Introduction: Flying Halfway Around The World For Half A Day
Review: China Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Taipei
Review: China Airlines Lounge Taipei
Review: China Airlines Business Class A330 Taipei To Singapore
Review: Singapore Changi Airport Transit Hotel
Review: British Airways Lounge Singapore
Review: SATS Premier Lounge Singapore
Review: Japan Airlines Business Class 767 Singapore To Tokyo
Review: Royal Park Hotel Tokyo Haneda Airport
Review: Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Haneda
Review: Japan Airlines Business Class 777 Tokyo To San Francisco
Japan Airlines 38
Singapore (SIN) – Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Friday, June 24
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 5A (Business Class)
I boarded through the forward door, where I was greeted by the cabin manager and a very friendly flight attendant. Upon presenting my boarding pass I was pointed down the near aisle.
Japan Airlines’ 767 business class product consists of a total of 24 seats, spread across six rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats are in a staggered configuration, and are a slightly modified version of the Vantage-style configuration you’ll find on Austrian, Brussels, Delta, etc.
Overall it’s a fairly sleek cabin, as there’s only so much you can do on a 767, given that the cabin isn’t that wide. For example, I don’t know of any airlines that have a reverse herringbone configuration on the 767.
I eventually found my seat, 5A, located in the second to last row of business class. As you can see below, the window seats alternate between being closer to the window and being closer to the aisle.
My general preference is be in a window seat closest to the window (in this configuration, that’s rows two, four, and six), but unfortunately when I booked those were taken. So instead I found myself in a seat closer to the aisle. The benefit of the seats closer to the window is that they feel more private, as you’re sort of in a cocoon. Below is a picture of a seat closer to the window.
As you can probably tell, the seats look very narrow. I’m not sure if that’s partly because the headrest just goes pretty high, but they feel about as wide as an ironing board. Below is a window seat closer to the aisle, which I was seated in.
My one major complaint about the staggered Vantage configuration is that the area for your feet is quite small. If you’re tall and/or have big feet, you’ll probably find yourself having a hard time moving your feet around when in the reclined position. This is slightly better in the aisle seat, though, as the area for your feet opens up into the aisle.
There was a magazine pocket on the left side of the seat, as well as a small storage area below the personal television.
Next to the storage area was an outlet, and below that was the tray table.
I loved that the tray table slid out from underneath the seat in front. If you’ve ever flown another airline with a Vantage seat, you probably know that you just about need a degree to be able to operate the tray table, as it folds out of the side of your seat in the most awkward way imaginable. This was a huge improvement.
The personal television was a good size, and seemed to be fairly high resolution.
Next to the seat was a small enclosed storage area, as well as a headphone jack.
Below the enclosed storage compartment and to the side of the seat were the seat controls. While they were easy to use, I get a bit frustrated by their location. They’re basically where you’d rest your arm, so it’s very easy to accidentally touch them and cause the seat position to change.
Below the seat controls were the entertainment controls.
There were a bunch of goodies waiting at my seat upon boarding, including headphones, a blanket, a foam pillow, a small bag with amenities, and slippers.
The slippers were pretty high quality, and came with a shoe horn.
The blanket was light, though that worked out given that JAL tends to keep their cabins quite warm. Many will love the foam pillow, though personally I find them ridiculously uncomfortable. To each their own, though.
There was a small pouch with amenities. There were standard things, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as earplugs and an eye mask. Then there were also some random things you’ll mostly only find on Japanese airlines, like an eye refresher and moisture mask. I still haven’t been able to figure out what exactly they’re supposed to do or how they work.
There were also headphones, which were fine, though not especially high quality. I used my Bose headphones instead.
Also waiting on my seat upon boarding was the menu for the flight, as well as a breakfast order sheet, where you could indicate whether you wanted to be woken for breakfast, and if so, what you wanted.
The moment I settled in one of the extremely kind flight attendants came up to my seat and said “welcome aboard, may I explain the seat features to you?” She proceeded to explain how the reading light, entertainment, seat controls, etc., worked.
She also asked me to fill out the form for breakfast, and provided me a pen with which to do so.
Moments later she came by with the landing card and customs declaration for Japan.
Boarding was efficient, and within 10 minutes everyone was aboard. The door closed a minute later, at which point the cabin manager added her welcome aboard, and informed us of our flight time of 6hr44min.
The business class cabin on this flight was half full. I’m sure anyone else who is OCD will appreciate just how symmetrical the seatmap was.
We pushed back at 1:45AM, at which point the safety video was screened. As is the norm, the flight attendants were in the aisle and bowed at the start of the demonstration.
As we taxied out to the runway, the cabin manager came around to distribute cold bottles of Evian water. As she distributed them she said “thank you for flying with us today, and please enjoy this water.”
Our taxi to the runway was fairly quick. As is the norm on Japanese airlines, the crew came through the cabin during the taxi to meticulously inspect everything. They physically made sure every overhead was locked, every tray table stowed, etc. By 2AM we made it to our departure runway, at which point we were cleared for takeoff.
The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff.
I decided to browse the entertainment selection, which was also active on the ground, for what it’s worth. The system was easy to use, though there were ads before being able to view any of the content.
I started by taking a look at the airshow, which used the same system available on my previous flight on the China Airlines A330.
I then browsed the entertainment selection.
The selection was better than I was expecting, and I found a couple of movies and sitcoms that interested me.
I eventually decided to watch Dirty Grandpa, which was a terrible movie, but still great, for obvious reasons.
JAL’s 767s also have wifi, so I connected to that. There was a pamphlet in the magazine pocket with pricing information.
JAL uses the same interface as China Airlines, Etihad, Lufthansa, etc. There were no data restrictions, and a 24 hour pass costs just $18.80, which is an incredible deal.
Most people slept right away after takeoff, while I was quite awake, given that I slept for several hours during the day in Singapore. So while the crew proceeded immediately with the service, I was one of the few people awake for it.
This is obviously an oddly timed flight, leaving at 2AM and arriving at 10AM. As a result, they serve a light snack after takeoff, and then a full breakfast before landing.
The menu read as follows:
And the beverage list read as follows:
Service began with hot towels being distributed from a basket.
I ordered a sake and sparkling water, and was served the snack to go along with it.
This was just a light snack consisting of steamed chicken and prawn wontons, both of which were quite good.
I was also offered some snack mix and fermented soybeans.
To drink I had some sparkling water and sake, which was tasty.
The flight attendant serving my aisle was so kind and professional. She asked if I was enjoying the sake, and when I said I was, she asked if she could bring me another one so I could compare the two. I took her up on the offer. I actually preferred the original one, but it was nice to try them both.
Even after my snack was cleared, she came by my seat every 5-10 minutes to see if I wanted anything else.
The business class lavatory on the 767 is located in front of the cabin, and every time I’d walk towards the front of the cabin to visit it, I noticed one of the flight attendants running into it to make sure it was clean, and then she’d hold the door open for me as I entered.
While the lavatory was pretty basic, there were toothbrushes and mouthwash on the counter.
After watching a movie and working for a bit, I decided to try and nap. While I figured the seat would be super uncomfortable, I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Yes, the seat is narrow, but for some reason I slept well in it.
I didn’t sleep for all that long, though, and when I woke up we were about 2hr30min from Tokyo.
I got back on my laptop to work for a bit, and ordered a coffee.
Around this time most of the cabin started to wake up, and the breakfast service began. I was proactively offered a glass of orange juice.
Moments later I was served breakfast. I had ordered the Japanese breakfast, and it was top notch.
The snapper basically melted in my mouth, and the citrus soy sauce complemented it nicely.
The miso soup that came with it was tasty, and the rice was also quite good.
The assortment served in the box was delicious, and included fresh fruit, eggplant with minced chicken, Japanese pickles, stir-fried burdock & carrot julienne, egg cake, fish cake, and a chicken meatball.
The meal service was done more than two hours before arrival, so I kept working on my laptop.
About an hour before landing the captain came on the PA to provide us with updated arrival information, saying we’d land on schedule. After that announcement the cabin manager asked us to already store our bags. I find on Japanese airlines they consistently prepare the cabin for landing way too early, which can be a bit annoying, especially after a redeye.
About 15 minutes before landing the seatbelt sign was turned on. I quite enjoyed the views as we approached Tokyo Haneda Airport, as it was my first time flying into the airport (previously I’ve always flown into Tokyo Narita).
Unlike Narita Airport, you actually have city views when flying to Haneda Airport, which is cool.
The approach almost reminded me a little bit of flying into LaGuardia, weird as it sounds.
We touched down in Tokyo at 9:40AM, and from there had a quick five minute taxi to the gate.
At Haneda Airport the runway seems to be much closer to the terminal than at Narita Airport (though of course it depends on the runway and terminal), and in this case we were at our arrival gate within about five minutes.
We taxied past a Thai Airways 747, ANA 787, and Cathay Pacific 747.
Cathay Pacific only has a few 747s left in their fleet, and they’ll be retiring them soon, so it was a cool sight.
We eventually pulled into our gate near the end of the terminal.
JAL 767 business class bottom line
As is the norm on Japan Airlines, the service was exceptional. The flight attendants were kind and attentive, in a uniquely Japanese way.
I think it goes without saying that a seven hour redeye isn’t the ideal flight on which to experience an airline, though when you take that into account, this flight was great. Both the snack after takeoff and breakfast were tasty.
Ultimately this isn’t my favorite type of business class hard product, though I did think this was a nice improvement over the other Vantage style staggered seats I’ve flown on other airlines.
If you’ve flown Japan Airlines’ 767 business class, what was your experience like?