what it was, but inside was an explanation that it was a handkerchief from a certain region of Japan that they were supporting.
The flight finally came to an end, and this really was a wonderful flight to have been on.
Japan Airlines First Class Review – Summary
The service from the flight attendants was exceptional, the food was good enough for me to call the entree the best meal I’ve ever had in the sky, the bed was also the most comfortable bed I’ve slept on in the sky, and I can’t really think of any negatives except that the flight was too short.
I can’t wait until I can find a reason to fly JAL First Class again!