Japan Airlines has unveiled its overhauled first class and business class seats, as well as some uplifts to premium economy too. Suffice to say, they could shake up the luxury travel and aviation industry.
With the launch of disruptive ‘all business class’ airlines and the news that some carriers are scrapping their first-class cabins altogether, airlines are having to make their luxury offers better than ever in order to attract willing travellers. This week, Japan Airlines unveiled the details of its new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which could set a new bar for the first and business-class experience.
As reported by One Mile At A Time, Japan Airlines has a total of 13 Airbus A350-1000s on order, which will eventually become the carrier’s flagship aircraft. The carrier’s current fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs is around 16 years old now and — given Japan Airlines’ industry-leading commitment to keeping its fleet up-to-date — is long overdue an overhaul.
WATCH: Compare and contrast with Cathay Pacific’s new business class cabin.
New York, New York
Japan Airlines has announced the first confirmed route for these news plans: although a precise date is yet to be been confirmed, the airline intends to commence operations between Tokyo and New York’s JFK airport before the end of 2023. Initially, only one of the two daily flights between Tokyo and New York will feature the A350.
The aircraft was initially scheduled to enter service in November but slight delays are anticipated due to ‚ you guessed it — supply chain issues…
New Japan Airlines First Class
Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 first class offers unparalleled luxury with just six seats in a 1-1-1 configuration. Key features include:
- Impressive Dimensions: 83″ pitch, 48″ width, an 80″ long bed, a 62″ high wall, and a massive 43″ entertainment monitor.
- Privacy Doors: For the first time in the carrier’s history, first-class seats will feature privacy doors that are becoming an increasingly must-have feature across the industry.
- No Overhead Bins: The cabin will have no overhead bins, creating a spacious environment with a wardrobe and storage space at each seat.
- Versatile Seating: The suite will offer three seating modes: a sofa, a seat and a single bed, and a double bed, all reserved for a single passenger.
- ‘Headphone-Free’ Technology: Japan Airlines is introducing the world’s first headphone-free stereo with built-in headrest speakers, allowing passengers to enjoy inflight entertainment without using uncomfortable and unreliable headphones.
New Japan Airlines Business Class
Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 business class consists of 52 seats, spread across 14 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. Unsurprisingly, it features many of the same features as first-class but with a little less space, privacy, or flexibility:
- Comfortable Dimensions: 51″ seat pitch, 22″ of width, a 78″ long bed, a 52″ high wall, and a 24″ entertainment monitor.
- Privacy Doors: Similar to first class, business class seats feature privacy doors, once again proving how pivotal a feature they’ve become.
- Spacious Layout: Overhead bins are exclusively along the windows, creating a more spacious cabin layout, and seats feature a personal wardrobe as well as baggage storage.
- Wireless Charging: Seats come equipped with wireless charging and pressure-dispersing cushions as well as the same ‘headphone-free’ tech as first class.
New Japan Airlines Premium Economy
It’s fast becoming common knowledge that premium economy is set to be the industry’s new ‘money-making machine‘, so Japan Airlines have also upgraded their premium economy cabin to an impressively high spec.
The new A350-1000 premium economy boasts 24 seats, arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration across three rows:
- Generous Dimensions: Seats offer 42″ of pitch, 19″ of width, and a 16″ entertainment monitor, making it one of — if not the — best premium economy pitch offerings in the world.
- Electronic Reclining: This will be the first premium economy product in the world to offer electronically operated reclining functionality.
- Enhanced Privacy: Large partitions enhance passenger privacy.
- Adjustable Leg Rests: Seats come with leg rests that can be positioned up to 90 degrees for personalised comfort.
Japan Airlines’ new jets are set to significantly raise the bar for luxury travel. While its first and business-class cabins are hugely impressive — offering almost unprecedented levels of space and some eye-catching (and certainly headline-grabbing) new tech in the form of their ‘headphone-free’ seats, it is actually its premium economy cabin that constitutes its dark horse…
Premium economy is looking like it could become the favoured cabin of the next few decades. As airlines increasingly ‘densify‘ economy cabins and pointy-end tickets are sold at eye-watering costs, premium economy represents the necessary medium where value and experience find a relatively happy middle ground.
Having said that, I certainly wouldn’t turn down a chance to try out JAL’s top-end cabins… if anyone from Japan Airlines is reading this, you know where to find me.