Flight Review: Japan Airlines 787 Business Class From NRT – Tokyo Narita to CGK – Jakarta

Japanese appetizer on JAL in Business Class from NRT to CGK

If you read our 2019 recap and review of JAL First Class, you might remember us talking about our Best Flight Rewards Redemption on JAL when we redeemed 70,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to fly in JAL First Class from SFO – San Francisco International Airport to HND – Tokyo Haneda International Airport in Tokyo and in business class from NRT – Tokyo Narita International to CGK – Jakarta International.  In this post, we share general information about our journey from Tokyo to Jakarta on JAL’s 787-900 Sky Suite III business class product.

The Itinerary:

We were flying from NRT – Tokyo Narita to CGK – Jakarta International Airport (Soekarno-Hatta), a day flight that departs at 10:55 and arrives at 16:55; it’s actually an 8 hour flight. In order to arrive to the airport on time and to have time at the lounge, we took the first train to Tokyo Narita airport from Shinjuku Station because it takes about 1.5 hours; the first departs at 05:55. We also felt this was a good idea to allocate extra time in case of train delays or in case we ended up missing the train.

This felt like a super long day, maybe the longest of our travels for one reason or another. We did add in a long enough connection time in CGK because we had no idea how long it would take to get to the domestic departures but customs was very quiet, as was security, and even with the long walk, we were at one of the lounges in the domestic departure terminal within 45 minutes. We eventually go to our hotel in Canggu, Bali, The Slow at 00:30. We left our hotel in Tokyo at 05:00 local time and were settled into our hotel room in Bali by 01:30 Tokyo time which made it a 21.5 hour transit day!

The Pre-Departure Experience at NRT:

We went to the check-in counter to get our boarding passes and while they do have a separate section of counters for business class, the airport is being renovated and so they had less desks than usual and even if the queue was not very long, we did wait about ~15 minutes. It also took quite some time to get our boarding passes because we had to provide information about the next leg of our journey and little did we know but the JAL agent actually checked us into our Garuda Indonesia flight and made sure we had good seats; due to the language barrier, we had no idea until she handed us boarding passes for the flight from CGK – Jakarta to DPS Denpasar. Again, another outstanding customer service experience with JAL staff.

Seating at the JAL Sakura Lounge at Tokyo Narita
Seating at the JAL Sakura Lounge at Tokyo Narita

Going through customs was also interesting as the signage said the automated kiosks were only for Japanese citizens but we were instructed to use them and found them quite user-friendly. We made our way to the Sakura Lounge and found a nice seat by the window away from the busier part of the lounge, which was relatively quiet when we arrived. About 1 hour in, it did get very busy and our area crowded up with people departing after the World Rugby Cup. We left too early to have breakfast at the hotel and so we found the snacks to be sufficient to keep us going until the flight. They had their signature Japanese beef curry with rice (had this too at the JAL Sakura Lounge in Honolulu) as well as a cold bar with salads, sandwiches, crudites and other snacks like Japanese takoyaki and pastries.

They also has a nice selection of sakes, shochu, red, and white wines but it was the beer dispenser that was the show stopper! First, you grab a chilled glass from the fridge, then you place your glass in the dispenser and watch in awe as the machine tips the glass as the beer fills the glass; each pour is perfect each time! The beer machine impressed us so much we wanted to leave it a tip for good service without entitled attitude! (tipping is a faux pax in Japan!).

The Seat:

We were really excited to try the seat because it’s one of the highly reviewed Apex seats all the bloggers rave about and it did live up to the hype. The seat pitch/bed length is 78 inches and the seat width is 20.1 inches which is very similar to the Turkish Airlines 787 business class seat. The configuration was 1-2-1 and as usual, we chose window seats. Maxine was in 10A and Jason in 9A.

JAL 787-900 Sky Suite III seat on the flight from NRT - Tokyo Narita to CGK - Jakarta
JAL 787-900 Sky Suite III seat on the flight from NRT – Tokyo Narita to CGK – Jakarta

We also got to test out JAL’s new seat map that shows where infants will be seating and decided to move to the second business class cabin to sit as far away as possible from the happy infant icon showing up on the seat map. Unfortunately, those guests moved right in-front of us and the headphones provided on JAL were not sufficient enough to block out the noise from the mis-behaved food throwing megaphone of a child. That being said, we are not sure if they are any headphones with good enough noise cancelling properties to block out this demon child.

JAL seat map that shows where infants are sitting
JAL seat map that shows where infants are sitting

The screen on this aircraft is 17 inches, so smaller than the 23 inch one on the 777 in First Class but still pretty good. Again though, not much to watch so we read and tried to nap after watching a Japanese movie with subtitles.

The Food:

Since the food was so amazing on our First Class flight from SFO to HND, we were excited about the food in business class on this flight but doubtful it would be as good, but we were proven wrong and in some ways we enjoyed the food on this flight better. We once again chose the Japanese menu which included a selection of small dishes served in a bento-style box. The presentation of this meal was so unique and refined; it is probably the best one of any premium food and beverage service we’ve ever experienced on a flight.

The Amenities:

We were provided with an amenity kit that was much less elaborate but that was still high quality and had a good selection of items, including slippers and the moisture mask. We know wearing slipper once and throwing them out after the flight is not good for the planet but it does make the difference when flying and we do appreciate them. We were surprised that Cathay Pacific did not offer slippers on the HKG-YVR flight which clocks in at close to 11 hours.

Champagne at 40,000 feet in JAL Business Class on the 787-900 Sky Suite III
Champagne at 40,000 feet in JAL Business Class on the 787-900 Sky Suite III
Mask and Headphones: Max trying to keep the moisture in and block out the sound of the child
Mask and Headphones: Max trying to keep the moisture in and block out the sound of the child


This was another memorable flight in general and another fantastic experience on JAL. We are so thankful we finally got to fly this route and product since we had to cancel in 2017 and even if we don’t go back to Bali, we do hope to fly JAL Business Class again one day; we will be ready to pre-order the Japanese meals when we do!

Have you ever worn a moisture mask in-flight? If so, did it make a difference? Would you order the Japanese meal or the Western one?

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