henkybaby
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Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 12:20 pm

.


Hai!



JO729 (JALWays)
NRT-DPS
21/05/09
Class: Business (First Class Cabin)
Departure: 16:20
Flight Time: 7:35
Aircraft: B747-400
Seat 1K
Load factor in J: 60%

As some of you may know, I am currently traveling on a Round The World ticket. A OneWorld Explorer ticket in fact and to be very precise: an AONE6. A for First Class and 6 for the continents. It is a paper ticket good for 20 flight segments issued on BA stock. No problem so far on BA, QF, LA and CX.

No before this flight I had flown SGN-NRT on JL on the same ticket. I still have to write a report on that flight but let me say that at SGN airport I already had some inclination that Japan Airlines is not altogether there in the OneWorld Alliance. I was able to check in online (with a paper ticket???) but at the airport they had lost my booking. They welcomed me with a sign to say they had lost my booking. You get the irony I hope...

To prevent more of the same I had called JL in advance to reconfirm my NRT-DPS flight. Of course the kind lady informed me that my PNR was invalid (the JL one) and that I was not booked on the flight and if I wanted to make a booking... After some incomprehensible explanations back and forth I finally asked for a supervisor. After 10 minutes or so she gave me a new PNR for my flight which I could indeed find online. Problems avoided at the airport.

Something kept nagging at me so I decided to get to the airport early. 3 hours before my flight I was enthusiastically greeted by the lady at the JL First Class check in counter. I was armed to the teeth with JL confirmation codes, PNRs, paper tickets, seat assignments and still she looked at me as if she saw water burning. I tried to explain the principle of paper tickets, one world explorers and the joy of having a seat assigned to me already. “Please check the passenger in 1K for JL729. That is me!”

No luck. She had to call a supervisor. She was on the phone for 10 minutes and said 'Hai!' at least 20 times per minute. Since 'Hai!' means 'yes' I assumed we were at least making progress. Unfortunately it took another 5 minutes for a supervisor to arrive and clear up the mess. After at least 40 frustrating minutes I was handed my boarding pass and lounge invitation. JAL does not make a good impression as far as the booking and check-in procedure is concerned.

Next came the security check. I am carrying a carry-on and a backpack with photographic equipment. In that backpack is also my laptop and my ebook reader. Attached to the side is a tripod case. At no airport in the world does this pose a problem (take out laptop and Bob is once again my uncle) but in NRT security is going crazy. I open the case for the tripod to show that there is no Samurai sword in there but no, I have to take it out and take it all apart. Ok, what the heck. Next they want me to take everything out of my backpack so it can be screened individually. Remember that I just came from a very frustrating check in procedure... I unpack everything very slowly and do not try to hide my annoyance. I remain polite (it is security) but offer resistance in the form of extreme slowness. A police officer now comes up and asks for my passport. He is trying to intimidate me, possible annoyed by my obvious irritation. I slowly take out my passport and boarding pass and hand it to him. I ignore him and continue to repack my bags. It looks like he expected a more nervous reaction from me but I keep ignoring him. He starts writing stuff down. I keep ignoring him. When I finish packing my stuff I look at him. “Done?” He hands me down my passport and boarding pass and I leave. The weirdest security check ever. I was tempted to ask them if they would all take a picture with me, but I decided that might be pushing it...

Now one of the stranger aspects of Japan is that a lot of people speak English, just no very well or at least understandably. I now get the move 'Lost in Translation' perfectly. 'Lip them!'... So when I ask for the JL First Class Lounge at the airport information desk I get a blank stare.
“Where is the JL First Class Lounge please?”
“What gate?”
“No the lounge”
“Yes, lounge depends on gate”
JL has more than one First Class Lounge”
“Yes, what gate”
“Gate 93”
“Ok, take tlain and the lounge is on the light”.

The tlain in question


The tlain station


When I get to the satellite terminal there is a JL lounge but of course the First Class lounge is back in the main building. Actually it is almost next to the airport information desk. I head back and decide not to pursue the issue. Japan and I will never get along.

The JL First Class lounge. Not sharp but it took me so long to get there I am going to include it!


The lounge itself was very good. When you enter you have the choice of the regular lounge (on the right) or the First Class lounge on the left. The staff was extremely welcoming and I was in the lounge in no time.

Entrance to the First Class section


I must say that the lounge exceeded my expectations. It was stylish, with a good view of the airport. There were lots of sections where you could hide out and it was not all that busy. Maybe 10 people. The thing that let it down was the food. There was a very limited choice for a First Class lounge. I managed to still my appetite with the chicken 'nuggets' and beef sandwiches but I was not impressed.

Very big lounge






http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555783.jpg

The limited food section


Good work spaces


I have noticed that in a lot of JL lounges you find massage chairs. Normally I do not use them much since I actually own one at home and am sort of immune to them. This one was a very nice one with a very complicated remote that was – what else? – in Japanese only. After some fiddling I found a good setting and had a 30 minute massage that actually left me feeling better.



These chairs looked very relaxed as well
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555827.jpg

Although you had a pretty nice view of the airport there is not much to see. This is terminal 2 so you find mainly OW carriers and here that means JL or AA.

http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555833.jpg

http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555896.jpg

It is 747 central here...
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555901.jpg

Time passed rather quickly and it was time to get to the gate. The airport is not that big so even with the use of the train it took less than 4 minutes. Has anybody ever noticed that Japanese people seem to be very 'nervous' or 'insecure' travelers? They always look very lost and even a bit scared at airports. It must be my interpretation but it feels like it. They also come up to staff with a very confused inquiry and are very apologetic for their questions... Strange.

Ah well. The boarding process was, naturally, very organized. I arrived at the gate at almost the exact moment we started boarding. I managed to get a quick shot of the boarding gate.



One of the other things that surprises me about Japan is the willingness to serve. Before the boarding started all the staff assembled before the waiting pax and took a bow. They did that on board as well. I think I rather like it.

I was expecting the old style business class product for this flight but I was presently surprised that they used the old style First for this flight, sold as business. I was in seat 1K and this was by far the roomiest seat I have ever been in...

Seat 1K


Illustration of the legroom (seat 1AB)


Now I realize that these are very old First Class seats but I am going out on a limb here... This was the most comfortable cabin I have ever flown in. I know it does not look fancy and does not have 30” plasma screens or 999 settings for your seat but look at the room!



Only 12 seats in the cabin so the empty floorspace is unbelievable. Also there is no closet to speak off in the front of the cabin so you really feel you are in the nose cone.





In row 1 you have about 6 windows to yourself. Which airline does better? I can't even get them all in one picture...


We departed the gate bang on time. From my six windows I had a good view of all the activity. Unfortunately it was raining so the picture quality leaves something to be desired.



After they had unhooked the plane the marshals all lined up and saluted the pilot. They bowed about 3 times for 10 seconds each. Still did not manage a good picture.



Then they started waving to the passengers and kept waving until the plane was out of sight. Amazing tradition. Liking it.
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555969.jpg

Now for some random shots on the way to the runway.

http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555981.jpg

A United 747 just landed
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555983.jpg

I was surprised to see these NWA birds here. Is that for the Guam run?
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555986.jpg

http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365555989.jpg

A Delta


From the side
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL359/11064950/22092996/365556002.jpg

JL has a nose camera for landing and take off. Like that too.  


Although the captain had warned us for turbulence after take off and before landing we encountered nothing more than some chop but maybe that is called turbulence nowadays.





Now that I had gotten used to so many windows it was no big surprise that the toilet had a window too. It was one of the best kept airplane bogs I have ever seen. Very shiny, very clean and with lots of mirrors.









Maybe too much credit for a toilet but I think a nice one adds to comfort of a flight. Basically I was just pleasantly surprised.

Something else I was pleasantly surprised about was the food. I was told to order Japanese food since these choices are almost always superior to the Western selections. Since every Japanese dish featured squid I opted for Western and I even dared a steak. I asked them to prepare it as rare as they dared and the very lovely and experienced senior FA said she would do her best for me. I must say: she succeeded. Probably the best steak I ever ate in the sky.

Amuse Bouche


The dinner setting


Dinner was served pretty quickly after take off. I had already snacked quite a bit in the lounge so I told the FA I would skip desert. “You will do no such thing! It is far to yummy!” she said and would hear no more about it. Desert arrived and I thank her for it. It was indeed yummy.



Even though it was a day flight the blinds were shut after dinner. I did not mind. The seats were extremely comfortable to sit in and I was willing to try them on for sleep. They did not disappoint. Another surprise was that when I asked if they could make the cabin a little cooler for sleep they said 'no problem' and within minutes it actually became cooler. Now who ever had that happening?

Very comfortable 180 degrees flat seat.


I woke up about 2 hours before landing and had another of those yummy deserts. 90 minutes out they woke us all up for a snack and to prepare for landing. The FA tried to sell me some noodles but this time I did not give in. I had had enough.

Landing at DPS was a bit bumpy but nothing too bad. I know Bali well, so priority number one was to be the first one of the plane and at the visa on arrival line. I managed the former but a planeload of Aussies was already at immigration. It took the better part of 30 minutes but there I was, back in my beloved Bali...

My hotel room


All in all a very pleasant experience with JALways. The flights were on time, service was outstanding and the product, although old, maybe superior to a lot of the new F and C classes I have flown. I would not hesitate to fly them again.

As always: feedback appreciated and suggestions welcome!

[Edited 2009-05-28 05:30:54]
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OffshoreAir
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 12:59 pm

Awesome trip report! I always like reading about NRT airport, something about it fascinates me.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):

Entrance to the First Class section

Man, this place looks slick, in a class of its own.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Although you had a pretty nice view of the airport there is not much to see. This is terminal 2 so you find mainly OW carriers and here that means JL or AA.

You know, I think the clean and sharp lines of the JAL livery as well as how simple it is just oozes the Japanese culture - extremely modern, yet traditionally simplistic. One of my favorites in the skies.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
They also come up to staff with a very confused inquiry and are very apologetic for their questions... Strange.

I noticed that too - many of their social rituals are geared towards....how can I phrase this delicately......being withdrawn? I think it is fascinating.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
After they had unhooked the plane the marshals all lined up and saluted the pilot. They bowed about 3 times for 10 seconds each. Still did not manage a good picture.

When I departed NRT for ATL, all the tourists (including myself) laughed and giggled when they saw the ramp workers do that. I think it is very unique and cool.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
My hotel room

Damn. So Bali seems nice, lol.
OffshoreAir
 
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SOBHI51
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 2:05 pm

Very interesting report. TSA Japanese version from my experience are very polite and friendly, so i will think twice before trying to annoy them.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
My hotel room

What hotel you use in Bali?
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planereality
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 2:33 pm

Thanks for sharing this great report. Like the sarcasm about the more “modern” cabins. Looked like a great forward cabin. Disappointing about the confusion on the ground. Good luck on the rest of your trip!
P
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fca767
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 2:38 pm

Very nice pictures...I would love to go to Japan one day...  Smile...Also I say to other Reports too...I had to wait to the end to find out where DPS was  Smile
 
mspdl
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 3:06 pm

I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Please keep posting!
 
ba319-131
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 3:45 pm

Hi Henkybaby,

Another good read, many thanks.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
After at least 40 frustrating minutes I was handed my boarding pass and lounge invitation. JAL does not make a good impression as far as the booking and check-in procedure is concerned.

- Booking with JAL can be an issue, not sure if you have tried, but from Europe and most of the world, you cannot even book domestic flights via the JAL website!

The lounge and inflight sections looked pretty decent though, just a shame some of the up front areas still require attention.

Regards

Mark
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zouzy
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 4:43 pm

I'm lovin this report. I always enjoy services on JAL or ANA because of their enthusiasts and willingness to serve as you've said. That's their tradition, very great one. But for these two great carriers, English is still a flaw. Anyway, Japanese is quite lovely~~~ Cheers!
zouzy
 
directorguy
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 6:57 pm



Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Dinner was served pretty quickly after take off. I had already snacked quite a bit in the lounge so I told the FA I would skip desert. “You will do no such thing! It is far to yummy!” she said and would hear no more about it. Desert arrived and I thank her for it. It was indeed yummy.

HAHAHA! That actually made me LOL!

Great TR-haven't seen a JAL TR in a bit. You take splendid photos. Thank you very much.
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 8:38 pm

Hi H.!

That's a nice read. Good to hear your impressions on JL and the Japanese Big grin Yes, I fully understand your story, and can imagine your feelings. But, remember, JL delivers a service which can't be found elsewhere. If I was you I would drop a big complain to the service department about your booking and all the hassle. You'll probably be rewarded by some way.
And for your next booking, just send them a reminder about your bad experiences in the past; for sure that they will treat you nicely and arrange the best seats available for you  Wink (you can believe me!)

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 6):
Booking with JAL can be an issue, not sure if you have tried, but from Europe and most of the world, you cannot even book domestic flights via the JAL website!

It's possible now.... don't ask me who woke up the people in Japan, but I think that guy is from Holland  Silly System is similar to the one in use with NH for domestic bookings.

I love the old F class seats, especially the toilet. It's wonderful. You won't find it on the newer interiors. Still JL is a very good airline, and you wish is their command. They'll continue to offer all what they've available for you, but it's that Japanese culture and behavior which keeps this airline far behind compared to others. And that's a pity...  Sad

Regards,
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
TDubJFK
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 10:36 pm

Very interesting report and great pics.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Entrance to the First Class section

Actually that looks like the viewing booth corridor in the back of an adult book store

Quoting OffshoreAir (Reply 1):
You know, I think the clean and sharp lines of the JAL livery as well as how simple it is just oozes the Japanese culture - extremely modern, yet traditionally simplistic. One of my favorites in the skies..:

You get all excited like that over yet another all-white plane?
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B747forever
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu May 28, 2009 11:29 pm

Very good TR

Like the pics a lot

Pity about all the confusion before your flight.

The cabin seems so roomy!


Thank you for sharing

B747forever
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caleb1
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 12:45 am

What a fantastic TR. I really enjoyed your selection of photos as well as your commentary. Very well done indeed! Am looking forward to your next TR.
 
henkybaby
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 1:35 am

First of all, thanks guys for all the nice responses.

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 2):
What hotel you use in Bali?

Quoting OffshoreAir (Reply 1):
Damn. So Bali seems nice, lol.

This is a picture of the Novotel Nusa Dua where I am actually leaving today after just one night. The room with the pool is the upgrade I received because the swimming pool is dirty and they tried to keep me here. It is not working since I do not even like the hotel much.

My favorite hotels in Bali (I come here at least once a year) are:
Bali Hyatt (Sanur)
Novotel (Benoa)
Sofitel (Seminyak)
Puri Santrian (Sanur)
Oberoi (Seminyak)

These have the best price/comfort ratio. You have far better hotels but they become overly expensive and are solely aimed at the (mostly American) unexperienced spoiled traveler who does not mind spending $300 or more a day.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 9):
You'll probably be rewarded by some way.

I will certainly take your advise. The check-in process was very frustrating and I will be flying them again.

Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 10):
Actually that looks like the viewing booth corridor in the back of an adult book store

I don't even know how to respond to that, but I will take your word for it.... 

[Edited 2009-05-28 18:36:26]
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vietsky
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 3:41 am

Hi Henkybaby,

Very entertaining report, very funny actually and nice pics.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Since 'Hai!' means 'yes' I assumed we were at least making progress. Unfortunately it took another 5 minutes for a supervisor to arrive and clear up the mess.

This thing happened to me all the times. Lots of "hai" and no solution  Smile

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Then they started waving to the passengers and kept waving until the plane was out of sight. Amazing tradition. Liking i

My fly from SGN- NRT, they also do that at TSN int airport (only Japanese staff wearing suit did that, VN staff just standing there and do nothing, may be sleepy at midnight.... Smile )

Finally, you look like a Lead singer of a Denmark band called Micheal Learns To Rock. It's a compliment.

Cheers,
Vietsky
 
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vivekman2006
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 5:03 am

Very nice Trip report! Excellent pictures....The First Cabin looks roomy indeed.

Which hotel did you stay in at Bali?

- Vivek
 
Tradewinds
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 6:45 am

Great report, and thanks for sharing. I have to say I'm surprised about the annoying check-in procedure -- I just booked tickets with JAL and they were flawless. I guess everyone has their hiccups, though.

The overbearing security check might have something to do with the swine flu. Japan went absolutely bonkers when the scare hit over here, so it might be a possibility.

Also, the NW bird might be used on the KIX-NRT route; since NW killed KIX-DTW all the US-bound KIX traffic goes through NRT now, I think.
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1stClassDiva
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 11:49 am

I so enjoyed your trip report and pictures. Sounds and looks like you had a wonderful time.
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airbuseric
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 5:16 pm

Henkybaby,
I just checked once more for you since I' ve read some dissappointments. About following comment:

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
The limited food section

A large selection of food is available on the menu in JAL's First Class lounge at NRT. You can order with the staff, and it will be freshly prepared for you. I couldn't find the English menu online, but it might have been available in the lounge.

The menu includes Minestrone Soup, Japanese style Soup, Beef Curry, Fried Pork Sandwich, Shrimp & Vegetables with Chili Sauce and salad, Fried Chicken, Mushrooms and picklets, Udon Noodle, Fresh fruits.
The menu changes every month by the way...

Still I fully understand your feeling with Japanese culture. It's a bit strange indeed, for us Europeans.

You can check the following:

http://www.jal.co.jp/en/narita-t2/info/lounge/

Regards,
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 5:40 pm

Then they started waving to the passengers and kept waving until the plane was out of sight. Amazing tradition. Liking it.

Wonderful Customer service, they are handing their charges on to the next person in the chain that is JAL. Pity this could not spread further into the global airline network.
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akhmad
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri May 29, 2009 5:49 pm

Hi Henkybaby,

Great TR with JALways! I did not know that you were experienced Bali traveler. How wonderful!Did you visit Ubud as well?

Cheers,
Suryo
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Aaron747
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Sun May 31, 2009 1:15 pm



Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
I was armed to the teeth with JL confirmation codes, PNRs, paper tickets, seat assignments and still she looked at me as if she saw water burning. I tried to explain the principle of paper tickets, one world explorers and the joy of having a seat assigned to me already. “Please check the passenger in 1K for JL729. That is me!”

No luck. She had to call a supervisor.

JAL counter service has taken a tremendous dive since they outsourced their front-line operations to save costs over the last few years. Most of the agents you will encounter are temporary contract workers, meaning their training, benefits and experience are all significantly less than your average JAL employee, including the supervisors. This is the most likely explanation for all the confusion you experienced. I've had friends come to visit on pass travel and they've experienced similar difficulty. Something like only 1 in 3 of the people at the counter are actually permanent JAL employees.

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Since 'Hai!' means 'yes' I assumed we were at least making progress. Unfortunately it took another 5 minutes for a supervisor to arrive and clear up the mess.

"Hai" doesn't actually always mean yes. In some contexts it means "no", in others it means, "I'm still listening", "I'm following you", "I understand" or "I see". Never take "hai" at face value  Wink

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
Has anybody ever noticed that Japanese people seem to be very 'nervous' or 'insecure' travelers? They always look very lost and even a bit scared at airports.

You should see a major train station on a holiday weekend :crazy:

Quoting Henkybaby (Thread starter):
They also come up to staff with a very confused inquiry and are very apologetic for their questions... Strange.

All Japanese are socialized from an early age to avoid causing another person, especially strangers, even the slightest inconvenience. The language is full of small apologies and self-deprecating remarks to be used in most interactions with strangers.
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AirlineBrat
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:34 am

Great trip report as usual. I always enjoy reading you humorous observations. Japan is definitely at the top of my list for my next overseas trip. Even if everything is lost in translation.
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abrelosojos
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:00 am

Thanks for a wonderful trip report. I have always founded JAL to be an excellent airline and one that does not get the credit it deserves. I am surprised at the issues with check-in and with security ... both are very UNLIKE anything I have encountered in Japan. If I have ever had issues, there has been like more apologies than I can remember and usually a page to the next handling station to take extra care of me. Additionally, NRT security is usually very nice. Too bad you had a different experience. Thanks again for an excellent TR.

Saludos,
A.
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PVGAMS
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:32 pm

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 13):

any recommendations for a hotel in seminyak area? tried the (ex) ritz carlton in jimbaran last year, but want to try something different this time. looking for a 1 bedroom villa, preferably with plunge pool and veranda.

research so far has led me to:
1. the oberoi
2. elysian
3. le jardin

these all seem very nice but i'm afraid they fall into your "overly expensive and are solely aimed at the (mostly American) unexperienced spoiled traveler who does not mind spending $300 or more a day" category.

since you seem to know bali quite well, do you have any recommendations?

[Edited 2009-06-08 05:41:11]
 
henkybaby
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:54 pm



Quoting PVGAMS (Reply 24):

It depends on what kind of traveler you are. Bali has several offerings that may appeal to you:

1. The ridiculously expensive (The Legian)
2. The high range but reasonably priced hotels (Bali Hyatt, Sofitel)
3. Private villa's

I have always decided against 1. since I do not believe they offer value for money compared to 2. I have no experience with 3. You can look on http://www.balivillas.com/ for those. I believe this company is ok.

A final option is renting a Pool Villa at a hotel. Sofitel offers them and so does Novotel Benoa (do not go to Novotel Nusa Dua).

Last but not least there is location.

Nusa Dua offers the best beaches but is mainly a resort area with no real Balinese culture. It is Bali-Disney aimed at Americans. Not my cup of tea at all. Most large hotels are a good choice there, but I would chose Novotel Benoa for its more intimate feel (and less Americans - a remark for which I apologize to the nice Americans on this forum).

Sanur is quiet but nice. Enough restaurants and a lovely atmosphere. Not suitable if you want a nightlife. I prefer the Bali Hyatt ($140) or the Puri Santrian ($110 - http://www.santrian.com). Both offer a beach hotel setting, not a private villa experience. The beach is nothing to write home about and a bit dirty. It is not the Carribean.

Ubud is the victim of its own reputation. It is no longer authentic but you can find some astonishing hotels outside the town, set in rice paddies and in the middel of nature. A must see. Remember that off season it can rain, rain, rain and rain here while the coast is still sunny. Too many good hotels here. Search TripAdvisor. I heard good stories about the ridiculously expensive Four Seasons and the more reasonably priced Maya Ubud ($250).

My favourite location is Seminyak, since it is the perfect combination of a wide beach (not a quiet white one mind you!), culture, culinary highlights (Ku-De-Ta or Gado Gado to name a few) and nightlife. The Sofitel is my home (slightly younger and hipper crowd) but the Oberoi is nice too (more elderly Americans). They have just finished a new hotel next to the Sofitel that looks nice too but I did not find out its name. The Sofitel has villas by the way.

You can find a lot of very expensive hotels in Seminyak but I don't know if they are worth it.

Avoid Kuta and Legian at all cost.

Lovina is worth the trip but only if you want to see the island. Some very nice hotels there but no beach to speak of. Puri Mangga is allegedly nice at a very reasonable price ($80).

Hope this helps! If you are a little more clear on your expectations I can give a more detailed advise.

PS: Please do not think I hate Americans. I have lived there and loved it. I am using the term in this reply to illustrate the typical American who goes abroad to spend 5 nights in a 5 star overpriced resort which he never leaves and eats western food with ketchup. You know the type! Big grin
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PVGAMS
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:13 am

RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:24 am



Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 25):
A final option is renting a Pool Villa at a hotel.

This is the option i'm going for. Can be either a hotel with only villas (le jardin, elysee, etc) or something like the sofitel (although their website does not allow me to choose their villas).

Quoting Henkybaby (Reply 25):
My favourite location is Seminyak...

Seminyak is where i'm looking to stay this time. Jimbaran was nice last time but too secluded and had some bad experiences with sleepy taxi rides back from Kuta. This reason, and the fact that it's too Disney like, is why i'm also avoiding Nusa Dua.
I've spoken to Le Jardin (located next to sofitel), and they've given me a pretty good rate for my long stay. I'm still considering the Sofitel, but can't seem to find any attractive rates at this time.
 
henkybaby
Posts: 469
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RE: Surprising JALways - NRT-DPS In J (or F)

Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:01 am

Me, I like to be on the beach. Maybe you should just call Sofitel Their website seems to be on the blink.

The most beautiful villa I have ever seen on the beach in Seminyak (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) is also for rent. Slightly more expensive but it is stunning!

http://www.seminyakbeachhouse.com/
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