JAL, Boeing 787-8, Tokyo Narita – Nagoya


The JAL 787’s are unique. Rather than having the unloved 3-3-3 configuration in economy, they are the only airline to have the originally intended 2-3-2 layout. Launch customer ANA initially had the same layout, although they have since gone with the standard 9 abreast.

The journey to Nagoya started onboard the Keisei Skyliner train from Ueno station in Tokyo. Arrival came 40 minutes later and it was over to the domestic area of the terminal.

It seemed to be a JAL exclusive area, with just the one (basic) lounge and very few shops.

JAL lounge
JAL lounge
JAL lounge
JAL lounge
JAL lounge
The only catering offered in the lounge.

Around 30 minutes prior to boarding, with the lounge getting crowded, noisy and more than a little warm for my liking, I decided to head down to the gate. I’ve made better decisions, as the gate area was even more grim.

This Trip:

Japan Airlines
Tokyo Narita – Nagoya
Boeing 787-8 JA837J
Seat 53A
December 2019


Boarding began a little earlier than advertised, and it worked very well. Despite being an automated gate, when I scanned my boarding pass, the OneWorld Emerald logo appeared on the screen and the gates opened. I can only assume that any chancers won’t be admitted, as it clearly knows who has what status.

It appeared that there were very few, if any jet bridges at the domestic wing. Therefore, it was on to a bus.

After a drive to a remote stand which was probably nearer to terminal 3 than terminal 2, we pulled up along side the 787 that would be flying south this evening.

JAL 787

Most importantly though, were the seats any different to the other 787’s in service? Yes, noticeably. Had I not been given the upgrade on the flight to Japan, I’m pretty sure I could have managed here just fine.

JAL cabin
JAL cabin
JAL cabin
JAL cabin

Amazingly, my seat mate turned out to be a young child – probably no more than 5 years old at a push! Unsurprisingly, this arrangement didn’t last long. The guy who was sat next to the child’s mother turned up a few moments later to swap. Which begs the question how this was allowed to happen in the first place?!

Shortly before the engines were started, the crew came through the aisle offering blankets. Pretty good for an hours domestic flight.

JAL safety video


In line with pretty much every flight on this trip so far, pushback came more than a few minutes later than anticipated.

After an excruciatingly long taxi that seemed to take in at least three laps of the airport, we were off.

Around 30 minutes of solid taxiing later and we finally made our way into the air.

Onboard Service

First of all, the crew attempted to sell some duty free. When this failed, the rolled out the drinks carts instead. There seemed to be a more limited selection compared to what was offered on the international flight. I couldn’t say what though as a menu card was shoved in front of me and I just took a lucky dip by pointing to something random.

JAL cabin

What I ended up with was a luminous yellow chilled drink which had a sweet taste to it. I later found out that this was the JAL Signature SkyTime drink. A kiwi based juice.

JAL domestic catering
JAL skytime

No sooner had I downed it, the crew were snatching the cup away from me to clear up. There wasn’t any mention of a flight time, but I’m assuming it wasn’t very long considering the crew seemed to be rushing things somewhat.

JAL 787 cabin


Before we got going, the crew “regretfully” announced that the in flight entertainment wouldn’t be switched on for this flight. The same went for the WiFi. Which didn’t bother me in the slightest! From the flight to Japan, I found that JAL didn’t have an awful lot in the way of entertainment anyway. Therefore I spend the majority of the flight sleeping.


As I suspected, this flight wasn’t particularly long. Just 25 minutes after take and we were making quite a bumpy approach. Yet the seatbelt signs remained off right up until the final minutes. Strange, as on other occasions even the slightest bump warrants them being switched on. Different cultures and rules I guess.

Touchdown into Nagoya came after just 45 minutes airborne.

There was a quick taxi over to the stand and then it was out into the airport… and finally bed!

JAL 787


This was the second time I have flown domestically in Japan. The previous occasion was with ANA in their Premium Cabin. This time around, JAL were fine on the 45 minute flight. I must admit, I didn’t really know what to expect, as the service onboard JAL isn’t something I know too much about. Maybe I expected a pack of nuts or similar along with a drink, but it wasn’t a huge issue.

The one area I was most looking forward to seeing on this particular plane was the seating. It was very much superior to any other 787 in economy. To the point where I feel the airlines have effectively ruined what could have been a very comfortable plane to fly in.


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