I finally had a chance to visit the Japan Airlines first class lounge Tokyo Narita airport. I don’t usually fly long haul on JAL, and whenever possible I fly short haul from Haneda airport.
Last month though I flew from Tokyo Narita to Shanghai Pudong on Japan Airlines. I chose the flight because of timing, I wanted to leave Tokyo late. I booked a business class award ticket for 15,000 British Airways Avios. While these tickets are often available for a little over $400 each way, they were running more than double that for my flight.
It’s business class, and that wouldn’t normally allow for first class lounge access. However I attached my American Airlines AAdvantage account number to the booking. My oneworld emerald status showed up and I was invited into JAL’s first class lounge.
That’s the one unique thing about oneworld. Unlike SkyTeam and Star Alliance, oneworld top elites get access to first class lounges regardless of class of service flown.
More and more airlines are making exceptions to this and carving out their best lounges for their own customers. British Airways Concorde Room is for BA’s first class customers only. Qatar’s al Safwa lounge in Doha is for their own first class passengers only. And American’s Flagship First Dining is for American Airlines first class passengers only (and Cathay’s passengers at New York JFK).
That leaves first class lounge access offered to top tier elites by,
- Cathay Pacific
- Malaysia Airlines
- Japan Airlines
The Qantas and Cathay first class lounges are excellent. JAL’s and Malaysia’s less so, but still nicer than business class lounges. So it is at Tokyo Narita.
There’s a main Japan Airlines first class lounge Tokyo Narita just after security and passport control, and also a small one by the satellite gates. I visited the main lounge which has two separate levels. The upstairs was nearly deserted. It features a sit down dining offering, but I wasn’t hungry.
There are no more complimentary massage treatments in the Japan Airlines first class lounge Tokyo Narita. Instead there are massaging recliners.
Downstairs was much busier, although seating still far outstripped guests.
There’s a business center.
The Japan Airlines first class lounge Tokyo Narita airport features plenty of glass overlooking the tarmac.
There’s plenty of self pour liquor, and a buffet.
The highlight for many guests is the made to order sushi. It’s cool that they offer this, and the quality is reasonable. However I had just eaten three of the best sushi meals of my life so this was never going to be especially enjoyable. The fish was fine but it was striking just how bland the rice was.
I left plenty of time to head over to my gate over in terminal 2 satellite.
Overall I find the Japan Airlines first class lounge Tokyo Narita to be fine. It’s a nice enough place to pass the time before a flight, though it’s not a destination itself worth showing up at the airport early for.
The overall design is really dark. I would love it if the lounge were somewhat brighter. It’s nicer than just about any business class lounge I can think of except perhaps the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul, Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow, and arguably United’s Polaris lounges. I’m torn over how I’d compare it to the Star Alliance business class lounge at LAX, where I prefer the outdoor area but the exclusivity and food in this lounge is better.