Japan Airlines First Class Awards Tokyo To Sydney!

Japan Airlines has just announced some operational changes. I’ll cover the others in a separate post, but want to first talk about what I consider to be the most exciting, which is that Japan Airlines will be operating 777-300ER service between Tokyo Narita and Sydney starting this December.

This is a route ordinarily operated by a 777-200ER, which just features a business class cabin with angled seats as the top cabin.

From December 1, 2014, through March 28, 2015, Japan Airlines will offer 777-300ER service most days between Tokyo Narita and Sydney.

This is exciting for a couple of reasons:

  • The 777-300ER features Japan Airlines’ fantastic new first & business class products, which are a huge upgrade over what they offer on the 777-200ER
  • Japan Airlines has eight first class seats on their 777-300ERs, and they’re making four of those first class award seats available for all the dates that I checked — that’s fantastic news if you’re looking to go to Australia over peak season!

This is a similar situation to when Japan Airlines announced 777-300ER service between San Francisco and Tokyo Haneda, and made first class award space available on every flight.

Japan-Airlines-New-First-Class
Japan Airlines new first class

Japan-Airlines-New-Business-Class
Japan Airlines new business class

As I mentioned above, award space is fantastic, with most flights having four first class award seats, both from Tokyo to Sydney:

Japan-Airlines-First-1

And from Sydney to Tokyo:

Japan-Airlines-First-2

In terms of redeeming miles for this flight:

  • American charges 60,000 miles for one-way first class between Tokyo and Sydney (they don’t let you route from the US to Australia via Asia, so that would require two awards).
  • US Airways charges 140,000 miles for roundtrip first class between the US and Sydney, and will generally let you route via Tokyo. That being said, as is usually the case with US Airways, your mileage may vary. Otherwise US Airways charges 120,000 miles for roundtrip travel between Tokyo and Sydney.

Act fast if you want to take advantage of these though, as I don’t anticipate space sticking around given that this is such a difficult time for award travel to Australia.

Comments

  1. I am faced with the following dilemma:

    1.) Fly CX F LAX-HKG and KE A380F on the return ICN-LAX. This would include a 36 hr stopover on the way home in ICN.

    2.) Fly JAL F ORD-NRT but then fly HKG-ORD in J on the return. However, I could then also incorporate a flight in SQ F (likely 777 not A380) but then do a similar stopover in Singapore or Tokyo.

    Realizing I’ve never been to Asia, which would you choose and why?

  2. @ Josh — Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other. Would probably do the option with two transpacific flights in first class, and I do slightly prefer Cathay Pacific to Japan Airlines, but not by much.

    Enjoy your first trip to Asia!

  3. Any word of flights later in the year? I’m booked in J class from NRT to SYD in July 2015 but would love F if they are going to have it.

  4. @ Eric — That’s low season, so I think it’s highly unlikely they’ll keep the 777-300ER around that long.

  5. This is super awesome news! I flew JAL F two months ago JFK-NRT-CGK and absolutely loved it. Unlike your EY F experience a few days ago, I had way too much food to eat (I always ordered the Japanese selection first and later, if the western option was still available after all the other passengers finished eating, I kindly requested for that one too.)

  6. That’s an interesting (and somewhat unique) style of business class, no? Like BA, but all seats are facing forward…

  7. @ wwk5d — an excellent business class, if I don’t say so myself.

    @lucky — currently booked JFK-HKG-DXB-LHR-JFK in CX F, CX J, QF F, and BA F for 120K US sans BA YQ. What’s the likelihood I can change my booking to include two JL F segments to SYD via NRT for 20K+$150 per passenger without triggering a recalculation of BA YQ?

  8. Just did JFK – NRT in JL F and it was fantastic! A TON of food and excellent service. It also seems like they have greatly improved their entertainment options as well. The J seats also looked pretty nice, especially the mini cabin towards the front of the plane. This is a very exciting option, indeed!

  9. Would be perfect if it coincided with the SFO-TYO F opening 😉 As it is it will be extremely challenging to get to NRT from USA to take advantage of this. All I see is coach via ICN.

  10. I’ve tried SFO->SYD via HND in ITA matrix…no luck. Then I went to the BA website which returned no flights from SFO to SYD on JAL. I would love to take my bride of 32 years to Australia in 1st class flying SFO->HND and HND->SYD on the 300ER but am having no luck. What am I doing wrong?

  11. Am I reading the US Airways Oneworld chart correctly? Footnote 7 – JAL. Ticket must be used within 90 days of award booking?

  12. FYI, as of a few weeks ago on US’s chart:

    7) Awards booked on Japan Airlines are valid for the next 90 days starting from the following day of the Award Ticket issuance. Reservations for domestic JAL Award Flights within Japan must be made no earlier than 0930 Japan time, two months prior to travel

  13. Lucky, I thought if we check the JAL award seat availability by using BA website (if book by using AA miles), they tend to release the premium cabin award seat 2 weeks before the departure date? So how can there are many F seats availability from December 1, 2014, through March 28, 2015? How did you do that, did you use BA website?

    How’s the availability for SFO – HND and ICN – SFO in JAL F class for March 30 – April 15? As I am still trying to book the F class using AA miles but whenever I check BA website daily, all they have is coach class award seats that are available 🙁 I wish they release F award seats to Japan like they do to Australia route. Help please. I don’t want to miss the chance to book the JAL F seats.

  14. Lucky,

    Could I purchase enough miles now during the USair promo to score LAX-NRT-SYD? Also, booking via USair would we be allowed a stopover in NRT?

    Otherwise, do you think it’s worth it to grab NRT-SYD with AA miles in first now for a trip in March and then figure out a way to get LAX-NRT later?

    Thanks for this! Was just debating going for the Delta 100K miles (getting the 2 new cards) to go for Virgin Australia but now considering this…

    Stacey

  15. @ Jim F. — Right, SFO-HND is the new 777-300ER route out of SFO, but the flight to SYD is operated out of NRT.

  16. @ David W. — Yes, I pulled up availability on the BA website. The reason there is so much award space to Australia is because they just loaded the space. Chances are it wouldn’t be there otherwise.

  17. @ stacey — Yes, you could do a stopover. You can only buy 100K miles per account, so you’d need a starting balance.

    Could make sense to grab NRT-SYD now, but keep in mind it will require two awards if booking through American.

  18. Wondering if these will actually be sold as First or Business class… the JAL website still isn’t selling F ex-SYD on these dates? Would assume this’d mean putting in place some complex catering requirements in SYD which seems difficult for just a few months of service. In any case, I’m totally excited about the idea of JAL flying F to Sydney, let’s hope it’s actually happening!!

  19. @ Ken — US Airways has to go into a separate system to access JL space, and it all has to be longsold, but should definitely be possible.

  20. Lucky,

    4 more agents and 1 supervisor and they don’t know what long-sell is or need-need. This is going to be a long night.

  21. Lucky, I’m in the similar situation as Ken. I was able to book JAL F JFK-NRT with DM but JAL segments don’t show up on the itinerary, so I called them and even the supervisor says they don’t have access to seats and JAL booking code until 60 days prior which I know is not true for international JAL flights. They say they can hold the seats until then. I have booked JAL with DM before (got JAL booking code instantly upon booking) so I don’t believe them unless something really changed recently. After about 4 calls I gave up for now, but please let me know if you have any idea what to tell them….

  22. I booked SFO-HND in F on JAL last month. I built the route over one week and made many calls to different USDM agents. Some days the agents could see F space and some days they couldn’t. But I saw the seats available everyday using the BA tool. I think the USDM interface with JAL has glitches with F space from time to time. Don’t give up.

  23. Can you tell me which version of the JA 773 flies the ord – nrt route . Looking for the newest version obviously. Thanks

  24. I have the same question as Charlie above… per seatguru it seems like the 1-1-1 config… not sure what it is.
    thanks.

  25. 5 calls to US Airways and none of them see F (Z class) space … same issue as Ken and Erin. Had AA Exec Plat line call US for me and they hit the same wall.

  26. i hit the same wall as Howie… spoke to 4 agents… the first one saw ORD-NRT but not NRT-SYD. the other 3 didn’t see any JAL seats at all. stupid US Airways…

  27. up to 9 calls now … they can’t even see first class as an available cabin on the aircraft.

    I’ve asked if they’ve tried any other screens specific to JAL (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22736789-post521.html), if they can try to long sell it (honey, I can’t even see first class on that aircraft so I can’t try to long sell it … and if I did and it came back pending then you’d lose the business class seats you already have) … (i asked her to try it anyway and she said it didn’t work).

    AA sees it fine, BA displays the space without issue.

  28. 10 calls 2 supervisors and a brick wall.

    They see the aircraft as 777 (not 77W), they can sell into F (paid), they see U space available (J award … even though there is no J award space).

    Fustercluck.

  29. @Howie

    same for me, really tired of calling them… i guess the only option is to wait until it chnages in their system… i doubt there’s anything we can do. 🙁

  30. Sounds like there will be no luck with USDM. Maybe the spaces are blocked to USDM that JAL knows there is a sale going on with USDM?

    I just booked first class SYD-NRT rt with Asia Miles. Their agents have no problem accessing the award space. So it’s not phantom space. It’s definitely there!

  31. All the above comments about US agents make me wish AA+US integration would happen sooner than later. We’d lose ability to get “creative” routings but hearing so many people having trouble making a direct booking is rather discouraging. Lucky’s booking service must charge extra for dealing with US 😛

  32. I don’t think its necessarily JL blocking space. My multiple calls to USMD seem to show that the is no F ‘cabin’ apparently for that route. In addition to that, they’re saying that its showing up as 772 instead of 77W. So it looks like it hasn’t been updated in USDM’s system or maybe it could be JL not letting USDM know about it…?

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