OneWorld Sets The Benchmark At Bangkok Airport With New Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge

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There is yet another reason for passengers to fly oneWorld from Bangkok Airport since the newly renovated Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge is now open for business.

Together with Cathay Pacific, JAL sets the benchmark for the best lounges in Bangkok where home carrier Thai Airways offers rather dismal options for their Business Class / Star Alliance Gold customers.

One would think that it’s the home carrier that offers passengers the best lounge experience but that isn’t the case for Bangkok considering the rather uncomfortable lounges Thai Airways operates there.

I had a flight with Japan Airlines to Tokyo today and was positively surprised that JAL has now completed their renovation at their Sakura Lounge by the D Gates, offering a great atmosphere as well as F&B assortment.

JAL decided to give the lounge a facelift and got rid of the rather dark environment it previously had and now offers open spaces, daylight and shower facilities. The location is still the same, right next to the D gates which are easy to reach when you take the first escalator left to the Duty Free/VAT counter.

The lounge and entrance is visible to the right:

It has plenty of seating space next to the tarmac windows in addition to club chairs.

During my departure in the early morning hours (8am) there was already a generous buffet with many hot dishes (rare at such an early hour) including the popular JAL Signature Beef Curry:

And if you like an early drink you won’t be disappointed either:

Panasonic USB Power outlets at each seating space:

If you like a quick refreshment before or in between flights you’re welcome to take a shower:

Having been inside the previous Sakura Lounge a couple times I was blown away by what JAL did with this space, it’s really a difference like day and night.

This summer it will be the two year anniversary of the new Cathay Pacific Lounge at Bangkok Airport not too far away in the G concourse (~ 3-4 minutes walk) which is also very nice. Cathay consolidated their two smaller lounges into this big one in June 2015 (see here) and the result was great.

I very much like to depart on oneWorld airlines from Bangkok, especially Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. Their fares are very reasonable and even if you depart in Economy Class for shorter flights these carriers will still give you a Fast Track pass.

Thai Airways won’t give any Fast Track to their Star Alliance Gold customers, you have to use the general immigration and security which can be a bloody mess. On top of it you then have to deal with the rather mediocre Thai Airways lounges (I recommend to use either Singapore Airlines or EVA Air instead).

Conclusion

You are able to use any oneWorld Lounge on the day of your departure either via class of service (Business- / First Class) or through oneWorld Elite Status (Sapphire/Emerald). There is no First Class section at both the JAL Sakura and Cathay Pacific Lounge so Sapphire status is sufficient.

Even though the operating hours are limited you’re still able to use this lounge with your Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines flight if your departure time coincides.

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  • Scott

    Wow this looks so much better than the Old one. Will Be tough to decide on lounge with beef curry and Cathay noodles. I know MH defo give Fast track for economy, can you confirm that CX and JL do also? Thanks

    • TheHKflyer

      Same question and also interested in the confirmation ..
      I took BKK-HKG in CX Y with MPC Gold and didn’t have fast track in Dec 2016

    • Positive. I have received Fast Track passes from both CX and JL when I flew them in Economy (as oneWorld Emerald). In fact most Star Alliance carriers I used also gave me Fast Track passes as a Star Alliance Gold and if neither airline gives me me I have collected about a dozen over the last 2 years that i didn’t use upon arrival since immigration was empty.

      It’s only an issue with Thai Airways, they don’t give Golds in Economy anything and if you’re unlucky it easily costs you 45 min to deal with it all.

      • Travelista

        Sebastian,
        When did you fly JL coach? I checked in with the supervisor in January, and back then Emeralds were not issued fast track passes – because she was the supervisor, I only had her confirm once.
        Other oneworld carriers have been handing out fast track without any a due.

  • abby

    useful post, as i wasn’t aware of this. nice to have another shower option, as the BKK heat often lends itself to a pre-departure shower. JAL beef curry trumps CX noodles…

  • McCaron

    at the entrance, they could have at least replaced the paper signage by a digital one which will not look that cheap

  • Ramitran

    Very nice to finally have OW lounge with shower in BKK. Is there also a separate cocktail menu?

    What I really like about the BKK Cathay lounge is their quality cocktails they serve (always have to sample one even on early hours of the day). Made to order breakfast items have also been pretty good (depends what on offer) although the food offering is otherwise very small (inadequate should I say rather). Finnair also gives Fast track passes (at least to their own elites starting from ruby onwards).

    • No cocktails, only the self serve bar with spirits and bottled beer in the fridge. Of course you can always walk over to CX before or after which is what I did yesterday as I love the Bircher Muesli they have in the morning. Agree with you, the food that Cathay had out was dismal compared to JAL.

  • Flyboy

    Please aware of the opening hours : Daily : 05:45 a.m. – 09:00 a.m. , 03:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

  • Siwusa

    If flying to Bangkok is about this Lounge something is truly going wrong with somebody. This just looks like any other lounge: Chairs, Power Outlets, some showers and buffet-food with semi-good quality. Congratulations.

    Wouldn’t spend any longer then I really must there.

    • Well it’s about which airline to fly FROM BKK not the reason why you’re there in the first place. In comparison with their peers at BKK this lounge wins hands down. I agree with your argument to not budget extra time for it to spend hours there but I also spend minimal time at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal while there are some people who arrive at 10am for a 10pm departure.

      • Siwusa

        noted and agreed with. 🙂

  • It looks like it was a good update on this lounge. Thanks for sharing about the experience.

  • Rolf

    I will point out that best lounge in BKK is Cathay Pacific!

    • Just visited this JAL lounge for the first time and it certainly is a huge improvement over the old one. I have to stay that I too have slight preference over the CX one. Good to have both though!