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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines First Class New York JFK to Tokyo Narita inflight entertainment and self-service bar

JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - JAL inflight entertainment video contents for June 2012
JAL inflight entertainment video contents for June 2012. Image by Japan Airlines.

Given this was a day time flight, at this point I was not tired at all. So I just kept watching some movies from Japan Airlines' (JAL) MAGIC-III inflight entertainment system (IFE). Although MAGIC-III is JAL's previous generation inflight entertainment system on long-haul flights, it still has the same amount of video contents as the latest MAGIC-V (MAGIC-IV is on regional 737-800 only). It just lack touch-screen capability, some cool 3-D video games and maybe some extra features like SKY MANGA and meal ordering from your controller, but it still comes with full audio video on demand (AVOD) capability in all 4 classes. With that said, the movie and TV selections were rather limited, especially if you don't watch Japanese programs or in some cases don't understand Japanese at all as some of the Japanese channels don't have English subtitles.

Unfortunately my flight was before the JAL SKY Wi-Fi rollout, so this wasn't an option either. If you are looking for a review on this inflight wi-fi service, you will have to wait till I cover it in "My 100th JAL Group Flights" trip report.


JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - Queen of Blue Deluxe
Queen of Blue Deluxe

JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - Queen of Blue Deluxe
Queen of Blue Deluxe

Well lack of wi-fi isn't a big deal for me, I could kill some time with movies instead. Of course I was going to order some drinks to keep myself hydrated while I enjoyed my movies. But not champagne this time since I didn't want to get drunk and pass out. So I switched to the JAL exclusive Queen of Blue, which is a premium Japanese tea in wine bottle. Still remember the cabin attendant who thought I want a picture of myself instead of the bread basket? She's the one serving me the tea. By now she already knew I wanted pictures of EVERYTHING! I didn't even have to ask for pictures of the tea bottle anymore :D Oh and she offered to take a picture of me too!


JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - Cocoa covered truffle from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere
Cocoa covered truffle from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere

JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - Cocoa covered truffle from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere
Cocoa covered truffle from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere

Wait that's not it. Not only did she pose for pictures, she also tried to create more photo taking opportunities for me too! After she poured me the tea, she came back with a box of cocoa covered truffle from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere and highly recommended me to try them out (well also gave me a chance to take more pictures ;)). Yup, it's entire box of truffle in its original packaging. She really didn't have to bring out the entire box but she did that because she knew I would love a picture of that too :D This is the kind of personal and attentive service that I love from JAL.

As far as I could tell, I was the only one presented with the entire box of truffle. Hopefully other passengers didn't think I am Japanese and therefore received preferential treatments from the crew as this is the misconception/myth of JAL. And for the record, I am not Japanese, and did not speak a single Japanese word to the crew either. This shows you don't have to be Japanese or speak Japanese to receive outstanding service from JAL. Myth busted :)

The truffle itself was very soft, smooth and chocolaty. However, it could be too sweet for some people. 2 pieces are more than enough and I definitely didn't eat the entire box LOL. I need to save room for more food later!


Lights off after first meal service

In case you haven't noticed, the cabin attendants had actually turned off most of the lights after they set up the beds for the passengers. The photos above still look a bit bright because the passenger sitting in 1A had his windows wide opened! But at 18:23 he finally closed all of the blinds and cabin was really dark at this point. Not so good for photo taking but good for getting a "supreme sleep beyond clouds" :P

At this point, I had finished my second movie and I decided to explore the cabins a bit more. On top of that, I need to brush my teeth too since the chocolate truffle were really sweet. Not sure if I had mentioned this before (the trip report is getting a bit long and I start forgetting what I have said already LOL), the First Class galley is in front of R1 (first door on the right hand side of the plane). The main cabin control is also located on that side, right next to the lavatory.


JAL trip report on JL005 - JAL First Class self-service bar
JAL First Class self-service bar

JAL trip report on JL005 - JAL First Class self-service bar
JAL First Class self-service bar

JAL trip report on JL005 - Snacks from JAL First Class self-service bar
Snacks from JAL First Class self-service bar

Next to L1, you could find a self-service bar. It didn't have too many options there mainly because First Class is all about personal service. So the cabin attendants would just go offer you snacks instead of expecting you to serve yourself :P There you could find the same chocolate truffle the cabin attendant offered me but without the box! And some Japanese snacks JAL only offered in First Class. These are some of the items the cabin attendant passed around in a basket during the first meal service.


JAL Trip Report on JL005 - JAL Business Class self-service bar
JAL Business Class self-service bar

The Business Class self-serviced bar on the other hand had more options. There were wines and juices. Also the JAL packaged rice crackers Kameda and snacks, which were all missing in the First Class self-service bar. Usually on the Los Angeles flight, you could find some chocolates there as well. Not sure if it went out or JAL doesn't provide them on the flight from New York. Usually this is the place I had my friendly chat with the cabin attendant in Business Class. But not today though (well they were not there when I visited)


JAL Trip Report on JL005 - JAL Sky Gallery
JAL Sky Gallery

Another feature that you could only find in Business Class is the award winning Sky Gallery. Basically it is a wall with pictures taken by Canon camera. Usually the theme of these pictures was "Invitation to Nature" and this time JAL was featuring Hokkaido in the Sky Gallery. But there were times JAL did something different and showed historic pictures of its fleet, but then this would probably mean no Canon sponsorship? :P Below was the description of spring in Hokkaido JAL displayed in the middle picture of the lower row.

Spring comes late in Hokkaido. As spring winds softly caress the snow-covered ground, 'tsukushi' sprouts unexpectedly emerge. The colors of spring are unblended, pure and beautiful, just like the first brush of paint applied on while canvass.

So what's next? Time for more food :D

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.


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