Review: Japan Airlines B777-300 Premium Economy LHR to HND

Initially, I had no plans to visit Japan this year. A friend told me she quit her job and plans to spend a few months in Japan. I couldn’t resist and decided to join her.

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I bought a ticket through British Airways and used the accumulated Avios points for a discount. As I booked the flight quite early, I was tempted to try the premium economy class as the price was reasonable. In the end, I booked flight BA4600, operated by Japan Airlines. 

If a British Airways (BA) flight starts with the number 4, it means it is a flight from another company, and BA is just a reseller. This also meant I couldn’t check-in online and choose my seat.

Flight details

Flight: Japan Airlines 42 (British Airways 4600)
Departure: Heathrow London (LHR), 19:20 BST
Arrival: Haneda Tokyo (HND), 17:15 JST
Flight duration: 13 hours, 55 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Distance: 12443 km (7732 mi)
Seat: 19E

Japan Airlines B777
Japan Airlines B777


To book a Japan Airlines flight, you can use their web directly or sites like HotelCombined/Kayak, where you can compare the prices from different airlines.

Kayak logo

Airport experience

Check-in and handover of luggage

Japan Airlines is located in Terminal 3, along with many other airlines. The terminal has 7 blocks marked with letters of the alphabet from A to G. This information can be found on the many information boards throughout the airport. Japan Airlines is allocated block D along with American Airlines and British Airways.

As usual, baggage is checked in according to travel class. Japan Airlines has 4 travel classes: first, business, premium economy and economy. The airport staff will gladly help you find the correct line to queue.

When I got to Block D, I first saw British Airways. Japan Airlines was right behind, between British Airways and American Airlines. It has only 4 counters for baggage drop and check-in.

Japan Airlines flight ticket

The employee greeted me in the traditional Japanese way – he bowed.

As I could not check-in online, the system automatically assigned a seat for me. To my disappointment, the place was in the middle of the row. The staff could not change it as all the seats had already been occupied.

Premium economy seats
from seatguru

Security check

After handing over my luggage, I took the escalator to the upper floor. Every passenger must go through hand baggage control and a body scanner at every airport. Some airports offer Fast Track (speedy security check). It is available for passengers travelling in first and business or high-tier members of the airlines.

Each passenger must unload all electronics and liquids from their luggage. All items then go through the scanner, where the airport employees check whether certain things are not dangerous. Heathrow is slowly replacing these old scanners with new ones, eliminating the need to remove items from luggage, which should speed up screening.

Japan Airlines airport lounge

Japan Airlines does not have its own airport lounge but uses British Airways.


The departure was from Gate 1. Boarding started precisely as planned. When the employees announced that boarding was about to begin, the passengers lined up in two rows according to the boarding groups.

Each ticket contained information about this group. Group 1 was the first to go, consisting of First Class and Emerald (oneworld), Diamond and JGC Premier (Japan Airlines) status passengers.

The second group was passengers in business classes and passengers with Sapphire status (oneworld and Japan Airlines). The third group was for premium economy class passengers, Ruby (oneworld) and Crystal (Japan Airlines) status passengers.

Japan Airlines tiers
Tier Status

The plane was boarded through two tunnels. The first tunnel was for passengers in first and business class. Passengers in other travel classes boarded the plane through the second tunnel.


Once we were all seated and ready to take off, the pilot welcomed us all. He informed us how long the flight would be and the expected arrival. After that, he repeated the information in Japanese.

Japan Airlines cabin in premium economy class

Boeing 777-300ER B-HNR has 244 seats. Of these, 8 were in first class, 49 in business class, 40 in premium economy class and 147 in economy class. Business class was in a 1-2-1 configuration, where one seat was by the windows, and two passenger seats were in the middle.

Japan Airlines Premium Economy
Premium Economy seats
Japan Airlines Premium Economy
from: JAL website

The entire cabin was decorated in burgundy colour. The seats were made of thicker but easy-to-clean fabric. A blanket in grey shades, a pillow and a small amenity kit awaited passengers on each seat.

JAL amenity kit
amenity kit and slippers
JAL blanket and pillow
blanket and pillow

Above each seat was a storage space for hand luggage. In addition, each passenger could store small items under the seat in front.

The monitor could be controlled by touching the screen or the controller under the armrest. There were two buttons available to control the seat positions. One was for folding the seat and raising the footrest, while the other button was for the upright position (for take-off and landing).

JAL TV controller
TV controller
charger between the seats

There were two options for charging electrical devices – a universal plug between the seats and a USB socket under the monitor.

Amenity kit

Many airlines give business and first-class passengers a small travel bag on long flights. Japan Airlines has prepared a small pouch for premium economy passengers with a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, moisturizing eye mask, earplugs, face mask and eye mask for better sleep.

JAL amenity kit
amenity kit

Menu and meals

The stewards handed out the food and drink menu a few minutes after the flight. Everything was bilingual – Japanese and English. Japan Airlines offers various special meals for those with healthy or religious dietary requirements. In addition, it also provides meals for infants and small children.

Choosing a special meal before check-in is important, ideally at least one day in advance.


The menu had two main dishes – beef goulash with mashed potatoes and vegetables and chicken with Japanese radish sauce and rice. Japanese “Soba” noodles, smoked salmon, pickled cucumbers with wakame seaweed and fruit salad were served as appetizers.

JAL menu
JAL menu

I got a special lactose-free meal consisting of a salad, grilled vegetables, chicken breast with mashed potatoes and two bowls of fruit. In addition, I ordered Japanese sake.

JAL food
lactose free dinner
JAL Uden de SKY
Uden de SKY

If the passengers were hungry during the flight, the flight staff prepared a variety of chips, sweets, popcorn, ice cream and fruit in the baskets. In addition, passengers could also order “Udon de SKY” noodles and Japanese pancake “Dorayaki”.


Stewards started serving brunch two hours before landing. I can’t call it breakfast, as it was past noon in Japan. Each passenger received an omelette with tomato, a small potato pancake, turkey sausage, yoghurt, fruit, and a croissant. A special lactose-free meal awaited me again.

JAL Brunch

Inflight entertainment, wifi

The 12.1-inch monitor was on top of the seat in front of me. Each passenger had SONY noise-cancellation headphones.

JAL inflight entertainment

For long-haul flights like this, passengers could pass the time watching movies, listening to music, playing games (Mahjong, Go and Shogi) or watching information about the flight. I found many new movies that came to cinemas this year. In addition, there were children’s stories and films from Asia, whether Japanese, Chinese, Indian or Korean. I watched a few movies from Japanese production.

When I was awake, I also checked the flight’s position and path.

Flight information
Flight details

I did not find any information about wifi.


An essential part of the plane, as the flight lasted almost 14 hours. Two lavatories were located between business class and premium economy. To my pleasant surprise, I found toothbrushes and mouthwash there.

Japan Airlines Lavatory
Japan Airlines Lavatory

They were clean, and there was always plenty of toilet paper, paper towels and tissues.


We had quite a bit of turbulence during the flight. Thus, I was delighted when we finally landed in Tokyo. Getting off the plane was the same as boarding – first, it started with business class, followed by the premium economy, and finally, passengers from economy class got off.

As is the norm in Japan, thermal cameras all over the airport checked the passenger’s temperature. Passport control went smoothly, and I soon got a new sticker on my passport. After going through passport control, there were information boards with the letter of the luggage belt where I could find my luggage.

Tokyo Haneda arrivals
Baggage claim guide

In the luggage, several police officers walked with trained dogs, whose task was to find prohibited foods. Each passenger had to complete a declaration form that they did not have banned products in their luggage. This was subsequently handed over to the employees upon entering the arrivals hall.

Prohibited products

Japan has strict regulations against importing certain foods, especially fresh and animal products.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are prohibited due to the risk of introducing harmful pests and plant diseases.
  • Meat products, including raw and processed meat, are prohibited due to disease concerns (foot-and-mouth disease and bird flu).
  • Dairy products from some countries due to fear of mad cow disease.

Last thoughts on Japan Airlines B777-300 Premium economy

Compared to economy class, the seat in premium economy class was wider and more comfortable. The Japan Airlines staff did not disappoint and confirmed that Asian airlines have excellent service. I hope to try their business class one day.

The advantage of premium economy class is that it is located in the middle of the plane, and turbulence is felt less.

What are your experiences with Japan Airlines? Share with us in the comments.

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