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JL F HND LHR featured - REVIEW - JAL First Class Lounge, Tokyo Haneda Airport
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REVIEW – JAL First Class Lounge, Tokyo Haneda Airport

JL Lounge hibiki 17

JAL (JL)

  • Location: Tokyo (HND)
  • Class: First
  • Access: OneWorld Emerald and ticketed First Class passengers
  • Date: April 2015


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The main floor of the departures area was absolutely rammed with people at 9am but this was a bright, energetic kind of busy, rather than an oppressive crush you might get elsewhere.

I love the sweeping design of the roof of the terminal building, you feel like you’re making your way through a majestic hommage to man’s airborne endeavours, rather than a utilitarian transport shed (here’s looking at you LTN).

Given that I already had my F boarding pass, issued at CTS, I was able to beat the crowds and breeze straight through priority security.

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From left to right, top to bottom: Showers. Baggage storage (JL are always great at providing lockers so you can quickly and easily store away and access your bags whilst in their lounges). Phone Room. Smoking Room. Main Lounge 1. Coffee Lounge. Restrooms. Restaurant Lounge. Buffet Area. Another phone area. Main Lounge 2. Massage chairs and treatment rooms. DIY bar. RED Suite (with champagne room, recreation room and John Lobb shoe shine concession).

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The screen at the end represents two contrails crossing through a blue sky

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Such beautiful design, incorporating the traditional Japanese screens along the walls

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The Coffee lounge was empty for most of the time I was there.

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The hallway to the showers

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Ultra powerful shower. Unfortunately the lounge staff weren’t able to provide any shaving foam or body lotion though.

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The beginning section of Main Lounge 1

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Main Lounge 1. Amazing, panoramic views of the runway. Every area of the lounge was tastefully decorated with very solid and well designed furniture, trees and sculptures throughout. There was also ample opportunity to find a power socket, without needing to trail wires around.

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Runway view

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The Restaurant area of the lounge. This was the busiest section. If I was suffering from jet lag and needed to wake up, I’d head here for the panoramic runway views and the energetic buzz of people moving around. The centrepiece of the restaurant area was the live cooking station. In the morning the chef makes pancakes.

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A huge buffet selection of very high quality food
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More buffet selections
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My first port of call
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The ever present automatic Japanese draft beer machines.
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A fridge filled with frosty beer glasses and soft drinks
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Beautiful, aerodynamic sculpture at the entrance to Main Lounge 2
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Main Lounge 2. I found this section to be quieter and brighter than Main Lounge 1 and decided to sit and watch the planes go by for a while.
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Coffee and chocolate truffles for breakfast…
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…and a massage. I reserved the massage as I checked in to the lounge. After finishing my coffee I went to the massage area and was greeted by and old lady who asked me to take my top off, or so I thought. She seemed very shocked when I not only took my jumper off but also my polo shirt. She immediately ran out of the treatment room and came back with a load of towels. She then proceeded to massage my neck and shoulders through the towels. Haha, lost in translation I guess. Next time I’ll try out the mechanised massage machines!

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After my massage I went in search of a drink.
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A very good selection. Hibiki 17 in particular, is far superior to the likes of JWB.
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Great presentation for the champagne
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With my whisky in hand, I went to explore the RED Suite. This was my favourite part of the whole lounge.
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The John Lobb shoe shine guy did an amazing job on my boots
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A model of a JAL concorde. The RED Suite is Avgeek paradise!

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Next time I’m in HND I’ll write a trip report from this desk (editor’s note: I did!)
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The recreation room.
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The champagne room is always stocked with Laurent Perrier; a better champagne than the revolving selection in the main lounge DIY bar.

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Fantastic Riedel glassware. What a difference to some of the thick walled basic glasses supplied in other F lounges around the world.

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After spending a long while in the RED suite, I made my way back to Main Lounge 2 and indulged in some plane watching with my feet up.

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I wasn’t the only one watching the planes go by. Apparently on a clear day you can see Mt Fuji from the observation deck. Soon enough it would be me waiting to take off on that runway.


Conclusion



This lounge is all about luxury and quality. Total comfort with zero bling. I absolutely loved the RED suite. One of my other big passions outside of planes is shoes, so having the John Lobb concession there was a real treat!

The lounge has enough varied environments that you really feel like you’re on a journey whilst you’re there. Your interest is piqued and a childlike urge to explore takes over.

Right now, this is probably my favourite lounge in the world. Is is so much more intimate than the cavernous Thai First Class lounge in BKK, BA Concorde Room, Cathay F Wing and Qatar Al Mourjan. It is way more fun than Qantas First Class at LAX and resoundingly beats the bland little ANA First Class lounge at NRT and Asiana First at ICN. Also, it goes without saying that this wipes the floor with any American legacy carrier’s lounge offerings. The only lounge that captures a similar feeling, with a similar eye to design and F&B quality is the VS Clubhouse at LHR T3.

I’d recommend getting to the airport early to experience the JL F lounge at HND in full and plan to do so myself when I’m there again in one week’s time!


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