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“Over the top experience from Narita to Honolulu!”
Review of Japan Airlines (JAL)


Reviewed 11 January 2018

My first leg from Beijing to Narita was a good experience and then on to Honolulu was among my best flight experiences ever! My second leg was a five-hour flight at night so I knew the crew would have some downtime as most passengers would be asleep. During the two-hour layover at Narita, I purchased a box of Chocolates for the flight attendants to share and gave it to them when boarding. They at first thought I wanted them to store the bag for me and I said no, it was for them to share with each other. Now I often do this because I am usually traveling as a backpacker and I am not especially well dressed after weeks/months on the road, on this occasion it was jeans and a Great Wall tourist tee-shirt. Foremost I like to do it because I know how hard they work and I want to express my gratitude for their efforts, that it also removes me from the category of just another person in cattle class in their eyes is a nice bonus. I am not sure if bringing a gift hit a Japanese cultural button but the reaction was like nothing I had ever experienced before. At different points of the flight, each attendant stopped by my seat to personally thank me and chat a bit, asking if I was a pilot or at least an airline employee. I literally could not pay for a drink, the Champagne flowed all through the night! Even when I insisted I had not done it for any kind of reward and would like to pay after the second one their response to this was to give me a diecast B777 in JAL livery, and more Champagne! When you fly your three biggest tools are, don't be a jerk, show appreciation and empathy to the cabin crew, express your gratitude before that moment at the door when deplaning!

Date of travel: December 2017
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1  Thank StevenP3559
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 January 2018

Having flown JAL several times their service is very good and the comfort levels OK. They tend to have their cabin temperature quite high.

Date of travel: January 2018
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Thank normr512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2018

One of the best parts of flying with JAL are the flight attendants and their professional demeanor. I was on a recent flight where some of the passengers were sick and they still kept their composure and smile. They are excellent in working with children and infants to make sure they are comfortable and safe. My only itch was with a flight attendant that took issues with one person standing up for a few seconds or two people heading to the restroom in what seemed like an emergency. Hopefully, she had a glass of wine or two to decompress and calm her nerves.

The economy seats from SFO to Haneda were the most comfortable, but the economy seat that was assigned from Narita to LAX would have been tight on my knees had it been a middle or window seat. I traveled with my much shorter spouse which made the trip a lot more bearable. I highly recommend the premium economy seats if traveling from Japan to the US, since they often make offers to upgrade to premium economy at a reasonable price.

I'm not sure what happened to JAL's in-flight dinning. I made sure to eat a full meal before entering the plane on my way back to the states. In-flight dining was much better years ago when I flew JAL. What they served recently even my kids refused to eat. They preferred lunch food than JAL In-flight dinning. They couldn't stand the smell of the soup that they served. The only thing that saved the day was the little cartons of Haagen-Dazs to make up for the terrible in-flight meals.

I miss the days when flights to Japan served bento box style Japanese food and my kids actually ate the airplane food and never complained.

Another negative about flying with JAL is that if the flight is operated by Japan Airlines, you won't be eligible for TSAPre for that flight. JAL is not a TSA Pre participating airline. I didn't mind since my children were of the age that allowed us to go through metal detectors instead. In the future, we would have to book through a participating airline.

In spite of the negative, JAL offers some really good international flight deals. If you want to fly with JAL, I do recommend premium economy seating and flying one stop to and from Haneda if you're going to Tokyo. Flying through SFO makes for much smoother traveling than flying multiple stops to LAX from my experience. Flying with Japan Airlines really depends on how you customize your traveling experience. It could be a 3 star or 4 star flying experience.

Flying through JAL was much better overall than Delta or American Airlines in my opinion. However, JAL needs to work on their horrible in-flight dinning selections and participate in TSA Pre. I would give my flight experience with JAL a 3.5 overall.

Date of travel: December 2017
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Thank FrankRichards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2018

easy check-in.
excellent flight attendants.
wide selection of free movies.
okay seats with good leg room.
very good meals.
very good flight to Japan.

Date of travel: January 2018
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Thank kevinkQ8065HH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2018

I have flown JAL many times for international flights and the stewardesses are top-notch with their service. The service is always the best things about the Japanese carriers. Food is always pretty good for airlines food. The planes themselves are okay, not wow. Their luggage policy is standard for international carriers. Decent selection of recent movie releases on the entertainment center. They are codeshare with American Airlines, one can earn some points. JAL is the only airline that flies direct to San Diego from Japan (NRT).

Date of travel: January 2018
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and boarding
Thank Michelle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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