To sum up the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge at Terminal 1 of Tokyo Haneda International Airport a very simple one, the place sucked.
There was barely a distinction between the lounge and the rest of the terminal, unless you appreciate an espresso buffet.
But before I delve into that stuff, let’s start with check-in.
I was flying to the coastal city of Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku:
Tokushima is known throughout the country for a summer dance festival called Awa Odori, as well as a citrus fruit called the sudachi, indigo, and a local spin on ramen.
I took the Keikyu line from Shinagawa station in Tokyo to Haneda Terminal 1, which was busy because A) it’s a busy airport, and B) it was cherry blossom season (generally, from late March until early April).
After finding someone to help me out to check-in (it appeared staffed check-in counters were mostly eliminated for Japan Airlines), I was motioned towards the priority security area for Oneworld Sapphire/Emerald and Japan Airlines frequent fliers:
I noticed that the woman in front of me at security was bringing bottles of tea; after asking a security officer about it, she said that this has been allowed for years on domestic Japanese flights. How about that.
The Sakura Lounge was to the right of this security checkpoint (I believe First Class/Diamond Premier Lounge users have their own security checkpoint leading directly into the lounge), although the entrance is quite small:
Once you’ve walked into the foyer, head up the escalators to reach the lounge check-in area. Scan your boarding pass, then off you go.
Given the breadth of operations at Tokyo Haneda, there were a fair number of places to sit available throughout the lounge, with a few seats offered in their own little cubicles.
Some of the seats had a view of the apron.
Hmm, come to think of it, the wide apron view might be the best thing about the lounge. OK, the all-you-can-caffeine coffee area at the bar served my jet lag well.
The place is a bit lacking in amenities, but I did notice a Japan-favorite fax machine by my cubicle. Furthermore, the lounge lets you eat outside food, as it doesn’t offer anything beyond fake saltines and Cadbury delights.
Soft drinks, liquor, and coffee area available, as are acerola and lemon-flavored candies.
In other words, no food! Instead, I was told that bringing in food from one of the airport concession stands/vendors would be fine. Wonderful.
And how about my meal, which was partially sourced from the original in the UAE?
If you make a left after entering the seating area, you will soon come across the “gates” escalator. I put that in quotes because there’s barely a different from leaving through the main entrance.
Adult smokers only? What!?
This begs the question, where’s the kids smokers’ lounge?
Ultimately, I think the Sakura Lounge failed as an airport lounge. I was planning to eat before my next flight, so now you, too, will know to come prepared to Tokyo Haneda’s JAL lounge spaces. There were heaps of the things to try before security, but once you’ve gone through, there are some underwhelming options scattered throughout post-security area (airside).
More lounge reviews @ No Work All Travel