Well I’ve been a bit terrible about posting much lately but I’ve had quite the busy travel schedule lately. I traveled to Asia twice in 2 weeks this past month so I feel as if my body is just now back to normal sleep.
I traveled to Jakarta for work for 9 days, returning just before Thanksgiving and then after only 4 days at home, traveled to Tokyo for a short 6 day vacation in the Tokyo area. I actually passed through Tokyo Narita 4 times plus an extra fifth visit due to flight schedule changes.
In total traveling to Asia, I experience the following OneWorld long-haul products:
- Japan Airlines Premium Economy
- Japan Airlines Economy
- American Airlines Business Class
- American Airlines Economy
- AA A321
- AA MD-80
- AA 777-200
- JAL 767-300
- JAL 777-300ER
Outbound Journey #1: DFW-LAX-NRT-CGK
I flew AA Economy (Main Cabin Extra) from my home at DFW to LAX, connected to JAL Premium Economy (Bulkhead) LAX to NRT, followed by JAL Economy (Bulkhead) NRT to CGK. Premium Economy was not offered on my final leg to Jakarta as it was operated on an older 767.
Return Journey #1: CGK-NRT-ORD-DFW
Returning from Jakarta I flew JAL Economy CGK to NRT, JAL Premium Economy (Bulkhead) NRT to ORD, and finally AA Economy (Main Cabin Extra) ORD to DFW. Premium Economy was offered on my leg from Jakarta to Tokyo, however, it was completely booked when I booked my trip.
Outbound Journey #2: DFW-NRT
This was a nonstop itinerary from DFW to NRT in AA Economy (Main Cabin Extra/Bulkhead) on an older 777-200.
Return Journey #2: NRT-DFW
While this itinerary was changed multiple times due to flight mechanical issues, ultimately, the itinerary was nonstop from NRT to DFW in AA Business Class.
Your gut reaction of course is to automatically assume that the JAL operated flights were exceptionally better than American Airlines. While in most areas this was true, there were a few ways that American Airlines came out ahead.
Overall on service, JAL was more welcoming but there tends to be a bit of a language barrier for English-speaking passengers. One notable exception was a super sweet flight attendant in Premium Economy on JAL NRT-ORD. The staff in AA Business Class was very chatty and inviting but in Economy, forget it! They would rather not speak to you unfortunately. JAL Economy far exceeds AA Economy for long-haul flights.
In terms of food, JAL was overall better but the AA Business Class breakfast NRT-DFW was a surprise favorite meal. The only thing that I ate truly horrendous was the mid-flight snack on AA in Economy DFW-NRT. It looked like wet cat food on bread!
And in terms of seating, there’s no fair comparison between Business and Economy. But I really loved the JAL Premium Economy Seats. They were an affordable compromise when paying cash for a seat. I sat next to a very large man NRT-ORD on JAL and the Premium Economy seat gave plenty of extra room that I didn’t notice at all. In a standard economy seat, we would have elbow wars the whole flight! I love the foot rest that extends out to be half as good as an angle lie-flat seat.
Here’s a few highlights in “airline gastronomy”:
I had a great couple of trips, even if they left me totally exhausted. I got to experience many different products in a very short time so it was pretty cool!
Share your thoughts in the comments below. Or on Twitter @BenjaminJ84 and @AvionAddiction.