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At the end of our Kyoto trip, we flew from Osaka Itami Airport to Tokyo Haneda in economy class. Then after a four-hour layover in Haneda. we continued our journey home in JAL business class Haneda SFO. The flight was booked using 60,000 American Airline AAdvantage miles.
Check-in & Boarding JAL Business Class Haneda SFO
If you are checking in directly at Haneda, departure hall is located at 3rd floor in the Haneda International Terminal. JAL counter is located in aisle F&G. We flew in from Osaka, so we already had our boarding passes. Once we clear security, we needed to exit custom, which took only a few minutes.
Our flight was departing at 7:45pm from Gate 112, located opposite to the entrance to the JAL First Class Lounge & Sakura Lounge. (Flying Business Class gave us access to Sakura Lounge). Boarding started at 7:20pm. Two lines were formed – First Class and One World Emerald members etc, and then Business Class passengers. We boarded from the middle door, which directly led to the business class cabin. Once again, they boarded the entire plane in 20 minutes.
The cabin and the seat
The business class cabin has a total of seven rows (Rows 5 to 12). Row 5 is in a mini cabin of itself located directly behind first class cabin, but it was not available when I went online to get my seat assignment. Each row has 7 seats, all of which has direct aisle access. With 42 seats total in the main section of the business class, the cabin did feel a bit noisy and crowded.
Using the seat map from SeatGuru, I picked 9A 9C for my daughter and I, and 10A 10C for my best friend and her son. 9A has three windows, just like the first class seat I had on my SFO Haneda flight. The three window seats behind us all have only two windows. We got lucky! PICK 9A if you are flying in JAL business class on Boeing 777-300ER! Flight attendant bought over juices and Champagne once we were settled in.
The Japanese Meal in JAL Business Class Haneda SFO
Meal service started as soon as we were in the air. I had pre-ordered Japanese meal for everyone, thinking we would prefer it over the western meal. Much to my surprise, I did not like the Japanese meal at all. Maybe because we were still full from our late lunch four hours prior, maybe it was just too much cold food.
I tried a little, but really didn’t feel like eating any more. So I told the flight attendant to skip the rest of my meal. I decided to sleep. I think there was bedding for business class. But no flight attendant came by to tell me where I could find the bedding. So I just laid the seat flat and put the little blanket on me. It was fine. Few hours later, I woke up sweating. The cabin temperature was hot, the same happened on my flight in JAL first class SFO Haneda. There was no individual controls at the seat where I could adjust the air overhead.
About two and a half hour away from San Francisco, the cabin light came on, and flight attendants started serving snacks (or call it late breakfast early lunch for San Francisco time). Debating between beef curry, ramen noodle and udon soup, I ended up choosing ramen knowing that it couldn’t possibly go wrong. my daughter asked for spaghetti with meat sauce. Both were quite good.
JAL Business Class SkySuite has comfortable seats and good space, but with 47 seats total it did feel a bit crowded and busy all the time. It has two lavatories in the front and two more between business class and premium economy, so often there was a wait for the lavatory.
Drink choices weren’t that many (compared to First Class, understandably). Perhaps because I had a bottle water, I was never asked if I would like my small cup of hot tea refilled. I would have liked more hot tea to go with those cold Japanese dishes! But next time, I would order the western meal.
There were wifi on the plane and I thought business class passengers has free wifi access. But I was never given the wifi code. I think the flight attendants were just too busy keeping up with the cabin all the time, so some service details were being left out.
JAL business class can be booked using 60,000 AA miles or Alaska miles.This flight was just 9 hours long, about 2 hours shorter than the opposite direction. We had a comfortable seats and we slept most of the flight, so overall business class was fine. But for longer flight or if I plan to be wake for majority of the time, I would definitely spend the additional miles for first class, which can be booked using 80,000 AA miles or 70,000 Alaska miles.