Back in January I flew Japan Airlines (JAL) from Seoul Gimpo (GMP) to Tokyo Haneda (HND). It was definitely one of the better economy flights I’ve experienced recently. From the crew and cabin, to the seat and food, everything was excellent. My only complaint was not being able to choose my seats in advance. Read more about that below.
When booking the lowest priced JAL fares you may not be eligible to choose your seats in-advance (despite having Oneworld status). This was the case for my booking. When I checked my booking I just received a message saying seat selection not eligible:
Upon reviewing the JAL booking page again, I noticed this disclaimer at the very bottom of the page. Good to know for the future…
If you choose a N or an O booking class, advance seat assignment is not applicable. Also, if you choose a Q booking class, the area of advance seat assignment is limited.
Luckily I was able to choose the seats I wanted as soon as web check-in opened 24 hours before departure.
JAL performs codeshare flights with Korean Air and therefore uses the Korean Air lounge at Gimpo (there is no dedicated JAL lounge). Oneworld Sapphire status grants you access to this lounge.
One of the things I really like about the international terminal at Gimpo airport is that it’s quite small and never too busy. We arrived quite early for our flight and the lounge was nearly empty.
The breakfast selection was really good (including western and asian choices). One thing I like about lounges in Japan and Korea is that they usually have beer taps/machines, a nice feature (although too early for breakfast)!
A few minutes before boarding we headed towards the gate (only a few minutes away from the lounge). To our surprise boarding had already started. Priority boarding had already finished but we were able to jump the queue anyways. I was unsure if I was able to “bring a guest” to priority boarding since this doesn’t seem to be an advertised benefit. However, I asked the staff and they said “of course” :)
This particular JAL 777-200 variant offers asymmetric 3-4-2 seating in economy. I’m a huge fan of this since it caters to most travellers’ preferences. For two people, I of course chose the pair seating, giving us aisle access and a window.
The cabin felt quite new and was clean. Most notably the legroom was actually really good and the seats were comfortable. All seats have IFE, USB charging, and even a full-sized power outlet under the seat.
Even on this short 1.5 hour flight, a full meal was served. The portion was quite small, but it was probably one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had on an economy flight. I like that JAL seems to focus on offering Japanese food (whereas on ANA I’ve always received western food).
There was even WiFi available during the flight (powered by t-mobile). I didn’t need it on this short flight, but it’s nice that they offer a full-flight unlimited plan.
Overall a very good economy flight with excellent service, food, ground services. It’s definitely a carrier I will consider again in the future when travelling economy. I hope to try their long-haul offerings as well.