Airline: Japan Airlines
Route: Sydney to Tokyo
Seating: Business Class
Flight time: 9 hours, 35 minutes
Skytrax Airline Star Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Gary Allen
The JAL SkySuite seats were set in a 2-3-2 configuration. The cloth-upholstered seats are in a cubicle with a drop-down privacy screen. If you are seated in the middle, seat storage is behind you on top of the seat and access to and from the aisles without disturbing fellow passengers is easy. The seats are comfortable enough and come with a large, firm pillow for back support. The provided blankets were very thin so I was glad I had some extra clothing to sleep in.
We arrived early for an early morning flight so checking in was easy – no queue! It was a full flight so we weren’t offered an option to change our seats but the attendant was pleasant, enquiring about our travels and whether or not it was our first time travelling to Japan.
Travellers on JAL Business Class can access the Qantas Business lounge at Sydney International Airport. On our return from Tokyo we visited JAL’s Sakura lounge, which was very nice. It was large and roomy with food upstairs in a separate area (meaning no leftovers and dishes to be cleaned up from the comfortable seating area). The food options were plentiful with great Japanese dishes and treats. Asahi draft beer was a nice addition.
Flight attendants were very polite and always smiling, dressed in smart uniforms. I was offered a comfortable cardigan, which was nice to put on after take-off.
We were offered the usual (for business class) champagne and orange juice before take off. JAL’s dining option is presented under the moniker of “BEDD” (which represents bed, dining, delicious and dream), and described as an in-flight auberge (restaurant or inn). Both Japanese and Western dishes are available for the main meal, so you could choose from the likes of pumpkin with a snow-crab salad for sakizuke (appetiser) and yuzu miso grilled snapper for something more substantial, or scallops with marinated vegetables and roast chicken rolled with prosciutto. There is also an ‘anytime you wish’ menu of light meals and noodles. The beverage options, curated by Fumiko Arisaka, a leading Japanese wine journalist, include wines and champagnes as well as top-of-the-range sakés and shōchūs (a distilled Japanese spirit). Food and beverage options like this is one of the reasons I often choose to fly with my destination’s national carrier – dining on Japanese cuisine (and saké) en route is a nice way to ease yourself in to the culture.
The amount of space was fairly typical – it didn’t feel tight and there was plenty of room in the aisles.
The amenities kit is by luggage maker Zero Halliburton and included earplugs, a toothbrush, an eye mask and a lip balm by Institut Karité.
Pyjamas or not
There were no pyjamas offered on this flight.
The business class TV screens were nice and large. I felt the variety of movies and television programs was fairly limited, but adequate to get through the flight. There is in-flight WiFi for a fee, from $10.15 for one hour to $18.80 for 24 hours. It’s complimentary for first class travellers.
Quality of headphones
We were offered Sony noise-cancelling headphones for the flight, which were very comfortable, and there was a place to hang them when not in use in the compartment provided.
The bathroom was very small, but well maintained throughout the flight (though there wasn’t much provided in terms of amenities).
There’s a 32-kilogram allowance for checked luggage.
JAL Mileage Bank is the airline’s loyalty club, with points redeemable on flights, shopping…the usual. You can also join as a family group in JAL Family Club, allowing you to pool points. JAL is also part of the Oneworld alliance.
The amenities kit seemed to be just about as basic as can be. There was nothing special and I left it all behind.