JAL – first impression

Today I am travelling from Shanghai to Tokyo with JAL (Japan Airlines) from Shanghai Putong Airport.
It’s the first time I have ever taken JAL. At the kiosk for boarding pass, the staff handed me over 2 forms for Japanese customs. This is quite considerate as with other airlines, they are distributed in flight. The attendants will have to check if a passenger holds local passport; it’s even more embarrassing if the passenger is at rest or  not available.

Also at the kiosk there is a map showing how long it takes to go between each landmarks at airport. It shows clearly if you go from duty free shops to boarding gate it takes 20 mins, from security it takes 15 mins, or from Gate A to Gate B it takes 10 mins. It helps you manage your time esp international travellers tend to arrive early and spend time at airport.

The plane is definitely not new but well maintained. Apparently all B and L line are fitted with line pattern cover and all the rest with square one. The difference is subtle but very organised. Very detailed arrangement compares to other airlines (for example Thai) which featured by seat covers in different colours and randomly fitted.

Another detail is that the control panel is surrounded by a plastic board higher than it. It effectively prevented passengers from accidentally touch the service bell. It is a very small alter in design but helps saving confusion. I have seen lot of cases on other flights that services are mis-called as passenger touches the button without even being aware of it.

Shortly after the taking off it came meal time. The meal is normal but it uses steel spoons and forks and provides chopsticks as well. I cannot remember if China Airlines has chopsticks too, or maybe I just never take meals there…:P Another detail is that while being served, I was served with a Chinese speaking staff, while my neighbor (a Japanese) was served by a Japanese speaking staff. Unless it’s a nice coincidence, otherwise it seems that during check-in it recorded the nationality and arranged service accordingly.

All in all the trip was very pleasant. One small drama – I was trying to use my eye liner and due to my ignorance it just split from air pressure. I managed to clean up the mess with disposal bag but it would be nice if there had been some wet paper. Actually cannot remember which airline (maybe KLM), but they do provide warm wet towel before the meal.  BTW KLM was really cozy too; I should write another blog for it if I take it again.


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