Japan Airlines operates 2 separate lounges in terminal 2, Narita airport. There is the main lounge located in the main building of terminal 2, and a smaller one located in the satellite building of terminal 2. As much as I wanted to check out the one in the main building, with only an hour to spare, I opted to visit the one in the satellite terminal since JL 723 would be departing from gate 84, which is just a 5 minute walk away. Immigration and customs in Narita took so much longer than I expected when I connected from Sapporo on flight JL 3040.
After crossing over to the satellite building in terminal 2, you’d find the Sakura lounge located on the right side of the escalators. My face started grinning widely when I saw the words Sakura Lounge was emblazed on the walls, I kept thinking of beef curry. Time to step inside and fill up on some food.
Upon entering the lounge you’d find a huge reception area. The agents smiled cheerfully, checked my boarding pass and passport and wished me a pleasant time in the lounge. There is also a dedicated first class lounge, which is just right next to the reception area, for business class passengers please take the stairs one flight down. Right after descending down the stairs, the first thing you’d see are mobile phone rooms, a quiet space where you can go and make/take phone calls without interrupting others. The room adjacent to that is where you’d find the business centres, rows of computers, work stations and printers for use.
Little front desk at the lower ground.
Despite it being early at 10 am in the morning the lounge was pretty packed. Thankfully this is Japan where courtesy and mindfulness of others around you are well-practiced. It was quiet enough, although almost every seat was taken up. Now to find a place for myself so I can indulge in my first meal of the day.
After grabbing a seat by the windows, I couldn’t wait to see what food was on offer, the scent of beef curry permeated the air and I swear it was all I could think of. Yum, beef curry with a good heaping portion of rice on the side. Polite waitresses kept bowing and smiling as they made their way through the lounges refilling hot food in the buffet area, and some even are ever so ready to lend u a helping hand by giving u a tray to put all your food on. The buffet area was divided up into 3 sections. Japanese food options, western food options, and the drink station. All next to one another by the marbled walls.
After balancing a tray full of goodies back to my table, it was time to eat. The waitresses were so helpful, insisting on helping me get my cutlery, and even handing me a tray make it easier to transport back heaps of food at one go. What makes a good serving of breakfast? A bowl full of beef curry with tamago on the side, miso soup, a croissant, coffee and chilled coke zero. It was oh so delicious, the reviews were true, the beef curry really does deserve to be called the signature dish of Japan Airlines.
After chowing down all the good food, it was almost time to make my way to gate 84 to catch JL 723 back to Kuala Lumpur. As a first timer in the Sakura lounge in Narita, it did leave a good impression. Everything was spick and span, food was beyond delicious, staff were attentive and helpful, organised and well-managed. I gotta make it a point to visit the Sakura lounge in the main terminal the next time around, to see what their flagship lounge in Narita would be like. If it’s any indication of how it’s like in the satellite terminal, I’m sure the main lounge would be equally, if not even more impressive.
As I made my way back up the stairs, something a little cute did happen with the lounge agents at the front desk. I stopped by to take a few more pictures again of the reception area, and the 2 desk agents noticed me and said “would you like a picture?”. I quickly said “oh no, I just want to take pictures of the beautiful entrance if that’s ok”. She started laughing and walked towards me and insisted I take a picture with a painting of the sakura tree behind me. I managed to get her to pose next to me in one of the pictures, and then got both of the cheerful lounge agents to join in together for a shot. After exchanging smiles and a couple of thank you’s, they wished me a safe flight and bowed as I exited the lounge.
To me it’s the little things like that which make a great impression of amazing customer service. So far, I’m definitely loving the attitude and approach of Japan Airlines. I’m already anticipating great things to come for my flight back home, my first time on the Boeing 787-900, so that was something to be excited about as well. Sayonara Japan! Thank you for the awesome hospitality, I’ll be back again.