In This Series:
- Japan Airlines Business Class 787-8 Seattle to Tokyo-Narita
- Japan Airlines Business Class 767-300 Tokyo-Narita to Jakarta
- AirAsia Economy Class A320-200 Jakarta to Denpasar, Denpasar to Jakarta, Jakarta to Singapore
- Beaches and Temples: What we did in Bali
- Hyatt Regency Bali
- Andaz Singapore
- 48 hours in Singapore
- Cathay Pacific Business Class A330-300 Singapore to Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific Business Class A350-900 Hong Kong to Seattle
After a 27-year hiatus, Japan Airlines recently relaunched its Seattle to Narita service in March of this year. The timing of this flight works great for those connecting to other destinations in Asia, and most certainly a welcomed addition to those who are members of the oneworld alliance in the pacific northwest.
I arrived at the airport just a little over an hour from departure time, knowing well that the lounge options at SEA are quite weak. Check-in for JAL is located at the south end of the concourse; and it was quite deserted. I was promptly checked-in and invited to visit the Club at SEA prior to boarding. Of note, the lounge itself was crowded. It is located one floor above the departure level with windows overlooking the A-concourse. They have a small area reserved for JAL passengers, but the food and beverage offering was quite weak. I headed down for boarding after a brief stay.
Flight Number: JL67
Route: Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
Schedule: 14:15 – 16:15+1
Duration: 10h 0m
Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-8 (Registration: JA844J)
Cabin: Business Class
Date: August 23, 2019
Boarding was crowded but orderly. Business class passengers as well as oneworld elites were afforded priority boarding, to the left of the line, which was empty when I reached the gate. Interestingly, once my boarding pass was scanned, I was asked to turn to my side to a small tablet — I was not sure if my picture was taken, or if it was a form of facial recognition technique for boarding.
I boarded through door 2L. Business class on this aircraft was divided into two sections; the forward section has four rows of seats in a 2-2-2 open suite (JAL Sky Suite/Apex) configuration, and the aft section has three rows of seats in a similar configuration. As such, all suites have direct aisle access. Upon arriving to my seat, 8A, I found a mattress, duvet, slippers, amenity kit, menu and headphones at the seat.
A flight attendant welcomed us onboard with an oshibori, pre-departure champagne, and a cardigan. The latter perplexed me, as I tend to get warm easily, especially on flights such as on JAL where seats do not have personal air vents and the crew tend to set the cabin temperature on the warmer side.
As with most of my other flights on JAL, we pushed back right on schedule. Safety video was screened and taxi to runway 34R was quite brief and we took off in no time.
Lunch service commenced shortly after reaching cruising altitude, with flight attendants coming around to take beverage orders. I went with one of the champagnes on offer, which was Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel, which was promptly served with a packaged dried natto on the side. In general, I tend to gravitate towards the local cuisine of the airline I was flying on, and today was no exception. The japanese menu read as follows:
- Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- Chilled Corn Chowder
Irodori Gozen ~ Selection of seasonal colorful delicacies ~
- Deep-fried Tofu with Anchovy Sauce
- Fried White Fish marinated in Vinegar Sauce
- Boiled Octopus with Vinegar Miso
- Taro & Broiled Eggplant with Sesame Cream
- Simmered Eel & Vegetables Japanese Omelette
- Japanese Style Braised Beef Short Ribs
- Grilled Black Cod “Yu-an” Style with Summer Vegetables
- Lychee Mousee
- Green Tea
The meal was expectedly delicious, and the crew was excited to help with the sake pairing to go along with the meal. Once lunch service was completed, I reclined to catch a little snooze. However, given a daytime flight, I was only able to catch a little cat nap.
I woke up approximately 3 hours later, worked a little on my computer and ordered from the “Anytime You Wish” menu, which read as follows:
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.~
*UMAMI = fifth category of taste, corresponding to the flavor of glutamates
I had some time to peruse the inflight entertainment as well. I found the remote control to be less responsive than what I would have liked, but it was useable. The movie selection was decent, but not nearly as extensive I have seen on other carriers, such as Cathay Pacific or Qatar Airways. Given that I was heading to Indonesia, I thought it was appropriate to screen an Indonesian movie. I settled with “Aruna & Lidahnya” (2018) — a rom-com and a little touch on the art of Indonesian cuisine.
As widely reported on other platforms, JAL is known to be serving their pre-arrival meal way in advance of arrival. In this case, pre-arrival dinner was served full two hours prior to touch down. Interestingly, there was no dedicated pre-arrival meal selection on the menu. Instead, passengers were invited to choose from the “Anytime You Wish” selection. I ordered yet another Japanese meal, which was as follows:
Japanese Set Plate
Grilled Salmon Salted Rice Malt Flavor
Shortly after the meal, the captain announced that we would be arriving in about an hour time. The cabin was tidied up promptly. Descent into Narita was certainly quicker than what I had experienced in the past, and we touched down approximately 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time.
Unfortunately, we parked at a hard stand and had to be bussed to the terminal. There was no designated bus for Business Class passengers, but all in all the process went swiftly and smoothly. We were deposited to the concourse, just a short walk away from passport control. As we were connecting to another flight, we headed to transit security en route to our connecting flight to Jakarta.