Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seat Review - Japan Airlines International Business Class (Executive Class Seasons)

I am having my second turn flying JAL International Business class from Sydney to Tokyo. Thankfully this time they have their new aircraft and seats. My last trip was in a non-flat pre 1990 sub standard seat. While there is a dramatic improvement in the seat quality JAL are still providing a product that is well behind the leading other Asian carriers – and now even behind the new United Airlines product. Here we have a review where the commentator is concluding with a recommendation of a US based carrier over a (supposedly) top flight Asian carrier. That should say a lot. I never thought the BOOT would end up in such a position.

There are two good things I can say about flying JAL International Business. Firstly I get to visit the Qantas first class lounge. Secondly it is better than long haul domestic on a US carrier. But the former has nothing to do with JAL and flying in an airless box on FedEx is better than long haul US domestic so hardly a comparison.

The BOOT rating for Japan Airlines (JAL) International Business Class is a 2 stars out of 6 or Bad Seat". Here is the detailed review (Details and scoring system for airline seat reviews)

Getting on Board

Score 0.5

There was ”nothing special” about the boarding experience on JAL.- which (unfortunately for JAL) will become a phrase that will quickly become a theme for this seat review. As above, the best thing about flying JAL out of Sydney is the chance for me to have breakfast in the Qantas first class lounge. The food and facilities in the lounge are the best I have experienced in a lounge. Cannot give JAL any credit for that but at the same time the result is that my flight starts off with a smile.

The Seat

Score 0

Narrow and not flat. It is a brand new seat with the pod like look that you find on Qantas, United and others. However it too narrow for me, which combined with the incline made it hard for me to comfortable sitting or sleeping.

The Service

Score 0.5

I can’t complain about the service but neither can I praise it. On the positive side the staff are very responsive to the call button and effective with their service. However it is…well…nothing special either.

The Food

Score 0.5

I am struggling for words here. I am on the aircraft so don’t have great access to thesaurus materials to inspire me with synonyms f or “nothing special” so as engage you long enough to continue reading this revenue. But I am tapped out for words, maybe even a little weak from lack of food, maybe a little dehydrated or foggy due to the clogging of my arteries from over salted food either way I am out of words and off the air so you’ll have to settle for…”nothing special” the best I can do to describe the food.

The Entertainment

Score 0

Finally I can break away from the “nothing special” theme in this seat review because the video entertainment system is terrible. Described generically it sounds good. It has the basics of VOD, AOD, interactive remote, easy navigation, multi-lingual etc. But entertainment is all about content. Put sharply, there are not enough movies and the ones they have are terrible. “Highlights” from the list of choices include “17 Again”, “Back to the Future” (one and two) and the crime against the arts the is “the Pink Panther 2”. Absolute dross. I am not so much of a public broadcasting watching, Chardonnay swiller that I have to have a list of David Stratton approved award winners with each flight. But if I am to pay thousands of dollars to be stuck in a seat for nine hours on a Sunday then I deserve a hell of a lot more than “Sister Act” and “National Interest”.

The BOOT factor

Score 0.5

I kind of like the sweat shirt like pull over they give you. But other than that there is well…….you know what I mean

Final Score

2.0 - Bad Seat

Details and scoring system for airline seat reviews

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agreed, the JAL business class sucks!