After an unusual but enjoyable time in Thailand, I flew Japan Airlines business class back to the Unites States. The itinerary involved a connecting flight in Tokyo. At Bangkok, I enjoyed the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
I reviewed this lounge based on a flight from Bangkok pre Covid. This post reviews it under Covid conditions.
At check in for the flight, the rep provided a pass and a map to the Japan Airlines (JAL) Sakura Lounge. It is still operating unlike many BKK airline lounges affiliated with airlines that temporarily stopped serving the Thai capital.
The lounge is located on the third level near Gate D8 near the intersection of Concourses D, E, F, and G. The Sakura Lounge is situated in a central location close to where passengers exit passport control.
The lounge opens a few hours before JAL flight departures. Morning hours are 2 hours 30minutes before JL708 to Tokyo Narita until JL32 leaves for Tokyo Haneda. Afternoon and evening hours are 4 hours before JL34 to Haneda until the last JAL flight departure.
Japan Airlines lounges have the most complicated access rules I’ve encountered. Access to JAL lounges depends on class of service flown, status in its frequent flyer program or the programs of its oneworld Alliance partners, possession of certain JAL credit cards, or the use of a lounge coupon purchased with JAL miles. See the JAL website for details. Depending on how they qualify for entry, those with access can bring in one or two guests.
After presenting credentials or an invitation at the check-in desk, passengers proceed to the seating area. Masks are required unless eating or drinking. Few guests made social distancing a snap.
The lounge occupies a rectangular area overlooking the ramp in front of Concourse D. The largest seating area is to the right as you exit the reception area.
All of the work areas and most seats have access to power outlets.
Another seating area is found to the left on the other side of the food service area.
Food and Beverages
A well-established Bangkok Japanese restaurant, Nippon-Tei, supervises food preparation. The menu is primarily Japanese centered but also includes Thai and Western dishes.
Changes due to Covid were very apparent in food and beverages. Instead of a self-service buffet, guests placed orders from a limited menu.
I requested beef curry, a JAL classic.
Like nearly all airline lounges, there is no charge for any food, beverage or service in this lounge.
Other Features and Services
The lounge has a telephone booth for cell phone calls. This is a standard feature in JAL lounges. Being on the phone in public apparently a no-no in Japan. I wish that was the case in lounges everywhere.
Showers and the smoking room were unavailable because of Covid. Luggage lockers were in use though I never use them.
I really liked the 787 cockpit mock up that was on display at one end of the lounge.
I spent some time looking over the cockpit models and the display on airliner ventilation systems. If you missed this in a previous post, it is a concise explanation of how these systems protect passengers very effectively from airborne contaminants like the SARS CoV-2 virus.
Covid had no effect on the service of the staff which is always excellent. The representative at reception is avialable to answer questions about your flight. Five minutes before boarding starts, they make an announcement so guests who want to can get to the gate when boarding begins.
Japan Airlines strives to fulfill its mission with the spirit of omotenashi. Often translated into English as ‘hospitality’, omotenashi is much more. It’s a completely selfless approach to receiving guests, where a perfect balance of attentive care and unobtrusiveness is achieved to create an intimate environment of trust, relaxation and respect between those sharing the moment.
Omotenashi is one of the reasons why I prefer Japanese airlines over Western ones. The JAL Sakura lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport continues that tradition – Covid or no Covid.
Thanks for visiting today.