Lost in Translation: Japan Airlines Business Class Nagoya to Tokyo Narita

Introduction
Westin Atlanta Airport
American Airlines First Class New York JFK to Los Angeles
American Airlines First Class Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita
Japan Airlines Business Class Tokyo Narita to Nagoya
Hyatt Regency Kyoto
Hoshinoya Kyoto
Westin Nagoya Castle
Japan Airlines Business Class Nagoya to Tokyo Narita
American Airlines First Class Tokyo Narita to Los Angeles
American Airlines First Class Los Angeles to New York JFK


We had an almost comical series of screw ups on our way to the airport, starting at Nagoya Station. The cab ride from the hotel to Nagoya Station was quick given that it was 6AM, and we made it to the train ticket counter with 15 minutes to spare before the train we had planned on taking was scheduled to depart. We purchased our tickets and everything was fine, until I remembered we needed to purchase “reserved seating.” There are several types of trains running between Nagoya Station and Nagoya Airport, from a fast train that goes nonstop to one that makes 20+ stops. The issue is that the train that goes nonstop only has “reserved seating,” and that costs extra. I went back to the counter to purchase the reserved seating “voucher,” only to realize I was literally about 80 Yen (~$1USD) short. They didn’t take credit cards and there was no ATM nearby, so we were more or less hosed.

We then got on the “local” train which doesn’t require reserved seating, and it took forever. One of my friends was getting irritated and suggested we take the train one track over, which passed us several times but didn’t seem to require reserved seating either. So we did that, though when we changed at the station it took over 20 minutes for the next “faster” train to arrive. Grrr, we were now cutting it close on time.

I’ll save the drama, but we made it to the airport just under an hour before departure, so I guess everything worked out in the end.


Walkway from the airport train station to terminal

The Nagoya terminal was impressive, though we were more focused on running to the JAL counters.


Nagoya terminal

There was only a short wait, at which point we were helped by a friendly agent.


JAL counter


JAL counter

One of my friends and I (on revenue tickets) had no problem checking in, and got our business class seat assignment. My other friend was on an American award ticket he had just booked the night before (he was originally going to return on Lufthansa), and he was issued a boarding pass for coach. Fortunately he had his e-ticket receipt saved on his computer (since he didn’t have wifi and his phone didn’t have wireless data), and we showed it to the agent, and it did indeed reflect business class. After talking to her supervisor for about 10 minutes he also got a seat in business class.

Later on we found out that my friend had gotten an email from American a few hours prior (which he didn’t see till we got to Narita) saying to call them regarding an issue on his ticket. As it turns out they had booked him in the incorrect fare code for business class, so he was really supposed to be in coach for that segment. Oops!

Security was quick and as I placed my bag on the belt the agent lifted up a sign in English which more or less read “YOUR BAG IS TOO BIG.” He basically wrote me a “ticket” I was supposed to give the gate agent, though it ended up going somewhere else…

Once past security we headed to the shared Nagoya lounge.


Lounge entrance

While the terminal was bright and spacious, the lounge was dark and overcrowded, and it’s not like there was any food to speak of, so we left the lounge before even sitting down. Sometimes I have to wonder why people bother with lounges when the terminal is nicer.


Lounge


Lounge

Instead we went to the restaurant in the center of the terminal and got soft serve, after an all too exciting morning.


Terminal

We then headed to our departure gate, gate 10, where boarding was announced at 8:05AM.


Departure gate


Nagoya Airport traffic


Our plane to Narita


Our plane to Narita

Japan Airlines 3082
Nagoya (NGO) – Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Monday, May 28
Depart: 8:25AM
Arrive: 9:35AM
Duration: 1hr10min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 11G (Business Class)

Once aboard we took our set of three seats in the center of the business class cabin. While Japan Airlines doesn’t serve pre-departure beverages, they do board planes really, really fast, so we were underway within 15 minutes of the boarding time.

After the safety demo and a quick taxi we were airborne for our 40 minute flight to Narita.

After takeoff I immediately reclined. The seats on this plane are the same that are used on their longhaul fleet, and I can’t say they’re especially comfortable. They’re angled flat though just feel a bit tight all around, especially around the area for your feet.


Business class seats


Business class cabin


Legroom

10 minutes after takeoff “service” began, and I chose the one unique thing they had on their menu. Bonus points to anyone that can figure out what it is based on the picture below.


Extent of the service

After a firm touchdown we taxied to the gate, which felt as long as the rest of the flight.

Once there we followed the signs for international connections, where we cleared security and prepared for our long layover at Narita.


International connections


Narita check-in

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Comments

  1. well, assuming it’s water on the left.

    unique would be their “sky time” beverage but it looks darker than i remember. everyone has green tea, which would be my second choice.

    off the wall answer would be some sort of soup in a cup.

  2. I was on a Sri Lankan Airlines flt which was only 50 minutes runway to runway and they actually served a nice lunch.

  3. One of the discoveries about Japan that truly astounded me was the lack of acceptance of credit cards and the lack of ATM machines that take American cards. Happened all the time.

  4. My question is on the “soft serve” you had in the terminal in Nagoya. Do you mean soft serve as in ice cream? What a wonderful thing that such an establishment is open at 7AM! I heart Japan.

  5. Honestly, does every time a boardingarea blogger travel to japan do they have to title everything ‘lost in translation’

  6. @ TheBeerHunter — Yep, soft serve ice cream for breakfast!

    @ fosij — There was a first class cabin, yes.

  7. I think they call it “Consomme” soup. International seats on a domestic configuration for sheer terror try cattle class on a domestic A380. I would have done the train, lunch in Tokyo and Nex to Narita especialy with a bit of a wait at Narita. The new Shinkansen have “Grande Class” very nice, not all lines yet.

  8. Why on earth would someone fly on a revenue ticket for 40 minutes of air time. Someone above wants a MEAL in 40 minutes? Come on folks…

  9. JAL is such a shitty airline, at least domestically. I’ve never flown them internationally. Their staff is mostly pleasant and their business class only costs 1000 yen per flight more than coach, which begs the question why is business normally empty on most of their flights while coach is packed?

    As far as your friend’s business award seat, well he saved 1000 yen and you discovered what those of us who fly JAL often on award tickets already knew. You cannot book a domestic business class ticket on JAL using AA miles. Even if you could at 1000 yen it’s hardly worth not upgrading at the gate unless you NEED to guarantee your seat.

    Often the ticket offices here will take credit card while the standard machine do not. I would have probably left you rather than riding the local train! I had to ride a local train for two plus hours once at KIX and another time just last weekend in Shizuoka.

  10. just to note that ‘class J’ is NOT business class – nor is it sold as such. It is a premium economy offering – wider seat and more leg-room, and it comes at an additional $12 per leg. If you want proper premium cabin service then you need to pay the extra $60 or so for the first class upgrade.

    On wide-body aircraft ‘class J’ might be a proper business class cabin, but the service is not supposed to be business class.

    As for meals – most airlines outside the USA serve hot meals on international flights over 60 minutes, even in coach. Intra-europe in coach you might get a good sandwich.

  11. @ Cook – I got served a continental breakfast (fruit plate, yogurt with warm crossiants from the oven) on LX C class ZRH-MUC, that is a 40 min flight as well

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