It is a very short walk from the Air France lounge to gate 3, which was the boarding gate for Japan Airlines (JL) 005 from New York JFK to NRT. Boarding began 45 minutes before the 1:15pm scheduled departure time.
I find that Asian carriers usually have a well organized boarding process. JL 005 was no exception. When I arrived at the gate five minutes before boarding, people were already starting to line up. JL had three cordoned off boarding lanes. One each for first class, business class and economy. Boarding began with the call for those needing assistance or with small children. There were not many who came forward. Next, they asked for first class passengers and OneWorld Emeralds to board through the first-class lane.
I was one of the first to board. There are only eight first-class seats on JL 777-300 aircraft in a 1x2x1 configurqtion. When I got to my seat, 1A, I was impressed.
It was a semi-enclosed suite. The seat is 33 inches wide and converts to a bed that is 78 inches long. In addition to the seat, which was very comfortable, there is a sideboard for storage, an ottoman and a large TV screen in front with a table that moves forward for eating and working. There is also a table recessed into the sideboard that is extracted for the meal service.
The ottoman comes with a seat belt so that a guest can sit there and join for dinner if you wish. JL provides a Loewe amenity kit in a corduroy case, Bose noise cancelling headsets and, of course, slippers and a shoe horn.
The amenity kit contained everything needed to take care of any personal needs that might arise during the flight… lip balm, tissues, brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, a moistened face mask for those wanting to avoid germs, ear plugs, eye shades, eau de toilette, and a sanitizing wipe.
The seat controls were easy to access and understand.
There was a control next to the seat. The seat position was also controllable from the handheld remote for the video system. The remote is stored in a recessed compartment on the sideboard. A/C and USB power outlets were in a compartment near the video screen.
After giving me a few minutes to get situated in my surroundings, the flight attendant came by to welcome me on board, introduce herself, and offer a moist towel and a pre-departure beverage.
I settled in and was really looking forward to the flight. Flight 005 is scheduled for 14 hours and 10 minutes to cover the 6,736 miles between JFK and NRT.
The flight departed the gate on time. The route was north over Canada and then Alaska.
When the flight leveled off at cruise altitude the flight attendant offered beverags. I chose another glass of champagne. It came with a salty seafood snack and an amuse bouche.
This was the menu for the flight.
The dinner service started with caviar.
Then an appetizer.
Next was the prime beef fillet.
I ordered the beef medium rare, and it was prepared as ordered. It was one of the best steaks I’ve had on a plane.
I selected a cherry crumble cheesecake for desert along with a desert wine.
After dinner I watched a movie from JL’s selection of New Releases and then asked the flight attendant to convert my seat into a bed while I changed into the JL PJs.
The flight attendant brought a mattress pad covered in a sheet to put on the seat and added the deliciously soft and comfortable quilt on top.
Meanwhile I used the large handicapped-accessible bathroom in first class to change. The bathroom had plenty of room and the flight attendants kept it clean so there was no hesitation in changing clothes there.
I slept for about four hours. When I woke up I stayed in my PJs and watched another movie.Having PJs is a plus because it makes sleep more comfortable and it keeps clothes fresher.
There is a snack bar set up in the galley in first class. You can help yourself to a snack and refreshments of have the flight attendant serve you.
I slept through the mid-flight light meal. I awoke in time for the pre-arrival meal. I had the four cheese spinach tart with red bell pepper sauce and guava panna cotta.
Compared to my first-class flight on Cathay Pacific, I liked the Japan Airlines seat better, but the overall food and beverage service on Cathay Pacific was superior. Japan Airlines had the better pajamas however.
For only 67,500 American Airline miles including the first-class flight to JFK and the business-class flights from NRT to HKG and HKG to Phuket, this flight was a bargain and a truly enjoyable experience.