NRT-LAX AA business class
LAX AA Flagship Lounge
LAX-NRT AA business class
NRT JAL domestic Sakura lounge
As part of my 20-hour itinerary with 2 stops from CTS-SFO, I had a lengthy 6-hour layover in Tokyo Narita airport (NRT). Fortunately, NRT has a wealth of lounges, and as a top-tier Executive Platinum member with American Airlines, I get access to all One World alliance lounges on a same-day international flight. My first stop was an obvious one as Japan Airlines' lounges are infinitely superior to U.S. airline lounges. And since NRT is JAL's primary international hub, they have a flagship First Class Lounge. So after arriving into NRT from CTS, I went through security and customs and headed straight to JAL's First Class lounge.
|Fast Track with NRT's clearly marked One World Priority Lane|
Upon entering JAL's First Class lounge, this sign immediately caught my eye. Free 10-minute massages, with an upper body, head, or foot massage to choose from. Along with a superior alcohol selection, services like these are what distinguishes first class lounges from business class lounges.
|My breakfast meal: scrambled eggs, Japanese steamed rice, Japanese omelet, cod roe, grilled salmon, lobster bisque, and shrimp appetizer.|
|Small glimpse of the lounge's nice lunch spread, plus a champagne.|
To my surprise, the Cathay Pacific lounge was like night and day compared to the JAL First Class lounge. As one of the top carriers in the world, you'd expect for Cathay Pacific not to skimp out this badly.
|Subpar food offerings|
|Meager food spread|
|Really, Cathay Pacific, really??|
American Airlines Admiral's Club
My last stop would be the American Airlines Admiral's Club, which is the only AC located in Asia. Since U.S. carrier lounges are often a joke, my expectations were extremely low, especially after what I experienced at the Cathay Pacific lounge.
These lounges make a 6-hour layover much more bearable and interesting. If you have lounge access, don't bother wasting your time at the AC or the Cathay Pacific lounge. Invest all your time and your stomach at JAL's lounges as the food, alcohol, and services are infinitely superior. To see if I was being unfair in my comparisons since I visited JAL's first class lounge and Cathay Pacific's business class lounge, I went to JAL's business class Sakura Lounge and found similar food offerings as JAL's first class lounge. The only differences were the seats, alcohol, and services.
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