Japan Airlines JAL First Class – ORD-NRT

By: Joe

I recently had the pleasure of flying Japan Airlines First Class from Chicago to Narita and back. I had originally booked Business Class awards using AA miles some 11 months out and luckily within the last few weeks First Class seats opened up on both of our flights.  Of course I had to splurge and upgrade!


We flew into ORD a bit early and went to the Admirals Club to print our JAL boarding passes as they have a JAL rep there in preparation for JAL flights. We then spent some time at the American Flagship Lounge which is conveniently located at K19 directly across from our departure gate.

ORD-Flagship ORD-Flagship-Bar ORD-Flagship-Lounge

The Flight

On our flight to NRT I opted for the Japanese Menu which consisted of a number of different courses prepared to perfection.  Additionally, we had the Salon Champagne flowing the whole time!

The Japanese menu with its multiple courses.

We also made it a point to try the Royal Blue Tea “Queen of Blue” and the Japanese Mori Izo Shochu.  We were not huge fans of the tea, but the Shochu was quite nice.  They even gave us the option to buy a bottle which is rather rare as the approximately 120,000 bottles produced are typically sold through a phone lottery.  To top it off, of course I had to have some Graham’s 30 year Port as well.

As a snack I tried the steak sandwich which was quite good as well.

On the return from NRT we opted for the western menu and of course a repeat of the Salon Champagne, Graham’s Port and even tried the caviar which I had never tried before.  One item which was the only negative thing about JAL at all was that they only stocked one lobster which someone had already ordered when they go to me.  I found it odd that they would only have one.


As part of the JAL offering they provide Porsche Design pajamas and amenity kits.  Additionally they provided Shiseido and Cle de Peau creams for men and women respectively.

Wifi was also offered for our cabin at no extra fee.


The first class cabin is composed of only 8 awesome lie-flat seats.  When you are ready to sleep the flight attendants provide the option of soft or hard mattress cover.

Overall Impression

Our overall impression of Japan Airlines is that they are a true heartfelt attempt at pure perfection, not only in the product and food, but on the service, which is over the top.  I had to occasionally tell them “no rush” as they would bolt to your service and made every attempt to make your flight memorable.  They must have apologized about not having lobster about 15 times!

Definitely a product that I would recommend and look forward to repeating at some point!

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