I took the early morning 8:05 am flight from Bangkok to Tokyo Narita. I arrived at the airport at around 5:20 am before check in opened at 5:35 am. I lined up for the First Class check in line based on OneWorld Emerald status eventhough I was booked in Business Class. The line was not moving as the first passenger in line seemed to have a complicated issue that took a lot of time so one of the Business Class counters took over checking in those in the First Class line.
I had reserved seat 5A which is a window seat in the first row of Business Class. On check in, I was told the seat had a problem with the partition between the window seat and the aisle seat and that it could not move up all the way. As the flight was pretty full and I was pretty sure all the window seats were taken already, I said I was fine with my seat. Business and First passengers can use the priority lane security entrance on the main floor and did not have to go up one floor to go through security like the other passengers. I was quickly past security and passport control and in the Sakura Lounge at Suvarnabhumi airport.
Instead of the usual self serve buffet, Sakura Lounge is now on an order system where you go up to staff and order your food items or drinks. At the meal counter, you could order chicken curry, donburi set, sausage and egg set, salad, corn soup, Japanese gozen or fried chicken, more than enough food and plenty of choices for breakfast. Service, as usual for JAL, was very efficient. There is a lot of seating in the lounge and plastic dividers have been placed between seats for Covid-19 protection.
The flight boarded on time. On boarding, I discovered the partition between my seat and seat 5B was completely taped down in the open position so that there was no privacy at all from seat 5B. I went up to the purser to mention this as it was a different situation than check-in had explained to me. After checking briefly, the purser came back to me to offer a seat in First Class instead since this flight did have a small first class section with 8 seats and there was a single unoccupied seat.
Business class is configured 2X2X2 and First class is configured 1X2X1. The First class seat was much more spacious than the business class seat, with neat storage compartments all around the seat and a foot rest that could double as a second seat for a companion to have a join meal in the seat. The First class seat had beautiful wood trim all around, a very large video screen, and a shelf under the video monitor that can move toward the seat as a large table. There is also ample storage space under the food rest for a carry on bag.
On this medium haul flight, the toiletries bag and menu were the same in First and Business class and only the blanket was different with First having a warmer textured blanket.
Service, as always on JAL, was excellent. Lunch was served during the flight and I selected the Japanese meal with the bento box of various starters, followed by soup, rice and the duo of mains of grilled flatfish miso yuan style and grilled pork saikyo style. It was delicious, filling and visually extremely appealing.
I have always enjoyed my JAL flights and this one was no exception. An upgraded super comfortable wide seat, excellent food and service - another great flight experience.