Review of "Japan Airlines - JAL"

published 06/03/2003 | petitesquirt
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 60
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Pro Very efficient, very courteous
Cons None
very helpful
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"One of my favourite airline so far"

Constant traveling has permitted me to sample different airlines. So far, Japan Airline (JAL) has been my favourite. I have flown with JAL to Narita, Sydney, New York and San Francisco numerous times, and they have never disappointed me once.

The ground crew are extremely efficient and courteous. On one of our frequent trips in and out of Australia, we always have to fly to Sydney because its the main hub for JAL. Our baggage would have been checked all the way to Narita in Japan and in Sydney, there is always a special queue for passengers without check-in baggages. This allowed us to obtain our boarding passes very quickly. On one occasion, they gave us seats in the economy plus section and I must say, it was the best flight I ever had. The seats were like business class seats, we actually had to stand up to take a step in order to reach our front pockets!! The meals are exactly the same as economy but the seats were so large and comfortable. My seat came with adjustable leg rest and I was able to recline further back. For once, I did not feel tired when we reached Narita airport in Japan.

One downside of traveling on JAL is the requirement to fly through Narita from Australia to either the USA or Europe. The plus side about this is the free one night accommodation on one leg of the return journey. A bus picks us up at the airport and ferries us to Narita Nikko hotel. My favourite bit about the one-night stay is the breakfast! Breakfast is buffet style, there is Japanese cuisine or Western cuisine. The Western cuisine consists of the usual scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, chips (strange concept here, chips for breakfast?), toast, and cereal. But I have always gone for the Japanese breakfast because first, the variety is large, two, its my only opportunity to try something different. There's rice, rice porridge, fish, bean curd, eggs, fish, seaweed, beans, soups, carrots, chicken, beef etc.

Another ground facility of JAL is the ability to check in at the hotel, so we did not have to check out before 12 but up til 3 hours before our departure. We had a flight at 6 pm the next day, and so we did not have to check out til about 3 pm. In recent days, passengers flying to USA have to check in at the airport, which means going to the airport earlier than usual. The bus ferries passengers to the airport every 20 to 30 minutes.

The inflight service is just as efficient and courteous. The crew speaks several languages, and the announcements are in different language depending on the passengers on the flight. When we flew to San Francisco at different times, we had Japanese, Mandarin, English and sometimes French and German. On our most recent trip, JAL seems to have upgraded their plane and we had individual entertainment consoles. We had the usual selection of movies, language selection and games. We were provided with hot towels at the start of every meal, to freshen up and to clean up no doubt (reminds me of my mother "Wash your hands if you want to be fed!"). The meals are the best by far when I compared the different airlines I have traveled on. With JAL, I have (so far) sampled their smoked eel (extremely good but small portion), terriyaki chicken (very good too), fried beef, pasta (not so good), lasagna (good), salmon (very good). The salad are fresh and the desserts very tasty. Snacks and drinks are in constant apply. Drinks and snacks are served within half an hour of departure and the stewards are constantly piling water, juices and snacks throughout the flight. My favourite drink is called SKYTIME, only available on JAL and it is made of kiwi fruits. It is green, like green tea, very sweet and very refreshing. Alcohol are still served in small bottles, their selection of red wine is very good. I also believe they are the only airline that does it, when the stewards come round to collect the food trays, they will swap it with a bottle of Evian. Really! They must be afraid that the passengers might still be thirsty after being fed!?!

On a recent trip from San Francisco to Sydney, we had to fly through Narita. The weather in San Francisco that day was the worst ever. A storm was coming in and it seems like we had just missed our window of departure. The plane sat on the tarmac for over an hour, the pilot was waiting for an opportunity, a reduction in wind and rain no doubt, to take off in that bad weather day. The pilot was constantly telling us what was happening, when we could visit the washrooms (because the pilot was ready to taxi as soon as the wind calms down). That did not happen and we returned to the terminal after about 2 hours. By then we were starting to worry about our second leg. We had given ourselves 5 hours waiting time in Japan but this extra time was slowly eroding as we wait in San Francisco.

Once back at the terminal, JAL allowed us to buy meals at their expense (as long as it did not exceed a certain amount of $15 per person). We were also told to be back at the boarding gate within 2 hours. So, a meal and another wait. This time round, we managed to take off after a 5 hour delay. No doubt we were worried that we were going to miss our second leg. As we near Narita, the pilot came online to inform us of the situation. It seems like most passengers had missed their connecting flights and the ground crew had already arranged flights for the next day and the accommodations. Upon arriving in Narita, the ground crew would be there at the gate to arrange matters. You could hear the sigh of relieve in all the passengers. There was a pause before he continued, "For the two passengers flying to Sydney, please inform the closest steward as to where you are. You might still be able to catch your flight!" You can imagine how we felt.

As we were landing in Narita, taxing down the landing strip, the steward has already taken our hand carry-ons, escorted us to the front of the plane, (all this, while the rest of the passengers were still strapped into their seats). As we left the plane, a ground crew put stickers on us (it had our flight number on it), took us straight to our next plane. Now, we were worried that our baggages were not going to make it because we were the last passengers to board our plane. Within a few minutes, a crew came to us to inform us that our baggages are safely on board! Imagine our relieve! We landed happily in Sydney on time and in very good humour at the start of our vacation.

In conclusion, I have nothing but praise for JAL.

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Comments on this review

  • dead.letter published 23/06/2004
    I've only flown JAL once but it was the best flight ever. I was going to Japan as an exchange student, and as they had free space in the business class, they decided to upgrade me for free "to give me a good first impression about Japan". It was really cool, especially the food was superlative. -d.l
  • Muddy250 published 13/11/2003
    I rarely get to travel and it has always been on planes with zero leg room! Packed in like sardines. Sounds like a different world. Chris
  • ariadne published 18/03/2003
    Wow - sounds like a top airline! x
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Product Information : Japan Airlines - JAL

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Country: Japan

Continent: Asia


Listed on Ciao since: 28/06/2000