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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines First Class New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Meal Service - Western Options Part IV

JAL First Class Trip Report on JL005: Grand Dessert - "Yuzu" Mousse Cake, Mille-feuille with Raspberry Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream
Grand Dessert - "Yuzu" Mousse Cake, Mille-feuille with Raspberry Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream

Before the dessert, I was offered cheese from the a la carte menu too but I declined. No way I could fit all these in! So I just went for the the Grand Dessert which is another trio.

"Yuzu" Mousse Cake
Mille-feuille with Raspberry Sauce
Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JAL celebrates Tanabata Festival 2013

JAL will celebrate Tanabata Festival between July 3 and July 7 2013
JAL will celebrate Tanabata Festival between July 3 and July 7 2013. Image by Japan Airlines.

Tanabata is a Japanese star festival. Japanese celebrate Tanabata by writing their wishes on a small piece of paper and hang it on a bamboo tree. Japan Airlines (JAL) will celebrate Tanabata with this tradition by setting up bamboo trees at airports all over Japan.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines First Class New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Meal Service - Western Options Part III

JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - JAL Original Drink "SKY TIME SHIKWÂSÂ CITRUS"
JAL Original Drink "SKY TIME SHIKWÂSÂ CITRUS"

At this point, I had a couple of glasses of Champagne SALON already and my face had turned a bit red. So I switched to a JAL signature drink, "SKY TIME SHIWÂWÂ CITRUS". Shikwâwâ means Okinawa Lemon and this is the third SKY TIME flavors since it was first introduced on January 15 1992. Compared to the previous Yuzu flavor, Shikwâwâ is less sweet and more acidic. But it could still be quite sweet for some people. Not a problem for me and majority of JAL passengers as this is the third most popular beverage in Economy Class after beer and wine.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My 100th JAL Group flights: oneworld Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles Part I

Japan Airlines Business Class Trip Report on JL061: Dining area inside oneworld Business Class lounge at LAX TBIT
Dining area inside oneworld Business Class lounge at LAX TBIT

The oneworld lounge at Los Angeles (LAX) Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) has not changed much since it opened in 2007. The most noticeable change over the years was the re-arrangement of the dining area. Since my last trip report on this lounge (note not since my last visit), they have replaced the individual dining tables with a long table. Wines and champagnes are also now placed on the table instead of the buffet counter.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines First Class New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Meal Service - Western Options Part II

JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Amuse Bouche
Amuse bouche from the Western menu.

There were two different menus for the first meal service: Japanese Cuisine and Chef's Recommendation.  In case you are wondering what Chef's Recommendation is, it's just the Western Cuisine. Not sure why Japan Airlines (JAL) named the Western options this way. Makes you wonder whether it means the Japanese option isn't recommended by the chef then LOL

For the Japanese option, two different types of rice were provided and you could choose to have either or both of them. For the Western option, there were three different appetizers and three different main dishes for you to choose from. JAL allows its First Class passengers to pre-select their meal options. But unfortunately, you can only specify whether you want Japanese or Western. So not very helpful if you want the a specific dish on the Western meal, but would work for sure if you plan to go for the Japanese one instead.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines First Class New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Meal Service - Western Options Part I

JAL First Class trip report on JL005: table linen for JAL First Class
Get ready for the first meal service on JL005

Shortly after the cabin attendants distributed the menus and Bose noise canceling headphones, they came back to set your table and take your welcome drink and meal order. Although JAL has a very extensive drink menu, it didn't take me long to decide. In fact, I decided long before my flight! Of course I am going to start the service with the Japan Airlines (JAL) exclusive, Champagne SALON 1999!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

JAL Flight Crew Union called off strike

As expected, JAL Flight Crew Union called off the planned strike on June 19 2013 in the last minute. All JAL domestic and international flights will be operated as a result. Below is the update posted on Japan Airlines website.

Japan Airlines flight crew union was unsatisfied with the reply from company concerning their requirements to the current wage system and announced to call a 24-hour strike on June 19, 2013.

The strike has been averted by negotiation.

All domestic and international flights will be in normal operation on June 19, 2013.
We sincerely apologize to all customers and related parties for the inconvenience and concerns caused by this issue.

JAL SKY SUITE won the "Best Business Class Airline Seat" at SKYTRAX’s 2013 World Airline Awards

JAL SKY SUITE won SKYTRAX's Best Business Class Airline Seat award.
JAL SKY SUITE won SKYTRAX's Best Business Class Airline Seat award. Image by Japan Airlines.

SKYTRAX announced the list of 2013 World Airline Awards winners at the Paris Air Show 2013 today. And unsurprisingly Japan Airlines' (JAL) new Business Class seat dubbed JAL SKY SUITE was named the "Best Business Class Airline Seat". This is the first time a Japanese carrier has won this award.

Monday, June 17, 2013

JAL to offer 5,000 bonus miles one-way on the Boston flights

JAL offers 5,000 bonus miles one-way on the Boston route
JAL offers 5,000 bonus miles one-way on the Boston route. Image by Japan Airlines.

Japan Airlines (JAL) is offering 5,000 bonus miles one-way on its Boston (BOS) - Tokyo Narita (NRT) route for a limited time. This only applies to JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) American region members who book under eligible fares and register for this campaign prior to boarding. JAL will be running this campaign from July 16 till September 30 2013.

JAL to shorten the international upgrade award hold period


Up until now, you can make an international upgrade award reservation before you issue your ticket. Japan Airlines (JAL) will usually hold it for 5 days and cancel it if the lower class ticket hasn't been issued before the deadline. However, JAL will shorten the hold period to 3 days from September 2 2013.

No more pre-departure personal greetings for elites in Economy Class


Japan Airlines (JAL) announced it will no longer greet the elite members prior to departure in Economy Class because of the customer feedbacks it received. It will start implementing this operation change in July 2013.

JAL Flight Crew Union plans to strike on June 19 2013 for 24 hours

JAL posts a notice on its website informing passengers of the planned strike.
JAL posts a notice on its website informing passengers of the planned strike.

[Update: The planned strike has been canceled]

JAL Flight Crew Union plans to strike for 24 hours on June 19 2013 as it is not satisfied with how Japan Airlines (JAL) replied to its demands. The planned strike will only affect domestic operations and as of right now, JAL has canceled some of its domestic flights on that day and has issued a special refund and cancelation policy.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cathay Pacific Airways will roll out a refreshed First Class cabin on July 24 2013

The current Cathay Pacific First Class cabin
The current Cathay Pacific First Class cabin. Image by Cathay Pacific Airways.

oneworld alliance partner Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) reveals in its monthly magazine for staffs and friends that it will start refreshing its First Class cabin in the coming months to complete the overhaul of its long-haul products. Similar to JAL's latest JAL Suite refresh on SKY SUITE 777, CX's refresh will not be a complete overhaul. It is mainly refreshing the look with other minor enhancements to give a fresh new look to its First Class passengers. That's why it dubs the program as a "midlife refresh" instead of an overhaul.

You can now earn JMB miles on Bangkok Airways flights


Japan Airlines (JAL) and Bangkok Airways (PG) have expanded its codeshare partnership and formed a frequent flyer program partnership. From May 15 2013, JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) members and FlyerBonus members can now earn miles/points on each others' flights.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Class Drink Menu

Ms Fumiko Arisaka was in charge of JAL First Class wine list
Ms Fumiko Arisaka was in charge of JAL First Class wine list

As you have seen in my previous post on First Class amenities, Japan Airlines (JAL) has a separate drink menu in First Class. In Business Class, you would only get an insert to the menu telling you what the wine and drink options are. Not in First Class!

Ms. Fumiko Arisaka has been in charge of JAL wine list for a long time. She is one of the leading wine journalists in Japan. A lot of JAL cabin attendants (CA) are also qualified members of the Japan Sommeliers' Association and have in depth knowledge of wines. Therefore, they also assist Ms. Arisaka to carefully select the wines to be served onboard.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

JAL to lower fuel surcharge from August 1 2013

Japan Airlines (JAL) announced today that it will lower the fuel surcharge on its international flights for tickets issued in August and September 2013. The new surcharge, which is calculated based on the 2 month average Singapore kerosene-type jet fuel price, will drop from the current Zone G to Zone F. This means for a long-haul flight between US/Europe and Japan, the one-way surcharge will be lowered from USD290 to USD259. So wait till August to issue your tickets if you could.

For more details, you can refer to JAL Press Release (Japanese, English)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Update on JAL Happiness Express special liveries

JAL Happiness Express livery design 1
JAL Happiness Express special livery design 1. Image by Japan Airlines.

Around 2 months ago, Japan Airlines (JAL) announced it will paint 6 of its planes with the JAL Happiness Express special livery to celebrate Tokyo Disney Resort's 30th anniversary. Today, JAL announced it has finished painting all 6 planes with 3 slightly different JAL Happiness Express liveries. These Happiness Express planes will be flying all over Japan until March 2014. To celebrate the this, JAL will launch a giveaway campaign for its domestic customers.

My 100th JAL Group flights: Japan Airlines check-in at Los Angeles

Japan Airlines check-in counters at Los Angeles Tom Bradley International Terminal
Japan Airlines check-in counters at Los Angeles Tom Bradley International Terminal

My flight was on the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, so I went to the airport a little earlier than usual as I expected security was going to be crazy as everyone was supposed to be under high alert. But surprisingly, I didn't notice much differences at all. No long lines or extra cops to check your cars and everything seemed normal.

Japan Airlines (JAL) uses check-in counters located in aisle A, which is the one furtherest away from the oneworld lounge. Since my last visit in last December, JAL has slightly re-arranged its check-in area at Los Angeles (LAX) Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). Before, it used to put the luggage tags next to the entrance of the Economy Class line. I thought that was good as passengers can grab a couple of those and fill out the tags while waiting in line. However, now the tags are only available at the counters. So you either go take some from the counter and wait in line or fill them out really quick while you are answering all those questions during check-in. Not a big deal for me as I usually grab a whole bunch of them and save them for my next trip :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Class Amenities

When you fly in First Class, other than the more spacious seat and lavatory, it also comes with other perks such as better amenities. Below are some of them. (Note that I will cover the amenity kits in a later post because the photos I had taken would have given out what the cabin attendants (CAs) did to surprise me)

Sleepwear/Pajamas


Pajamas provided to JAL First Class Passengers.
Pajamas provided to JAL First Class Passengers.

In order to help you relax more and sleep comfortably, the CAs would present you the sleepwear (pajamas) during boarding. You could change it before departure or could simply ask for it whenever you want.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Class Lavatory

JAL 777-300ER First Class lavatory
JAL First Class lavatory on 777-300ER

When you fly in First Class, other than the private and spacious seat, it also comes with other perks such as amenities. Even the lavatory is different than those in the back on the plane. In the W82 configuration, there are a total of 2 lavatories in First Class for 8 passengers - one behind the cockpit on the left hand side (captain side) of the plane and the other side in front of seat 1K on the right hand side.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Double mileage campaign on San Diego flights



Japan Airlines (JAL) has resumed its 787 service on June 1 2013 after confirming the safety and reliability of 787 (although it didn't go as smoothly as planned). To celebrate service resumption and possibly giving people extra incentive to book on the 787 flights, JAL is running a double mileage campaign on the Tokyo Narita (NRT) - San Diego (SAN) targeting the North American region JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) members.

My 100th JAL Group flights: Introduction



Lately I came to the realization that if I keep my current trip report posting schedule, it will take me years to finish the backlog of trip reports I had. That's why I am trying to speed things up a bit now. Although it could be a bit confusing to have two different trip reports publishing at the same time, I believe more people will be interested in this more recent trip, which includes a review of the latest JAL SKY SUITE 777 (SS7) products JAL uses on its long-haul flights! That's why I am going to work on both at the same time :)

This trip report will cover the following flights:

  • Japan Airlines Business Class Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita
  • Japan Airlines Economy Class Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong
  • Japan Airlines Economy Class Hong Kong to Tokyo Narita
  • Japan Airlines Class J Tokyo Narita to Osaka Itami
  • Japan Transocean Air Class J Osaka Kansai to Okinawa Naha
  • Japan Airlines First Class Okinawa Naha to Tokyo Haneda
  • Japan Airlines Business Class Tokyo Narita to Los Angeles

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines New York JFK to Tokyo Narita First Class Seat - JAL Suite

JAL Suite seat 2A in upright position for takeoff and landing
JAL Suite seat 2A in upright position for takeoff and landing.

Finally we get to the JAL First Class seat. At that time, the JAL Suite used on the Tokyo Narita (NRT) - New York JFK (JFK) route was the latest generation long-haul product. It was first rolled out on August 1 2008 on the JFK route and is based on the Venus seat manufactured by Contour, with JPA Design putting in the finishing touch.

Sadly by the time I post this trip report, the JAL Suite on the JFK route has already been replaced by the latest New JAL Suite, which is part of the SKY SUITE 777 (SS7) cabin that JAL progressively rolls out. There are not that much functional differences between the two JAL Suites given the new one is just an incremental update with a more luxurious look and bigger personal TV. Having tried both the old and new JAL Suites (Yes, I was able to try out all 4 classes of the SS7 seats recently on a short flight and there will be a trip report "soon" :P), I would be happy to fly on either of them.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

JAL resumed 787 service but more problem was found [Update 3]



[Update: Added AP report to the end of the post]
[Update 2: Nikkei confirms the repair was done by Boeing workers]
[Update 3: Added JAL explanation quote and plane registration info]

Japan Airlines (JAL) has resumed 787 service on June 1 2013 after four and a half months of grounding. The first 787-8 (788) flight was JL035 from Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Singapore (SIN). It was operated with JA825J, which happens to be the first 788 delivered to JAL. It departed at 01:02 from gate 113 and took off from runway 34L 01:23 and landed at SIN 5 minutes ahead of schedule. Japanese aviation site Aviation Wire has an article on JAL and ANA's first scheduled 788 service with some pictures. Above is JA828J departing from HND on June 1, I assume that's flight JL021 to Beijing (PEK).

JAL resumed 787 service with JL035 from Haneda to Singapore and it landed ahead of schedule according to status posted on Japan Airlines website.
JAL resumed 787 service with JL035 from Haneda to Singapore and it landed ahead of schedule according to status posted on Japan Airlines website.

However, the service resumption did not go as smooth as one has hoped. JAL has found pressure difference inside and outside the battery compartment in one of the 787s and had to take that out of service for further investigation.