Japan Airlines Business Class Review
Without a doubt, Japan Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world. In fact, I love most of the airlines in Asia because they really focus on a quality experience for the passenger. It’s generic to say, but I’d rather fly any of the flagship Asian airlines like Asiana, EVA, China Airlines, ANA, JAL, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways.
If you’ve flown with any of those airlines before and have also tried British Airways, American Airlines or United, you know what I’m talking about. There’s a distinct difference in quality.
I’ve flown in Japan Airlines business class several times before and have always had good experiences. Unfortunately (just a little unfortunate) on my JAL 787 business class flight from Tokyo to Taipei, I got one of the older planes. Please note, this JAL business class flight was in September 2019.
I didn’t really take great pictures because I was filming everything. Check out the YouTube video for a better viewing experience. I
Booking The Flight
I booked this JAL business class flight using British Airways Avios (miles). As any pro-traveler knows, you can use airline miles to book with partner airlines. Since British Airways has a reward chart based on distance, you can get pretty good deals on short distance flights.
This JAL 787 business class flight from Tokyo to Taipei cost 22,000 Avios. Not a bad price when the cash price is over $1000USD for this flight (in economy). If you check out the video, I explain things a lot better.
I got to the airport pretty quickly and super affordably, using the Keisei Narita airport bus. It departs from Tokyo Station and goes directly to Narita airport for only 1000JPY. All your other public transportation options will cost you around 3000JPY or more.
Checking-in with JAL at Narita airport was easy. Whenever you’re at an airline hub, you can pretty much check-in at any time. For example, since this is Tokyo, it’s an airline hub for All Nippon Air and Japan Airlines. Hong Kong is a hub for Cathay Pacific.
I checked-in with JAL about 2.5 hours prior to departure. It was surprising to see a long line at the Japan Airlines business class check-in counter, but it still only took less than 15-minutes to get to the counter.
My flight was for Taiwan and most gate agents want to see that you have a flight out of that country if you’re not a citizen. I don’t like booking flights way in advance, so I just showed him an old itinerary on the TripIt app. All I had to do was change the date of my old flight in the app.
Whenever you check-in for a flight you can ask for your seat to be assigned. I completely forgot to do this and assumed the gate agent would sit me with my girlfriend…he did not. We were in different rows, but someone helped us out and changed seats.
JAL Sakura Lounge
Before the flight, I spent a lot of time relaxing in the Japan Airlines Business Class lounge. It’s one of the best lounges in the world with a variety of features, my favorite being their robot draft beer dispenser.
Japan Airlines 787 Business Class
On board, the seats are older, but still very clean and well maintained. The seats are angled lie-flat, but you don’t necessarily need a bed on a 4-hour flight.
One of the first things I do when I get on a plane is take off my shoes. They actually say not to take off your shoes when the plane is taking off and landing, because in case of an emergency you’ll need to run. But I’m a risk taker. So far, I haven’t had any issues so I normally have my shoes off before the flight takes off.
I like how in JAL business class they provide slippers. Not all carriers provide slippers so it’s a comfortable perk.
Japan Airlines Business Class Headphones
This was actually very surprising. When I got to my seat, they had these cheap headphones that are normally provided in the JAL economy seats. I actually asked the flight attendant if they had headphones and they just handed me another cheap pair.
I’ve flown on regional flights before in JAL business class and they have provided the big Bose over-ear noise cancelling headphones. That’s what I was expecting.
Since it was an older plane, the in-flight entertainment monitor was also old…meaning it wasn’t an HD screen. Ah well.
Dining On the JAL 787 Business Class
The food menu changes twice a month, so as you can see from the photos this is what Japan Airlines business class served in September.
Liquor, Champagne, Wine, Shochu and Sake are all available in Japan Airlines Business Class. I helped myself to some sake since it’s rare for me to drink that.
The Western Meal
I thought the burger and vegetables were really good. The beef was very juicy and I would eat it again if it was a restaurant.
It was my first time trying terrine (seen at the top left) and I didn’t like it. This was also my last time trying terrine.
Look at it! Super juicy!
Overall, the experience was pretty good on the JAL 787 business class. I was disappointed with the headphones, monitor and the seat, but the food and service made up for it.
Would I Japan Airlines 787 business class again?
If it’s on one of the newer planes, absolutely. The flight was affordable with miles, but I can do 4-hours on a cheap low cost carrier to save those miles if I need to. I’d rather get the best value whenever possible.