Sunday, May 11, 2014

The great inflight service of Japan Airlines, from Tokyo to Manila


Tonight I flew from Tokyo to Manila on Japan Airlines, living a Travelife. It's a relatively painless four-hour flight, which is basically dinner, a movie and magazine.

I used to ride this JAL flight like a bus for many years, taking it every few weeks or so. 

This enabled me to have running conversations with people on JAL, and so many of them have literally witnessed so many milestones in my life.

No kidding. They know so many things about my life because of this.

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THE STRENGTH OF JAPAN AIRLINES

I have several favorite airlines, and after riding so many, I now know that the really good airlines have one or two particular strengths that give them the "X factor" vs. other airlines.

For Japan Airlines, I'm very impressed with the inflight service for business class. Considering I fly so much, it's a very big deal for me to say that JAL's inflight service ranks up there with the best on a global basis.

And just in case you're thinking this is some kind of compensated publicity, I'm happy to reveal that I booked my ticket for this flight online, just like so many other frequent travelers.

Narita Airport today

PERHAPS THE BEST STEWARDESSES 
IN THE WORLD

I find JAL stewardesses don't miss a thing and are unfailingly at your service -- at least in business class. They'll happily stow your bags for you -- unlike in many other airlines these days, where they'll happily help you with the luggage, but they won't do the stowing away 100% unless you also put in some effort. 

Not that I'm complaining about having to put in some effort to stow my own bags, but it is a very noticeable difference to me because my carry-on bags are always so heavy to stow away.

Don't ask me why. Even today, I was wondering what on earth I had in my bags, to make them so heavy.

ALWAYS ALERT TO ASSIST

The appetizers for the Western meal

Then tonight, business class in Japan Airlines was the 2-2-2 configuration, with 10 rows. It wasn't completely full, but I was never wanting for anything. 

Service was just right -- neither obtrusive nor inadequate.


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Midway through the flight, I stood up to get something in the overhead compartment. This was when I realized that a stewardess was stationed standing at the back of the business class section, waiting quietly and patiently in case anyone needed assistance. 

I've never seen this in any other airline, as far as I can recall.

I didn't really need any, opening the overhead compartment; but she quickly came over anyway. 

GOOD FOOD FROM TOKYO

The appetizers for dinner tonight

Meanwhile, the food was very good today. 

When I'm flying JAL out of Tokyo, I always order the Japanese menu because the catering is done in Tokyo and so it's bound to be good.

My only gripe is that the seats in business class are still the old types, so they don't recline into flat beds. Of course, it's only a four-hour flight; but when you fly as much as I do, you want a bed whenever possible.


WHAT A NICE MOVIE
ABOUT A SO VERY JAPANESE KIND OF ROMANCE

As for the movie, I watched a very nice Japanese movie called The Little House, with an excellent story and equally excellent acting. The main actress here is named Takako Matsu, and she comes from a kabuki family and is considered acting royalty in Japan.

When she made her debut in films many years ago, as the daughter of a famous kabuki actor,  I was not impressed. 


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I always thought she was just pushed into films without any real talent, and just because of her showbiz connections.

In The Little House, Takako Matsu's acting is mature and wonderful. The story, too, truly makes you think -- or at least, it made me think.

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TAKAKO MATSU OVER GEORGE CLOONEY

I was so glad I chose this instead of a Hollywood blockbuster by George Clooney about how a group of people saved some of the world's most valuable masterpieces from the Nazis during World War II. 

This is the kind of story I'm always interested in. 

But I bypassed it because I thought the chances are very high it's going to be showing on my next long-haul flights to South Africa in a few days, and to Morocco next month. 

Yes, I'm headed to two exotic destinations soon, for more amazing adventures in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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