It’s never fun to wake up at 4 am to head to the airport to catch a 7:50am flight. I remember lugging my bags out of the hotel into the freezing weather, and stumbled all around the pavement trying to find the bus stop on google maps. I told myself never again will I wake up before the sun rises to catch a flight. Unfortunately there was only one flight that could connect from Sapporo to Tokyo Narita that will enable me to catch my onward flight back home to Kuala Lumpur that very same morning. Japan Airlines flight JL 3040 from CTS – NRT, followed by Japan Airlines flight JL 723 from NRT – KUL onboard the new Boeing 787-900 with the new Sky Suites III seats. So that was something I was really looking forward to.
After arriving at New Chitose domestic terminal, I made a beeline for the JAL check in counters, to get rid of my bags, it weighed a ton, I bought too much snacks. Got my bags checked in, and both my boarding passes. With a mere 40 minutes left to spend before boarding starts, I needed coffee badly. Since it wasn’t such a massive airport, the newly opened Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge was easy to find, and thankfully gate 15 was just a 2 minute walk away. Now let’s go see what the JAL domestic lounge has to offer.
The entrance of the Japan Airlines lounge is located on the 2nd floor of the terminal. After entering the sliding doors take the escalators up one floor and you’d be greeted at the beautiful reception. Admittance are for passengers flying in domestic first class, or passengers connecting to either a first or business class international flight with Japan Airlines, or if you have emerald/sapphire status with one world alliance.
Taking a left turn at the reception would lead you to the Sakura Lounge, a right turn would take you to the Diamond Premiere Lounge that’s for first class passengers. Quite an impressive set up to even offer a separate lounge area for first class passengers. Now let’s head on to the left side.
The lounge had a very warm and inviting atmosphere when you step foot inside. It felt really cozy and personal, given that it had a pretty small built up area. There were lots of seating arrangements scattered around the floor. There wasn’t much food on offer though, more like little snacks such as biscuits and rice crackers that you’d help yourself with from the drink area. Wasn’t really looking forward to much food, it was still too early to be eating anything at this point. Thankfully they had a pretty good coffee machine.
The Sakura lounge was designed beautifully and thoughtfully in my opinion. There were plenty of seating options available, USB ports located at every single seat in the dining area, art pieces scattered around, even the windows had air vents to make sure it doesn’t fog up, plus it also had great views of the tarmac. It’s a great pit stop to grab a drink or two before flying off. I didn’t spend as much time here as I would have liked, maybe about 30 minutes at most, but that gave me enough time to chug down 2 cups of coffee and snap a few pictures.
After spending about half hour in the Sakura lounge it was time to make my way down to gate 15 to catch JL 3040 from Sapporo to Narita. I was already impressed with the domestic lounge, I wondered what the International Sakura lounge in Narita would be like. Good things, as I hoped. Now to board the 90 minute flight to Tokyo, experiencing my first flight with JAL in its domestic Class J.