7 Hours in JAL Economy on the Dreamliner: Narita to Bangkok

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Flying JAL economy on a codeshare is not at all ideal. I booked my the NRT-BKK Japan Airlines segment as part of my American Airlines ticket, and it was luck that it turned out well.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK plane

American couldn’t assign seats for that flight (no surprise) but neither could JAL. Their reps told me I could log in to my account and select a seat that way. Nope.

So I called back to see if I could buy an upgrade for the 7 hour flight. No upgrades were available and apparently because it was a codeshare that wasn’t even an option. Also discovered the JAL 787 seating didn’t include premium economy.

They suggested I could select a seat within the online check in window, but it turned out the JAL system didn’t recognize my itinerary, so I was at the mercy of the system. Fortunately when my boarding passes printed out in DC I had been given an exit row thanks to my oneworld Emerald status.

Whew. Otherwise it was going to be a long 7 hours with my knees jammed into the seat in front of me.

But griping aside, on to the flight! My first long haul 787 economy experience! Though our boarding passes indicated we should be at the gate 30 minutes in advance, there were barely staff there by then. Actually boarding didn’t happen until about 10-15 minutes before departure.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK gate

The boarding queue was a little haphazard, but the actual process was quite orderly and soon I found myself ensconced in the gray striped seats with pinkish red accents. Each seat had little pillows and headphones wrapped in red plastic like produce.

JAL premium economy 787 exit row

In the exit row there was plenty of leg room, a little less hip room because the tables are in the seats. The bulkhead seats also looked fairly comfortable, but the regular seats looked very tight!

JAL premium economy 787 bulkhead

The inflight entertainment options included a selection of new and old movies and TV shows. The wifi was truly terrible! Fortunately Tmobile was quick to refund the cost when notified about the slow speeds.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK drink menu

Meals were interesting. First they served sweet glazed soy snacks with choice of soda.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK snacks

Then a choice between pork or chicken, I chose chicken. Various picked items and salad were included. The flavors were good but the chicken was too gristled and fatty to enjoy.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK meal menu

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK meal description

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK chicken dinner option

They also came by with pitchers of mystery liquids. Sometimes it was miso soup, othertimes coffee, a green tea that looked alot like some other green juice that was on offer. The flight attendants were very nice, though limited in their English (and I knew no Japanese). But it was still fun for me! I’m usually awkward about these things so I had no trouble guessing wrong and making the best of it 🙂

Dessert was JAL branded Haagen-Dazs.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK haagen-dazs

About an hour or so before landing they came back around with a meaty roll snack and various beverage options.

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK snack roll

JAL economy 787 NRT BKK snack interior

A decent product, but even with the exit row a little cramped. I was happy to get off the plane and start my Bangkok adventures.

More from this trip

AA Flagship Lounge Chicago Review
5 Things to Know When Picking Seats on the 787
First Time in American Airlines Dreamliner Business Class ORD-NRT
Mango Sticky Rice Blizzards Are a Thing

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world.


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