Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:35 pm

JAL’s Return to Seattle March 31, 2019
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This is Part 2 of my double inaugural weekend in Japan. Both Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines (JAL) have announced their inaugural flights to Seattle and both inaugurals happened on the same day – March 31, 2019. While I am interested in both inaugurals, I decide to go with JAL because Cathay Pacific has a pretty bad record with ceremonies and gifts on inaugural flights especially ex-Hong Kong. In the end, I actually sort of regret not doing the Cathay Pacific because of a personal reason. One of my favorite Hong Kong pop bands, “Dear Jane,” is actually the their special #CathayJetsetters and I would be sitting in the same cabin with these four gentlemen. Cathay Pacific did actually have some nice inaugural gifts this time. But in the end, JAL brought out their super star -Hiroshi Abe, (阿部寛) who has been featuring in all the commercials for the new Seattle flights. After almost 27 years, Japan Airlines once again flew to Seattle daily from Tokyo Narita. While there was plenty of celebration for the resumption, I actually was a bit disappointed with the cabin service, and even the return Seattle to Tokyo Narita was not up to par. It was not bad, but other than Ban, the purser of business class, the rest of the crews looked stressed. The other white coat purser was even borderline rude. I sincerely hope it was just an “one off” experience. The new APEX suites configured 787 was comfortable and introducing the BEDD menu on the Seattle flight was a positive step. Given the connections that Alaska Airlines can provide, these JAL Seattle’s flights hopefully will work this time. I have included the report on the return segment so you will have an idea on the operations in Seattle. JAL does not depart from the South terminal, but rather the end of the A concourse. They also use the Club at SEA lounge instead of BA lounge, which some of us predict here. I have also included photos of the new reopened JAL first class lounge in the 4th floor of the main concourse at Terminal Two, and the photo album for the new JAL lounge will also be provided below. I hope you will enjoy the photos and reports.

Photo album of JL 68/67:
http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Carfi ... eInaugural

New JAL First Class Lounge (4th floor of main course)
http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Carfi ... Lounge2019

March 31, 2019
JL 68 NRT-SEA Lv1805 Arr1105 Boeing 787-8 JA838J

Check-in:
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Check in was straightforward at the JAL First Class area, and as an Oneworld Emerald member, I was able to take advantage of the empty and efficient check in counters. I then proceeded to the priority security lane and immigration was rather quiet on this Sunday afternoon (but it was a completely different story at Okinawa, where I departed from earlier this morning.)
Just a beautiful Spring afternoon here in Narita
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My first stop was gate 62, as JA838J has spent for the past few hours. It did not fly off to another destination this morning. The plane was delivered to JAL on November, 2014, and is barely five years old. It looks sharp on this early Spring afternoon here in Tokyo.

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Gate 62 was getting ready for the inaugural ceremony in an hour or so.
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Since it was still early, I headed to the JAL First Class Lounge, unknowingly that this was my last visit to the 3rd floor lounge before they also got a major renovation too. I went to the sake and sushi bar of course.

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A last look at the buffet… the new lounge will no longer feature a large buffet but rather a kitchen to table a la carte menu concept!
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The first-class lounge receptionist reminded me that there was a ceremony taking place at Gate 62 at 5pm. So I headed over there around 4:30pm.
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Here are the contents of the inaugural gift bag.
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Certificate
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Sticker
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Notebook
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Two very young-looking pilots were walking around the gate area with this photo frame and asking passengers to take photo and put them in IG… they were also passing out stickers too.
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Ceremony started right on time at 5pm.
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There were some English announcements but most of the speeches were made in Japanese only.
However, the attention was all shifted to the surprise of the day – actor Hiroshi Abe…
He is very tall and looked really good given he is 54 years old.

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There was a short Q&A session with Abe but it was conducted in Japanese only. It sounded like a typical “saying hi” and “congrat to JAL” type conversation.

Ribbon cutting ceremony:
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Setting up for boarding at gate 62:
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Boarding was slightly delayed because they got a last-minute handicapped passenger. I think this man possibly got into some kinds of accident at Tokyo so the ground staffs were caught off guard with his status. He was also in business class so it delayed the process a bit too. During the flight, the F/As including the off-duty pilot had to help lifting this guy up from the seat, when he went to use the facilities. Maybe that added to the stress of the crews this evening.

At 5:52pm, boarding finally began and Abe was here to say goodbye to passengers. Many Japanese passengers went to shake hands with him.
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Another angle of JA838J
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Ban, the head purser, was there greeting passengers. She was the best (perhaps the only good) F/A during this flight.
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Galley decoration
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Amenities were already waiting at the seats – a pair of headsets, amenity kit, menu, & slippers and there are two additional gifts for business class passengers – a plane model and pluff toy
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Pre-takeoff champagne
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Door was closed early at 6:14pm and the flight was full this evening in both cabins.
I did not take many cabin interior photos especially I got a seat at row 3. Fortunately, the return flight featured a half full business class cabin and I got an empty seat next to me. I will feature more cabin and seat photos in the return segments. You can find those cabin and seat photo towards the end of my album.

We pushed back from the gate at 6:19pm, and of course, we got the traditional goodbye from the ground crew.
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Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:36 pm

We took off from R/W16R at 6:46pm for the eight hours and ten minutes flight to Seattle. It was a pretty straightforward over the water flight. We pretty much climbed up to 39,000 feet during the night, and did not see land till passing Sekiu, Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Ludlow, Braintree and Vashon Islands, and then Tacoma before turning back towards Sea-tac airport R/W34.

Cabin service began shortly after seat belt sign was turned off at 7:04pm.
As I said earlier, unlike its sister route to Vancouver, Seattle flights feature the full long haul BEDD menu with canapés, and then an a-la-carte on-demand menu for the rest of the flight. Main course from the Western menu was plated individually in the galley, instead of served in a casserole dish.

Here is the wine list for March 2019:
Champagne & Wine
Champagne
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra Brut N.V.
Or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve N.V.

White Wine
Kleine Zaize Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017
Or Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay

IGP Collines Rhadaniennes “La COmbe Pilate” 2016
Or Cline Viognier North Coast USA Or Stepp Pinot Blanc Germany

Rapaura Springs Classic 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Or Dr. L. Riesling Qualitätswein Feinbherb Germany

Red Wine
Chateau Loudenne, Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
Or Felino Malbec Mendoza Argentina

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Pinot Reserve 2017 Pinot Noir
Or Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Qaulitätswen Trocken Germany
3/1 AMR

Sake
HAKURAKUSEI Junmai Daiginyo Miyagi
RAIFUKU Junmai Daiginjo AIAYAMA Ibraki

Hot towel in a lacquered tray was passed out at 7:13pm.
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Followed by linen placed on the tray table
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Japanese Menu
This menu is created by Chef Jun Kurogi of “KUROGI” Shibadaimon Tokyo.

Sakizuke
Sesame Tofu Wasabi
Created by Chef Jun Kurogi

Moral Mushroom Flan
Broad Beans
Created by Chef Shinobu Namae

Spring Haze – Selection of seasonal colorful delicacies
Jellyfish dressed with Sesame Vinegar Sauce
Simmered Prawn
Kelp Roll with Herring
Dried Mullet Roe
Japanese Omelette
Simmered Bamboo Shoots with Dried Bonito Flakes
Mustard Flavored “Nanohana” Vegetable
Tuna “Sashimi”
Sweet Vinegared Yam
Tender-simmered Abalone
Simmered Asparagus

Dainomono
Grilled Ginger Beef
Simmered Mackerel with Miso Sauce
454 kcal

Steamed Rice
We are pleased to offer freshly steamed “Yukigura Imazurimai” Koshihikari rice

Miso Soup
Japanese Pickles

Kanmi
*Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights

Green Tea

Western Menu
The menu is created by Chef Shinobu Namae of “L’ Effervescence” Nishiazabu Tokyo

Amuse Bouche
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Sesame Tofu Wasabi
Created by Chef Jun Kurogi
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Moral Mushroom Flan
Broad Beans
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Hors d’oeuvre
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Horse Mackerel Escabeche
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Asparagus Honey Mustard Sauce
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Conger Eel & Ratatouille
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Sakura Shrimp Potato Salad
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Braised Duck Breast & Burdock
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[Sea Salt, Butter, and Pepper]
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Main Dish Choice
Wagyu Beef Sirloin Steak
Port Sauce, Japanese Pepper Butter
433 kcal
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Port Sauce on the side
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Medium
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Or
Seasonal Seafood
Basil Anchoïade Sauce
213 kcal
Or
*Poêlée of Atlantic salmon in Clam Chowder
213 kcal
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights

Light vegetarian menu is also available from ANYTIME YOU WISH.
“Soy Meat Fajita Sour Cream”

Special Bread from Maison Kayser
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Petite Nature
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Matcha Green Tea Ekmek
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Dessert
*Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights
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Coffee Tea

Special Seattle menu
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Special menus to celebrate the launch of the Tokyo-Seattle Route

Thank you for flying with us today.
To celebrate the launch of the Tokyo-Seattle route, we are offering special menus for dinner today only.
We hope you enjoy them.

Main Dish (Western Menu)
Poêlée of Atlantic salmon in Clam Chowder

Kanmi (Japanese Menu)/Dessert (Western Menu)
Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
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I got a cheese plate after dessert because I was still a big hungry.
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Bottled water was passed out after dinner – JAL uses a rather large sized bottle too!
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As I said earlier, the crews looked a bit stressed. The Singaporean F/A, Cynthia, did a greeting to me after takeoff, as she noticed my Chinese last name. Unfortunately, she did not work my side of the cabin. Of course, the F/As were not rude or anything. They did their job efficiently but at times, I felt that they were a bit robotic. They usually were more enthusiastic on these inaugural flights, but other than Ban, the head F/A, no one seemed to be particular impressed with the new destination. I usually like to ask the cockpit crews and cabins crews to sign my first flight certificate and most F/As would have no issues. I did it on my previous ANA inaugural flight to San Jose, CA, as well as JAL inaugural flight to Kona. However, I approached the wrong purser. I should have asked Ban. This purser immediately rejected my request about the cockpit crews because she said that she could not get into the cockpit, and I was a bit taken aback. I guess she caught my shock and tried to change subjects. However, she reluctantly agreed to ask the rest of the cabin crews to sign my first flight certificate. I really did not expect that kind of reaction on a Japanese airline. Next time, I will just go with the crews that I know and stop presuming the white coat F/A is more well-trained and refined.

I slept for a few hours before waking up to the sunrise.
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I headed to the self-service counter and took a few pictures there.
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Assorted Snacks
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Galley at door 2
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Door
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Ban saw me at the door and asked me to sign the pilot’s log book.
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Bathroom – that infant changing table is basically unrealistic, unless your babies are really small.
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Japanese bidet
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Amenities – toothbrush sets, mouthwash, and lotions
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I also want to discuss the bathroom situation on these newly reconfigured 787-8s. Unlike the 787-9s that had three bathrooms including two next to Door 2R and 2L, there are only two bathrooms in the business class section – one located in the front next to the cockpit and one in the mid-cabin behind Door 2R. There was long queues during the busy post-departure and pre-arrival times, and the F/As did not have time to check out the bathroom’s situation. Given to the full flight this morning, the bathrooms were constantly occupied. You really had to queue up to secure the space. It was hard to ask them to add a bathroom now but JAL should be aware of it.

For some reasons, the F/As turned on the lights really early at 00:36am Tokyo time/8:36am Seattle time. There got to be a better way to do it for these short overnight flights. As most of us know, the Japanese are extremely punctual and the a la carte cutoff time was 90 minutes prior to arrival. The F/As really wanted to make sure everyone got to order “breakfast” before the cutoff time. I will rather they serve breakfast at 90 minutes prior to arrival on the Vancouver flights. Maybe they need to think about “breakfast cards” concept so they don’t need to turn on all the cabin lights this early.

The sun was already rising by this time.
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I then ordered my breakfast, which consisted of the special savory pancake set for the Seattle flight and the special Michelin Star’s “Tsuta” ramen. The pancake was a mistake because it was too filling. The pancake was more like a bread bowl than a normal pancake. It is good that only Seattle flights feature these odd pancake dish. The ramen was fine and it was better to have it in the ground at their stores. I also prefer the other ramen JAL serves.

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Here is the full a la carte menu:
Anytime You Wish
We are pleased to serve following menus at any time after the first meal service. Please ask our cabin attendant by 1 hour and 30 minutes before landing.

Light Meal
Soy Meat Fajita
Sour Cream
Recommendation for light vegetarian

JAL The Curry
JAL original chicken curry supervised by “Hashimoto” in Kumamoto, listed as a 1-star restaurant in the “Michelin Guide Kumamoto and Oita 2018 special edition.”

Beef Plate

Noodles
JAL Original “Japanese Soba Noodles TSUTA” Ramen Noodles in Soy Sauce Soup
Please enjoy rich aroma of truffle oil
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Japanese Hot “Udon” Noodles
Edible Wild Plants

Sandwich
Salmon Bagel Sandwich
“Sangenton” Pork Cutlet Sandwich

Cheese Selection
Assorted Cheese
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Refreshment
Fresh Fruits
Yogurt Fruit Sauce
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream – Vanilla, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry

The following menus are created by renowned fine cuisine producer and chef – her home ground is Paris – Fumiko Kono.

“Fumiko’s Japanese Set Plate”
Dainomono
Cubed Tuna “Sashimi” & Avocado Japanese Pepper Leaves
Green Leafy Vegetable & Quinoa dressed with Sesame

Soup
Japanese Clear Soup
“Hana-fu,” Shaved Kelp

Steamed Rice
Japanese Pickles & Soy-simmered Kelp

“Fumiko’s Western Set Plate”
Main Dish
Roast Lamb with Herb Breadcrumbs & Japanese Pepper Paste
Seasonal Vegetables

Fromage Blanc Mousse & Citrus Fruits

Special Bread from MAISON KAYSER
Petite Nature
Smoked Pain de Campagne
You can enjoy your breads with olive oil
We are pleased to offer you jam. Please ask your cabin attendant.

Western Set Plate
The following set plate is also available.

Original Pancake
Raw Ham, Cheddar Cheese
(Limited menu only for the Tokyo-Seattle Route)
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Fresh Fruits
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Hot green tea to end the meal
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After breakfast, the F/A passed out another inaugural gift, which was a shoe horn keychain, and I was not sure if economy class passengers received the same additional gift. It might be just a small extra something for the premium cabin.

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We finally saw land and entered the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
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Seattle
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Sea-tac
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Tacoma
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A Delta Embraer was landing in parallel to us too
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We landed on R/W34R at 10:56am local time. It was a beautiful day here in Seattle. Unfortunately, there was no water salute for our arrival.

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Taxing to Gate S16
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We were greeted by local staff and we got a small luggage tag gift from Port of Seattle.
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New Check-in area
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JA838J being towed to its departing gate at A concourse
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Ban was once again there to say goodbye to passengers and I will argue that Ban is perhaps the only F/A, who provides the perfect service, and is enthusiastic about JAL’s return to Seattle. Despite seeing those two planes – KE 77W and DL 359 parked, the immigration and custom hall was completely empty. Most of the KE passengers were already processed by then. With global entry, I was in the baggage claim area at no time, and bags came out at 11:18am – sixteen minutes after we parked at gate S16. I was able to get into the train back to the main terminal by 11:30am.
 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:38 pm

April 4, 2019
JL 67 SEA-NRT Lv1415 Arr1625+1 Boeing 787-8 JA836J

Check-in:
To no surprise, JAL check-ins are located towards the end of the terminal along with all other international airlines. There were separate premium and economy class lanes but things were not particularly busy this afternoon.
Swissport was the ground agent here at Seattle for JAL. Most of the agents were still learning and even as the check in area looked fairly empty this afternoon, it took them a while to process each passenger. The agent was very apologetic but since they have many connecting passengers heading to various SE Asian countries, they needed to check on all their visa requirements. I was connecting to Hanoi this afternoon and the agent had to check with her supervisor too. She was friendly but they were all still learning. She then printed out my boarding pass and gave me a map to the Club at SEA in Concourse A.

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Information sheet
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Thankfully, JAL has now enrolled in the “TSA-PRE” program and I went through security within ten minutes. I grabbed a quick bite because I am not sure about the food offering at the Club at SEA and does not want all the way to Concourse B for the Centurion Lounge, which possibly has a waitlist at these busy afternoon hours.

One good thing about the Club at SEA is that the gate is right across from the club. The lounge is also used by Aer Lingus, EVA Air, Hainan Airlines, Norwegian and Xiamen Airlines, too. I presume those airlines used the gate here at the end of Concourse A now.

You have to walk up the stairs to reach the lounge in the upper level.
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The lounge itself was fairly good-sized and could handle one single international flight at one time. If they opened up the new international facilities, they might need more spaces for expansion if more international airlines will fly into Seattle. The agent made a point telling me that there was a special room in the back for JAL passengers. She definitely wasn’t lying about having a ROOM in the back, but let takes a look at the main lounge. I have to say the food was fairly decent for a domestic lounge and I even like it better than Centurion Lounge’s pretentious food. There was a full salad bar with sandwiches, as well as Chicken Noodle Soup.

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The Bar
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Menu
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Sandwich Menu
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Main Buffet
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Soup and bread
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JAL Room
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Guess what are the special foods for JAL passengers
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LOL Instant Noodle Cups – but to give them credits, they used Japanese brands, not the fake American ones.
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Basically, the JAL Room was a joke, and my feeling were “why bother?” The room made the whole lounge smaller than it should be. I would rather them taking down the wall and made the space more open. The special cup noodles are nice gestures but I notice other passengers coming into the room and eating those noodles too. There was no way for the staffs to monitor instant noodle consumption. Why don’t they just have them out during the times that the JAL flights operate? Separate the lounge into small cubicles does not make sense.

Gate A13 – Japan Airlines’ temporary home at SEA
I did not like the gate because you could not get a view of the aircraft due to all the construction around. They are building a new immigration/custom hall here at Concourse A, as well as a pedestrian bridge to the South Satellite.

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Boarding began at 1:46pm, and unlike in Tokyo, there was not a clear Emerald/Diamond boarding lane. However, given to our light load, it was okay. Maybe once the construction was completed, they could set up a proper Emerald priority lane.

This time I got some cabin pictures, as I boarded among the first group.

Business Class cabin
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Economy Cabin after the aft business class cabin
And yes, JAL has maintained its comfortable 2-2 seating.
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Contents at the seat – amenity kit, slippers, headsets, and blanket
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Bottled water – Crystal Geyser
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Immigration & custom form with passenger survey pamphlet
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The seat
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Seat Control Panel
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Power outlet & USB port
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I had pre-takeoff orange juice this time and yes, they were served in plastic. JAL emphasizes on safety duties for F/As prior to takeoff, so the limited pre-takeoff beverage was only offered for long haul flights.
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Door was closed early at 2:06pm, and I got an empty seat next to me. It allowed me more spaces to spread out my stuff and I could watch my laptop during the flight. We pushed back at 2:14pm.

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We took off from R/W16C at 2:35pm and flying time was nine hours and thirteen minutes.
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Tacoma and Goodbye Sea-tac Image

Goodbye Seattle
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Our flying time this afternoon was nine hours and thirteen minutes. Our flight route took us over Bremerton, Hite Center, Joyce, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and then Tofino, before reaching our initial cruising altitude of 38,000 feet. Then, we climbed to 39,000 feet before entering the Alaska airspace. We passed Little Koniuji and Shumagin Islands, and then Cold Bay airport. Then we slowly climbed to 41,000feet, as we crossed the Northern Pacific Ocean. Then we entered the Japanese Inland by passing Kamisu and Tsuchiura, before landing in Narita.

With a light load in business class, the service began shortly at 2:48pm with the hot towel service.
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Then our beverage and lunch orders were taken, and for the return flight, I decided to try the Japanese menu.

For the amuse bouche, I chose to have a glass of French Chardonnay to accompany the two small dishes.
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Here is the wine list for April 2019, which is slightly different from the March one.
Champagne & Wine
Champagne
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra Brut N.V.
Or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve N.V.

White Wine
Albert Bichot Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay 2017
Or Kleine Zaize Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017

Stepp Pinot Blanc 2018 Germany
Or IGP Collines Rhadaniennes “La Combe Pilate” 2016

Ken Forrester Petit Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Or Rapaura Springs Classic 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

Red Wine
Felino Malbec Mendoza 2017 Argentina
Or Chateau Loudenne, Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Pinot Reserve 2017 Pinot Noir
Or Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Qaulitätswen Trocken Germany
4/1 AMR

Sake
TOYO BIJIN Junmai Daiginjo Yamaguchi
AKABU Junmai Daiginjo Iwate

Lunch then began at 3:18pm Seattle local time and here is the menu and photos of the meal.
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Japanese Menu

Sakizuke
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Tomato Mousse, Bocconcini, Genovese Sauce
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Marinated Zucchini, Smoked Sardine, Anchovy Cream [Shrimps were also used on this amuse bouche.]
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Irodori Gozen ~ Selection of seasonal colorful delicacies ~
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Simmered Chinese Cabbage Roll Stuffed with Minced Chicken
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Yam Jelly
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Simmered “Nanohana” Vegetable & Abalone
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Simmered Bamboo Shoots & Conger Eel Japaense Pepper Flavor
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Grilled Duck Breast with Miso Sauce
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Japanese Omelette
Tender Simmered Octopus
Simmered Shrimp
Mashed Pumpkin Ball
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Dainomono
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Braised Beef & Tofu with Sweet Soy Sauce
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Sake Steamed Sea-bass with Minced Shrimp Sauce
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Steamed Rice
We are pleased to offer freshly steamed Koshihikari rice
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Miso Soup
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Japanese Pickles
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Kanmi
Mascarpone Yogurt Mousse
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Green Tea
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Western Menu
Cuisine By Naoki Uchiyama

Amuse Bouche
Tomato Mousse, Bocconcini, Genovese Sauce
Marinated Zucchini, Smoked Sardine, Anchovy Cream

Hors d’oeuvre
Assortment of Appetizer Plate
Prosciutto & Artichoke
Tamarind Duck & Edamame Hummus
Tuna Agrodolce
White Asparagus Tartelette

Main Dish Choice
US Prime Beef Tenderloin
Madeira Sauce, Whole Grain Mustard Artichoke Salsa
Or
Sautéed Sea-bass
Yukon Potato Gnocchi
White Asparagus Carbonara Sauce

Light vegetarian menu is also available from ANYTIME YOU WISH.
Vegetarian Ricotta Cheese Lasagna Eryngii Mushroom

Assorted Gourmet Breads

Dessert
Mascarpone Yogurt Mousse

The lunch service was completed in an hour and the duty-free service was launched. JAL really pushed its duty free service much and offered two cart service in almost all flights - one after the main meal service and one after the second meal/snack/beverage service.

In terms of entertainment, MAGIC VI was featured on these new reconfigured 787 planes. The contents were average with the usual array of Hollywood, Asian and Japanese movies, but the television programs are much more limited. I did not even bother using the entertainment program on all four segments of this trip, and just watched the moving map. WIFI is also available and I paid $18.80 for a 24 hours access pass. I found it to be a great bargain. The coverage was mostly good, except after crossing the International Date Line and two hours prior to entering the Japanese Air Space. I was even able to download a few MSNBC podcasts along the way, so I can keep track of the unbelieve news cycles these days. Flightradar24 also worked well throughout the flight too.
 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:41 pm

As promised, here are some photos of the seats in various positions.

Here is the seat in the “lounging” position:
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Seat in full flat position
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JAL offers an “Airweave” mattress for its business class passengers. However, they are also self-service. They were placed in various overhead bins, and the F/As would not remind you about it. Even if they walked past you and saw you getting ready to go to sleep, they would not say a word. Thankfully I read about it and there were three sets located right in the overhead bin above me. So I just helped myself to it.
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I made my own bed and took these pictures.
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And yes, there is a divider between all the pair seats
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I believe JA836J always has the APEX suites, as I noticed plenty of signs of “aging”
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Then I went to take a nap and had a good two to three hours sleep.
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Self-service counter – assorted snacks and Jean-Paul Hevin’s chocolate thins – they are delicious
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There was no origami or any decoration at the self-service counter, and that was a sign on how service went on this flight. The crews were definitely doing the minimal, despite the small load. They answered every call button and did everything by the book. However, there was just not that extra “oomph” or warmth that JAL is known for. The service was not bad but just lacked the extra factor that made JAL better than other Asian airlines or even better than ANA. I will rate this set of crews the worst out of my four JAL flights I did on this itinerary (HAN-NRT-SEA and back) but just a word of caution, even JAL’s worst is better than American Airlines’ good days.

Takefumi – Japanese Bamboo Foot Messager was available
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The crews switched on the light at 9:49pm Seattle time/1:49pm Tokyo time, and they began taking order for any pre-arrival meal services. This time I decided to try Mapo Eggplant Rice and Vegetarian Tonkotsu Ramen, along with some fresh fruit to end the meal. These light meals are really quite small these days and you really need to order at least two dishes to feel full.

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Here is the a la carte menu:

JAL’s Recommendation
Mapo Eggplant Rice Bowl
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Light Meal
Vegetarian Ricotta Cheese Lasagna
Eryngii Mushroom
Recommendation for light vegetarian

Vegetable Curry with Hokkaido Potatoes & Onions

Noodles
JAL Original Healthy Ramen Noodles from Kyusyu “Kyushu Jangara”
~Healthy ramen noodles of vegetable origin in pursuit of good taste (UMAMI*) without using meat, topped with Yuba Roll~
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Japanese Hot “Udon” Noodles
Seaweed

Sandwich
Pork Cutlet Sandwich

Cheese Selection
Assorted Cheese

Refreshment
Fresh Fruits
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Ice Cream

Japanese Set Plate
Dainomono
Grilled Salmon Salted Rice Malt Flavor

Kobachi
Sautéed Burdock & Carrot Julienne

Steamed Rice
Miso Soup

Western Set Plate
Main Dish
Beef Steak Bibimbap Style

Greek Yogurt
Mango Sauce

Wing shot out from Door 2L
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For the rest of the flight, I just listened to my podcast and read my Andrew McCabe’s book.
Descent soon began at 3:03pm and we stayed at 16,000fet a bit. Then we had our final descent at 3:26pm.

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Ibaraki Airport
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We landed on R/W16R at 3:48pm and then parked at gate 64 eleven minutes later.
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JA836J actually would fly back to Seattle that evening.
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Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:46 pm

As promised earlier, I visited the new JAL First Class Lounge at Narita during my layover, before my flight to Hanoi. Basically, JAL reopened the fourth floor first class lounge, and now the third-floor lounge was mostly closed, as I presumed that they would get a similar face lift. For now, partner airlines’ emerald members would turn away until the full lounge was done in September. The new lounge was beautiful and its theme retains its Japanese ambience but with a modern touch. There are many power outlets and USB Ports throughout all the seating area. They were sometimes hidden, but they were there. The buffet was changed into a more kitchen to table concept, instead of just a buffet. However, they are still mostly self-service, unlike other Asian and Middle East airlines, which offer a table waiting service. The Sushi bar was of course retained and now there was a ramen bar, along with a range of Western dishes preparedly freshly by staff that you can order a la carte. There is still a buffet for breads, pastries and sweets, along with assorted soups and the JAL famous curry. There are plenty of beverage stations across the lounge, which was quite large. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Floor Map
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Sushi Bar
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Kitchen table
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Buffet
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Another section
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Message Chair
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Shoe-shining service too
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I love these range of postcards of previous JAL inaugural flights!
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In conclusion, I hope you enjoy the trip report. I wish JAL success on the new Seattle flight snd hopefully they can address the F/A service a bit. Maybe it is time to add back one more F/A to assist with the a la carte service, or at least make them less stressful.

Carfield
 
Kent350787
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 12:06 am

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:40 am

Thanks for your detailed report. I've enjoyed JAL several times now to the US east coast from SYD in PE, and have been pleased with little touches on each trip - it's a pity they were missing on this route.

Hoping to fly J later this year SYD-NRT-BOS and may actually do a TR :)
 
User avatar
ACCS300
Posts: 460
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:46 pm

Absolutely incredible report! Thanks!! Great seeing a 2-4-2 Y section, the way the 787 was intended to be, looks so nice! Selection and quality of food looks remarkable!
 
DDR
Posts: 1591
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:20 pm

Thank you for this great trip report. Very detailed and the pictures were amazing.
 
N415XJ
Posts: 878
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:04 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:02 am

Awesome, detailed trip report. It's cool how JAL absolutely showered you in trinkets and mementos for the first flight. I guess it's a little disappointing that some crew members wasn't as chipper as one might like for a first flight, but at least they were efficient and professional. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read a report from JAL or any other Japanese airline where the crew were rude or genuinely unpleasant.

By the way, that "pancake" looks more like a Dutch Baby, a type of popover that can be served with either savory or sweet fillings. I guess they didn't call it a 'dutch baby' as it would be confusing to most, including many Americans. Apparently, Dutch Babies were invented at a Seattle restaurant, so maybe that's why they chose to serve it on that route.
 
Bobloblaw
Posts: 2406
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:15 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:55 am

You put a lot of work into this
 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:47 pm

N415XJ wrote:
By the way, that "pancake" looks more like a Dutch Baby, a type of popover that can be served with either savory or sweet fillings. I guess they didn't call it a 'dutch baby' as it would be confusing to most, including many Americans. Apparently, Dutch Babies were invented at a Seattle restaurant, so maybe that's why they chose to serve it on that route.


Thanks for the information! It now all makes more sense!

Carfield
 
717atOGG
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:10 am

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:47 pm

Great, comprehensive trip report! JAL sounds like a good airline, I hope to try them out of Seattle someday.

I actually went plane spotting at SEA on the 31st to catch the inaugural JAL flight, and I got a photo of your plane doing the parallel approach with the Delta Connection E-175, thought you might like seeing it.

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Long live the Boeing 757!
 
geoshina
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:18 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:41 am

Great flight report! I love all the details!

I've had my share of JAL Asia - USA flights. :) This inaugaural flight was awesome nonetheless. :)
I prefer the more laid back feeling of Cathay Pacific.
 
Carfield
Topic Author
Posts: 2170
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:52 pm

717atOGG wrote:
Great, comprehensive trip report! JAL sounds like a good airline, I hope to try them out of Seattle someday.

I actually went plane spotting at SEA on the 31st to catch the inaugural JAL flight, and I got a photo of your plane doing the parallel approach with the Delta Connection E-175, thought you might like seeing it.

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Wow thank you and yes I spotted the EMB175 while we were landing.

Carfield
 
N174UA
Posts: 1010
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:17 pm

Re: Japan Air Lines Back to Seattle March 31, 2019

Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:36 am

Carfield wrote:
We took off from R/W16R at 6:46pm for the eight hours and ten minutes flight to Seattle. It was a pretty straightforward over the water flight. We pretty much climbed up to 39,000 feet during the night, and did not see land till passing Sekiu, Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Ludlow, Braintree and Vashon Islands, and then Tacoma before turning back towards Sea-tac airport R/W34.

Cabin service began shortly after seat belt sign was turned off at 7:04pm.
As I said earlier, unlike its sister route to Vancouver, Seattle flights feature the full long haul BEDD menu with canapés, and then an a-la-carte on-demand menu for the rest of the flight. Main course from the Western menu was plated individually in the galley, instead of served in a casserole dish.

Here is the wine list for March 2019:
Champagne & Wine
Champagne
Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Extra Brut N.V.
Or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve N.V.

White Wine
Kleine Zaize Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2017
Or Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay

IGP Collines Rhadaniennes “La COmbe Pilate” 2016
Or Cline Viognier North Coast USA Or Stepp Pinot Blanc Germany

Rapaura Springs Classic 2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Or Dr. L. Riesling Qualitätswein Feinbherb Germany

Red Wine
Chateau Loudenne, Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
Or Felino Malbec Mendoza Argentina

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Pinot Reserve 2017 Pinot Noir
Or Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Qaulitätswen Trocken Germany
3/1 AMR

Sake
HAKURAKUSEI Junmai Daiginyo Miyagi
RAIFUKU Junmai Daiginjo AIAYAMA Ibraki

Hot towel in a lacquered tray was passed out at 7:13pm.
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Followed by linen placed on the tray table
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Japanese Menu
This menu is created by Chef Jun Kurogi of “KUROGI” Shibadaimon Tokyo.

Sakizuke
Sesame Tofu Wasabi
Created by Chef Jun Kurogi

Moral Mushroom Flan
Broad Beans
Created by Chef Shinobu Namae

Spring Haze – Selection of seasonal colorful delicacies
Jellyfish dressed with Sesame Vinegar Sauce
Simmered Prawn
Kelp Roll with Herring
Dried Mullet Roe
Japanese Omelette
Simmered Bamboo Shoots with Dried Bonito Flakes
Mustard Flavored “Nanohana” Vegetable
Tuna “Sashimi”
Sweet Vinegared Yam
Tender-simmered Abalone
Simmered Asparagus

Dainomono
Grilled Ginger Beef
Simmered Mackerel with Miso Sauce
454 kcal

Steamed Rice
We are pleased to offer freshly steamed “Yukigura Imazurimai” Koshihikari rice

Miso Soup
Japanese Pickles

Kanmi
*Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights

Green Tea

Western Menu
The menu is created by Chef Shinobu Namae of “L’ Effervescence” Nishiazabu Tokyo

Amuse Bouche
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Sesame Tofu Wasabi
Created by Chef Jun Kurogi
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Moral Mushroom Flan
Broad Beans
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Hors d’oeuvre
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Horse Mackerel Escabeche
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Asparagus Honey Mustard Sauce
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Conger Eel & Ratatouille
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Sakura Shrimp Potato Salad
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Braised Duck Breast & Burdock
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[Sea Salt, Butter, and Pepper]
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Main Dish Choice
Wagyu Beef Sirloin Steak
Port Sauce, Japanese Pepper Butter
433 kcal
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Port Sauce on the side
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Medium
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Or
Seasonal Seafood
Basil Anchoïade Sauce
213 kcal
Or
*Poêlée of Atlantic salmon in Clam Chowder
213 kcal
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights

Light vegetarian menu is also available from ANYTIME YOU WISH.
“Soy Meat Fajita Sour Cream”

Special Bread from Maison Kayser
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Petite Nature
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Matcha Green Tea Ekmek
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Dessert
*Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
Specially created and served on the Seattle flights
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Coffee Tea

Special Seattle menu
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Special menus to celebrate the launch of the Tokyo-Seattle Route

Thank you for flying with us today.
To celebrate the launch of the Tokyo-Seattle route, we are offering special menus for dinner today only.
We hope you enjoy them.

Main Dish (Western Menu)
Poêlée of Atlantic salmon in Clam Chowder

Kanmi (Japanese Menu)/Dessert (Western Menu)
Slightly Salted Chocolate Caramel Mousse
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I got a cheese plate after dessert because I was still a big hungry.
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Bottled water was passed out after dinner – JAL uses a rather large sized bottle too!
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As I said earlier, the crews looked a bit stressed. The Singaporean F/A, Cynthia, did a greeting to me after takeoff, as she noticed my Chinese last name. Unfortunately, she did not work my side of the cabin. Of course, the F/As were not rude or anything. They did their job efficiently but at times, I felt that they were a bit robotic. They usually were more enthusiastic on these inaugural flights, but other than Ban, the head F/A, no one seemed to be particular impressed with the new destination. I usually like to ask the cockpit crews and cabins crews to sign my first flight certificate and most F/As would have no issues. I did it on my previous ANA inaugural flight to San Jose, CA, as well as JAL inaugural flight to Kona. However, I approached the wrong purser. I should have asked Ban. This purser immediately rejected my request about the cockpit crews because she said that she could not get into the cockpit, and I was a bit taken aback. I guess she caught my shock and tried to change subjects. However, she reluctantly agreed to ask the rest of the cabin crews to sign my first flight certificate. I really did not expect that kind of reaction on a Japanese airline. Next time, I will just go with the crews that I know and stop presuming the white coat F/A is more well-trained and refined.

I slept for a few hours before waking up to the sunrise.
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I headed to the self-service counter and took a few pictures there.
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Assorted Snacks
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Galley at door 2
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Door
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Ban saw me at the door and asked me to sign the pilot’s log book.
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Bathroom – that infant changing table is basically unrealistic, unless your babies are really small.
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Japanese bidet
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Amenities – toothbrush sets, mouthwash, and lotions
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I also want to discuss the bathroom situation on these newly reconfigured 787-8s. Unlike the 787-9s that had three bathrooms including two next to Door 2R and 2L, there are only two bathrooms in the business class section – one located in the front next to the cockpit and one in the mid-cabin behind Door 2R. There was long queues during the busy post-departure and pre-arrival times, and the F/As did not have time to check out the bathroom’s situation. Given to the full flight this morning, the bathrooms were constantly occupied. You really had to queue up to secure the space. It was hard to ask them to add a bathroom now but JAL should be aware of it.

For some reasons, the F/As turned on the lights really early at 00:36am Tokyo time/8:36am Seattle time. There got to be a better way to do it for these short overnight flights. As most of us know, the Japanese are extremely punctual and the a la carte cutoff time was 90 minutes prior to arrival. The F/As really wanted to make sure everyone got to order “breakfast” before the cutoff time. I will rather they serve breakfast at 90 minutes prior to arrival on the Vancouver flights. Maybe they need to think about “breakfast cards” concept so they don’t need to turn on all the cabin lights this early.

The sun was already rising by this time.
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I then ordered my breakfast, which consisted of the special savory pancake set for the Seattle flight and the special Michelin Star’s “Tsuta” ramen. The pancake was a mistake because it was too filling. The pancake was more like a bread bowl than a normal pancake. It is good that only Seattle flights feature these odd pancake dish. The ramen was fine and it was better to have it in the ground at their stores. I also prefer the other ramen JAL serves.

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Here is the full a la carte menu:
Anytime You Wish
We are pleased to serve following menus at any time after the first meal service. Please ask our cabin attendant by 1 hour and 30 minutes before landing.

Light Meal
Soy Meat Fajita
Sour Cream
Recommendation for light vegetarian

JAL The Curry
JAL original chicken curry supervised by “Hashimoto” in Kumamoto, listed as a 1-star restaurant in the “Michelin Guide Kumamoto and Oita 2018 special edition.”

Beef Plate

Noodles
JAL Original “Japanese Soba Noodles TSUTA” Ramen Noodles in Soy Sauce Soup
Please enjoy rich aroma of truffle oil
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Japanese Hot “Udon” Noodles
Edible Wild Plants

Sandwich
Salmon Bagel Sandwich
“Sangenton” Pork Cutlet Sandwich

Cheese Selection
Assorted Cheese
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Refreshment
Fresh Fruits
Yogurt Fruit Sauce
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream – Vanilla, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry

The following menus are created by renowned fine cuisine producer and chef – her home ground is Paris – Fumiko Kono.

“Fumiko’s Japanese Set Plate”
Dainomono
Cubed Tuna “Sashimi” & Avocado Japanese Pepper Leaves
Green Leafy Vegetable & Quinoa dressed with Sesame

Soup
Japanese Clear Soup
“Hana-fu,” Shaved Kelp

Steamed Rice
Japanese Pickles & Soy-simmered Kelp

“Fumiko’s Western Set Plate”
Main Dish
Roast Lamb with Herb Breadcrumbs & Japanese Pepper Paste
Seasonal Vegetables

Fromage Blanc Mousse & Citrus Fruits

Special Bread from MAISON KAYSER
Petite Nature
Smoked Pain de Campagne
You can enjoy your breads with olive oil
We are pleased to offer you jam. Please ask your cabin attendant.

Western Set Plate
The following set plate is also available.

Original Pancake
Raw Ham, Cheddar Cheese
(Limited menu only for the Tokyo-Seattle Route)
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Fresh Fruits
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Hot green tea to end the meal
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After breakfast, the F/A passed out another inaugural gift, which was a shoe horn keychain, and I was not sure if economy class passengers received the same additional gift. It might be just a small extra something for the premium cabin.

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We finally saw land and entered the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
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Seattle
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Sea-tac
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Tacoma
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A Delta Embraer was landing in parallel to us too
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We landed on R/W34R at 10:56am local time. It was a beautiful day here in Seattle. Unfortunately, there was no water salute for our arrival.

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Taxing to Gate S16
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We were greeted by local staff and we got a small luggage tag gift from Port of Seattle.
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New Check-in area
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JA838J being towed to its departing gate at A concourse
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Ban was once again there to say goodbye to passengers and I will argue that Ban is perhaps the only F/A, who provides the perfect service, and is enthusiastic about JAL’s return to Seattle. Despite seeing those two planes – KE 77W and DL 359 parked, the immigration and custom hall was completely empty. Most of the KE passengers were already processed by then. With global entry, I was in the baggage claim area at no time, and bags came out at 11:18am – sixteen minutes after we parked at gate S16. I was able to get into the train back to the main terminal by 11:30am.


Bainbridge Island, as opposed to "Braintree". :)

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