I was fortunate enough to experience JAL first class lounge as my trip on JAL 010 from Tokyo Haneda to Chicago O’Hare, in First Class. Getting to the lounge is easy enough. It is located a few hundred feet/meters past the Immigration desks at Tokyo Haneda Airport Terminal 3.
The lounge can be found on the upper level between gates 111 and 112. The location was ideal since my flight was departing from gate 111, a stone’s throw away from the lounge entrance.
JAL First Class Lounge Entry
The façade of the lounge is beautiful, in a very classically Japanese kind of way. Aside from the beauty, the flower and water display screamed classy elegance as you walked by.
Entry to the lounge was seamless, with the agents swiftly bowing the moment I walked in. Three agents handled the simple process of checking me in. Then I was advised that I could head left for the Shower and Salon or right for the food and refreshments.
Unsurprisingly with a background in architecture, I love fine architectural details, and the JAL first class lounge was no exception.
As I walked through the space, I felt like I was in several different parts of Tokyo and Japan all over again. I especially liked the main entry, the Shower Room wall, and the beautiful white panel hallway.
By far, my favorite architectural detail is the shower entry room. The art wall bust of Mount Fuji is stunning. Since I had visited the Hakone area during my trip, it was an instant reminder of the hot springs and views of Mount Fuji.
JAL First Class Lounge Layout and Space
The lounge is large and spacious. I noted at least twenty different types of seating types and seating areas to choose from. Whether you want to work, just lay back and relax or use a table for a snack, almost every conceivable need is catered for.
Overall, the lounge is very spacious; however, it was pretty busy when I visited. Although, unlike a lot of other lounges around the world, it was not crowded. I selected my seating so I could get rid of my bags and took a tour of the lounge.
JAL First Class Lounge Red Suite
My favorite area of the JAL first class lounge is the Red Suite. This is a beautiful, classy, dimly lit, and interesting space full of memorabilia. Wandering around, you are mesmerized by the history of JAL, including books, a globe, and model Planes, communications, and radio equipment.
There is also an interesting model of the JAL Concorde.
Part of the suite is another room full of maps with aviation pathways and flight navigation information.
You can lounge and chill in the Red Suite, and if I had less luggage, I may have chosen to do so since it offers a very refined, exciting space.
I returned to my seat and took out the Wi-Fi instruction booklet and followed the simple steps to get online. The connection was quick and stable throughout my time in the lounge.
Food & Beverage
The food ordering process was pretty high-tech and had to be done through QR Codes and a dedicated App. However, I must say the food was easy to order once you had signed into the QR code app.
There is only one word to describe the food, and that is extensive. After debating which of the delicious choices I wanted to try, I ordered.
Amazingly the food literally showed up 3 minutes later. I kid you not! And since I ordered a couple of dishes, they were presented to me back to back.
I noticed that the Japanese-style curry and Ramen tray did not come with any napkins, which I found odd. This is one of the few times the JAL first class service dropped the ball during my experience.
JAL First Class Lounge Shower
Soon enough, I was done with my light bite to eat, and it was time to freshen up in the shower ahead of my long flight to Chicago. I had pre-booked my shower space, and while I was eating my two meals, I received a notification that the shower space was already ready for me.
To say that it was speedy is an understatement, and it was incredibly fast. I was not expecting it to be ready in less than five minutes, or I would have held back on some food.
I made my first mistake by heading into the shower area, which was empty and unstaffed. After waiting about 5 minutes for the magic to happen, I headed back outside when it didn’t.
That is when I realized you’re supposed to check in at the front desk and pick up the key.
Once back at the front desk, I picked up my key, although the staff asked me if I’d like any additional items not in the shower room.
Realizing I had forgotten my hairbrush, I requested one, and it was duly provided.
There is an extensive list of amenities that are on offer. While most are in the shower already, some are available on request.
JAL First Class Lounge Shower Amenities:
- Paper Cup
- Hair Dryer
- Facial Tissue
- Shower Cap (on request)
- Razor (on request)
- Hairbrush (on request)
- Cotton Bud (on request)
Heading into the shower foyer, you are met with a stunning Mount Fuji-themed receiving area. Which, as I mentioned earlier, is one of my favorite parts of the lounge.
The attendant led me all the way inside the shower room and to the actual shower, unlocking the door to allow me in.
Inside, everything was well-appointed and well-placed. The shower was quick; getting hot water took about 3-4 minutes.
After my shower, I dried off, then realized I had just 20 more minutes to enjoy the lounge. At this point, I decided to head off and explore the salon area!
JAL Upstairs Salon Lounge
The upstairs salon lounge is a hidden gem of Tokyo’s JAL first class lounge. Although if I had known about it first, I would have probably planted myself here and done some work for some time.
The space is more private than downstairs, with several private seating and working areas. I found several guests sleeping here, as it’s certainly the quietest and most private area in the entire lounge.
However, my favorite area is the bar and salon Lounge. These feature a TV, another departure screen, and what can only be described as an excellent selection of spirits!
Salon Lounge Bar
The bar oozes elegance and class with live plants and an excellent whisky selection. Once again, I tried the Hizaki straight, which didn’t disappoint. I followed that with the Japanese Green Tea, which came in a beautiful container.
Fortunately, the lounge gods were smiling upon me and noticed that my flight was delayed by a few minutes. This gave me time to try some more spirit and enjoy this lounge even more.
At 10:15 am, it was time to go, and I rushed downstairs, grabbed my belongings, and headed out.
As you would expect from a JAL first class lounge, the professionalism and attention to detail were immense.
On the way out, the three gate agents wished me a good flight in Japanese and bowed.
My experience in the lounge was impressive, and got the JAL first class experience ball rolling in a good direction. That being said, it lacked a little of the “WOW” factor compared to some first class lounges in the middle east (Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi), or even the stunning Lufthansa first class terminal in Frankfurt.
Don’t get me wrong; the lounge was still brilliant. However, I did feel like the amenities were more on the “Business Class” side of things, over perhaps “First Class” offerings of other flights. That being said, I would not hold this against the lounge, and I would gladly spend some time wrapped in the Red Suite or salon bar in a heartbeat!