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After arriving in Tokyo, we headed straight for the Sakura lounge. There are two separate Sakura lounges in Terminal 2 of Narita International Airport: one in the main building, and one in the satellite building. Our flight to Singapore was leaving from the satellite terminal building, so we decided to go to that one since our layover wasn’t that long. It was a smaller lounge and also lacked the shower facilities.
The lounge entrance for the satellite Sakura Lounge is located across from gate 91. Upon entering is the reception area, with the First Class Sakura Lounge immediately adjacent to it. The access to the Business Sakura Lounge is down a flight of stairs or an elevator to the 2F.
There are plenty of lounge chairs, many of them facing the window, which offered a nice view onto the tarmac, which is great for plane spotters.
The food selection included Japanese curry rice, miso soup, assortment of pickled vegetables, sandwiches, muffins, and some other snacks. Unfortunately there wasn’t any sushi.
The drinks selection was pretty generous as well, with plenty of alcoholic beverages, juices and soft drinks.
I wasn’t really hungry, but I absolutely love Japanese curry, so I got myself a small bowl of that, along with a miso soup and pickled vegetables.
We had a short transfer in Tokyo, so we were only able to spend about a half hour in the lounge. As it was almost time for boarding, we left the lounge and headed for gate 99.
Tokyo (NRT) -> Singapore (SIN)
Airline: Japan Airlines
Flight No: JL711
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER
Date: Monday, November 10, 2016
Scheduled Departure: 6:00 PM
Scheduled Arrival: 12:50 AM
Duration: 7 hrs 50 mins
Seat and Cabin
JAL operates one of their newer 767s on the route to Singapore, which features the new Sky Suite cabins. The seats come in a 1-2-1 configuration with rows alternating between window and aisle seats. I selected the window seat 4K while my parents were seated in the middle pair 4D and 4G.
The window seat that I was in felt fairly private. This was because the side table acted as a sort of barrier between the seat and the aisle. While the seat was comfortable and felt quite spacious, I wasn’t too fond of the “pillow” they provided, which felt more like a hard foam seat cushion.
The tray table slides out from the seat in front, beneath the TV screen. There is a small storage area above it, along with a usb port and regular charging port.
A cover on the side table flips up to reveal the entertainment controller, and in front of that are the seat controls, which were intuitive to use.
Above the side table is a storage area for personal items. You can find the headphones here as well.
The cabin itself felt a bit dated with the yellowish ambient lighting, especially compared to the JAL 787 Dreamliner we just flew, but it was comfortable and felt clean.
As usual, JAL offers both a Japanese and Western meal option. I opted for the Japanese set again, but my parents wanted to try something different and went with the Western option.
The appetizer arrived in a Bento-box style tray, filled with an assortment of Japanese delicacies.
The main course featured stewed beef tongue and miso-marinated salmon. Normally I wouldn’t order beef tongue if given a choice, but I ended up enjoying it.
The dessert was rather interesting, as I had to follow instructions to build it myself before I got to eat it. I don’t know what it’s actually called, but it’s sort of like a Japanese Oreo filled with bean paste. It even came with a guide on how to fold a paper crane with the paper provided. (I was too tired at this point to attempt this.) While it was different and unique, it ended up being a mediocre dessert. Personally I would have preferred something simpler that I didn’t have to prepare myself.
After the meal, I tried to watch a movie, but as I started to doze off, I decided I should get some sleep instead.
In the fully flat bed configuration, the seat felt a bit more cramped, especially when lying flat on your back. I don’t have particularly broad shoulders, but even then my shoulders were almost touching the sides of the seat. This could potentially be a problem for people with a broader build. I ended up using the hard foam-like cushion as a pillow, which wasn’t that comfortable, so I didn’t get a very good sleep.
After my nap, I woke up feeling a bit hungry, so I ordered myself a cup udon snack and a hot green tea.
Overall, I had another great time flying with JAL. The service and attentiveness of the crew was spot on as usual, offering that genuine sense of hospitality that you expect from a Japanese airline.
I loved the privacy of my seat, given that it was a window seat, but i think they could have taken an inch from the side table and make the seat a bit wider instead. Personally, I didn’t have any issues with it, but my Dad (who is a bit bulkier) mentioned feeling a bit cramped, compared to the 787 seat we flew in previously. I was also a bit let down by the awkward cushion I had to use for a pillow. I wasn’t sure what to do with it; it felt too thick to be a back rest, and too hard to be a pillow.
The meal service was alright, but not fantastic. I would have preferred a “real” dessert, not a DIY Oreo cookie.
I didn’t use the in-flight entertainment much, but a brief browse through it seemed to show a good selection of movies.
Have you flown with JAL before? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments what you thought about this review! If you want more reviews like this one, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates and more flight reviews.
Alvin is an aviation geek, enthusiast photographer, and software developer with a goal of exploring the world. He uses mileage programs to redeem premium flight travel, and shares his experiences here on OneMoreWeekToGo.