As part of my most recent trip to Europe, I flew in JAL’s first class from Tokyo to New York. While I visited JAL’s first class lounge at Narita airport before, this trip gave me a chance to pay a visit to the one at Haneda airport which is considerably nicer.
Continue reading the article to join me on a tour of the lounge.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
The JAL First Class Lounge at Haneda airport is very easy to find. It’s located past security and immigration, right across from gate 112. Its reception is on the fourth floor (one floor above the main departures level). As you’ll see further down, part of the lounge is also located on the fifth floor.
Since the opening hours are subject to change, I recommend checking JAL’s website before you plan a visit. During my visit, the lounge was open from 6:30AM until 1:25AM.
Passengers flying in first class on JAL and other Oneworld airlines can enter the lounge. Oneworld Emerald status holders can visit the lounge regardless of the class they travel in (as long as it’s on a Oneworld airline) too. JAL first class passengers and Oneworld Emerald members are allowed to bring one guest with them into the lounge.
Past reception, one could either go left or right.
On the left side, there were showers, Sushi Tsurutei – the lounge’s sushi bar, and a staircase/elevator leading to the fifth floor which I’ll talk more about below.
I didn’t have a chance to take a shower, so cannot report on what the shower rooms looked like. That said, they had to be booked through a mobile app. While the sushi bar area itself was closed during my visit, sushi could be ordered as one of the meal options via the mobile app too.
Going to the right instead, there was a hallway with a few phone booths. As I mentioned in my other reviews too, they are a common feature in Japanese lounges and I find them great as they allow people to get their business done without disturbing other passengers.
There were also some luggage lockers.
Further down, the hallway was lined with nice Japan-themed walls. At its end was the lounge’s main dining area, JAL’s Table.
Along the way, though, one could turn left into a small walled-off area with some high-back chairs which seemed to be good for relaxing before one’s flight. The one thing that I found odd, though, was that this area which was seemingly meant for relaxation was also where a couple of workspaces and a printer/copier could be found.
While the area was empty when I visited, I assume it would be weird if there was someone typing away on their keyboard or printing documents right next to people trying to enjoy some quiet time.
The printer/copier area was also connected to another lounging area which was equipped with rows of sofa chairs with side tables.
This area offered good views of the airport and featured a large world map on one of its walls. All of the sofa chairs were separated from each other by plastic partitions as a COVID-19 prevention measure.
JAL’s Table Dining Area
The lounging area was connected with JAL’s Table which was the lounge’s largest area. The main feature here was a large counter behind which the food which could be ordered via a mobile app was prepared. While the dining area, in general, was fairly uninspiring, I liked the Japan- and aviation-themed design on the wall behind the counter.
Further down along the terminal-side wall was a counter with self-serve drinks and some light bites to eat. More on those later, though. There was also a communal table with some bar-height chairs.
The majority of seating in the dining area consisted of rows of square tables for two, each lined with chairs on one side and a bench on the other. There were also some round tables for four.
By far my favorite, though, were the seats along the windows overlooking the apron. While some were placed around tables, most of them were placed along long counters lining the windows. All of those seats offered great views of movements at not only the international terminal but also at one of the airport’s runways and at Terminal 1.
At the far end of the dining area was an entrance to my favorite part of the lounge, the RED Suite. Just before that was a counter with some liquor.
Compared to the rest of the lounge which felt like, well, an airport lounge, the RED Suite felt much more homey and luxurious. That was partly caused by the area being broken down into a few smaller areas, each slightly different in design and style.
The thing I loved about this part the most, though, was the sheer amount of aviation- and travel-related items ranging from historic JAL photos and travel books through globes and models all the way to aircraft parts that were on display there.
Right past the entrance into the RED Suite was an area with a few shelves. Those were mainly home to some Lonely Planet travel guides and other books. There was also a display case with JAL memorabilia including a model of Boeing 2707 – a supersonic airliner that never came to be.
The seating here mainly consisted of a few pairs of large black leather sofa chairs facing each other.
One more thing worth noting here is that there was also a table where, pre-COVID-19, shoe shining service was offered. If or when the service will be reintroduced remains to be seen.
To the right of the entrance area was a small champagne lounge. The main feature in this part was a large table with a couple of bottles of Laurent-Perrier champagne and a bottle of sake.
The seating here was relatively no-frills and consisted of a couple of small round tables, each with two chairs.
To the left of the entrance area was a small seating area with three pairs of light brown leather seats.
More importantly, though, there were some display cases and a table with more memorabilia. In addition to globes, vintage suitcases, and aircraft models, there were some aircraft components – including some Airbus A300 instruments – on display too.
On one of the walls, there were three historic JAL photos.
Lastly, going straight through the entrance area, there was a game room with a bar-height table with a couple of chairs, a foosball table, and four chess tables.
Second Floor: JAL’s Salon and More
As mentioned earlier, the second floor of the lounge (located on the fifth floor of the terminal) could be accessed via stairs and an elevator located near the reception.
Just like on the lounge’s main floor, there were luggage lockers and phone booths on the second floor as well. The phone booths had no doors, though, so they were not too useful in preventing phone calls from being heard in the lounge’s other areas.
Additionally, there was also a lounging space mainly consisting of small sofa chairs some of which overlooked a part of the apron, and a couple of tables with chairs and benches.
While there were booths meant to be equipped with massage chairs, the chairs appeared to have been removed due to COVID-19.
Last but not least, the centerpiece of the second floor was JAL’s Salon, a large lounging and bar area that reminded me a bit of Haneda airport’s Cathay Pacific lounge.
This area featured a staffed bar as well as a self-serve drink station. Next to those was a standalone counter with a dozen seats.
The rest of the seating consisted of a couple of counters (both standalone and lined along windows) and a variety of sofa chairs and sofas in a number of different configurations.
While not as nice as the RED Suite, JAL’s Salon definitely felt a bit cozier than the main dining area on the lounge’s first floor. This would have been the case even more so if there weren’t ugly “infection prevention” partitions between some of the seats.
Food and Drinks
While drinks in the lounge were mainly self-serve, when I sat down after arriving in the lounge, I was asked what I wanted to drink. Not long after that, I was brought a glass of Coke Zero which I ordered together with a wet towel. The staff also asked me if I wanted anything to drink every now and that after that – mainly when coming to clear finished plates.
As for food, while there were some self-serve light bites to eat, most of the items had to be ordered via a mobile app. The staff was, of course, happy to help those who had issues with using the app which involved scanning a QR code on your table so that the meal would arrive in the right place.
The light bites to eat included packaged snacks (candies, white chocolate rusk, and roasted almonds with caramel) and pintxos (pastrami beef and oil sardine/olive).
While I didn’t try any of the above, I did try a few items from the a la carte menu including a chopped salad with green goddess dressing (Japanese dressing was available too), broccoli soup, beef curry, and sushi.
I enjoyed all of the dishes – especially the soup and curry. That said, it would have been nice if there was a bit more variety in the sushi offered.
Other items that were available from the menu when I visited (i.e. during breakfast time) were:
- Japanese meal set (rice, miso soup, spicy cod roe, Japanese omelet, mackerel, etc.)
- American breakfast plate (scrambled eggs, sausages, potatoes, salad)
- Tomato sauce rigatoni with sausage
- Vegetable penne
- Steamed vegetables
- Ramen noodles
- Vegetable sushi roll
- Rice, bread, miso soup, etc.
- Desserts including taiyaki, sakura pancakes, tiramisu, daifuku
Soft drinks available in the lounge included soda from dispensers, bottles of tonic and Perrier sparkling water, and pitchers of juice and ice coffee. There were also coffee machines offering a variety of drinks and a modest selection of George Stuart tea bags.
Alcoholic drinks included a selection of liquor, beer, sake, wine, and champagne.
As a non-drinker, the names of wines don’t tell me much, but in case you are wondering, Laurent-Perrier Brut was served in the champagne lounge and Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve was offered in the rest of the lounge.
Also worth noting is that while there were automated beer dispensers which Japanese lounges are well-known for, they were not in service and canned beer was provided instead.
JAL First Class Lounge Tokyo Haneda Summary
What set the lounge apart from the others for me was the RED Suite. Not only was that part of the lounge a good space for relaxing, but it was also very enjoyable to look through all of the displayed items. On the other hand, the one thing that the lounge missed was an area where those with long layovers could lie down and stretch their legs.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay in the JAL First Class Lounge at Haneda airport and would argue that it is a lounge that makes arriving at the airport relatively early worth it. Then again, considering that it is a first class rather than business class lounge, that might be expected.