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Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER

On the evening I discovered that I was going to become a father (shocking twins news came later), I was discussing our flight options for our anticipated Japan trip with my wife. That trip was abruptly put on hold once we found out we were expecting TWO.

Fast forward 3 years later, I’m heavily into the points and miles hobby and now want to partake in my first ‘aspirational’ flight experience. Japan lingered on our minds since “the news” so we decided why not use our AA miles to fly to Tokyo on JAL’s beloved First Class Suite?

The total out of pocket cost for my first class flights—from MIA to JFK on American Airlines’ 767, and then onward from New York to Tokyo Narita on a Japan Airlines 777—was 62,500 American Airlines miles and $5.60 out of pocket per person, booked prior to the AA devaluation.

Here is my review:

The Japan Airlines First Class cabin is set up in a 1-2-1 configuration with 8 totals seats in the cabin.  We were in row 2, middle seats together. With only eight seats in the entire First Class cabin, the space felt very private and exclusive.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Japan Airlines 777 first class, seat 2D and 2G. Best pair of seats for a couple!
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
All 8 First Class seats were taken but the entire cabin felt very private and quiet.

We were giddy as can be when we sat into our seats and the lead flight attendant introduced herself and her team that would be taking care of us.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER

We’ve traveled in Business and First Class on many international routes with domestic airlines but nothing like this hard product.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Seat 2D
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Foot rest is used as second “seat” when dining as a couple.

Each seat is equipped with its own personal in-flight entertainment (IFE) system with a 23-inch monitor and controller, an in-flight telephone, universal electrical outlet and USB port. WiFi was also provided free of charge for First Class passengers so it was great to be able to send a message through whatsapp to family to see how our twins were doing.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Plane phone, IFE remote controller and storage
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Bose headphones for the flight!

Adjustable power seat was excellent for reclining back and watching TV or laying flat to get some serious shut-eye.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Customize your seat anyway you like.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER

Once we settled into our seat and got familiar with all our gadgets, we took off our shoes and slid on JAL slippers to get a bit more comfy for the 14+ hour flight.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Comfy socks

I was curious about the seats behind me as prior to booking JAL First Class I was considering saving some miles and flying on JAL’s 787-8 from DFW to NRT on the JAL “Sky Suite”.  The Business Class seats were directly behind us (separated by a fixed bulkhead and curtain) and were part of a mini-cabin of just seven Business Class seats that had less real estate than ours but looked very comfortable.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Great business class seat. These are the same as the JAL 787-8 seats on DFW-NRT

After exploring the Business Class cabin a bit, we went back to our seats and our flight attendant passed out pajamas and amenity kits for our cabin. I was excited to put on the pajamas but wanted to wait until I was ready for a nap to put them on. Although I didn’t take a picture of the amenity kit, it was provided by Loewe products and consisted of lip balm, a dental kit, ear plugs, sleep mask, comb, facemask and kleenex.

Once we were in the air, it was time to focus on the JAL meal service. I had done a bit of research prior to our travel and knew the menu ahead of time as JAL allows you to view their menu online. Our game plan was for one of us to order from the Japanese menu (me)and the other from the Western menu, that way we could try both. JAL flight attendants are extremely serviceable so if you want to try an item from the other menu, they’re more than happy to accommodate, if available.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Curious how the food would fare.

JAL was celebrating the JAL NY route’s 50th anniversary so they offered a special menu only for the flights departing JFK to Narita. We chose to order from the regular menu.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER

During the flight and in-between meals, we would ordered items from the A La Carte menu including this caviar prior to our first meal.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
You don’t always have caviar on a flight but when in Rome!
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Superb! (and salty)
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
A La Carte menu items can be ordered anytime during flight. I had a solid bowl of Udon noodles and a Croque Monsieur.

I ordered the Japanese menu and got all the items listed in the photo below.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Japanese menu comes with EVERYTHING listed on menu. Portions come in small japanese mini-bowls.
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Japanese menu cuisine
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Steamed white rice with Miso Soup and Japanese pickles.

My wife ordered from the Western menu.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
American menu you choose items. Wife got the caviar (pictured previously) and the sea bass which was delicately divine.
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Proscuitto, salmon and a cheese item that was a bit spicy yet incredible!
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Spicy Maine Lobster

Nice selection of champagne, spirits, beer and wine.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Enjoyed a glass of a $190 bottle of Suntory Hibiki 17 Year Old Whiskey.

Flight attendants accommodated us at one “table” and allowed us to enjoy meals together.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Pictured: Us and a Pear & Almond Tart with Ice Cream

After our meal was done, we went back to our seats and a flight attendant asked us if we were ready for to get some rest. We were in fact excited to enjoy the IFE and get into our pajamas so we could just relax. The pajamas are soft, a little baggy and very comfortable  and our flight attendant told us to leave our clothes folded in the First Class lavatory and she would bring them to me in our pajama bags.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Someone is excited to be sporting new JAL pajamas

I was then asked what type of mattress I preferred to sleep on: hard or soft. I opted for soft and so did my wife and we were off to the lavatory to change into our comfy pajamas.

image28
I promise you, this is a very comfy “bed”.

When we returned, our mattress was installed along with the addition of sheets and pillows. What happened next absolutely floored me and is definitely in my top 3 things that I’ve experienced on an airplane. THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT TUCKED ME INTO BED! Yes, I got into bed and she literally put a plush blanket over me in a very mom-like way. I was very appreciative and thanked her in Japanese with the words ‘arigatou gozaimasu’.

I spent most of the flight playing with the IFE games, watching movies, enjoying meals and sleeping. For those curious minds, I slept a solid 5 hours straight as comfortable as I’ve ever slept in the air.

Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
A little golf before bedtime.
Review: Japan Airlines First Class B777-300ER
Flying over the North Pole!

Before you knew it, the flight was descending into Tokyo and the 14+ hour flight in JAL First Class was all but over. We flew JAL First Class on the return flight back to New York so we got to experience the product twice which meant 4 sets of JAL pajamas for the family.

Given that it was my first ‘aspirational’ flight and I have yet had the privilege to fly some of the most renown first class products such as Cathay Pacific First Class, Etihad First Class Apartment or Singapore Suites Class, I felt JAL’s hard and soft product was exceptional and absolutely memorable in every way.


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9 COMMENTS

  1. I am looking forward to this flight later this year. Found 70k mileage plan miles 1st class. Quick question, is the bathroom a decent size?

  2. The bathroom is pretty average size for first class on a 777. Not overly large, but not cramped. I flew nrt-ord last year and at point they didn’t offer free WiFi (it was $18 for the duration of the flight, which is completely reasonable)

    Pro tip, if you’re interested in the salon champagne, ask for it early. On my flight, they only had two bottles stocked. Luckily, only two of us were drinking it… 🙂

  3. Great report. And major kudos to you for wearing that jacket. Even with a casual shirt and pants it looks really classy. I’ll be wearing one when I fly JAL F for the first time in June. Only SFO to HAN, wish it was longer based on this report.

    As a scotch afficiando I’m looking forward trying high-end Japanese whiskey.

    I’ve read some reports about the temperature of the cabin being uncomfortable. How was it?

    • Suntory Hibiki 17 years old was great. At $190 a bottle, I ordered it twice, neat. Cabin temperature was comfortable and not once did I suffer from overheating, even with the PJ’s on. And I keep my house cold at 70-71 degrees.

  4. I flew MH from Sydney to KL economy class and the service was first class. Years ago JAL service was not that great. I flew JL BKK to DEL. Average food, average seats on the 747 200. The buns were hard. The FA were
    mechanical. The seats were cramped. The pilot never spoke on the PA system. Today JAL has competition

    However i was shocked to.see the first class beds are right next to each other. How can two strangers sleep so close to each other. How can a high society man and woman who dont know each other sleep next to each other
    First class seats should always be window seats.

  5. This was also my favorite flight I’ve had so far. Loved JAL. Couldn’t always understand the soft spoken Japanese stewardess but still an amazing flight.

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