The Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class lounge at Frankfurt Airport is one of two Oneworld airline lounges in the non-Schengen area of Terminal 2, the other belonging to Cathay Pacific. Both are are accessible if you hold Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald Status.
If you do not hold elite status but are flying in premium cabins, this Japan Airlines lounge serves American Airlines, British Airways, Royal Jordanian, and of course Japan Airlines. If you are flying other Oneworld airlines you can use the official lounge search here.
The JAL lounge has one section for business class and Oneworld Sapphire customers, turning left after the reception desk, and another section for first class and Emerald customers (turning right) which opens later in the day, around 16:30 or so. This review only covers the business class section.
Being the home of finance in the European Union, you can imagine there are LOADS of business class or elite status passengers travelling through Frankfurt. I arrived at the lounge around 6pm which is the peak commuting hour and the lounge was very busy. I had to wait over an hour or so for most people to disappear in order to take photos.
After turning left from the reception there is a small area where you can store your luggage and any large coats.
You enter the main seating area immediately. The lounge is not very large given the amount of Oneworld flights that serve Frankfurt. But even at peak time there were still a few seats available so I guess this is close to maximum efficiency in space utilisation.
There are a mix of table for dining with no electrical sockets and some for working which do have sockets. Of course there is nothing to stop you eating at latter.
The food and drinks service area. More on that later. The door on the right is for kitchen staff access.
Walking further away from the reception you quickly reach the far end of the lounge, about 8m away from the food service area.
Looking back towards the buffet area in the distance.
The food here was a real let down for me. This was the extent of the hot food available.
Cream of potato soup on the bottom, miso soup on the top. Extra toppings of feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and tofu visible too. Rice warmer is in the top right of the picture and was frequently topped up.
I believe this was the “stripes” (sic) of turkey Provence style on the right, but this dish on the left left me quite confused as I could not really see what it could have been. So I took some.
Mediterranean vegetables on the left, “small potatoes with herb curd and Frankfurt green sauce” on the right.
There were some tortilla wraps in the fridge though I did not see signs to say what they were, and I did not try them either. My guess would be salad, sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps a pumpkin puree.
This wrap looked like it was a chicken caesar salad.
A small selection of spirits on offer. Scotch whisky, rum, gin, vodka, Irish whiskey.
Fridge with Coca Cola (original and zero), Fanta, orange, grape, tomato and apple juices, still and sparkling waters, rosé, sparkling wines, and a few different kinds of beers.
Elsewhere in the lounge there were sweets, fruits, popcorn and other dried snacks.
Some salad, bread rolls, ham and cheese slices
Somehow it didn't look so appetising when I put it all on a plate for myself. Turns out the brown dish is a Japanese curry which is quite sweet if you are used to Indian or Thai curries. Sadly I haven't acquired the taste for this style so I wasn't enjoying this dish all that much.
The miso soup probably lacked some bonito flakes or the deeper umami flavour. As such it tasted more western than oriental which really left me puzzled.
Location to relative to boarding gates
There wasn't really an easy way to show in pictures how close the lounge was to the British Airways boarding gate (of course, you might not be taking BA!), so I made this short amateurish film instead.
There is one JAL flight per day leaving Frankfurt, approximately 19:20hr, and I stayed in the lounge between 18:00-20:00, so the food on display was representative of what their own customers would get. Since this is an overnight flight to Japan some business class passengers may prefer to eat in the lounge and sleep the flight, foregoing any meal services on board.
I would class this lounge as ‘purely functional' and not much more. The space is quite small though the large window on one wall does let in a good amount of natural light. Since I was there at night this was slightly irrelevant but at least you can still see the apron if you are keen on plane spotting. In a previous visit a few years ago I can attest that the lighting is indeed plentiful though.
I was not particularly impressed by the food but the drinks selection was sufficient whatever kind of beverage you enjoy. (Unless you are super picky and want a smoothie then you are out of luck). If you are flying business class then you will probably have something to eat on board, though this does not excuse the inadequacy of the food in the lounge, but if you are flying economy class….well you get what you paid!
As I was flying business class and do not hold Oneworld Emerald status I did not visit the First Class lounge area though I hear it is largely the same in facilities but with fewer people and therefore a quieter space.
As a matter of interest I did wander over to Cathay Pacific's lounge before this visit, even though it is about 5 mins walk away from the JAL lounge.
And in the end I regretted it!