Review – Japan Airlines 777 First Class, Los Angeles – Tokyo Narita

by Zac George
a bed in a plane

After arriving into Los Angeles from my Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne I had a layover of around 4 hours before my flight to Tokyo. I had planned to just transit but I had to exit the airport and go and purchase a camera battery as mine had died and I didn’t bring a spare one with me.

Passengers in First Class and Oneworld Emerald members are able to access the Qantas First Class lounge before the flight. However, I had quite an unpleasant experience accessing the lounge, I’ll explain more on that in a later post.

a room with tables and chairs

Qantas First Class Lounge, Los Angeles

Boarding started on time and priority boarding was being enforced which is good to see as many Oneworld carriers don’t quite get that part right.

a large airplane parked at an airport

Japan Airlines 777

For this flight, the only window seat available was 1A. Out of 8 seats, only 4 were taken and they were all window seats so there was a lot of privacy on the flight.

a seats in a plane

Japan Airlines First Class

JAL’s First suites are in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats don’t have closing doors but rather a privacy screen, similar to Cathay First Class & Qatar First Class.

Each suite has a length of 78.5” and a width of 33”.

a seat in an airplane

Japan Airlines First Class

Each suite has luggage storage under the IFE screen, it’s interesting to note that the cabin also features overhead bins so there’s a heap of storage if your bags won’t fit under the seat.

a tv on a table with luggage

Japan Airlines First Class


a brown leather suitcase with a brown leather seat on top of a brown carpeted floor

Japan Airlines First Class

As I sat down I was introduced to the crew that would be looking after me. The crew served me an orange juice, hot towel and a wifi voucher. They crew were very friendly and attentive, the Japanese hospitality is something else as the crew would bow to you after helping.

a glass of orange juice on a table

Japan Airlines First Class


a plane with a desk and computer

Japan Airlines First Class


a desk in an airplane

Japan Airlines First Class

The suite has an abundance of storage. On the left of the suite, there’s a compartment that can hold various things, it’s quite deep as well.

a remote control in a small box

Japan Airlines First Class

Also on the left of the seat is where the headphone port and personal light is located.

a close up of a door handle

Japan Airlines First Class

Below the headphone port and personal reading light is where the seat controls are found. The first panel houses the basic seat controls for seating positions.

a close up of a button

Japan Airlines First Class

The second panel has more advanced seating controls.

a screen with buttons and arrows on it

Japan Airlines First Class

Awaiting at your seat is a pair of comfortable slippers and a small shoe horn.

a pair of slippers on a carpet

Japan Airlines First Class

The weather in Los Angeles was beautiful! If only I had time to stay for a few days…

an airplane parked at an airport


an airplane on a runway


an airport runway with an arrow pointing to the side

Below you’ll see Qantas’s new Hanger and it’s also where Virgin park their 777’s before using them for the night departures.

an airport with an airplane in the background

You might notice that the suite has 2 controls for the IFE. I was quite confused why there’s 2 but the one on the left is the newer touch screen controller.

a cell phone in a case

Japan Airlines First Class

Shortly after takeoff, the meal service started. Obviously, due to age I couldn’t consume the ‘Salon 2004’ which is one of the most expensive champagnes served on board any airline but surprisingly the crew already knew my age. I’m assuming because of the incident with the Qantas lounge which will be explained later on.

a person holding a bottle of wine

Japan Airlines First Class

Instead, the crew recommended that I try the ‘Royal Blue Tea’ which is a famous tea drink served on JAL. I’m not a big tea drinker but thought I’d try it to see what it was like. Just tasted like plain old English Breakfast tea but only cold…

a person holding a bottle of wine

Japan Airlines First Class

To start off, I had the Shiitake Mushroom and Salmon Amuse Bouche.

a plate with food on it

Shiitake Mushroom & Salmon Amuse Bouche

After that the crew brought around a snack basket which I thought was a bit weird considering the meal service just started.

a basket of food in a person's hand

Snack Basket

For the bread I chose Garlic which is my default when flying.

a piece of bread on a plate

Garlic Bread

The second Amuse Bouche consisted of a Tandoori Lobster and Mango Yogurt Sauce.

a plate of food on a table

Tandoori Lobster and Mango Yogurt Sauce

For the appetiser, I chose the Caviar which was a little salty for my liking but alright.

a plate of food and a glass of milk

Japan Airlines Caviar


a glass jar with black caviar inside

Japan Airlines Caviar

And for the main, I had a US Prime Rib and it was cooked medium. It was a little dry but the pepper sauce did help.

a plate of food on a table

And for the dessert, I had the Passionfruit tart, Strawberry cheesecake and a Jasmin Cream with Pear.

a plate of desserts on a table

After feeling very full I decided I would have a little nap and the crew brought around a brand new Porsche Design Amenity Kit and a set of Pyjamas.

a group of travel items on a table

Porsche Design Amenity Kit

The kit’s are pretty well stocked and I found the products to be high quality.

a group of black containers on a wood surface

Porsche Design Amenity Kit

The crew also handed me a Shiseido Men’s Skin kit which was a very nice touch.

a group of small white bottles and a white box

Porche Design Amenity Kit

Possibly the coolest thing about sleeping in First on JAL is the fact that you can choose the firmness of your mattress. There’s a choice of either a hard or soft mattress, I chose the soft one and it was quite comfortable.

a bed in a room

Japan Airlines First Class

As the person on the opposite window was also going to sleep, the crew put up the divider in the middle suites and it was private.

a bed in a plane

Japan Airlines First Class

The bed was comfortable but I’d still have to say Cathay First Class wins on overall bed comfort. I got around 5 hours of sleep.

a bed with a pillow and a headboard

Japan Airlines First Class

When I woke up the crew quickly came to ask me if I would like something to eat and drink. I just chose a water and decided to try the Ramen noodles which were brilliant.

a bowl of soup and chopsticks on a tray

Ramen Noodles

Here’s a few more pictures of the suite:

The seat provides In-seat power and interestingly It didn’t fit an Australian port but the crew happily provided me with an adapter.

a black box with a black cover

Japan Airlines First Class

There’s also USB power.

a close up of a plug and socket

Japan Airlines First Class

JAL use T-Mobile wifi and it’s what Etihad and a few other carriers use. The WIFI voucher is for the whole flight and is worth $16.80 USD.

a screenshot of a computer

For most of the flight, I was working and found the WIFI to be consistently fast.

a desk and chair in an airplane

Japan Airlines First Class


a leather chair in an airplane

Japan Airlines First Class


a person sitting in a chair in an airplane

Japan Airlines First Class

At the front of the cabin (past the curtain) were a few pralines to choose from.

a plate of chocolates on a table

Japan Airlines First Class

The bathrooms aren’t the biggest for First Class but thery’re not tight and confined.

a sink in a bathroom

Japan Airlines First Class

Inside you’ll find a toothbrush set and mouthwash.

a group of toothbrushes on a counter

Japan Airlines First Class

You’ll also find a Bidet (Japanese Toilet) which us Westerners find interesting 😉

a toilet in a bathroom

Japan Airlines First Class

The thing that impressed me the most with the flight was the attention to detail from the crew, everything was done with a bow, they talk softly and quietly and they seem to always be happy and love their jobs.

a note with writing on it

Japan Airlines First Class

In the galley is also a selection of reading materials available.

a magazine rack with a metal rack

Japan Airlines First Class

Our descent into Tokyo was smooth and before you knew it, we had landed at Narita.

a group of airplanes on a runway

Japan Airlines First Class

As we taxied it was great to see all the different types of airlines and aircraft.

a large airplane on the tarmac

Japan Airlines First Class

Bottom Line

I loved my experience on JAL First! The hard product is a little older than others but it’s still quite great. What really made the flight special was the meal service and the crew.

Would I fly it again? For sure!

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Nate April 10, 2017 - 3:51 pm

Nice review! Glad I came across your blog, studying abroad at Usyd this semester from the US and love reading the Australian perspective on points and miles.

Zac George April 10, 2017 - 4:21 pm

Thank you very much Nate, enjoy your time in Australia, the points side of things is a whole lot different as you’ll find out.

eponymous coward April 10, 2017 - 3:56 pm

Interesting, looks like QF took their “must be of legal drinking age to be admitted to our lounges” policy and applied it to you, hmm?

Given how they’ve treated OW Emeralds entitled to access after a longhaul segment connecting to AA, I guess this isn’t shocking.

Zac George April 10, 2017 - 4:20 pm

You guessed it, it went a little further than that though which I’ll explain shortly.

Comments are closed.