Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Economy Class – Tokyo to Dallas


Introduction:  Flying to Japan to Ride the Shinkansen
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Premium Economy Class – Dallas to Tokyo
Review: NAA Dayroom – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines – (787-800) Economy Class – Tokyo to Bangkok
Review: Aloft Hotel – Bangkok
Review: Singapore Airlines (A330) Business Class – Bangkok to Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines (777-300) Business Class – Singapore to Tokyo
Review: Nozomi Shinkansen – Tokyo to Fukuoka
Review: Hilton Sea Hawk – Fukuoka
Day Trip to Uminonakamichi Island
Review: Gyozaya Ninoni – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways Lounge – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways (767-300) Business Class – Fukuoka to Naha
Review: All Nippon Airways (737-800) Economy Class – Naha to Nagoya
Review: All Nippon Airways (Bombardier Dash 8) Economy Class – Nagoya to Tokyo
Review: 9 Hours Capsule Hotel – Narita International Airport
Review: IASS Executive Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: TEI Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Economy Class – Tokyo to Dallas

JL12
NRT – DFW
Departure: 1045 JST
Arrival: 0840 CST (same day)

Seat: 58K
July 14, 2019

As I mentioned before, I had issues trying at check-in for the last segment of my trip. There were kiosks near the check-in counter so I tried to used one but was turned away by one of the agents. She merely said, “please go to the counter for your check-in”. I had not experienced that before and still do not know what it was about. I approached counter Q and proceeded to have a discussion about my missed flight to Tokyo. After a brief conversation, I was allowed to proceed but with a boarding pass stamped with SSSS

After making brief stops in the IASS Executive and TEI Lounges, I made my way to security. I thought I was in for a long delay because of the SSSS stamp but was through security and customs within minutes. The agent at the customs’ counter did ask if I was stationed in Japan. Nah man, that ship has sailed. I made my way towards the gate because I did not have lounge access airside.

The gate was situated a level down from the main terminal. It was neat and kind of a hassle at the same time. Neat because it offered a unique perspective to the gate but a hassle if you need to use the restroom or grab a bite to eat. I would not arrive at the gate too early, if you can help it. There was a vending machine and a snack shop on the gate level though.

An announcement was made 1000L alerting passengers of the boarding time of 1025L. As is the case with most things in Japan, boarding began on time. It started with preboarding for anyone requiring special assistance or those traveling with small children. This was followed by suites (business class), Oneworld Sapphire, premium economy, and lastly, economy class. All of the boarding group calls happened within 14 minutes. 

I was one of the last ones to board due to the SSSS on my boarding pass. I was taken to a room just on the side of the gate. The agent asked if I would allow him to search. What other options are there? Jail? LOL. He performed a pat down on me and an explosive swab on my carry on. After I few minutes, I was free to continue.

 

I made my way to my seat, 58K. The seat itself was not bad but the walk through the business and premium economy classes stung a bit. 

The economy cabin consisted of 15 rows in a 2-4-2 configuration. I was originally in a middle seat but opted to change it to a window seat in the back. The seat was the next to last row in the plane.

At the seat waiting was a thick blanket and pillow. I appreciated that the blanket was wrapped in plastic. The pillow was not wrapped, which was confusing.

The infight entertainment screen was in the seatback. The screen was bigger than those seen on American carriers. It included a USB port, audio jack and hangar. 

The tray table folded down from the seat in front, it could be used halved or whole. I appreciated this because I do not like having the entire tray table take up the limited space when flying economy. The seat provided a decent amount of space for my bag and legs as well.

The door was closed a few minutes after the scheduled departure. Mizuko, the senior cabin attendant made the welcome announcement, which was followed by the safety demo. Our pushback from the gate was six minutes behind schedule. I happened to catch a view of an American Airlines 777-300, also going to Dallas. This was interesting because boarding for the flight began nearly an hour before ours, yet we pushed from the gate only a few minutes apart. Our flight was near capacity.

The American Airlines 777 departed at 1115L. We were in a of 11 aircraft and departed 15 minutes later. There was a significant amount of turbulence on the climb out. This lasted for almost 50 minutes. Service began at this point with warm towels. 

The drink cart followed five minutes later. It did not make it to my seat in the back as the service was suspended 20 minutes into it due to more turbulence. I decided to check out the flight map to see if somehow we were closer to Dallas than Tokyo. It was wishful thinking…

Service resumed after 12 minutes. I requested an Asahi beer to drink. It was served with rice crackers. 

The meal service began nearly two hours into flight. The cart made it to my seat almost 35 minutes later. The options, provided on a bilingual card, were vegetable curry or “tri-colored” chicken. I took a leap of faith and went with the chicken.

The meal was served on a tray with a side salad, sweet potato purée, stewed eggplant (I think), and a cheesecake crumble. There was wayyyy too much stuff on the tray, but it sure was efficient.

The chicken dish was edible to say the least. The rice was mushy, while the eggs and chicken were ok. The sweet potato and stewed vegetables were more of the same. The highlight of the meal was the cheesecake crumble. It was one of the most delicious items I have eaten on an airplane. Haagen Dazs ice cream was offered but I did not partake. Finally, three hours into the flight, the first meal service was complete. 

The cabin lights were dimmed with just over seven hours left to Dallas or approximately four hours after takeoff. I used the time to check out the lavatory. They were located between the premium economy and economy cabins. They were fairly basic, but clean. 

Also in between the cabins were a snack basket and drinks. The snack basket consisted of rice crackers and chocolate. Water and juice were available. 

I tried to get some sleep but could not doze off, so I worked on the blog. The cabin lights were turned on two and a half hours later for the snack service. The snack was a vanilla and chocolate, twin cake. I did not try it because I was not hungry. The flight attendants served those of us in the back first. 

The lights were turned down again for almost two hours. When we were just over two hours from Dallas, the pre-arrival service started with warm towels. The flight attendants started at the front of the cabin.

 

The snack was an Air Mos Burger (from Japanese company Mos Burger). It was served with some chips, a fruit cup, lettuce, and teriyaki/mayonnaise. I found the packaging of the burger to be unique. It was the nicest airplane sandwich presentation. The package was sealed with glue or something. I had to give it a good tug to open.

When I opened it, there were napkins separating the meat and buns to prevent sogginess…hella smart! Come to think of it, I believe this was my first time eating a burger on a plane. 

I topped the burger with a little lettuce and teriyaki. The burger was simply amazing. The buns were toasted, while the patty was moist. How?! I did not touch any of the other items because I was not terribly hungry. This was the third service in less than six hours. 

We had about 90 minutes to Dallas. This made me happy because I was excited to return home. The purser made the landing announcement 30 minutes from Dallas. We began our descent soon thereafter. It was a nice overcast morning in the metroplex. 

We had a smooth touchdown on runway 36R at 0821, about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Thanks jet stream! 

Final Word

You cannot beat a direct flight, especially when returning from a trip such as this. The alternatives would have put me back in Dallas after midnight. The direct flight saved me nearly 16 hours. The fiasco at check-in and the SSSS boarding pass were minor in retrospect, just people doing their jobs. 

The seat was not bad for the 11 hour flight. It was just a bit uncomfortable due to me still nursing the skydiving injury. My seat mate was respectful the entire way. 

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