Japan Airlines Adds First Class “Entrance” At Tokyo Haneda Airport

Japan Airlines Adds First Class “Entrance” At Tokyo Haneda Airport

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Japan Airlines is investing in the first class ground experience at its Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) hub.

Japan Airlines’ exclusive new first class check-in

Japan Airlines has revealed that it’s introducing what’s being referred to as the “JAL First Class Entrance” at Tokyo Haneda Airport Terminal 3. This appears to essentially be an exclusive check-in facility where you can have a seat while your check-in is being processed, and then you have direct access to a priority security checkpoint.

Here’s how the airline describes this facility on its website (translated from Japanese):

“A special entrance that welcomes first class passengers. The ultimate journey begins in a space with elegant colors and a profound feel.”

“The space, which stylishly expresses sophisticated Japanese style, will make your time before departure a special one. You will stay here during the departure procedures, and once they are completed, you will be able to pass through the adjacent priority security checkpoint and proceed smoothly to immigration.”

Note that this facility is just for those traveling in first class on Japan Airlines. It’s not open to oneworld Emerald members, unlike the Japan Airlines First Class Lounge. So given how small Japan Airlines’ first class footprint is, this facility will see at most a few dozen people per day (and most days probably not even that many).

This space looks super elegant, and also quite large, given how few people will use this. Actually, the more I look at this facility, I have to wonder if this might almost be an over-investment on the carrier’s part? Easy access to priority security is of course awesome, but nowadays don’t a vast majority of people check-in online? And even for those who don’t, doesn’t it typically take a minute at most to check-in?

This almost seems like a concept that’s a couple of decades too late, as this would have been great in the days before online check-in, when there were paper tickets, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great, I just think the actual sit-down facility is of limited use for most passengers.

JAL First Class Entrance Tokyo Haneda
JAL First Class Entrance Tokyo Haneda

This coincides with Japan Airlines’ new first class

Japan Airlines’ exclusive check-in facility opens on January 24, 2024. That date isn’t random, but rather it’s exactly the same day when Japan Airlines will start A350-1000 service, which is the carrier’s new flagship aircraft, featuring an all-new passenger experience.

It’s so nice to see that Japan Airlines isn’t just investing in improving its first class seating, but the airline is working on improving the rest of the experience as well. I can’t wait to check out this new product, because I’m pretty confident it’ll rank near the top of the world’s best first class products (it should be in the top three, and maybe even in the first or second spot… we’ll see!).

Japan Airlines A350-1000 first class

Bottom line

On January 24, 2024, Japan Airlines will open a new first class check-in facility at Tokyo Haneda Airport. This will be exclusively for first class passengers (and not oneworld Emerald members), and will offer a sit-down check-in experience, plus access to a priority security lane. This is a nice investment on the carrier’s part, and I can’t wait to check it out.

What do you make of Japan Airlines’ new first class facility?

Conversations (40)
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  1. Greg Guest

    Tried it for the first time this morning heading back to Dallas. I was the only person there and the attendants were very friendly. It took longer to cut through the normal security line and head to the back of the departure hall (a snake of hundreds of people in normal security line) to the entrance than anything.

    Priority security is a legit, only for you/first class passengers, lane within the first entrance footprint....

    Tried it for the first time this morning heading back to Dallas. I was the only person there and the attendants were very friendly. It took longer to cut through the normal security line and head to the back of the departure hall (a snake of hundreds of people in normal security line) to the entrance than anything.

    Priority security is a legit, only for you/first class passengers, lane within the first entrance footprint. Not a business class/airline elite lane. I was the only person there. All told from being dropped off to through check in, security and exit customs/immigration and in the JAL lounge was less than 10 mins. It was impressive. It woildnahve taken an hour+ to go through the normal first checkin + security.

  2. TK Steve Guest

    Until they reduce the cabin temperatures to something that is even barely tolerable, I’ll skip their F product, as much as I like this new feature and Salon champagne.

  3. Chad Danvers Guest

    "Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great, I just think the actual sit-down facility is of limited use for most passengers."

    It is, but there's such a small jump between business and first I think JAL is right to try and distinguish pre-flight service for First. It's not the actual convenience so much as it is being away from the masses of unwashed common folk and having a sufficient staff to passenger ratio that you...

    "Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great, I just think the actual sit-down facility is of limited use for most passengers."

    It is, but there's such a small jump between business and first I think JAL is right to try and distinguish pre-flight service for First. It's not the actual convenience so much as it is being away from the masses of unwashed common folk and having a sufficient staff to passenger ratio that you simply walk in and people help you. Limiting that to just F JAL passengers, not oneworld emerald, JAL elite, other oneworld F passengers accomplishes that. I'm not saying I'd pay for it, but I understand how it'd be compelling for the person actually contemplating paying cash for F instead of J or going on F on another carrier.

  4. Eric Boromisa Guest

    As he mentioned, Raj and I just visited the new check in facility today. It was nice to have access to it as the F and J counters were busy, but ONCI wasn't available and it also took a good 10 mins or so to be checked in, both of which has been my experience with AA redemptions on JAL in the past.

    I do think that a welcome drink and a review of...

    As he mentioned, Raj and I just visited the new check in facility today. It was nice to have access to it as the F and J counters were busy, but ONCI wasn't available and it also took a good 10 mins or so to be checked in, both of which has been my experience with AA redemptions on JAL in the past.

    I do think that a welcome drink and a review of seating, sleeping and dietary preferences (and perhaps special occasions) would be really appropriate and differentiating for a facility like this and would offer a degree of personalization that might bring people back to the airline and F over J.

    We ended up resorting to ask the crew onboard to ask a Japanese passenger if she was willing to switch seats so we could sit together. Given that we checked in very early, I feel this request could have been done at multiple points earlier in the process, but no JL staff were empowered to do so.

  5. Raj - PlanMoreTrips.com Guest

    Just went here today flying JAL F from HND-LHR. The staff told us the facility opened yesterday.

    It is a nice space but nothing special. You just sit there for a few minutes, they collect your luggage, and you go thru a private security entrance which was convenient.

    No water or any drinks were offered. The check-in area is a nice perk but I wouldn't go to HND just to experience it.

    The JAL First Lounge was quite nice though.

  6. Cedric Guest

    Narita has a similar deal with ANA, but its not as classy. I just don't get how long check in takes that you need to sit down.

  7. HeinBloed Guest

    Have you ever been in Lufthansa‘s FIRST CLASS TERMINAL in Frankfurt. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. An escort service who is taking there of everything. A valet service for your car. Real gourmet restaurant service. A bathroom incl. rubber duck. Information board showing your name that it is now time to board. A Porsche or Mercedes-Benz which takes you to the flight. Fantastic!!!

    1. Shangster11 Guest

      You must be super new here

  8. Happy2TurnLeft New Member

    It's great that there are still some airlines believing and investing in F.
    I'll for sure try to book on airlines that have F with a proper F services & hardware

  9. Wye Kay Guest

    SQ has been running a similar facility in SIN for years and having used it many times, I can say I appreciate what JAL is doing.

    A random list of the boxes a dedicated F check-in facility ticks for me;

    1) I won't do online check-in, bag tag or boarding pass printing unless the airline forces me - so I will use normal check-in procedures. Paying for F, I would appreciate not having to queue...

    SQ has been running a similar facility in SIN for years and having used it many times, I can say I appreciate what JAL is doing.

    A random list of the boxes a dedicated F check-in facility ticks for me;

    1) I won't do online check-in, bag tag or boarding pass printing unless the airline forces me - so I will use normal check-in procedures. Paying for F, I would appreciate not having to queue but this is not often the case at regular F counters, which often have J and/or families diverted to it when the F counter has no queue.
    Murphy's law dictates that is when all the F passenger on the flight shows up and an uncomfortable queue forms. In an F facility, even if there is a surge, you get to sit while they take your passport and bags and return with your passport and boarding pass. This is a differentiating F experience that justifies the premium being charged for F over J.

    2) An F entrance offers Kerbside luggage assist - I appreciate this a lot

    3) F private check-in space with many more service staff and less pax traffic means I can relax a bit more and not worry as much about my bags and such. F counters within the terminal offer no such oasis. My valuation of a premium cabin flight ticket is more the tranquility of the whole journey over most other hardware factors. This too definitely ticks the box.

    4) A shortened journey from Check-in through immigration to lounge is much appreciated. In SIN, the SQ F facility at T3 covers that in a largely private 50m stroll. Being out of the madding crowd also appeals to me. Again ticks the box for me.

    With a lot of J hard products now approaching F in terms of features and specs, I appreciate an effort by any airline to enhance the ground experience as a differentiating point. Given the choice between tranquil/private vs glitz/wow factor, I'd choose tranquil for my flying and ground experience every time.

    But that's me, ymmv

  10. iamhere Guest

    It may be nicer than other airports or what other airlines offer but it is by no means unique. Many airlines and airports in Asia offer such an experience.

  11. Bob Guest

    Ben writes:

    " but nowadays don’t a vast majority of people check-in online? And even for those who don’t, doesn’t it typically take a minute at most to check-in?"

    For someone that travels so much...you are clueless sometimes.

    People check bags, you know. Even when checking in online. Especially people traveling on intercontinental flights. And those people need to go to the check in counter. And yes, checkin lines can be long at Haneda, even priority ones.

    1. iamhere Guest

      Agree. Traveling for a review.

    2. yoloswag420 Guest

      Or passport and visa verification, given that these are international flights.

    3. Kk Guest

      Majority might check in online maybe that doesn't live in Japan but we're all forgetting that this is Japan and with the aging population, a good amount of people still prefer the in-person customer service so maybe JAL took that into consideration.

    4. A220HubandSpoke New Member

      And if you don't travel too often, it can just be easier and less stressful dealing with the check in counter.

  12. mgrappy New Member

    Since it's at T3 specifically, is it correct then that it'd only be for international F passengers and not for anyone only traveling F domestically within Japan?

    1. AC Guest

      If you fly first domestically... there's already a F entrance in T1, you get checked-in in that dedicates entrance and the go through their security and almost straight into the lounge.
      It's not as grand as this but it's efficient, clean and nice.

    2. Ed Guest

      They have the domestic F/JGC diamond entrance at bigger domestic airports. Certainly at CTS.

      Very convenient and open to OWE.

  13. D3Kingg Guest

    I’m one world emerald and I’m going for it. If they stop me they stop me but I’m good at dealing with the Japanese. Worth a try.

    1. Shangster11 Guest

      Wait….you’re good with dealing with the Japanese, yet you expect a result different than them following their prescribed process???

    2. ragged_duckling Guest

      I guess some folks are dedicated to keeping the Entitled American Tourist stereotype alive for some reason. Didn't know that was needed, but thank you for your service I guess?

  14. Random Guest

    Flew JAL11 DFW-HND the other day. Here are som notes
    1. DFW - ZERO ground assistance. You go through regular security.. how is there no expedited line in a major OneWorld hub? My very delayed Global entry renewal means no pre-check
    2. HND - ZERO ground assistance. Arrivals wait in the same long line at immigration (I guess same as US, but some Asian countries like Thailand do have expedited immigration for C/F.)

    Flew JAL11 DFW-HND the other day. Here are som notes
    1. DFW - ZERO ground assistance. You go through regular security.. how is there no expedited line in a major OneWorld hub? My very delayed Global entry renewal means no pre-check
    2. HND - ZERO ground assistance. Arrivals wait in the same long line at immigration (I guess same as US, but some Asian countries like Thailand do have expedited immigration for C/F.)
    3. Blazing hot cabin. The food and drink are nice but the cabin heat was intolerable. I’ll sadly have to give up all the luxuries and take AA in the future. At the end of the day you shouldn’t drink much on airplanes and no airplane food is good … it’s just good for airplane food and JAL puts on big effort. And no @lucky… there is no such thing as good airplane food !

    1. Ken Guest

      I don't think many airlines give you a priority at immigration. Which airlines give a priority at immigration? I wanna try

    2. Ip Guest

      Fly ANA F and arrive at NRT to receive Fast Pass immigration on arrival.

      On a related note, this new JAL facility likely competes with the ANA NRT F exclusive First Class room check in, which is similarly over the top and has dedicated priority security.

    3. Kk Guest

      The only time I got priority at immigration was when I landed in Japan with a 9 month old

    4. Rick Guest

      UA used to give paper priority passes to F pax for immigration at SYD

    5. max Guest

      Some but definitely not most airports in Asia have priority immigration. I think the SQ list should be relatively comprehensive for the airports they fly to although it's possible in some airports only premium passengers on certain airlines get priority immigration https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/travel-info/visas-immigration/fast-track-services.

    6. Aseel Guest

      Turkish Airlines has a priority immigration line for Business + passengers and TK elite at Istanbul Airport

  15. andrew_ New Member

    This looks interesting, but I wonder if it ends up being discontinued soon because to me, it seems a bit pointless considering how fast check-in normally is

  16. Nick Guest

    Looks quite superior to ANA Suite Check-In (of both HND T2 and NRT), although it feels like it's obvious because the JAL's facility is newer, and also I'm not sure whether is it a fair comparison after all.

    JAL First Lounge always looked better than the ANA Suite Lounge, though ANA Suite Lounge at T2 looked pretty nice.

  17. derek Guest

    The model assumes a lot of waiting. A better model would be a reception for the car, indoor unloading and walking directly into a lounge. Then walking through security with an airline attendant.

    1. Geronimo Guest

      They already do this for VVIP/special services at T3 HND. Invite-only access to private car park for unloading leading to private lounge for check-in formalities, followed by entry to priority security via side door. Waiting for more details to see how this will differ.

  18. derek Guest

    They should test it prior to January 24th. Grab some real passengers and funnel them through there.

    1. CPH-Flyer Gold

      It already had a soft opening. A friend went through today.

  19. yoloswag420 Guest

    Interesting that JAL are still choosing to invest in First Class. Many airlines have retired their first class or shown that they aren't interested in investing much into it. Increasingly fewer airlines are choosing aircraft that will offer FC seats or opting for business only configurations.

    As business class continues to evolve, it's going to be small factors like this that truly differentiate the experience.

    1. Dominic Kivni Guest

      JAL is still shrinking their F footprint, they are getting as many A350-1000s (the only future planes with F) as they have 777-300ERs (which are the only planes with F now) but the new F cabin has 6 seats vs the current 8, so that is a 25% reduction in the cabin footprint. To sell a more exclusive F, they have to make it an even more luxurious experience (think AF LP, which is very...

      JAL is still shrinking their F footprint, they are getting as many A350-1000s (the only future planes with F) as they have 777-300ERs (which are the only planes with F now) but the new F cabin has 6 seats vs the current 8, so that is a 25% reduction in the cabin footprint. To sell a more exclusive F, they have to make it an even more luxurious experience (think AF LP, which is very exclusive with just 4 seats on just some 777-300ERs vs BA First, which is 8-14 seats across most of their long-haul fleet) to justify the higher fares, so investing in the ground experience is not surprising. Major Japanese companies still pay for F for top execs, and there's also a large base of wealthy leisure travelers in Tokyo / Japan as well, so that can support a small F cabin to the most premium destinations

    2. yoloswag420 Guest

      I would need to see the statistics on % occupancy of F seats before concluding that JAL are actually reducing their F footprint.

      F cabins are frequently completely or mostly empty. For example, if the avg # of F pax on JAL was 4, it doesn't really make that big of a difference that they are reducing to 6 seats.

      The 1-2-1 is simply the legacy setup for many F seats. It could be that...

      I would need to see the statistics on % occupancy of F seats before concluding that JAL are actually reducing their F footprint.

      F cabins are frequently completely or mostly empty. For example, if the avg # of F pax on JAL was 4, it doesn't really make that big of a difference that they are reducing to 6 seats.

      The 1-2-1 is simply the legacy setup for many F seats. It could be that JAL noticed that they at most only have 5 to 6 F pax per flight, which is why they opted for a 1-1-1 config, which actually results in an upgrade to the overall experience.

    3. Dominic Kivni Guest

      @yoloswag, right now JAL has 13 777-300ERs with 8 F seats each, so that's 104 F seats across the fleet. When that fleet gets replaced with 13 A350-1000s, they will only have 78 F seats across the fleet. That is a reduced footprint, but to your point, they're likely not reducing the actual number of tickets sold by that much because the load factors aren't that great because I agree that they're likely not selling...

      @yoloswag, right now JAL has 13 777-300ERs with 8 F seats each, so that's 104 F seats across the fleet. When that fleet gets replaced with 13 A350-1000s, they will only have 78 F seats across the fleet. That is a reduced footprint, but to your point, they're likely not reducing the actual number of tickets sold by that much because the load factors aren't that great because I agree that they're likely not selling all the seats. That's why they're pulling back the footprint. They don't have good load factors for 8 seat F cabins, which is part of why they're pulling back to 6 seats. If they were consistently selling out the cabin with 8 seats, they wouldn't want to pull back the number of seats.

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Bob Guest

Ben writes: " but nowadays don’t a vast majority of people check-in online? And even for those who don’t, doesn’t it typically take a minute at most to check-in?" For someone that travels so much...you are clueless sometimes. People check bags, you know. Even when checking in online. Especially people traveling on intercontinental flights. And those people need to go to the check in counter. And yes, checkin lines can be long at Haneda, even priority ones.

3
Wye Kay Guest

SQ has been running a similar facility in SIN for years and having used it many times, I can say I appreciate what JAL is doing. A random list of the boxes a dedicated F check-in facility ticks for me; 1) I won't do online check-in, bag tag or boarding pass printing unless the airline forces me - so I will use normal check-in procedures. Paying for F, I would appreciate not having to queue but this is not often the case at regular F counters, which often have J and/or families diverted to it when the F counter has no queue. Murphy's law dictates that is when all the F passenger on the flight shows up and an uncomfortable queue forms. In an F facility, even if there is a surge, you get to sit while they take your passport and bags and return with your passport and boarding pass. This is a differentiating F experience that justifies the premium being charged for F over J. 2) An F entrance offers Kerbside luggage assist - I appreciate this a lot 3) F private check-in space with many more service staff and less pax traffic means I can relax a bit more and not worry as much about my bags and such. F counters within the terminal offer no such oasis. My valuation of a premium cabin flight ticket is more the tranquility of the whole journey over most other hardware factors. This too definitely ticks the box. 4) A shortened journey from Check-in through immigration to lounge is much appreciated. In SIN, the SQ F facility at T3 covers that in a largely private 50m stroll. Being out of the madding crowd also appeals to me. Again ticks the box for me. With a lot of J hard products now approaching F in terms of features and specs, I appreciate an effort by any airline to enhance the ground experience as a differentiating point. Given the choice between tranquil/private vs glitz/wow factor, I'd choose tranquil for my flying and ground experience every time. But that's me, ymmv

2
Dominic Kivni Guest

JAL is still shrinking their F footprint, they are getting as many A350-1000s (the only future planes with F) as they have 777-300ERs (which are the only planes with F now) but the new F cabin has 6 seats vs the current 8, so that is a 25% reduction in the cabin footprint. To sell a more exclusive F, they have to make it an even more luxurious experience (think AF LP, which is very exclusive with just 4 seats on just some 777-300ERs vs BA First, which is 8-14 seats across most of their long-haul fleet) to justify the higher fares, so investing in the ground experience is not surprising. Major Japanese companies still pay for F for top execs, and there's also a large base of wealthy leisure travelers in Tokyo / Japan as well, so that can support a small F cabin to the most premium destinations

2
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