JAL (Japan Airlines) First Class Product Review

Well, today was a first of firsts….My first experience in FIRST CLASS. It was all it was cracked up to be but is it really worth 11-13K? I’ll let you decide.

Let’s start with the lounge at Narita. The first class lounge was under construction so while it was less crowded, if I really wanted anything like a shower, massage chairs or to take a nap, I had to go downstairs to the Business class lounge. It was a nuisance but not a deal breaker. One bonus about the first class lounge was the sushi bar (note: only 3 pieces per person at a time) but the fish is so fresh it literally melts in your mouth. Honestly, if you have been to one airport lounge, you have been to them all.

Let’s get to the main event…the flight: JAL #4 from NRT to JFK…FIRST CLASS.

The boarding process: was a joke. And to be honest a bit unorganized. In the beginning, First Class felt almost feels like Senior Business Class. All classes trampled through, no real line-up process. Everyone seemed in a clump, not a line. The boarding process was erratic at best, and the flight was delayed by almost an hour.

At this point I was not impressed, but still willing to give it a shot because the seats were soooooo BIG and comfy. Imagine a super big lounge chair that your grandpa would read the paper in. Seriously, the seat width between armrests was 23 inches, while in bed mode it was 33 inches wide and 78.5 inches long, so my lil 5’3in self was in Heaven.

I’m not gonna lie, one of the MAIN reasons I love the leather seats is because I am afraid of a British Airlines incident. (for those that don’t know, a Business class passenger sat in a seat full of URINE. I have no desire to be soaked in urine and it’s easier to spot, as well as clean leather. AND, I am THAT person with the Wet Ones and Lysol. #nottodaysatan 

Biggest Drawback: THE POWER OUTLET. It’s near the television monitor,(you can see it’s where my little toes can’t even reach), not CLOSER to the passenger as in most aircraft. It’s far enough away that if you are using an iPhone and standard cord, it will not make it back to your seat within a matter of mere centimeters.

Seating was a 1-2-1 configuration, 8 seats total in first class.

Next: Let’s Talk Amenities aka Face Masks, and Toothpaste and BOSE…OH MY

The meal service is what I read most about on the blogs. And the menu was simple, clean lines, like the decor. The service is known as JAL BEDD and after all the hype I couldn’t wait to try the food and of course the champagne.

The ENTIRE menu:

First the drinks…which was just changed March 1, 2019 …so I got to try the current selection.

and trust I tried ALL the champagne…

The Signature Champagne is EVERYTHING…and at a retail value of around $600 a bottle it should be. Light and fruity, and very crisp. It demands your attention. I almost feel as if it should be enjoyed without food, however their food is so delicious, it’s like Sophie’s Choice. #icant

2nd The 2009 Cristal (about$250 per bottle) while good, it really did pale in comparison that i didn’t even write any notes. WOW! Sorry Cristal.

3rd:Comtes De Champagne Welp ($200) …I’m back in the groove. And I must admit I enjoyed this champagne alot, maybe because I was about 4 glasses in but this one had a dry and crisp taste, like new money.

Then there was the food, and of course Lexie decides to make an appearance. She only shows up for the booze and upgrades, but back to the food….and I can’t lie the menu was TOO extensive for me to post, and I was a bit sleepy. I however chose the “Japanese Menu” and have pics of that plus some of the dish


While the entire meal was delicious and filling a few things stand out…the seasoned rice was delightful to my tummy. The caviar with wafer cake melted in my mouth. I loved it. The Steamed Savory Egg Custard was so good, I asked for another…the food was DELICIOUS.

Now I’m sleepy, so I go to the restroom to change into my pajamas, and before I go in the cabin attendant asks if I’d like her to make my bed and if I would prefer “hard or soft”. I chose soft and stepped into the loo. Which was a basic Premium class loo. Tidy with tons of toothpaste and mouthwash. There was one thing that puzzled me:

A Bidet ? On an Airplane? Ummmm…NOPE. I know certain airlines have used them since early 2000 but #Hardpass

A Bidet ? On an Airplane? Ummmm…NOPE. I know certain airlines have used them since early 2000 but #Hardpass

And Now time to get some sleep.

The 12.5 hour ride while long I never went hungry, or thirsty. The attendants were quick to come pour you a glass. The movies were current enough to keep me entertained, however the main attraction was the bed. I have never slept so soundly on a plane.

All in all, a stellar 1st time experience. Only thing is now I want it AGAIN. #aboutthatlife

Japan Airlines Economy Class kicks A$$

Flying Japan Airlines has always been on my radar as many rave about the service, the food and the space.

Welp...I had the opportunity to try it out from Bangkok to Tokyo.

And well it was better than most US Carriers version of economy.

In Japan they haven’t jumped on the “basic”, “reg economy” “premium economy” band wagon and it shows in a VERY good way.

The flight time is about 5 hours, and I chose an evening flight in hopes that I could sleep. I sat in 25D an aisle seat. And honestly I’ve sat in Domestic First class US seats with LESS space. I had plenty of room to stretch my legs. Then entertainment system while dated with their tv shows, the movies were current. I was kept quite entertained. AND they serve all booze, all free.

Now the cons and there are many...the way they turned on and off the plane lights was VERY annoying especially on an overnight flight. There was no warning. No gentle...”hey sleeping passenger the lights are coming up” just a BAM ...we have lights. Also they did not collect trash often so my area was littered with empty glasses, but not two many as they only ran the beverage cart through twice.

The plane decor seemed dated. I noticed the business class seats with dark woods just seemed “old” like the plastic on the couch at grandma’s type of old.

And the food was ok. They gave a chocolate croissant and some Japanese snack mix at the start of trip along with a small bottled water.

For dinner was a soupy rice with beef mix, salad, some sort of pudding (that I avoided like the plague) and fresh fruit. Luckily for me I wasn’t very hungry, and we would be landing soon.

So overall I would STILL chose this carrier over a US carrier for all the amenities included that on domestic US international carriers (American, Delta, United etc) you would pay extra for. On a scale of 1-10...I give the experience an 8.

Stay tuned my next post ...as this leg was economy but my Tokyo to NYC is the coveted Japan Airlines First Class. I’ve heard that they don’t have apartments on private suites( like Emirates or Etihad) but the food and drink are supposed to be phenomenal and you best believe I’m gonna have the champagne.

And big apologies ZERO pics of the previous flight. My phone and I were both dead on arrival for that flight. But once I got to NRT I perked up real quick.

Japan Airlines First Class Flex is coming soon.

SS: A Tokyo Love Story

I met him on Tinder with one and only one thing on my mind.

I've often wondered when I became attracted to their culture. True, I loved their food but was that/is that enough? Was it the mild soft-spoken manner in comparison to my loud boisterous one? Their delicate frame to my solid dancer's build with a bunch of midwestern meat and tater's over my belt? Or was it that they too have flawless anti-aging skin? True, "Black don't crack" but "Asian don't raisin". The Japanese skin regime is on point. And he was no different. Also, there was his hair...he was in his early 40's and has a full thick luscious head of hair. The times I have stroked that hair, GOD, the times I've pulled that hair. The beautiful babies we would have made.

I had it planned. It was to be one night and one night only. So different from my other Sabbatical Smooches stories as I was gonna try for a little bit more than smooch.  

He was sweet, soft-spoken, and while English was not his strong point, he had something quietly sensual about him.

He... was the one, and surprisingly he knew of the perfect love hotel. Hence, the adventure began.

 

It’s a Ryokan Life

A couple of years ago I went to Tokyo for the first time. While I was there I met a guy who was awesome and we dated while I was there, and when he'd come to NYC. The thing with dating across the ocean is you get lonely. One day I asked him to send me a pic. He did. The difference is in this pic he looked totally relaxed and very Japanese formal yet informal. Like some sort of Japanese Tea service.  He explained to me he was staying the night in a ryokan...a ryo..what?

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn which stems from the 8th century. They are hard to find in a big city like Tokyo as many of the Japanese have taken to western culture and hotels, however in the smaller towns you can find them, but be prepared they are EXPENSIVE.

As a treat my friend surprised me with a two-day trip to Kyoto as well as a Ryokan. It was so charming, seeing old world Japan.

A Ryokan: The Traditional Japanese Setting

My apologies as I was so excited I did not get pics of the bathroom, and because of other clients no pics of the Japanese baths, but it was glorious.

Definitely an experience but for the price and sleeping on a floor...well I prefer the St.Regis.

Tokyo Memories

Seems like just yesterday I was walking the streets of Tokyo glancing at vending machines which had everything from little toys to full meals ...in a VENDING machine. #icantevendeal #mindblown

Tokyo was a treat for the senses from the food, the sites and even a little romance. 

 

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the city is mine for the taking...Tokyo♥️ 

 

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cooking class...lunch. #nomnom  

 

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dinner time ... 

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new friends

performing in Tokyo open 🎤  

performing in Tokyo open 🎤  

time to say goodbye my love ...cue #sadface

time to say goodbye my love ...cue #sadface

Missing Asia

Today I am sitting at work wishing I was enjoying the beautiful scenery...enjoy: 

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 Cherry Blossom Time

 

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The Taj

 

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A beautiful Samui Morning ... 

 

 

Cooking in Tokyo...easy as 1,2,3 with ABC Cooking Studio

Whenever I go off on an adventure, I try to immerse myself in the culture. While in Japan I did not only attempt to eat all of Tokyo but wanted to learn to make some sushi as well. I then went to my boyfriend, Mr. Google and found a tour of the fish market with a cooking class. SCORE!!!

The morning was wet and cold, but the people in my tour were kind and warm: a family from Chicago (who travels all the time to NYC), a couple of guys from NYC, and a family from Italy:

The day begins...all smiles

The day begins...all smiles

The day began walking thru the fish market. It was crazy hectic and they WILL run you over in their fish carts... (don't forget to click on pic to see the next one if slide show option doesn't run on your computer)

After touring the market. We split up into two groups.  ABC Cooking Studio is great because they keep their classes and instruction in very small groups of six, therefore the Midwestern family went off with their instructor, which left Team NYC vs Team Italy. However I don't really think that was fair as Team Italy was made up of a chef, pastry chef and their kid who was charming, as well as creative. I was nervous, but they give you Sake to drink as you cook so I just drank until we got better.

It was a fun adventure and costs less than 60$ USD. If ever in Tokyo and you've ever wanted to try your hand at making sushi...then ABC Cooking Studio is for you. Remember how we started the day off...all smiles, well this is how it ended:

ALL Smiles...

ALL Smiles...

And I graduated: