Introduction to The Long Way back to Australia
Bangalore to Mumbai (Jet Airways Business Class Class 737-800)
JW Marriott Sahar (Mumbai)
Mumbai to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER)
Abu Dhabi to London (Etihad First Class A380)
Tour of Etihad's The Residence
The Frankfurt Hotel (Frankfurt)
Park Inn by Radisson (Luxembourg 1)
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe (Luxembourg 2)
The Westin Grand (Frankfurt)
Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt to Seoul (Lufthansa First Class A380)
The Ritz-Carlton (Seoul)
Tokyo to Sydney (Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER)
Japain Airlines 777-300ER
Tokyo - Sydney
Class: First Class
I've left a gap between South Korea and Japan because it was mostly meeting up with my family in Japan, so I didn't really go into any hotels or flights inbetween - however, I though it would be a nice idea to share some pictures of Japan (which is super cool by the way - 4 days is just not enough).
Anyways moving forward - before my flight I had tried to go up to the Tokyo Tree - but as it turns out, the line was just too long and I had to jump out as I knew the train would take at least 40 mins to the airport. Tokyo's subways system is incredibly well connected - but the size of the city means that distances can be very long. When I got to the airport, I went straight to the First Class check in counter, got my ticket and made my way to the priority security area - which was a breeze. Once on the other side, I made my way to the Japan Airlines First Class lounge, where I had about 1.5 hours or so to kill, and I did so by promptly filling myself up with food.
While there was nothing special about the seating in the lounge, I liked how spacious and spread out everything was. Of course, the highlight of the lounge was the Sushi Bar, which is exactly where I parked myself - to enjoy some freshly made sushi and beer.
Of course, a few plates of Sushi wasn't enough, so went to the buffet section and picked myself up some Katsu Curry with rice. The food section was actually rather small, and while I didn't take a picture of the buffet, I took some food shots.
The view from the lounge was a nice shot of all the JAL planes lined up.
As it was nearing boarding time, and I was starting to feel full - I made my way to the gate early. Once there, I noticed JAL follows a very odd line-up procedure (or perhaps Japan in general?) where people are line up next to each other by class - First, Business, Economy from right to left. I proceeded to get into the First class line behind two other people, and soon we were boarding as I made my way to the plane. I was welcomed by two fairly friendly (but very hospitable) air hostesses, and shown to my seat.
The seats themselves were very comfy, but I could certainly tell they were old right away. The color scheme itself was a bit of a letdown, but perhaps it's more a subtle elegant Japanese style. However, despite that everything was very well maintained, it was really the tv quality which gives away the age, as it doesn't stand up to modern tv standards. The seat featured an ottoman in front, where I kept my bag till takeoff, and a few side table pockets where I could either charge my phone or store my personal items. As the cabin slowly filled up, I noticed there were only 3 other passengers with me, so it was a fairly quiet cabin. Business class on the other hand was packed.
Loewe ammenity kits (which were quite nice) and Bose noise cancelling headphones were given out while I was taking photos.
One little thing I liked was the personal light to my left, which also acted as a headphone stand while I wasn't using it.
One of the junior air hostesses came by and asked if I would like to drink something before taking off, and I requested a Champagne. "Which champagnes do you have?", "uh sorry I'll go check first". Alright then. She returned with a bottle of Salon Cuvee (2012 or 2014 I forget), and I happily accepted. It's no Krug, but Salon is a perfectly drinkable champagne. It was accompanied by a warm towel.
Soon, I was asked if I would like Large or Medium. I was a little confused - their English wasn't too great, so it was a challenge at times communication, but small discussions were fine. I soon figured she was referring to what size Pajamas I wanted, I requested the Large and changed into them before take off. As I came out, the airhostess was waiting to take my clothes, and hang them up- which I loved. I sat down and got comfortable, and shortly thereafter we were taking off.
I have to say, Japan Airlines Jimmy Jams (PJ's) were some of the best I had ever received - they were snuggly, comfortable, and felt of high quality. Once we were in the air, I was asked if I wanted to Western meal course or the Japanese meal course - having just left Japan I decided to stick with the Japanese meal course. While I waited, I tried to use the internet, which was pockets of good and pockets of horrible throughout the flight (flying over the ocean doesn't help). One of my phones worked, but the other phone refused the connect to the net - I tried to get some help, but unfortunately everyone was out of ideas. Oh well, I was content with one phone then. At one point during the flight, the air hostesses came to me to try and get some help with another passengers phone (which was odd, but I helped anyways).
Anyways, I'm not going to remember the names of all the foods that I got, so I'll try to describe them from memory, of the meal which turned into a Japanese 7 course meal on a flight!
It started out with another glass of champagne and some strange entrees - beef wrapped tofu and something else. Edible, but nothing special. This was followed out by 5 bowls very nicely presented.
Tofu, some squid, and some other things I won't even bother guessing - 2 of the 5 bowls were nice, the other two were very strange in taste to me, so I let them me. I appreciated the presentation however, which was a little more unique.
This was followed by one of my favorites - Caviar. It was served with some odd sort of raddish which was not great - and it definitely didn't gel with the caviar (I would have preferred the standard caviar accomplishments). The caviar was very nice though, and I polished that off. This was followed by some sort of miso soup.
I'm not much of a soup person, but it was alright. I had a little and left the rest. This was followed up by some more Caviar, which was to be mixed with some milky looking dish, with some seafood. Very very odd, I did try to finish it, but my taste buds were screaming murder - however I'm all for trying new things, and knowing what to stay away from 😉
That was followed up by the main dish, rice and teryaki beef - this was actually quote nice and I did finish it all off (with the exception of the egg and the soup).
Dessert followed up, and it was quite nice. I asked the air hostess what to do, and she explained that I needd to mix them all together, and eat the sorbet before this to cleanse my palet. I'm not a dessert person, but the rice pudding bit was delicious, and the green macha.. fudge (?) was decent too.
As I finished up, I wished I had sort of had the western meal as I wasn't entirely impressed with the food - but the service and presentation was fantastic. No regrets though as I got to experience some new things. The air hostess suggested I have some warm relaxing tea (which I asked her to choose for me) and it was accompanied by some Jean Paul Hevin chocolates (which I put in my bag to give to the chocolate lovers in my family).
Around this time, I asked my bed to be made as I made my way to the toilet. One thing to note, is after many First Class flights in an A380, you almost forget how cramped the bathrooms in the 777 can be. I came back to a nicely made bed in the suite next to mine (spare seats = ease of choice). One thing I have to say is that Japan Airlines is the only airlines I've flown who use proper bedding mattresses (either a Hot or soft type), and it was extremely comfortable to sleep on. The blankets were nice too - though probably too thick for this flight as JAL seem to like to keep cabins not too chilly.
It's a 10 hour flight, and I got a decent 4 to 4.5 hours of total sleep here, and was only awoken because the cabin was a little warm (though not steamy mind you). I was offered breakfast once I woke up, and I went to change in the meanwhile.
Cheese with Omlette and an orange juice was available, but since I'm not into eggs, I opted to start with the fruit instead.
I took another pic of my bed before they cleared it away.
By the time I was in the bathroom and changed, everything had been neatly cleared up and ready, and soon after we landed. Japan Airlines was an interesting one because the food presentation was great, the taste was hit and miss for most of the dishes. I did like the concept of a 7 course meal though, and the staff were genuine, despite the language barrier. Would I fly again as my first choice? Probably not as first choice, but I would certainly give them another go! All I can say was that I was happy to be home in Australia - finally.