Review: Japan Airlines First Class Tokyo to Chicago (777-300ER)

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Japan Airlines First Class NRT-ORD gave me a $400 Champagne Pillow

Fight Club may give you a reason to cut your nails, but Japan Airlines First Class will give you a reason to brush up on your preferred way to wash down Caviar with $400 Champagne. Yes, they serve Salon Champagne ( now Cristal ) which clocks in at $400 a bottle, but that’s not the question. The question is: Do you swallow the Caviar first then sip the champers, or sip the $400 Salon to cleanse the palate pre-bite, or just sip and chew at the same time?

What’s a simple Monkey like me to do?! Since a glass of this champagne, at $80, costs twice as much as I paid for the flight, $35 + 67,500 AA, ( now 85k ) I felt compelled to do my research. Then it hit me, who flies in First Class to face tough decisions or do research? MEH! So I tried them all while watching Inception. It was like having a sip inside of a sip inside of sip at 35k feet. I highly recommend it 😉 Let’s check out my flight Review of Japan Airlines First Class NRT-ORD on a 777-300ER.

Does someone have Robin Leach’s number? I need to send a humblebrag pic to him ASAP. Wi$h fulfilled, Leach 😉 #400champagnepillow

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Caviar Dreams did you say?

I made friends with a reader named Ryan, and fellow First Class passenger, who was sitting across the aisle from me. HOW COOL! Super nice guy. He pointed out the attention to detail with the mother of pearl spoon.
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But before we get too far into the review: Let’s back it up. How did I get such an awesome flight for just 67,500 AA + $35? Note: ( This itinerary would now cost 110k)

I had wanted to fly Japan Airlines First Class for a long time. I’d seen pics of it online and much like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook said, “When I see something I want, I gotta have…I love it. I go crazy for it.” Imagine, if you will, Noah is played by Miles and Japan Airlines First Class is Allie.

And Crazy for it I was. When AA announced last year that they were devaluing their award chart and flights from Asia 2 would go from 67,500 in First Class to 110k I called up my best bud, Dave, and said, “We’re booking flights back from Asia.”

“Back from Asia? When are we going TO Asia?, replied Dave

“We’ll work that out, but we gotta lock it up before Deval”

And lock it up we did.

We looked at a map. We chose Hanoi to be our starting point back to the states.  I then found random dates that had availability, FAR OUT IN THE CALENDAR, and booked the flights. We knew we wouldn’t fly on those dates, but AA allows you to change award tickets without penalty, so we created placeholders to lock in the price. We set the trip in motion. It changed several times, but we ended up on an amazing trip through Southeast Asia ( check this out if you wanna see detailed planning). In fact, the return tickets from Hanoi didn’t fall into place until the night before we were to leave. Yep…award ticketing isn’t for the faint of heart.

Miles, the review… What were the details?

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  • When: January 9th, 2017
  • Where: Tokyo to Chicago. NRT-ORD
  • Flight: JL 10
  • Plane: 777-300ER
  • Time: 11:10am to 8:55am
  • Class: First
  • Seat: 2G
  • Loyalty: AA, Executive Platinum
  • Points used: 67,500 + $35.
  • ValueScreen Shot 2017-03-29 at 1.36.37 PM

Bring your Southern Hospitality cause you’ll Throw Dem Bows queueing up for this flight 🙂

The boarding process leaves something to be desired, unless of course your desires consist of rubbing shoulders with every other passenger and saying, “Excuse me, excuse me, First Class here, excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, First Class, I’m really important, pardon me, read MonkeyMiles, Learn how I paid hardly anything, excuse me, excuse me.” I suggest putting your humility in your carry-on and then taking it out after boarding. There’s no room for it while boarding 😉

After you’re done throwing bows, you’ll be turning left down the jet bridge and entering through the forward door.

It’s like a serene Japanese Zen garden once you’re on the plane. Minus the garden 😉

The crew is amazing. Utter deference and hospitality from the moment you step on to the plane. Visually you’ll see 2 rows of massive, 1-2-1, JAL SUITES. They are rich, finely appointed, and scream First Class.

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My Seat, 2G:

As you can see the seats are very wide and feature a privacy window between the other middle passenger. Right behind our row was business class. Don’t worry, they pull those curtains shut and raise the partition as if it were privacy glass in a limo. We’re in First Class…none of that business class riffraff allowed 😉

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Here’s a look at 1G which wasn’t occupied. Japan Airlines First Class NRT-ORD - 10 of 139

I almost rented out some storage space to economy passengers 😉 #Trade

That’s my laptop, amenity kit, wallet, phone, and 2 bottles of water in one compartment with room to spare. THAT. IS. IMPRESSIVE.

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The storage is the best I’ve had in any seat I’ve flown thus far. My Tumi Alpha Bravo backpack  (which you can get on Amazon) 😉 easily fit under the footrest, you can store your phone in the front compartment while it charges, and the large compartment even has webbing to secure the smaller items.

The IFE is incredible. 23″ in screen. Bose QC25. Easy to use controls.

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You aren’t given a menu, but rather, a leather-bound organizer.

  • Wine List
  • Meal List
  • Comped WiFi passes
  • Immigration
  • The Feeling of being a baller

I have to say that the Wifi was pretty great and it was FREE! That should be the case on all carriers, but unfortunately isn’t.

Let’s take a look inside those menus

The menus don’t just list the food, wine, etc. It goes into the extensive background, research, and pedigree of those that planned and created it for your dining experience. BYAH!

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The amenity kits. Yep, plural.

The Shiseido men’s products are very nice. Everyone gets the Loewe kit, and then depending on your sex, either a male or female kit. Love it.

This all happened while we were on the ground. Time to fly and Dine.

There are two options. Japanese or Western. I chose the Western. There are also “a la carte” options.

The first was Champagne and an Amuse Bouche. I sipped the $400 Salon. I loved the presentation of everything.

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Even the salt and pepper was fashionable.

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Next: Fondant of Mullet Roe and TurnipJapan Airlines First Class NRT-ORD - 88 of 139

Then Caviar.

And the Main course, Grouper. Yes, those are black truffles.

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I went with pomelo and coconut sorbet and upon special request, “Roppongi Pudding.”

I loved the sorbet; however I’m not a huge Flan fan, and the Roppongi pudding is very similar to flan. I’d recommend trying it because it is specially made by Ryugin in Roppongi Hills and pretty famous and very well done.

After being filled to the brim with food it was time to pick which mattress I’d like. Firm or Soft. I’ll say good night until Tonight becomes Tomorrow. Yes, William would write a sonnet or two to you 😉

At this point you’re given pajamas and time to change in the bathroom while your bed is made for you. Turndown service and they TUCKED MILES IN. How awesome.

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The Pajamas are incredible and I still wear them around the house.

I couldn’t sleep for some reason and after a little tossing and turning ordered more food, a la carte. 30 year old port, delicious macaroons, and a cheese plate, please.

I think the main reason was the cabin temp. I’m used to sleeping in a very cold room and the cabin is kept pretty warm. Next time I fly on JAL I’ll remember to bring a t-shirt. The pajamas are really amazing, but the temp was too high for me.

I watched a couple movies and maybe slept an hour. Fruit, coffee, and juice for breakfast 🙂

We landed early and I bid my farewell.

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If you are ever given the opportunity to fly in First Class on Japan Airlines you’re one lucky monkey. Aside from the boarding process, which is quite a palava, and the cabin temp being a bit too high, this was a flawless experience. The hard product is outstanding and the service is Michelin star worthy. I couldn’t really imagine a more attentive, courteous, and fun crew. They loved Miles, and seemed to genuinely enjoy tending to their passenger’s every whim. I highly recommend Japan Airline First Class and use that bottle of $400 Salon as a pillow and kick your legs up, forget about your troubles, and enjoy the ride.

How could you easily fly this cabin without having a single mile right now? You don’t even have to sign up for a credit card.

Alaska Airlines is a partner of Japan Airlines. You can use 70k miles to fly from the states to Japan right now, 75k to go on into Asia like I did. Don’t have any miles? Not a problem. Alaska has sales on their miles all the time. Right now, they’re offering a 40% bonus on all purchased miles.  That equates to roughly $0.021 per mile. That means you could buy this $11,000 ticket for $1583.71 and with Alaska’s incredible routing rule spend a few days in Tokyo for no additional airline fees. If you do…I’d check out the Ritz Tokyo – phenom hotel.

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 Thanks for reading 🙂

This review is a part of the Trip Report: Miles Traces his roots in Southeast Asia

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