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Japan Airlines Eliminating Human Massage Therapists in Tokyo First Class Lounges

July 26, 2017
2 min read
Japan Airlines Eliminating Human Massage Therapists in Tokyo First Class Lounges
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One of the perks of flying Japan Airlines first class — or having Oneworld Emerald status (i.e. from American Airlines Executive Platinum status) — is the incredible Japan Airlines First Class Lounges in Tokyo's Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND) airports. At HND, there's a teppanyaki grill serving made-to-order beef. Meanwhile, in NRT, you'll find a sushi bar serving fresh, made-to-order sushi.

Japan Airlines First Class sushi
Quite possibly the best sushi I've ever had came from the JAL First Class Lounge in NRT.

At both HND and NRT (in both the main and satellite first class lounges), visitors currently have the option of one 10 minute complimentary message — full-body, head or foot. While the treatment itself is only 10 minutes long, it's an incredible massage that melts away the stress from a long transpacific flight or helps you relax before a another one.

Not surprisingly, it's not exactly easy to reserve a time slot. We've often had to hurry from our connecting flights to sign-up for a massage slot hours in advance — sometimes having to squeeze it in right before our next flight. But, it's always been worth the hassle.

Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Massage Table

Sadly, these table-based massages are going away in just over two months. The human massage therapists are being replaced by machines. On Friday, JAL posted this notice on their website:

From October 1, 2017, the relaxation service offered by massage therapists in the international lounge at Narita Airport and Haneda Airport will be discontinued, and 3S Takumi medical massage chairs will be increased to offer relaxation service to more customers.

These message chairs can already be found in the JAL lounges, and there's usually one available for use. However, the controls can be difficult and the chair doesn't respond to your feedback as easily as a masseuse.

Japan Airlines First Class lounge massage chair

Sadly these chairs will be the only form of massage you'll get in the JAL First Class lounges in NRT and HND soon. At least there's still the sushi/teppanyaki, right?

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H/T: View From The Wing

Featured image by JT Genter