JAL Info and advice please

SusanN

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Jun 14, 2024
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I've just come across this site while searching for some answers to a couple of questions on JAL and so I've joined up in the hope that the very well travelled people on here can offer some advice please.
Firstly, I'll state our scenario... we're a family of six (myself, husband, our daughter and her husband and their 2 teenage children, 16 & 14) planning a trip to Tokyo, then on to USA to visit our other daughter and her family who are living in USA (Michigan, working with GM).
We live in WA (about 3-4hrs drive from Perth).

We'd like to fly with JAL in Premium Economy but unfortunately JAL do not fly out of Perth. Have spoken to a couple of travel agents (one online, one locally) but they pretty much insist that we would have to fly PER-SYD and SYD-HND which we really don't want to do. So we've thought a better alternative would be to fly PER-SIN, then SIN-HND. We would fly PER-SIN and rtn on a separate booking, probably Singapore Airlines in economy. Yes, Qantas are codeshare with JAL but their flights do not come up as an option.

I've checked the fares (SIN-HND, HND-JFK, DTW-SIN) on the JAL website and I have to change to their Singapore site to do this booking. As these fares will cost around AUD$20,000 I am a little nervous about doing the booking myself, so I guess I'm really looking for some re assurance that it will be safe to go ahead and do it. (BTW, making our own way from NY to Detroit).
I'd also like to know if JAL add on fees for Credit card transactions, I have checked bookings.com and I can book it with them and they don't add CC fees however, all general advice seems to always say book with the airline direct.
My other question is, I intend to book the return flight from Detroit to Singapore as one ticket which will include quite long layovers of 16.5hrs in Chicago and 20hrs in Tokyo, for which we will stay overnight in hotels. I'd like to know if anyone has any idea if our luggage would be checked right thru to Singapore despite the long layovers (and we would have carry on luggage for our overnight stays).

Sorry for the long winded post and appreciate any help, thank you!
 
I'd also like to know if JAL add on fees for Credit card transactions, I have checked bookings.com and I can book it with them and they don't add CC fees however, all general advice seems to always say book with the airline direct.
The JAL website (at least the Australian and Japanese ones) doesn't charge Credit Card fees if I recall correctly.
I would strongly recommend you book either directly with JAL or with a trusted travel agent instead of with Booking.com

I am a little nervous about doing the booking myself, so I guess I'm really looking for some re assurance that it will be safe to go ahead and do it. (BTW, making our own way from NY to Detroit).
The main risk is your connection in Singapore if your Singapore Airlines (outbound) or JAL (return) flights are delayed, causing you to miss your connection.

Also keep in mind you will have to immigrate into Singapore, pick up your luggage, then drop it off at JAL check-in, so allow time for that.

Personally I wouldn't book this connection without at least a 6 hour buffer.

I'd like to know if anyone has any idea if our luggage would be checked right thru to Singapore despite the long layovers (and we would have carry on luggage for our overnight stays).
Yes, it should be checked through. I assume you'd be flying American Airlines from Detroit to Chicago? This means that you'll check-in in Detroit with American. Verify sure with them that your bag is tagged all the way through to Singapore.

We'd like to fly with JAL in Premium Economy but unfortunately JAL do not fly out of Perth. Have spoken to a couple of travel agents (one online, one locally) but they pretty much insist that we would have to fly PER-SYD and SYD-HND which we really don't want to do.
Personally, I wouldn't book this itinerary. I would still prefer to book everything on one ticket so that I'm protected in case of a delay or cancellation in/out of Singapore.

This means either flying a different airline (e.g. ANA or Cathay Pacific), flying economy/business (it seems JAL will sell a connection via. Singapore in Econ and Business), or transiting Sydney (probably the ideal option if you want to fly JAL).

I am a big fan of JAL's Premium Economy product, so personally I'd pick transiting Sydney.
 
Welcome to AFF @SusanN :)

I'll support nearly everything encrypteddy has written.

Do not buy airline tickets from 'third parties' like booking.com and I wouldn't touch Flight Centre either. The tickets they sell are likely to be highly inflexible and $$$$ if you need to change something. Buy from the airline's web site or through a reputable travel agent.

e.eddy has explained re cc fees, but in the grand scheme of things, it wouldn't be a major impost within the overall cost of the trip. Going into contortions to save a few bucks is probably not worth it. The closer you are to the airline flying you, the easier it is to fix if something goes wrong, like a rescheduling or (shiver) cancellation.

If you want to fly PER-SIN have a look at Scoot - many people here use them to fly cheaply out of Australia and then begin their 'proper' journey there. BUT if you do so, and it will be on a separate ticket, I would definitely overnight in Singapore, or a very long layover in case of delays or cancellations to your Scoot (or SQ) flight in. And if you are going to overnight, might do two? Singapore is a nice place to explore.

I'd also support travelling via Sydney and then direct to HND, on the one ticket.

I'd also recommend using a 'bricks and mortar' travel agent (you don't have to go in, just via e-mail). They will charge a fee, but they can also present you with many more options, all costed. But still be careful about accepting 'tight' domestic-international connections at Sydney. Need at least 5 hours, I would say, to allow for some delay, then getting over to Int terminal etc etc. Other advantage of using a TA is that if anything needs changing while on the journey, they will fix. With such a big party, it would be very difficult for you to be talking to some airline call centre at Chicago airport, trying to get new flights for 6 people.

Come back with any questions or clarifications.
 
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It could be worthwhile looking at a Oneworld Circle Pacific fare. If available, you ought to be able to fly QF PER-SIN, JL SIN-TYO, JL/AA to the US and home from the US on QF via BNE, SYD or MEL. It’ll probably also cover some internal USA flights on AA or AS.

It’ll probably be more expensive than seperate tickets but will offer the “protection” for delayed/cancelled flights.

But, unfortunately I’m not sure they sell a Premium Economy version but maybe possible to pay a PE supplement on sectors that have PE?
 
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I think you should chat to a better TA. @madrooster or Alicia Clark would be able to help you.
I’m not sure how many seperate bookings you are trying to make, but it’s very easy to book per-tyo via sin on JAL at least.

This sort of complex routing an area where paying a few hundred $ to explore your options and not waste the TA’s time will be better and possibly save more than just booking with an aggregator.
 
We are frequent users of JAL and from 2002-2010 would fly with them 2-3 times a year BNE-JFK. despite a tra nsit time of 1 hour in Japan we neve missed a connection.
In the last 2 years we have flown SIN-NRT/HND -BKK and back 8 times. Never more than a few minutes late. On 1 occasion flying SIN-NRT the plane had a no functioning IFE. It couldn't be fixed by departure time so the plane left at the correct time and we were given on the spot 20000yen gift cards. That was in J. Would have been less in PE.

Coming back there would be no problems with those lay over times and no way would you miss your next flight.
The only time there is a potential problem is the time between arriving in SIN and leaving again. I don't really see a major risk.. Only 2 flights that are at reasonable times being the QF flight which can arrive very late on rare occasions or the SQ224 flight leaving PER at 0625 leaving nearly 212 hours in SIN before the next flight.

The QF flight arrives 4 hours before the JAL 2150 flight. If you missed that one there is another at 0150 but it doesn't have PE so they would put you in economy if the QF flight was very late. Flight stats are it is on time 92% of the time.
And if you were on the QF flight your bags could be checked through to the USA. At your first airport in the US you have to go through Immigration and customs before dropping your bag off for the next flight. Immigration at JFK or DFW was always easier than at LAX.
 
I think you should chat to a better TA. @madrooster or Alicia Clark would be able to help you.
I’m not sure how many seperate bookings you are trying to make, but it’s very easy to book per-tyo via sin on JAL at least.

This sort of complex routing an area where paying a few hundred $ to explore your options and not waste the TA’s time will be better and possibly save more than just booking with an aggregator.
The JL website let me do a dummy booking PER-SIN-HND/NRT-SFO-JFK/JFK-xx_-PER without too much effort. But again in whY for about $3k AUD. So yep, a reputable TA ought to be able to put something together.

It was giving lots of options on a multi-city search. The trick is knowing which options are the cheapest. Google Flights or ITA Matrix can help for the DIY types.
 
It could be worthwhile looking at a Oneworld Circle Pacific fare.

Great suggestion! PE availability notwithstanding. Again, a travel agent can advise best.
It’ll probably be more expensive than seperate tickets

I used it frequently pre covid and it was always cheaper than MEL-LAX return, direct# - and I got a 'free' stopover in Asia on the way back!

Edit - # on Qantas both ways; the Circle fares were QF over, then CX to TYO or HKG, then CX or QF home
 
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SusanN Welcome to AFF

PER-SIN
SIN-HND, HND-JFK, DTW-SIN
SIN-PER

Are all those airports stopovers or some transits? The order of the stopovers important?
Any particular reason why JAL?
NRT & HND are both Tokyo airports
Or SQ/UA? QF fly JFK-AKL-SYD

DTW-SIN will not be non stop. So separate flights to/from DTW an option. [Or FNT LAN]. With the over ocean flights to a major airport.
A lot of flights ORD-DTW. Your DTW-SIN flight may transit via ORD or where ever.

As above is a candidate for OW Circle pacific fare (allowed 16 segments over a year). But take some study to understand the rules. PE (x 6) may be an issue.

Will be endless combinations - airlines. As above a real walking talking travel agent may be of help. But TA's get little commission now days so cannot spend a lot of time on the options. The effective hourly rate they earn can soon diminish. So more fee for service. On such an itineray for 6 would be money well spent.

 
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A oneworld xCIRnn (Circle pacific) might be an option, but the per sector surcharge for PE seats may make it not worth it.
These fares have 22,000 and 26,000 mile options (there is a 29,000 mile option, but requires travel via South America) in Economy, Business and First. PE requires booking the Economy fare and paying surcharge per flight where PE is available.

JAL codeshares with QF to Tokyo from Perth via Singapore. QF PER-SIN, JL SIN-TYO (JL has 3 daily flights to SIN, 2 for HND, 1 for NRT).
There is also the option of going via MEL. QF and JL both fly to NRT from MEL.
 
Thank you everyone for your great input, suggestions and advice.

I'm sorry, but we do not want to go via Sydney or Melbourne, (we used to go via Melbourne sometimes when US daughter and hubby lived there) but now this is simply pointless, the extra cost, time and effort is just not worth it, add on around $800-1000 pp for return fares (economy), would probably have to stay overnight add getting to/from accommodation and terminals, no thanks, plus we don't gain anything time wise, at least going via Singapore cuts off half the flight time (from Perth or Sydney).
We've flown to different places via SYD and MEL a few times and vowed "never again" many times, esp Sydney (Rydges was great BTW but now it's way out of our budget for the family)!!

I didn't go into other details such as we will be staying in Singapore for 3-4 nights on the way home so we won't have any problems with missing connections etc. Going to Tokyo (staying 5 nights), yes we may consider staying overnight in Singapore if we don't feel we can make the SIA 6:40am flight from Perth or if we feel the 12:25 QF flight doesn't give us enough time, however, as said this could be done as codeshare with JAL and therefore bags could be sent thru to Tokyo and no need to collect and re check in at SIN.
When I was playing around with this on JAL website, it would let me go right thru choosing flights until the end step where it would say, "sorry cannot find any fares for these flights" or something like that which was getting a little frustrating.
We have flown with Scoot a few times before but their flight times are not really convenient to fit in with the other flight this time.

Travel Agent suggested the Circle Pacific fare, was pretty much everything we didn't want... Sydney, LAX no Singapore nor Tokyo, quoted around $6000 pp in Economy!! Asked for a quote on what we want (as above) and that was ignored, and yes, it was Flight Centre! Don't think we have many other options around here but I'll keep searching for a "good one" (do they still exist?).

Asked why we chose JAL, well this is because husband and I are very much over flying economy and we can't afford business for the whole family, we don't want them down the back while we're up the front ;), plus we'll all get to use the lounges and their fares very reasonable.

I've been trying ANA too, they have a PER-NRT direct flight but cannot get 6 seats in Premium Economy for the entire trip and to do it in separate segments also adds to the cost. This is where I thought a Travel Agent would be able to help but apparently not? (Plus we'd like to avoid Narita for much the same reasons as Sydney!).

Thanks again for all the valuable information, I will take it onboard!
 
I've been trying ANA too, they have a PER-NRT direct flight but cannot get 6 seats in Premium Economy for the entire trip and to do it in separate segments also adds to the cost. This is where I thought a Travel Agent would be able to help but apparently not? (Plus we'd like to avoid Narita for much the same reasons as Sydney!).
IMO ANA Premium Economy is worse than JAL, so it's probably good to stick to JAL.
 
Travel Agent suggested the Circle Pacific fare, was pretty much everything we didn't want... Sydney, LAX no Singapore nor Tokyo, quoted around $6000 pp in Economy!!
Yeah, I think circle Pacific won't work. For one, I don't believe you can return via. Japan - one of your transpacific crossings will need to be on QF/AA
 
Yeah, I think circle Pacific won't work. For one, I don't believe you can return via. Japan - one of your transpacific crossings will need to be on QF/AA
Which is what I suggested earlier (and easy to avoid SYD) but I didn't know about the SIN stopover proposed coming home. Otherwise, DFW-MEL, LAX-BNE/MEL would be in play (and departing the US from LAX is perfectly fine).

Which, in that case, playing around the JAL website multi-city might actually work if going over and back via SIN is desirable (and will be charged in AUD for the lot).
 
Oh, TIL. Sounds like you don't have to actually circle the pacific then.

Sort of. Oz-HKG/Japan-USA/Canada-Oz in either direction (Sth America for the highest total miles variant). I think I did KUL once. Of course rules might have changed.

My client used to love me doing it when I was shuttling across to Canada and back regularly, as it was a decent saving on the straight return fare on QF; they even paid for the night in Tokyo of Hong Kong!! Typical:

1718438341801.png
 
I've been trying ANA too, they have a PER-NRT direct flight but cannot get 6 seats in Premium Economy for the entire trip and to do it in separate segments also adds to the cost. This is where I thought a Travel Agent would be able to help but apparently not? (Plus we'd like to avoid Narita for much the same reasons as Sydney!).
It can be hard to get 6 PE seats in one booking. Depending on the airline and aircraft type, that could be up to half of the cabin for one booking. If you try to search for something using PE, the site can often fail when it can't find enough available PE seats, or any at all when the type of aircraft used on a sector doesn't have them.

QF only have PE on their 787-9s and A380s, none on the A330s, which are used on almost all of their Asian flights.
JL only have PE on their International A350s, 777s and 787-9s. They don't have PE on their 787-8s or International 767s.
 
Maybe someone else can comment, but JAL also runs 767s to Singapore. If booked in PE on the sole 787-9 of the day, is there a high risk of equipment swap to 767 (thus causing loss of PE)?
 
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Maybe someone else can comment, but JAL also runs 767s to Singapore. If booked in PE on the sole 787-9 of the day, is there a high risk of equipment swap to 767 (thus causing loss of PE)?
The current timetable has JL38/35 and JL712/711 as 788 and JL36/37 as 789.

37 is the late morning departure out of HND. 36 is the evening departure out of SIN.
 
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