This is a continuation of my previous article where I shared my experience flying business class for the first time whilst backpacking. You can’t blame me for flying business if the tickets were so cheap (Approx SGD1100 return). For that poor chap who grumbled to his significant other as to when they could afford to fly business, it ain’t so difficult. Hehe. I guess my business class seats costs just slightly more or if not the same as their economy seats. The joys of travel hacking.
Checking in at Haneda Airport
It had been a fast paced holiday for the both of us. In a matter of 7 days, we covered Hakodate, Noboribetsu, Sapporo and a tiny weeny bit of Tokyo. And we were now at the tail end of our trip. But unlike other trips, this was still going to be an awesome experience. We were flying business back to Singapore!
Checking in was easy. Although I could sense some confusion among the JAL airline counter staff. They took some time to process my tickets. They claimed that there were errors or some problems on their system.
Haha. =D I think, they were just confused by the odd nature of my ticket. You see, we had just spent a week long layover in Tokyo and were trying to continue with our single flight from Bangkok to Singapore (Hint: That’s part of the hack).
After a few “Is there any problem with our tickets” and a few “We are sorry. We are checking your tickets’ validity”, we were issued our business class tickets. Yahoo!
While it may seem a bit frightening especially since deep down you know the reason why their systems are raising mini-alarms, I didn’t really feel much panic/scare. Somehow, I had faith in JAL’s staff making things happen (actually I think for most decent airlines) when dealing with Business Class passengers. You can say its some form of privilege or them going an extra mile to make their customers happy.
Sakura Lounge at Haneda Airport
This lounge didn’t disappoint. If you remember my earlier post, I actually complained about the food on offer at the Bangkok lounge. Their Haneda Lounge is much better.
First off, as I am a beer fan, I was completely blown away by their beer dispensing machines. Yes, machines with an “s”. One was for Asahi. The other was for Kirin. This ensures that each schooner is always a perfect schooner with that nice layer of foam crowning the glass. For those who don’t frequent such lounges, lounges typically either offer canned beers (Booo!!!) or beers on tap (eg. SQ’s lounges at Changi). While tapping your own beers seem fun, the overall glass of beer may not be perfect. So a plus one for the beer dispensers! There are also other beverages on offer if beer is not your thing.
Second, the food spread was better. Like the Bangkok Lounge, the lounge had the usual fare like curry rice, miso soup, bread basket and salads. Unlike the Bangkok Lounge, this lounge also offered other stuff like dumplings, siew mai, udon, spaghetti, sushi, different types of soups. While I would have preferred a more western offering (the variety was still very Japanese oriented), the food was satisfactory.
Third, the lounge actually has lockers available for guests. I believe this is a good feature to have especially for lone travellers who don’t want to be bogged down by their hand carry. They can just deposit it in one of those lockers and retrieve them when they leave the lounge.
Fourth, shower facilities are available as well. I always appreciate a shower just before boarding especially if I had been out the whole day before the flight. Hehe. I made sure to snap a few photos for your guys this time around. Very inviting right?
Business Class : Haneda Airport to Changi Airport
Okay. If my Bangkok-Narita flight was awesome, this flight must be “awesomer”. Is that even a word?
The seats are more spacious or appear to be more spacious since the airline did away the mini-cabins that I described in my earlier post. Instead of constricted cabins, the seats are now more open concept based so you don’t feel wrapped in or forced into a small area.
Everything feels right. The seat reclining buttons are now located on the arm rest within easy reach from your fingers. This was unlike my earlier experience where the buttons located in an awkward position.
There is also a cabinet attached to each seat. In it was a thoughtfully placed bottle of water which was a nice gesture especially for those drinkers who may need to hydrate after those many glasses of champagne. While I did not drink champagne, that bottle of water came in handy after I downed a bottle of sake ><
An interesting thing I found while on the flight was the toiletries displayed in the washrooms on board the plane. You have the usual toothbrush and mouthwash. You can also find eye masks displayed. Do not confuse this with the eye mask you wear to block out the light while you try to catch some sleep. This eye mask is similar to the face mask (the kind you put on your face to help moisturise/beautify your skin) but for your eye region. Something odd but definitely a plus point for me!
The menu for the flight:
As usual, since this is a night flight, there’s a late night snack on offer. This time round some kind of pastry. It was a nice experience as I did not have to ask for the night snack. The crew had offered it when I ordered my drinks. Hehe, I could have forgotten about the snacks but for their reminder.
Breakfast was either Japanese or Western. I went with Western after my bad experience with JAL’s Japanese breakfast on the flight in. I guess it was a good choice with the smoked duck and the omelette. You can’t go wrong with that kind of combination. The omelette was, however, slightly dry (i.e. overcooked). The best I had so far was on SQ’s business class. The omelette there was actually moist. JAL, please do something about it!!!
Would I fly JAL again? 100% yes. While I find the food can always be better, the price (if I can continue my travel hacking) is definitely affordable and a bargain especially when flying to Japan.
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A heads-up: Do drop by again soon. I will be flying Malaysian Airlines’ Business Class in March from Singapore to Delhi (Found a real bargain for the tickets SGD810 return!). Expect Malaysian Hospitality and more awesome reviews for you all.