Review: Japan Airlines Business Class Sky Suite II, B767-3, Singapore – Tokyo Narita
Our return flights on Japan Airlines were ticketed courtesy of AAdvantage Miles at 50,000 miles for business class one way. These miles started off life as Canadian RBC Visa Avion Credit Card points and were later converted to AAdvantage points. Truth be told, I had a whole stack sitting there left over from a joint account with the previous administration that had been sitting idle for about 10 years while I was collecting, flying, and redeeming within Air Canada’s Aeroplan. I was happy to put them to an appropriate use by spending them on myself and my son.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Bali and Singapore. This trip was redeemed through Lifemiles, AAdvantage and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Dodging Volcanic Ash, Bali and Singapore via Delta, Asiana, KLM and Japan Airlines Business Class
- Delta Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Los Angeles
- Delta Sky Club Lounge, Los Angeles, USA
- Star Alliance Business Lounge, Los Angeles, USA
- Asiana Airlines Business Class: Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon
- Asiana Airlines Business Class: Seoul Incheon – Denpasar Bali
- The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Indonesia
- A Week Around Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
- Sunset at Uluwatu Temple, Bali, Indonesia
- White Water Rafting Ayung Rapids, Monkey Forest and Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia
- The Premier Lounge, Bali, Indonesia
- KLM World Business Class: Denpasar Bali – Singapore
- Contrasting the Old and New of Singapore
- Plant Life from Around the World at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
- The Singapore Zoo, Singapore Botanical Gardens and Hawker Food Stalls, Singapore
- A Day at Legoland Malaysia, Johor Barhu, Malaysia
- SATS Premier Lounge, Changi Terminal One, Singapore
- Japan Airlines Business Class: Singapore – Tokyo Narita
- Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge: Tokyo Narita, Japan
- Japan Airlines Business Class: Tokyo Narita – Vancouver
Review: Japan Airlines Business Class Sky Suite II – B767-3, Singapore Changi International Airport – Tokyo Narita
“Japan Airlines Business Class in Sky Suite II offered a high level of service and Japanese food, paired with a slightly odd ‘slide’ seat while flying within Asia”
SIN-NRT (Singapore Changi International – Tokyo Narita)
JL712 Business Class (U)
8:20 AM – 4:10 PM
August 3, 2015
Booked: Boeing 767-300
Flown: Boeing 767-300 Sky Suite II
I had also hoped to switch these flights to Cathay Pacific Business or First Class on the same or near dates. However, availability was completely scarce ,or should I say non existent. At the time of our trip, I checked several times a day between 10 days and our date of departure and only 1 seat turned up within a 7 day window. The demand of summer travel played havoc on our attempts as we lost out completely with Cathay business class reward seats and had to stick with JAL. That wasn’t all too bad an issue as they provided a mostly comfortable way to get home.
MrsWT73 also flew mostly the same routes, departing on Japan Airlines SIN- Tokyo Haneda, then taking the bus from Haneda to Narita, then Japan Airlines Narita to Vancouver. MrsWT73 had travelled a few days ahead of us.
Getting back to our trip, we headed down from SATS Premier Lounge Singapore Changi Terminal One, to Gate C22. We completed the security screening check at the gate, where a priority boarding lane was made available to jump to the front of the queue. It was thunder showering outside; the first real rain of our trip.
It was a very Singaporean boarding experience today with no crowding of the gate. Boarding was by infants and families first, followed by business class with the “World Wide Wrestling” federation styled placard sign.
Unfortunately, while boarding the aircraft, it was single door boarding today through 1L. Not only did it slow down the process a little bit, it also meant a stream of people wandering through the business class cabin after we had gotten settled into our seats. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but you sure notice it when it happens.
On Board Japan Airlines Business Class:
Once on board , we settled into a a seating configuration in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. While I usually appreciate a window seat, I elected for the pair of centre seats in order to be able to monitor and travel with WT73 Jr. Unlike Asiana Airlines Business Class A380 Los Angeles – Seoul Incheon which offers a staggered seats in business class, there was no difference in between the centre seats on the Japan Airlines Sky Suite II. As Japan Airlines didn’t have “cuddle” seats or “apart” seats, there’s no real difference in row selection, aside from the choosing the bulkhead nearest to the galley, or the last row nearest to the bassinet positions. My last comment on the centre seats is that there is also no privacy screen between the centre seats if that is important to you. The cabin is bright and airy with lots of natural light.
WT73JR found his home without any challenges and settled in nicely. He had a seat mate behind him younger than him, showing that it’s never too young to travel in style.
The seats featured a large screen for entertainment. The screens were modern enough and were larger than the usual feature for international business class. The seat console featured a magazine rack and a storage space, which was handy but I didn’t really use.
The entertainment was controlled with a modernized wired remote, which was stored in the centre arm rest.
The seat itself featured a cupboard styled storage area that was used. It was situated next to the individual reading light, and offered a space for all bulky sized storage. It was an odd shape, and was more of a sweater storage than anything else.
The seat featured the usual recline features, along with a massage feature. The suite was comfortable for working and featured in suite power. The seat had all recline features and a lumbar massage feature, in addition to a lumbar pillow. A set of ear plugs were also provided.
While we were settling in, I looked at the in seat placard that described the features of the Japan Airlines Sky Suite II.
The configuration in the Sky Suite II is among JAL’s newer products. It’s recently been refreshed on their Boeing 767 fleet. Our suites were in excellent condition with no scuff marks or other damage.
Pre Departure Services:
Settling in, on arrival next to the seat were flight masks, moist toilettes, and slippers. There was no independent amenity kit offered for this intra Asia flight. Instead, offerings were individualized and “a la carte” (on request).
A lumbar pillow was also provided, which was great for a day time flight.
A cardigan was offered from the tray with the old retired Business Class “Seasons” markings. They didn’t ask for the cardigan back at the end of the flight, and it wasn’t of quality that I wanted to take it with me. Aside from that, the cabin was pretty warm anyway, I couldn’t think of wanting it to be any warmer by wearing a sweater.
There was no pre-flight beverage was offered. Instead, it was a post take off flight beverage (at cruising altitude) that was offered immediately after the seat belt sign had been switched off. My understanding is that this was a hold over of an older regulation that did not allow beverages to be served on the ground within Japan (recently changed). As we climbed to altitude, today’s offering was champagne or orange juice.
As we got underway from Singapore, our flight track would have us over the South China Seat, passing north of the Phillipines towards the island of Japan.
Today’s flight offered JAL’s Sky Wifi services. I thought charges were a bit steep at 1 hour at $10+ USD or 24 hours at $20 USD. Being the end of a holiday, I didn’t indulge in the need to stay connected.
The Meal: A Full Japanese Lunch
The lunch menus were passed out at altitude, followed by a quick order taking for lunch services. The menus were themed with BEDD Sky Auberge by JAL markings. The BEDD acronym stands for bed, dining, delicious and dream. It is a JAL promotion to remind travellers that they are welcomed to tuck into sleep after their satisfying meal. I find it a bit of a strange reminder as sleep is the last thing I want to be reminded to be thinking about when I pick up a menu. The two don’t personally have a great association for me.
There was an extensive wine and drink list was provided with some straight forward, but not overly exciting wines.
I started the meal service with a Grayson Cellars Chardonnay (California), since MrsWT73 prefers more acidic wines at home so I don’t usually get the opportunity to have many rich chardonnay’s unless I’m enjoying a bottle alone. I offer a big thumbs up to JAL for offering a normal full sized wine glass instead of the thimbleful tiny glasses offered on other carriers.
Getting my last taste of Asia in, I went with the Japanese Set appetizer. It offered an appetizer tray of 9 appetizers:
- Poached Pak Choi with Whitebait,
- Soymilk Tofo
- Chinese Style Jellyfish Salad
- Egg Cake Simmered Hijiki Seaweed
- Griled Salmon Roll with Welsh Onion
- Simmered Shrimp, Radish and Snap Pea
- Steamed Savory Egg Custard
- Roasted Duck and Duck Meatball
- Simmered Beef with Sweet Soy Sauce.
The morsels were quite tasty and a neat eating experience sampling all the different tastes and flavours. The vegetables were surprisingly crisp compared to the cooked vegetables of South East Asia we had gotten used to over the past 2 weeks. The smaller serving size, while impressive, was less daunting than the large Asiana First Class Los Angeles – Incheon Korean Platter that we’d previously had on another flight.
The appetizer plate was followed by a main Dainomono serving of Braised Beef Sukiyaki style. Unfortunately, no raw egg was offered as is typical of some sukiyaki dishes. This was served with steamed rice, Miso Soup and Japanese Pickles. It also came with a chopstick holder in the form of a Japanese crane.
Dessert today was Tiramisu with Coffee Anglaise Sauce.
The cabin was dimmed after the service and I pretty settled into a few movies. The movie selection was much more comprehensive than Asiana and offered about 30 movies of international, Hollywood and Asian selection. I settled into an old favourite Stand by Me. Wine was refilled on a regular basis, with the bottle presented at every refill opportunity.
As i settled into day time relax mode for the movie, I reclined the seat a little. I found that the JAL Sky Suite II was pretty bad for relaxing. In the relax mode, the middle cushion didn’t angle to keep your tail in the seat. As a result, I ended up sliding down the seat instead of actually relaxing. Overall, it was less comfortable than I would have expected. I don’t know why it is that various generations of seats don’t seem to offer much improvement. Whatever I did, I couldn’t seem to make these seats comfortable for relaxing.
Fortunately, the seat does recline to a full flat sleeping position that was very comfortable. The suite did come with a thermopedic pillow that is question mark shaped that is common among many asian hotel properties.
The Second Service: A Snack
A small cello wrapped sandwich offering was offered prior to the arrival. This appeared to be off menu. The offerings were tuna and cheese. Crusts were removed. A tea and coffee service was also offered.
Landing at Tokyo Narita:
After the light snack, it wasn’t long before we were headed in for descent. Our flight track took us over Manila onward to Japan.
We had a bit of a round about landing and we taxied to a sunny Narita Terminal 2 amid a Japan Airlines stronghold.
We arrived to New Tokyo Narita Terminal Two at Gate 92 and were off the aircraft for our connection after a security screening and a visit to the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Narita without any issues.
The Bottom Line: Our flight experience with Japan Airlines Business Class
Our Japan Airlines flight was pretty straight forward. It was comfortable, quiet, clean and spacious but also completely forgettable. Aside from the interesting Japanese food options, there was nothing memorable about this particular flight. Agreeing with most of the flight reviewers around here, there really isn’t any reason to choose Japan airlines if Cathay Pacific was available. Fortunately, Japan Airlines plays well in the One World Alliance and was offering up to 4 business class reward seats available, meaning that this was an easy way to move your family around. The Sky Suite configuration on the Boeing 767 is a nice modern suite for business class.