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Airline Review: Japan Airlines Premium Economy

As one of the founders for Orphans’ Futures Alliance, I take several trips each  year to Asia to oversee operations and meet our partner orphanages and government contacts.  I normally dread the 17+ flight from Boston.  In recent years, I have found an affordable option to make these trips less painful and more enjoyable.  Japan Airlines (JAL)) introduced their “Premium Economy” a few years ago and I have become an ardent fan.

Disclaimer:  The author paid for the upgrade to premium economy at her own expense. 

Value:  Above Average

Japan Airlines offers larger Premium Economy seats, above average service, and amazing lounge access for a great value.  The ticket is $200-400 round trip for the upgrade from economy and is cheaper than other airlines.

Seat:  Above Average

Japan Airlines Premium Economy has “fully recline” seats with much bigger space and leg room.  The plane is divided into first class, business, premium economy, and economy.  The premium economy is sectioned off for the flight.  The bathrooms are shared between the premium economy and economy cabins.

Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

Priority Boarding: Average

Priority boarding is available for all legs of the flight.

Lounge Access: Above Average

  • Partner lounge access at US airports. If you are flying out of JFK, you have access to the Air France Business Lounge near Gate 3 at Terminal 1.  The Air France Business Lounge access includes:
    • Shower station
    • Hot and cold buffets, drink stations (soda, wine, beer, teas, and coffee)
    • Variety of sitting areas on two floors with wireless access and TVs
    • 20 minute Clarin Facial Treatment options but this is only available after 2pm
  • Narita Airport Business Class Lounge Access at Tokyo Airport includes:
    • Personal shower room
    • Variety of food selections and drink stations
    • Variety of sitting areas on two floors with wireless access and TVs
    • 10 minutes of foot, head or back massage
    • Access to state of the art massage chairs
    • Nap rooms
Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

Look out for La Vie Partagee’s review of Japan Airline’s Business Lounge at Narita Airport coming soon.

Amenities: Better Than Average

Noise cancelling headphone, blanket, slippers, and pillows are available at the seat

Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

The stewardess also brings a selection of eye refresher mask, dust mask, ear plugs, toothbrush, and sleep mask.

Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

Food: Better Than Average

Food selection is the same as economy but premium economy passengers are served first. There is no risk of not having your choice of meal.  The meal is an upgrade to ones served on non-Asian airlines.

Source: La Vie Partagee

Source: La Vie Partagee

Cleanliness: Exceptional

One of my pet peeves is cleanliness of the airplane and bathroom. Needless to say, Japan Airlines always exceeds my expectation here.  The bathroom and airplane look as clean as when you first got onto the plane.  This is also one of the reasons I choose JAL over any other airline.  Just imagine being stuck in an enclosed space and sharing bathrooms with hundreds of strangers for 14 hours!  I’ve been on some planes that look like nuclear waste sites.

Cabin Service: Better Than Average

The flight crew is polite and attentive. They respond promptly and go out of their way to ensure you have a pleasant flight.  They also help put up your luggage.

For more information, check out Japan Airlines website: (http://www.jal.co.jp/en/inflight/inter/premium_y/)

Author: Thai-Anh Hoang

Feature photo: http://www.flickr.com by cv880m

This entry was posted in: Review, Travel
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