Flight Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER [JL43 HND-LHR]

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A few days ago, I wrote about my impressions of Japan Airlines first class lounge at Tokyo Haneda airport. Now, it is time to write about my experience on JAL’s first class suites on-board their B777-300ER to London Heathrow.

Image: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines first class product is coveted as one of the best in the market, and I assure you it lives up to its name. Their product is carefully crafted. Devil is in the details, they say, and they take care of every single one. Spotless service and excellent catering made for very pleasant 12 hours on board my flight.

 

The Cabin and the Seat

On the B777-300ER, Japan Airlines offers 8 open suites in their first class cabin, arranged in an all-aisle access 1-2-1 configuration. According to JAL’s website, these suites feature a bed length of 199 cm, a max bed width of 84 cm and a seat width (between armrests) of 58 cm.

The palette used for the cabin gives it a refined look: brown leather seats and woodgrain furnishings create a cosy atmosphere.

Bedding is provided by Japanese mattress maker Airweave. A lumbar support pillow was placed on the seat at boarding. After lunch was served, cabin crew prepared the suite for sleeping, providing a mattress, duvet and a second pillow.

Each suite comes with a 23 inches screen as part of their IFE. IFE control could be done either using the touch screen or through the remote control stored on a side cabinet. Content selection included classic films, recent blockbusters, and lots of J-pop! Seat control pads are located on the side.

In terms of storage space, besides the overhead compartments the suite offers a carry-on storage below the ottoman and space for small personal items on the side cabinet.

There are two lavatories in the front of the cabin. They’re regular sized for a plane lavatory, but I missed a bigger space as other carriers offer in their first class cabins. Being a Japanese carrier, a washlet is the obvious choice for the WC. Amenities included dental kits, mouthwash and Clé de Peau Beauté skincare products.

The Amenities

At boarding, an amenity kit, a skincare set and headphones were waiting on my seat.

The headphones provided were of the Bose QuietComfort family, which are one of the best out there when it comes to noise cancelling.

The amenity kit was quite complete: A colourful ETRO pouch with lip balm, body lotion an perfume from the same brand, a dental kit, mouthwash, tissues, eyeshades, earplugs, comb/brush and a moisture face mask (because Japan!)

Last but not least, a full Shiseido skincare set, including a cleansing foam, moisturizing lotion and a revitalizing serum.

Vouchers for complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi and complimentary fast track at Heathrow arrivals were also provided at boarding time. Also, a magazine and newspapers selection was offered before departure.

The pajamas were super comfortable. Their biggest PRO: they had pockets, which is not a given on airplane pajamas. Slippers were also provided together with the set.

The Menus

Food Menu

Beverages Menu

The On-Board F&B Service

The service started with a pre-departure beverage offered after boarding.

Once in the air, drinks from the beverage menu were offered together with some small bites.

Freshly baked bread, rock salt, olive oil and butter from Jean-Yves Bordier were presented right after.

I opted for the Western Menu, which started with an amouse bouce: piquillo pepper stuffed with cod.

Caviar was served with an egg yolk cream and rice waffles. It was interesting, but I personally prefer the old school blinis.

Then I continued with the lobster papillotte, which was delicious. I paired it with a New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

Dessert was a citrus fruis macedonia, paired with 30 years Grahams tawny port wine.

A 12-hour day flight is a long flight and I couldn’t help but indulge in some of the snacks options. I opted for the curry as my light meal before landing.


Conclusion

Japan Airlines first class product is quite something. It may not be the best first class seat or suite out there in the market, but their on-board service is outstanding, their catering is excellent and their beverages options are top notch.

I booked this ticket for 90,000 AAdvantage miles, which is an excellent price for this product. Even better, awards between North America and Japan can be booked for 80,000 AAdvantage miles.  American Airlines now allows booking JAL awards through their AAdvantage portal, so searching for award space should be much easier.

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