“Japan Airlines flight JL 3040 bound for Tokyo Narita is now ready for boarding” the gate agents announced. That’s me! I left the Sakura Lounge right on time. Through the gates, down the aerobridge and into a very familiar Boeing 737-800 plane. I was pleasantly surprised as the configuration for this particular flight was swapped to an international from a domestic one. In business class instead of a 2-3 seating arrangement I expected to be portrayed as Class J, it was a larger and cosier recliner seat in a 2-2 set up which Japan Airlines calls Jal Skyluxe Seat. Yay, no complaints.
It’s worth nothing that Japan Airlines has a unique upgrade system for domestic flights at the airport from economy to business class/Class J for a small fee of 1000 yen each way as listed here, or upgrade all the way to domestic first class for 8000 yen if that class is available on your flight. I feel it’s worth topping that small fee of a 1000 yen for a more comfortable flight if seats are available. For 8000 yen, not so much.
There are just 12 business class seats on this flight with a 2-2 seating arrangement in 3 rows, economy class on the other hand has a 3-3 seating arrangement with 132 seats in 22 rows. The business class seats were pretty comfortable, with a very plush feel when you take a seat, the adjustable headrests also did provide some comfort. The leg rests extends from under the seat, putting you in a very comfortable Z position when deployed. Strangely no pillows were given. I didn’t check out the IFE nor use the headphones on this particular flight, I just wanted to take a nap so badly for having woken up at 4am to get to the airport on time. There was no wifi as well, but according to JAL’s website, it’s provided on almost all domestically configured flights free of charge to all passengers. You can check out their dedicated free in flight wifi page here for routes which this service is available on.
As with all things in Japan, punctuality is crucial. On the dot at 7:50 am we started taxiing to the runway. Japan Airlines even has won awards for on time performance, bravo!
Beverage service commenced when the seat belts signs were switched off. The extremely soft-spoken crew started making rounds offering drinks and handing out cold towels to all passengers. I was quite intrigued with this drink that Japan Airlines is famous for, called Sky Time Kiwi and asked for a cup to try. I pulled out my tray table inside the armrest in anticipation as she poured me one. It was a fluorescent yellow kiwi juice drink. Not too bad, tasted like a juiced up version of gummy bears, which I’m addicted to. I also asked for a cup of coffee which is a special brew made for Japan Airlines called JAL Cafe Lines. I love how detailed the website is in listing all drinks available on all flights, which is available here.
The flight from Sapporo came to an end right on time as scheduled. Smooth sailing for 90 minutes, I did wish a snack was given on board though, like peanuts or crackers or something. Now I can’t wait to go check out the Sakura Lounge in Narita airport and grab a full meal before boarding flight JL 723 back home. It’s been a pleasant flight with JAL, a pretty awesome impression for my first time flying with them. If this is the standards they’ve set for their domestic sector, I can’t wait to see what the service will be like onboard their international flights.
Now to make a dash for it, I just have under 2 hours to make my way through immigration, customs, and grab a bite before flying back home to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Japanese beef curry, here I come!