Review: Jetstar Japan A321LR from Fukuoka to Tokyo Narita

After a decade of operating an all-Airbus A320 fleet, Jetstar Japan put its first Airbus A321LR into operation on July 1, 2022. While I originally booked a seat on the aircraft’s inaugural flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka, I eventually had to skip the flight due to other commitments.

I rebooked the flight a couple of times before finally using the ticket on a flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo which I took after joining ANA Demon Slayer Jet #3’s inaugural flight. With the new flight being cheaper than the flight I originally booked and an actual refund not being possible, I even had a chance to try one of the airline’s pre-order meals and some of the buy-on-board items.

Continue reading to see what flying on the latest addition to Jetstar Japan’s fleet is like.

Jetstar Japan Airbus A321LR
Jetstar Japan Airbus A321LR.

Boarding Jetstar Japan Flight 502

Having pre-selected my seat (7A) and checked in online, at Fukuoka airport, I headed straight through security. The seat selection was included in the Flex Biz fare package that I chose. Increased carry-on luggage allowance (14kg instead of the usual 7kg) and the ability to refund flights (as a voucher) were included too.

The security queue for Jetstar (and Peach) was separate from the rest of the airlines’ and took seven or eight minutes to clear.

Jetstar Japan Fukuoka Security
Security queue.
Fukuoka Airport

Airside, I walked to gate 5 where the flight was departing from. Outside Jetstar Japan’s at the time sole A321LR (JA26LR) was almost ready for the flight and inside, passengers were waiting for boarding to start. Some of the passengers standing near the gate were approached by Jetstar Japan staff and had their bags measured/weighted.

Boarding started at 9:37AM (almost 30 minutes before departure) when passengers requiring assistance and those seated in emergency exit row seats were invited to board. Passengers seated in window seats were invited a minute later, and so I presented my boarding pass and walked down the jetway.

Jetstar Japan A321LR at Fukuoka Airport
Jetstar Japan A321LR almost ready for the flight to Tokyo.
Jetstar Japan Boarding at Fukuoka Airport

Jetstar Japan A321LR Cabin & Seat

The Jetstar Japan A321LRs was in an all-economy class configuration and featured a total of 238 Recaro seats in a 3-3 configuration.

The seats were gray and featured a “Jetstar orange” line just below the headrest.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Cabin
Cabin overview.
Jetstar Japan A321LR Cabin
Cabin overview looking toward the front.

While at this point, Jetstar Japan only uses the A321LRs on domestic flights, it has plans to deploy them on international flights later on. With the aircraft’s range enabling longer flights, the seats were considerably better-equipped than those on Jetstar Japan’s A320s.

The seatback not only featured the usual literature compartment and tray table but also a proper seat pocket that could hold a laptop, for example.

Additionally, above the tray table, was also a device holder which passengers could use to make watching movies on their smartphones and tablets more comfortable. Next to it was a USB charging port. The device holder also included a cup holder.

The seat offered decent legroom and was equipped with an individual air vent.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Seat
Device holder.
Jetstar Japan A321LR Seat
Legroom and seat pocket.
Jetstar Japan A321LR Literature
Contents of the literature compartment.

Jetstar Japan Pre-Flight Service & Departure

Once boarding was finished, the aircraft was almost full.

Unexpectedly, around 10AM, I was approached by one of the flight attendants: “Mr. Nukina, your meal today comes with a hot drink. What would you like?” From that point on, in a way, the service felt more like flying in business class than on a low-cost carrier.

At 10:06AM, the cabin crew made an announcement introducing the crew and mentioning that we were expecting a flight time of 1 hour and 28 minutes. Three minutes later, the aircraft doors were closed.

We were pushed back seven minutes behind schedule at 10:12AM. At that point, the crew did a manual safety demo.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Push Back
Ready to go.
Skymark 737
Skymark 737 being pushed back at the same time as us.

Fifteen minutes later, at 10:27AM, we took off from Fukuoka airport’s runway 16.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Departing Fukuoka
Take-off roll.
Jetstar Japan A321LR Departing Fukuoka
Seconds after take-off.

Jetstar Japan Pre-Ordered Meal and Buy on Board

Seatbelt signs were switched about five minutes after take-off and another couple of minutes later, one of the flight attendants came to my seat to mention that she would be bringing my pre-ordered meal soon. I pre-ordered Hamburg steak with curry sauce – one of the two options available alongside chicken katsu curry. Both options were 900 yen (about 7 USD).

The flight attendant also asked what I wanted to spend my 500 yen buy on board credit on. I “pre-ordered” the credit to get the value of my new ticket as close to the value of the voucher I used to buy it as possible.

Jetstar Japan Pre-Order Meal
Meal pre-order options.
Jetstar Japan Buy on Board Menu
Buy on board – snack and drink sets.
Jetstar Japan Buy on Board Menu
Buy on board – individual snacks and drinks.
Jetstar Japan Buy on Board Menu
Buy on board – Jetstar-branded goods.

While the credit could be used on anything from the buy on board menu including things other than food and drinks, I decided to get one of the three 500 yen sets the airline offers. I chose the “two waffles and/or muffins” set, opting for a plain waffle and a chocolate muffin.

The two packaged snacks were served immediately. Rather than eating them onboard, I ate both after arrival while doing some plane spotting – both were tasty.

Jetstar Japan Buy on Board Snacks
Plain waffle and chocolate muffin.

The pre-ordered meal – including the hot tea that I asked for – was served about five minutes later.

While the meal was tasty and the Jetstar logo-shaped carrot was a nice touch, the portion was relatively small. I finished it in less than ten minutes, and in no time, one of the flight attendants came to clear the table.

Jetstar Japan Pre-Order Meal
Meal presentation.
Jetstar Japan Pre-Order Meal
Hamburg steak.

Cruising Onboard a Jetstar Japan A321LR

At 11AM, the first officer welcomed us onboard. He let us know that we were cruising at 39,000 feet and that we would start our descent in 20 minutes. He also mentioned that we were expecting to land at 12:05PM and that it was 28 degrees Celsius and cloudy around Narita airport.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Cruising Toward Tokyo
Cruising toward Tokyo.

I spent the remainder of the flight getting some work done and editing some of the photos I took at Fukuoka airport during the trip. It’s worth noting here that in-flight wi-fi is not available on Jetstar Japan’s A321LRs.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Tray Table
Trying to get some work done.

Arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport

At 11:23AM, an announcement was made that in-flight sales would be ending soon, and five minutes later, we started descending toward Tokyo Narita airport.

Another ten minutes later, the cabin crew was asked to prepare for landing and USB power outlets were deactivated.

Around the same time, great views of Mt. Fuji could be had.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Mt. Fuji
Almost there.
Mt. Fuji
Great view of Mt. Fuji.

The seatbelt signs were switched back on at 11:45AM. Shortly after that, we descended through beautiful clouds, and at 11:58AM, we landed on Tokyo Narita airport’s runway 16L.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Descend
Descending through clouds.
Jetstar Japan A321LR Descend
Shortly before landing at Narita airport.

We arrived at our parking spot at 12:02PM – seven minutes behind schedule. From there, it was just a short walk down airstairs and through a covered walkway to get into Terminal 3 which Jetstar Japan uses at Narita airport.

Jetstar Japan A321LR at Narita Airport
Narita Airport
Walking from the aircraft into the terminal.

Jetstar Japan A321LR Summary

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the flight. At less than 100 USD including the meals and snacks, Jetstar Japan provided a level of service that neither ANA nor JAL can match in similarly priced or more expensive economy class. The crew was nice and the meal/snacks were tasty – and the A321LR cabin which is an improvement over the A320’s was a nice touch.

On flights connecting city pairs where there is only one main airport, I would not hesitate to choose Jetstar over ANA or JAL again. That said, on flights to/from Tokyo, the obvious disadvantage of flying with Jetstar is that it uses Narita instead of Haneda airport.

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