We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Monkey Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. We appreciate you using our links!!!
Review: Japan Airlines Business Class 787-8 BKK-NRT
This review and experience should be a cautionary tale to anyone booking a trip. ALWAYS, ALWAYS look at seat maps. Lemme tell you, I’d been looking at a lot of seat maps, but I got very excited when this routing fell into place the night before we left on our Southeast Asian adventure. SOOOOO excited that I danced around like Yosemite Sam pretending to shoot coffee cans and I forgot to check the seat map. Who does that?! See, I’d been tracking a different Japan Airlines Business Class 787-8 route from Hanoi to Tokyo which had been retrofit to feature the JAL Skysuite. I knew that flight was going to have the JAL Suite because I’d checked the seat map 😉
Hanoi to Tokyo was our preference, but problem was the avail for that route never opened up and since I had The Sky Suite in my head I didn’t even bother to look after we locked down the BKK-NRT routing. I was so happy to find a route that fit our needs that I just plain forgot to check which product it would feature. I assumed it would be the JAL Suite. It’s not like it would have mattered. Our priority was to find routing that arrived at NRT in time to connect and fly JAL First Class to Chicago on January 9th. But this didn’t stop my JAL Suite expectations from building up.
Here is the JAL Suite
- aisle access
What we got was this: The JAL SHELL FLAT SEAT
I rounded the corner with pep in my step. At last…the JAL SUITE
My face fell flat. I’d been talking to Dave about how dope the JAL Suite was going to be and we’d get a good night’s sleep, land in Tokyo, and hit up the First Class lounge for some incredible sushi. So when I saw this cabin I was speechless. The crew was greeting me and asking if I needed assistance and I had a quick moment where I thought, my God, we’re on the wrong flight somehow.
Expectation is the mother of disappointment.
To make matters doubly worse, we were late to board and the cabin was full – the crew had already given out some drinks. People were everywhere. That’s another thing – I always like to try and board close to first so I have plenty of time to settle. Being slightly embarrassed, deflated, carrying Miles and looking to snap pictures I just stopped and stared in disbelief. What in the hell are these seats?! It was like a flashbang had gone off and now my apoplexy was holding up the boarding queue. One of the flight attendants asked me if she could help me to my seat. I fumbled around. I looked over and Dave was already settling it like it wasn’t a biggie. I was the one just standing there thinking how could this be? Talk about being overly dramatic – I was still in BIZ! I just expected something else and also felt as though I’d somewhat failed. Damn you expectations!
To make matters worse…we picked the bulkhead. You don’t even get the normal sized tv! You get one that pulls out of the armrest. The Horror! I know…high class problems.
- When: January 8th, 2017
- Loyalty: AA (67,500 pre-deval )
- Airline: Japan Airlines
- Flight: JAL 718
- Routing: BKK-NRT
- Time: 10:25pm – 6:15am
- Plane: 787-8
- Seat: 1H
Before we get further into this…How can you tell the difference between the JAL Suite and the JAL Shell on a 787-8 seat map?
We can use seatguru to tell the difference. Notice they both are 2-2-2, but on the left, in row 10, there are just 2 seats. That’s the retro fit cabin with the JAL Suite.
We quickly got settled in:
As I’d mentioned before. The crew was amazing. Deferential, attentive, and friendly. She gave me a menu and asked what I’d like to eat. I said I’d prefer to just sleep until we landed.
Japan Airlines already knows what I’m about to say because they’re actively replacing these angled lie-flat seats on their planes. They are waaaaaaay behind the competition. Having flown China Airlines, EVA, and Qatar in the past week made that even more obvious. They’re narrow, don’t lie flat, and have a lip at the bottom to stop you from sliding right onto the floor. I constantly felt like I was going to slide out.
I didn’t have enough room to put my arms down to my side.
I couldn’t sleep. The narrow breadth of the seat combined with the angle just made it very uncomfortable. HOWEVER, as soon as I pulled my eye mask up, angled the seat to lounge position, a flight attendant was there asking if I needed anything. I was very impressed. Again, my hard product complaints are already on JAL’s radar, but the service (soft product) was top notch.
IFE was subpar too. Small and hard to use.
The overnight amenity kit
The “moisture” mask was a new feature for me. I loved it. Whether or not it actually filters out germs I’m not sure, but it made me feel like I wasn’t going to catch the cold from the guy 2 rows back who was hacking up a lung the whole flight. And I never did.
Check your seat maps! There are certainly much worse ways to fly, and the crew did a great job taking care of their passengers. But, truthfully, the hard product is horribly inferior to their competition. JAL knows that, and I look forward to flying on any of the new JAL Suite products they offer: 1, 2 or 3. They all look pretty nice.
This review is a part of the Trip Report: Miles Traces his roots in Southeast Asia
- Delta SkyClub Indianapolis IND
- Delta First Class IND-LAX
- Amex Centurion Pop-UP TBIT
- China Air Business Class 777-300ER LAX-TPE
- Grand Hyatt Taipei
- Grand Hyatt Taipei Club Lounge Review
- Taipei 101 Tour
- EVA Air Infinity lounge TPE
- Plaza Premium Lounge TPE Zone A1
- Plaza Premium Lounge TPE Zone A
- EVA Royal Laurel Business Class TPE – SGN
- Vietnamese Visa on Arrival Experience
- Park Hyatt Saigon
- Park Hyatt Saigon Breakfast
- Cu Chi Tunnels Tour Ho Chi Minh City
- Orchid Lounge SGN
- Cambodian Visa on Arrival Experience
- Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Viator Ankor Wat Private Tour
- Afternoon Tea Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Plaza Premium Lounge Siem Reap
- Intercontinental Hanoi
- Dragon Legend Ha Long Bay Cruise
- Hanoi Hilton
- ACV Business Lounge Hanoi
- Qatar Airways Business Class 777-300ER HAN-BKK
- Louis Tavern CIPFirst Class Lounge Bangkok BKK
- Louis Tavern CIP Business Class Lounge Bangkok BKK
- Japan Airlines Business Class 787-8 BKK-NRT
- American Airlines Admirals Club Tokyo NRT
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo NRT
- Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Tokyo NRT
- Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER NRT-ORD
Monkey Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Monkey Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers
****ALL TIME HIGH 100k OFFER!****
A Monkey Miles favorite for beginners and point pros alike – a staple of our wallet that earns Premium transferrable Ultimate Rewards. $95 annual fee
♥ Earn 100k Bonus Points after $4k Spend in 3 months
♥Points are transferrable to over dozen partners, or redeemable for 1.25c in Chase travel
♥2x on travel
♥2x on dining
♥1x on all purchases