JAL First Class Review

JAL First Class Review on Boeing 777-300 ER

By: | January 8th, 2018 | 0 Comment

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We’ve enjoyed First Class travel several times just the two of us for our anniversary celebration vacations, but we had not flown premium with our kids yet. Not until now. We made it happen on our trip to Japan. We flew First Class on Japan Airlines with our three year old son and five year old daughter from New York City JFK to Tokyo Haneda. The flight was exceptional and we hope that you already read our JAL 777 First Class in 10 Photos post to get a glimpse of what we experienced. Here is our complete JAL First Class Review with tons of photos and details on every aspect of the flight, including flying with young kids on a 14+ hour flight. We just may be the first family to write a Japan Airlines First Class review flying with a toddler and kindergartener.

JAL First Class Fare

If you’re looking for cheap first class flights, you may not find cheaper first class tickets than what we paid. Bertaut worked his magic and snagged incredible deals on our first class fare. He booked all our tickets with miles so only had to pay the taxes. Yes, it was a lot of miles, but absolutely worth every one. He booked using 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles per person, so paid just $18 per person in taxes/surcharges. Now that’s some cheap first class tickets and the bargain of the year for us. Flying a family of four in JAL First Class from New York to Japan for only $72! The first class tickets go for about $20,000 each. So I’d say $ 72 for $80,000 worth of first class tickets was a pretty good deal. 😉 Check back on the blog soon for more details about how he managed to score that deal.

First class fare in JAL

JAL First Class Cabin

JAL First Class Review: Cabin

The first class cabin on Japan Airlines’s Boeing 777-300ER is extremely luxurious. As a family of four, we took up an entire row of seats. There were only four other seats in the First Class cabin, two of which were occupied. So we almost had the First Class cabin crew to ourselves. It was fantastic! Talk about excellent service!

JAL 1st class review

Taking up an entire row in the JAL First Class cabin on the Boeing 777-300ER

JAL Seat Selection

On Japan Airlines, you are able to select your own seat when you book your flight. We were able to guarantee sitting all together thanks to the JAL seat selection policy. We put the kids in the middle two seats and we each took a window seat. The kids loved being able to put the partition up between their seats and watch it go back down. That way they could talk or have some quiet time to themselves when it was time to sleep. We enjoyed the window seats which allowed us some space to get work done when we weren’t indulging in the fine food and drinks or taking care of the kids.

1st class kid, JAL seat selection

The kids loved their seats in First Class on Japan Airlines!

Japan Airlines First Class Review: Welcome Drinks

After getting settled in our seats, it was time for our welcome drinks. First we received lemon-scented towels to clean our hands. Then Bertaut and I enjoyed glasses of champagne while the kids sipped on orange juice. There’s nothing quite like some bubbly to get a flight off to a good start! We think champagne is the best drink to order in first class because flying first class is cause for celebration. Nothing says celebration like champagne!

Japan Airlines First Class serves Salon champagne, which costs $400-500 a bottle. I didn’t realize that at the time and wish we’d indulged more! We each had only one glass, which is unusual for us when flying First Class. The last time we sipped on really expensive champagne was when we flew Emirates First Class and enjoyed glass after glass of exquisite Dom Perignon champagne.

First class beverage

Welcome drink of Salon champagne in Japan Airlines First Class

Best drink to order in first class

Cheers to drinking a $500 bottle of Salon champagne in Japan Airlines First Class

JAL Sky Suite 777

The seats in First Class on the Boeing 777-300ER are extremely luxurious, spacious and comfortable. The seat area is called a JAL sky suite 777. According to JAL, the sky suite is the world’s largest relaxing space onboard. The seats have multiple reclining options and go completely flat when you want to sleep. The seat and bed area is huge, even for a 6’6 giant like Bertaut. The bed width is 84cm and the length is 199cm.

Cabin crew will come make your bed with a mattress pad when you are ready to sleep, which is a nice touch. The mattress pads and pillows are airweave dual mode S-line which supports your waist and provide ideal lying posture. You can choose between soft and hard. They also provide a soft blanket prior to takeoff in each sky suite.

First class seats and first class pillow

Huge and comfortable seats in Japan Airlines First Class

First class seats in JAL

JAL First Class suites with welcome glass of Salon champagne and aromatherapy towel to refresh before takeoff

Each suite has its own TV, bench/foot rest, table for dining, and storage consoles. The storage compartments are very large, which allowed me to store my iPad Pro, Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera, Tokyo Travel Guide, Japan Travel Guide and bottle of water with tons of space to spare. That was very convenient and prevented me from having to get up and access the overhead storage during the flight.

The kids also had space in their storage compartments for some toys and a game-filled Tablet to keep them entertained, coloring books, and their snuggly Mermaid Tail Blanket and Shark Blanket so they weren’t constantly asking for things. They made themselves right at home in their first class suites. They didn’t need the popular 1st class kid travel pillow to get comfy and sleep.

Flying first class with kids

Our son got comfortable instantly in his JAL Sky Suite 777

First class seats on Japan Airlines

JAL First Class sky suites on Boeing 777-300 ER

Japan Airlines first class seat storage

Storage compartments, seat controls and TV remote in JAL sky suite 777

Japan Airlines first class images

Seat options include lumbar support in JAL First Class sky suite 777

Japan Airlines First Class Bathrooms

The bathrooms in JAL First Class were extremely clean and bright. After flying Emirates first class on the Airbus A380, which has huge luxurious bathrooms with a shower, heated floors, and enough space to dance around, no airline bathroom will ever compare. However, JAL First Class bathrooms are typical bathrooms for first class cabins, comparable to Lufthansa First class. They were equipped with dental kits as an extra little convenience when it was time to brush our teeth.

Japan Airlines bathroom in first class

JAL First Class bathroom

Japan Airlines Cabin Crew

Japan Airlines Cabin Crew in First Class treated us like treasured guests in their own home. Like I mentioned, we nearly had the entire First Class cabin crew to ourselves. They responded to our needs and requests very quickly and always with a smile. The flight attendants were friendly and happy to assist us. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that our kids are so stinking cute. 😉 One of the flight attendants even changed our son’s clothes just before landing. Now that’s going the extra mile and really impressed us.

Japan Airlines Cabin Crew in JAL First Class

Excellent service from Japan Airlines Cabin Crew

My only critique (since I’m sure you want to hear one) is that one of our flight attendants did not speak fluent English. I had some questions about items on the menu but she was unable to answer them without asking another flight attendant for help translating. That surprised me a little for a flight departing from the United States, but it wasn’t a problem since she was able to get help from the other crew. Her warm personality and bright smile more than made up for it. Everyone who assisted us during our flight was very kind and hospitable, which are key aspects of Japanese culture. We certainly felt top-notch hospitality from the Japan Airlines Cabin Crew.

Japan Airlines Inflight Entertainment

Since NYC to Tokyo is a very long flight (over 14 hours), Japan Airlines inflight entertainment was needed to keep our kids happy and us sane. Thankfully they had a huge selection of movies, cartoons, games, TV, and music to keep everyone entertained. Japan Airlines movies include kid-friendly cartoons, new releases, and older favorites. Our kids watched several movies which made for a peaceful flight for us. We love catching up on movies too while on long haul flights. We were all well entertained.

Our 3 year old son enjoying Japan Airlines inflight entertainment

Japan Airlines WiFi

Having wifi on a flight is very important to us since we try to get some work done. Japan Airlines WiFi was free and very good. I’ve flown many times on other airlines when the WiFi wasn’t working, or it went in and out throughout the flight. I had no problems with WiFi during our flight, which helped me finish my research for what to do in Tokyo with kids.

Japan Airlines Free WiFi

JAL First Class Amenity Kit

The JAL First Class Amenity Kit is given prior to takeoff and is very generous. We received Bose Noise Cancelling headphones for use during the flight (sorry you don’t get to keep those). Our kids looked so adorable watching their movies with these on! Having quality noise-cancelling headphones really makes a difference for a restful flight. Thankfully our kids were on cloud nine watching their movies and were not whining or crying at all. That’s another reason we love noise-cancelling headphones on long flights- to block out screams of unhappy children (sometimes our own hahaha). We were especially grateful that our kids were entertained in the premium cabin and barely bothered us during the flight. 😉

Long haul flight with toddler

Our kids were happy as clams watching movies with their Bose headphones while eating ramen noodles

We each received swag bags full of goodies we were able to keep. The JAL First Class amenity kits by Porsche Design included a dental kit, eye mask, ear plugs, hairbrush, facial tissues, moisture mask, travel facial mist, lip balm, hand and body cream. This was a very useful amenity kit compared to some we’ve received on other airlines. I love it when they provide lip balm and hand cream since long flights dry out my skin.

First class amenities on Japan Airlines

JAL First Class Amenity Kit by Porsche Design

Midway through the flight they handed out more goodies. Ladies (even our daughter) received a box with facial mask and moisturizer from Cle de Peau Beaute. Men (even our little man) received a kit by Shiseido Men with cleansing foam, hydrating lotion, and total revitalizer. They were generous with moisturizing products to make our skin glow and feel as soft as a baby’s bottom.

Japan Airlines first class amenities

More amenities in JAL First Class

They also handed out cotton pajamas for adults, but didn’t unfortunately didn’t have kid sizes. They kindly still gave us an adult pair for each child that we will share with family members back at home. Who doesn’t love a new set of PJ’s?

Japan Airlines first class amenities

Pajamas and slippers in JAL First Class

1st class images from JAL

Getting cozy in my Japan Airlines pajamas in JAL First Class

Once you change into your PJ’s and slippers, the flight attendant takes your clothing and hangs it up for you in a closet. That was another extra touch that impressed us. It made me feel like a guest in someone’s home rather than a passenger on an airplane. And while you are changing into your cozy pj’s, the flight attendants make your bed for you. It’s outstanding service all the way around. Here’s a little video montage Bertaut put together for our Instagram page (please follow us if you aren’t already) of our time with Japan Airlines in their luxurious First Class.

Sleeping in JAL First Class

We were definitely nervous about taking a 14 hour flight with our energetic 3 year old and 5 year old. Being in first class and having beds to get sleep or just have enough space to play and cuddle made a world of difference. The kids loved being able to move around rather than being restricted to a small seat. The suites were large enough that we could sit or lay down with them to snuggle and watch movies together.

Snuggling and coloring together in the first class suites on JAL big enough for two people

We were so grateful that they actually got some sleep on the flight, which may not have happened in the economy cabin. Or at least not without a lot of whining and complaining that they weren’t comfortable and couldn’t lay down. First class with kids on long haul flights is the way to go!

Flying with toddler in first class

Snuggling in our first class suites on Japan Airlines, large enough for 3 of us to fit comfortably

Here’s a funny little video Bertaut filmed on time lapse of the kids when it was time for bed. Our energizer bunny kids had enough space in their first class suites to move around which made the flight so much easier. We highly recommend flying premium if you are taking a long haul flight with a toddler or young kids. Save your points, it is so worth it! Otherwise, a 14 hour flight with them might have driven us off the deep end! LOL

https://instagram.com/p/BbsYTSBDDK8/

JAL First Class Dinner Menu

The menu offered many options both of Japanese cuisine and Western cuisine. Bertaut ordered the Japanese menu and I ordered the Western menu so that we could share and try both. The way the seats in First Class are set up, we were able to dine together sitting across the table from one another. This was fabulous!

Our kids were happily watching cartoons and eating ramen noodles while we enjoyed a romantic dinner together. It felt like a date, only thousands of miles high. No, we didn’t join the mile high club if any of your dirty minds are wondering.

1st class images on Japan Airlines

Cheers to a dinner date in JAL First Class

Japanese Menu

The Japanese dinner menu was 8 courses and tons of food. We started with a beautiful tray of vinegared snow crab & radish, egg cake topped with caviar, simmered fried eggplant in Japanese broth, potato cake, and braised duck with sweet soy sauce. Each dish was flavorful and exciting, and we had a lot of fun enjoying it together.

JAL First class images

First course of Japanese menu in Japan Airlines First Class

The next course was seared tuna, fluke and scallop “sashimi” style with soy sauce jelly. This one I wasn’t as crazy about because eating raw fish freaks me out a little after watching one too many episodes of the TV show Monsters Inside Me. However, I tasted it and let Bertaut enjoy the rest. Next we tried egg tofu with mushroom.  Then we enjoyed beef steak with grated radish citrus soy sauce and simmered radish with miso sauce. Next it was warm charashi sushi followed by miso soup and Japanese pickles. I’m not a huge fan of the taste of either of the last two, but was glad to taste these Japanese staples.

First class food on JAL

Second course in Japan Airlines First Class

Japan Airlines food

Japan Airlines Japanese fare

Finally we ended with “Matcha” green tea mousse, premium tea served in a wine glass, and hot tea.

Japan Airlines first class beverages and dessert

Green tea mousse with hot tea and gourmet tea

It felt like a never-ending meal. We loved trying so many must-have Japanese dishes before we even landed in Tokyo.

Western Menu

For an amuse bouche we received tuna pastrami with tapenade cream. We also had green pistachio and black truffle mousse.

For Hors’d’oeuvre we had a choice of:
1. Caviar served with egg yolk mascarpone, chase cream, smoked sturgeon and potato blini.
2. Sautéed foie gras and brioche french toast with a port wine sauce
3. Lamb salad, sautéed portobello mushroom, goat cheese, raspberry vinaigrette

We opted for the foie gras, but were not huge fans. It’s just not a taste we’ve acquired. We probably should’ve gone for the caviar.

JAL First Class fare Western Menu

Amuse-bouche and foie gras in Japan Airlines First Class

The Main Dish options were:
US Prime Beef Tenderloin with spinach flan and perigueux sauce
Roasted Duck Breast with farro salad and bigarade sauce
Sautéed Sea Bass with cashew nut brown butter sauce
We chose the sea bass and thought it was delicious.

First class Western fare JAL

Sea bass for dinner in First Class on Japan Airlines

We had a selection of assorted gourmet breads during our meal and then ended with dessert- Pear and Almond Tart with Ice Cream.

First class fare JAL

Dessert in Japan Airlines First Class

We loved being able to enjoy both menus by dining together and sharing everything. That’s what we tend to do when we go out to eat, so it worked out perfectly being able to sit at the table together. We had fun taking photos of each other eating too 😉

1st class images JAL

Enjoying sake and plum wine while dining together in First Class of Japan Airlines

1st class images on Japan Airlines

Bertaut is a clown if you haven’t noticed yet 😉

A La Carte Menu

In addition to the set dinner menus, JAL First Class offered many different food options during the flight.
Snacks included Japanese delicacies of smoked dried radish with cream cheese, salted squid, and soy-marinated stem lettuce.
Assorted appetizers included dried fruits mixed with grated radish, prosciutto with sesame oil, and mozzarella marinated with salted rice malt.

Japanese A La Carte included:
Grilled New York duck rice bowl with sweet soy sauce
Vegetable curry with Hokkaido potatoes
Japanese Pickles

Light Meals included:
Chickpea pate & grilled vegetables with tartar sauce
Gemelli pasta with beef short rib ragout
Cauliflower soup
Fresh salad

Noodles included:
JAL original healthy ramen noodles from Kyusyu “Kyushu Jangara”
Japanese cold “soba” noodles
Japanese hot “udon” noodles with seaweed

Cheese selection of assorted artisan cheese

Assorted seasonal fresh fruits, ice cream, and chocolate.

Japanese Set Plate
Simmered blackhead sea-bream
Grilled eggplant
Steamed rice
Miso soup
Japanese pickles

Western Set Plate
Big Apple burger Rossini style
Greek yogurt with mango sauce

Of all those options, we tried the Big Apple burger and ramen noodles for our kids, duck rice bowl, vegetable curry, and cauliflower soup. The duck rice bowl was my favorite off the a la carte menu.

Japan Airlines First Class fare

Duck Rice Bowl in JAL flying first class

JAL First class fare

One last meal in JAL first class cabin for us to share before landing- ramen noodles, cauliflower soup, salad and vegetable curry

JAL First Class Beverage Menu

Now for the really important stuff- the drinks! We always feel like kids in a candy store tasting all sorts of fine wines, liquors, champagnes and more during our premium flights. They serve premium alcohol and are generous with it! I already mentioned the Salon champagne that was served before takeoff and got the trip off to a great start. There were so many other wonderful drink options in JAL First Class. We tried several but made sure not to have too many, because we didn’t want to land feeling drunk or hungover. Here are the drink menus in Japan Airlines First Class. They are not easy to read so I’ve written out what they say below to save your eyes from a lot of squinting. Your’re welcome. 😉

Japan Airlines First Class Beverage Menu

Liquor, spirit and champagne menu in JAL First Class

JAL First Class Wine Menu

White wine list in Japan Airlines First Class

JAL First Class Menu

Red wine list for Japan Airlines First Class

JAL First Class Menu

Sake and shochu menu for First Class in JAL

JAL First Class Menu

Premium tea and other beverage menu in First Class on Japan Airlines

Aperitif Cocktails

Campari, creme de cassis, plum wine, martini, mimosa, kir royal, kir, Bloody Mary, sherry, and Martini extra dry vermouth.

I tried the plum wine with soda water and it was delicious. I highly recommend this as a pre-dinner drink after you’ve had your fair share of very expensive Salon champagne. 😉

Whisky

Chivas Regal Royal Salute 21 years
Suntory Hibiki 17 years
L&G Woodford Reserve

Spirits

Bombay Sapphire Gin
Absolut Vodka

Beer

The menu did not list the selection, and since we are not beer drinkers we did not ask. Sorry, you’ll have to fly with them to find out what beer they serve. However, if they’re serving $400 champagne, why drink beer?

Brandy Liqueur

Remy Martin VSOP
Cointreau
Baileys Irish Cream

Port wine

Graham’s Tawny Port 30 years

Champagne

Salon 2006
Deutz Cuvée William Deutz 2006

White Wine

Bourgogne France- Louis Jason Beaune 1er cru greves Le Clos Blanc 2013
Australia- Sandalford Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Semillion 2016
Austria- Durnberg Rabenstein Gruner Veltliner Reserve 2015
Japan- Coco Farm & Winery Koshu F.O.S. 2014

We tried the Japanese wine since we were on Japan Airlines. It was a different taste, but we are red wine drinkers so maybe we should’ve stayed in our territory. 😉

JAL First Class beverages

White Japanese wine in JAL First Class

Red Wine

Bordeaux France- Chateau Poujeaux Moulis 2009
Bourgogne France- Vincent Girardin Savigny Les Beaune 1er Cru “Les Serpentieres” 2013
California U.S.A.- Ch.igai Takisha “Sono” Pinot Noir 2015
New Zealand- Kusuda Martinborough Syrah 2014

Premium Japanese Sake

Isojiman

Dassai, Migaki Niwari Sanbu

We had Dassai sake during our meal, which is one of the finest sake in Japan. It was smooth and refined, excactly what I’d expect for premium sake served in First Class.

JAL First Class review and 1st class images

Sake during our meal on Japan Airlines in First Class

Premium Japanese Shochu

Gokujo Mori Izo

Hyahunen no Kododu

We didn’t try schochu, which is a distilled vodka-like spirit made from a variety of ingredients. It is very popular in Japan, and looking back wish we had at least tried a taste.

Premium Japanese Tea

Royal Blue Tea “Queen of Blue”

This premium tea is bottled like wine and served in a wine glass to be enjoyed “elegantly”. It is made from only the finest rare hand-picked tea leaves that are picked once a year. We tried it and didn’t get the hype. It tasted like iced tea to us. Shhh don’t tell any tea sommeliers! 😉 This fancy tea costs $40 per bottle, so it’s worth tasting. That’s certainly the most expensive tea we’ve ever tasted.

Japan Airlines First class beverages

Queen of Blue premium tea on JAL First Class flight

JAL First Class Review Conclusion

In summary, we had a wonderful experience flying JAL First Class with our kids for our first visit to Japan. The service was exceptional. Top shelf drinks were freely flowing. The food was bountiful and delicious. The cabin and suites were luxurious and extremely comfortable. We loved all the goodies they gave us, including pajamas, slippers, Porsche toiletry kits, hydrating facial products, and toys for our kids. We especially enjoyed dining together in one suite as our kids happily watched movies and noshed on Ramen noodles. We were a little nervous about flying 14 hours with our kids to Asia, but this experience would make us do it again and again. We loved it so much that we didn’t even want to get off the flight. Fourteen hours go by really fast when you’re flying in the comfort of Japan Airlines First Class.

If you’re nervous about long flights with young children, flying premium will make the experience so much easier! The kind flight attendants helped us with the kids so we could sit back and relax. Our energetic kids had space to move around and a bed to get a good night’s sleep. It was by far the best long-haul flight we’ve ever taken with our children. It was a far cry from our 12 hour economy cabin flight with Turkish Airlines that ended up being a nightmare due to lost and stolen luggage. If you’re flying to Asia, save up your points and fly JAL First Class. It will blow you away!

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About Bertaut & Alexis

JAL First Class Review on Boeing 777-300 ER
Travel addicts and proud parents of two young kids who make exploring the world a priority while working full time. Bertaut & Alexis enjoy traveling like millionaires without spending a fortune and share their tips on how to get luxury for less.

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