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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!


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: JAL exclusive Champaign SALON 1999
JAL exclusive Champaign SALON 1999

At this point, the very well-trained JAL cabin attendants have already noticed I am the type of passenger who take pictures of everything :P That's why before the senior cabin attendant, the one in charge of cabin service of today's flight, poured the champagne, she first checked if I want to take a picture of the champagne bottle. And of course I said yes with a BIG SMILE on my face :D


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: JAL senior cabin attendant pouring Champagne SALON 1999
JAL senior cabin attendant pouring Champagne SALON 1999.


After serving the champagne, she offered to take a picture of me and the food too! This is one of many things I like about JAL. The cabin attendants (and ground staffs too) are very proactive. Most of the time, when the cabin attendants saw me taking pictures, they would asked if I would want a picture of me taken. This even applies when I flew in Economy Class! This type of proactive and attentive service continued throughout the flight.


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Starter served with a glass of Champagne SALON 1999.
Starter served with a glass of Champagne SALON 1999.

JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Starter consists of smoked salmon, cheese sandwich and fried cheese.
Starter consists of smoked salmon, cheese sandwich and fried cheese.

JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Starter consists of smoked salmon, cheese sandwich and fried cheese
Starter consists of smoked salmon, cheese sandwich and fried cheese.

OK back to the first meal service. The welcome drink is served with a starter consists of three bit-size items: smoked salmon cucumber roll, cheese sandwich with olive, and fried cheese. Presentation wise, it's ok, not particularly stunning or appetizing, but it tastes better than it looks. My favorite is of course the fried cheese! Who doesn't like deep fried cheesy food :P OK I might have omitted the fact that I don't really eat raw fish and smoked salmon. But I am just glad that JAL isn't serving warm nuts with welcome drinks :P


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: also offers a wide variety of snacks with the welcome drink including the ones available in other classes.
JAL also offers a wide variety of snacks with the welcome drink including the ones available in other classes.

Other than the bit-size starters, the cabin attendant also brought out a basket full of Japanese snacks for us to enjoy. It has something like a dried shrimp head, dried natto, etc. But I am saving my appetite for other food. So I only took the usual - rice crackers served in all classes and the Business Class snack, which is Cracker & Almond for this month.


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Table is prepped for the main meal service
Table is prepped for the main meal service

Shortly after I finished my starters, the attentive cabin attendant came to clear the table, refill the champagne, and set my table for the remaining meal service. In the upper left hand corner is the empty dish for fresh bread. A glass of water is also provided for you to cleanse your palate. 


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Butter, peppers, olive oil and salt
Butter, peppers, olive oil and salt

JAL First Class trip report on JL005: JAL uses one of the best butters in France in its First Class
JAL uses one of the best butters in France in its First Class

In the middle of the upper portion of the table is the condiment set consists of butter, pepper, extra vrgin olive oil, and mineral-rich salt. The butter JAL uses in First Class is one of the finest from France. Each First Class passenger is given 30g of BEURRE Echiré slightly salted butter. That's a lot of butter for a single meal service. The one used are refill packages and it comes with 3 different sizes. JAL could have gone with the smaller 20g pack instead but it isn't going to cut corners for its First Class passengers :)

So what so special about this butter? It was awarded the appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) protected status. This means it is still produced using the traditional method using ingredients from specially classified producers from the designated geographical areas. They paid attention to every detail including but not limited to what the cows eat and the temperature of the room the cows stay at before they are sent to the factory. A lot of famous French chefs and pastry chefs also use this butter at their restaurants and shops. New York Times has an article that gives a detail description on the differences between this French butter and the American butter, and how this butter is manufactured. But if you don't have time to read the entire article, here's a shorter one from Amazon product description


A famed artisan French butter, from the milk of cows of the small village of Poitiers and La Rochelle. Known as one of the best butters in France, Echire butter is served in the finest dining establishments (which is why the French covet this butter and keep 85% of the production within France). This sophisticated butter won AOC protected status, and is produced mostly by hand. This bar of Beurre Echire has a light texture, and subtle flavor make this butter just about divine. We will substitute similar or comparable items if the butter is unavailable.

JAL branded First Class silverwares 

Silverwares are wrapped inside a napkin with a ribbon on it. Inside, you can find a butter knife, 2 sets of fork and knife for the appetizer and main dish, and a spoon for dessert. These are custom made JAL silverwares with JAL logos on it.

These silverwares had once brought some good press for JAL. Back in the days with financial troubles, JAL had figured out an innovative way to save on fuel by reducing the size of these silverwares by a faction of a centimeter. This is something not noticeable by passengers and won't affect quality of service but will translate to substantiate annual saving.

This concludes Part I of the first meal service. I didn't plan to break down the meal service into multiple posts. But after picking the photos, I realized it's simply too much to fit into a single post. Next installment will be able the amuse bouche and fresh bread, followed by one on the appetizer and main dish, and finally dessert and coffee. Hopefully there won't be too much JAL news announce in the next few days so I could catch up with my trip report :)

To read other parts of this "Sampling oneworld Premium Services Trip Report", you can find the complete index from the Introduction post. There's also a Trip Report Index page which contains indices to all of my trip reports.


2 comments:

  1. One of the most detailed posts of a TR I've ever seen.
    Fantastic!
    And I'm pretty sure I had Echire butter at L'atelier de Joel Robouchon, it was so good!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jeff! Yes, I heard Joel Robouchon uses that too :)

    ReplyDelete