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

a row of seats in an airplane

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.

a window with a plane in the background

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.

a sign in a building

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.

a row of seats in a plane

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!

a row of seats in an airplane

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.

a menu with black text

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

a plastic bag of food and a drink on a table

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.

a red rectangular sign with white text

a close up of a card

a tray of food on a table

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.

a close up of a container

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

a plastic bag with a yellow object in it

a person holding a piece of food

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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  1. did you get the jal booking number to use their web site. ?

    2 years in a row now we were able to select out seats that way

    only gripe we had was business class seats don’t recline fully ( jl 65/707/708/66_ ) all on the 787

    other asian airlines have them beat in that dept

  2. Lol , that’s not long haul 😉 Try 17 hours in economy, DFW-SYD 4 times! 🙂 It wasn’t too bad though.

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