The sun shined through my eyelids, I tried to open my eyes, wondering what time it was. Reaching for my cell phone, I noticed my phone service is no longer AT&T. I clumsily stumbled towards the window, and all the buildings outside looked like an fortress, formed to protect the technology and financial advancement of the city. I stared at one sign with Kanji on it, I finally remembered, I am in Tokyo, Japan now.

Air Travel – JAL

This year, after some headache trying to find the airplane tickets within my price range ($900-$1500), I finally got round trip tickets for $1200 from JAL . JAL stands for Japan Airline. The company was formed in 1951 during post war Japan era at Haneda Airport. The country was recovering from the war, and businesses sprung up like sprouts of life. They launched the first private domestic air service in the country, and started flying to San Francisco in 1954.

I love this company because they have excellent service, and right now they have one of the better ticket price to Japan. Their flight attendants are well trained in foreign languages, very easy to understand and to talk to. Ohh, and their food, yumm…

At least the 3 times I been on their flights, I never gone hungry. I noticed that people tend to like their western food (especially the ones with some kind of sauce in the main course) the best. Complimented with the meal are their drinks, and I highly recommend their Sky Time Citrus Juice. Sky Time Citrus Juice cannot be bought anywhere else, it is JAL’s special citrus juice. Lightly sweetened citrus juice with just a hint of sourness, it is a refreshing “pick-me-up” drink during the grueling hours on flight.

I love their seasoned potato salad with smoked salmon!! The potato salad is good when you mix it with their caesar salad.

If you are hungry in the middle of the flight, no worries. Just walk towards the back of the airplane where the kitchen is, and they will have a box by the walkway (above) filled with cookies, crackers, bread, and fresh fruits! If you are still not satisfied, just ask a flight attendant, and she/he will bring you either coup noodles or sandwiches with no extra charge. (Some airlines do charge you if you want extra food mid-flight)

Pros:

  • Excellent Food
  • Decent Seat: Boeing 777’s economy seats still allow one to lean the seat back, unlike other new airplanes.
  • Attendants with Good Language Skills
  • Good Price Right Now: For round trip tickets with co-share flights, their price is pretty good + good service when compared to other competitors. (Ticket price may vary for later summer travel).

Cons:

  • Odd Arrival Time: JAL flights bound for Haneda Airport, Tokyo arrive about 10pm at night. Better not waste your time and get to the Monorail soon as possible, or else you might miss the last train around 11:20pm. Taxi service will still be available, but it costs about $65,00 yen – $100,00 yen to get to Tokyo. (Monorail costs only around $500 yen) $65,00 yen or $500 yen? I think I rather not go to bathroom and run to the Monorail to save that money for some delicious sushi =D
  • Arrival Airport Customs: JAL flights from San Francisco and LA lands at Haneda Airport. Unfortunately, for some reason, customs officers at Haneda Airport like ask people questions, in Japanese. I have seen many people looked so confused and helpless. My suggestion? Have all your travel itinerary, hotel reservation information papers ready in hand, and just hand the customs your papers when they ask you questions.

Do you have a favorite airline?