Japan Airlines

Details Of The New Alaska & Japan Airlines Partnership

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In early May, Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines announced that they’d launch a partnership as of June 29, 2016.

I love Alaska Mileage Plan, largely thanks to the variety of partner airlines they have. It’s a great way to earn a mileage currency which can be accrued and redeemed for travel on airlines spanning the alliances.

At the time we knew that there would be a reciprocal frequent flyer relationship, as well as codesharing agreement, pending government approval. That seems to have been successful, as the partnership will indeed be launching as of tomorrow. Here’s the information we have so far about their reciprocal frequent flyer agreement:

— Alaska Mileage Plan earning rates for travel on Japan Airlines
— Japan Airlines Mileage Bank earning rates for travel on Alaska
— Japan Airlines Mileage Bank redemption rates for travel on Alaska

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Japan Airlines 777 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from back in the US! Over the past few days I’ve flown China Airlines 777 business class from Los Angeles to Taipei, China Airlines A330 business class from Taipei to Singapore, Japan Airlines 767 business class from Singapore to Tokyo Haneda, and then finally Japan Airlines 777 business class from Tokyo Haneda to San Francisco.

In this post I’ll be sharing my initial thoughts on the last flight, along with 10 pictures. A full trip report will follow.

Japan Airlines’ 777s feature Apex Suites. I love the window seats in this configuration, as they’re ridiculously private, almost as private as industry leading first class suites. I’ll take a window seat in an Apex Suite over a reverse herringbone seat any day, though if I were in a non-window seat I’d choose a reverse herringbone seat instead, as I explained in a previous post about my favorite business class hard products.

The service was Japanese perfection, as I’ve come to expect from JAL. The crew was friendly, professional, attentive, and so precise. Japanese precision just makes me smile every time. For example, boarding was supposed to start at 11:35PM. At 11:34PM the following announcement was made:

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Japan Airlines 767 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Tokyo! Last night/this morning I took a Japan Airlines redeye flight from Singapore to Tokyo Haneda, following my China Airlines flights from Los Angeles to Taipei and Taipei to Singapore. The flight was operated by a 767, featuring staggered seats in business class, much like you’d find on Austrian, Brussels, Delta, etc.

I was really excited to fly Japan Airlines in business class, since my experiences in first class with them have been excellent, and I was curious to see how business class compared.

Admittedly a staggered configuration isn’t my favorite hard product out there, and these seats felt especially narrow. But for a flight which isn’t an ultra longhaul, it was perfectly acceptable. It helped that the cabin was only half full, as this configuration can feel pretty crowded when every seat is taken.

The service was pure Japanese excellence, plain and simple. The cabin crew couldn’t have been kinder or more professional. Japan Airlines nails it when it comes to service.

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Coming Up: China Airlines & Japan Airlines Business Class Reviews!

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As y’all know, my goal for 2016 is to review as many new premium cabin products as I can, especially in business class.

So far this year I’ve reviewed Finnair business class, Air India first class, Iberia business class, LAN business class, Oman Air business class, Air France business class, Avianca business class, Aeromexico business class, Air Canada business class, and South African Airways business class.

Coming up I have reviews of SAS business class, Aeroflot business class, Air Tahiti Nui business class, Fiji Airways business class, Royal Air Maroc business class, China Eastern business class, Saudia business class, Pakistan business class, and Swiss first class.

However, there are two incredibly practical business class products to Asia which I haven’t yet reviewed, and didn’t have any immediate plans to review. I have some days this week there I don’t have any other commitments in terms of where I need to be, so I decided to book a quick trip to review two new products — over the coming days I’ll be flying China Airlines business class and Japan Airlines business class. Let me explain.

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Alaska Airlines & Japan Airlines Announce New Partnership

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On a per mile basis I consider Alaska Mileage Plan miles to be the most valuable out there. Part of what makes them so valuable to me is that they have a variety of airline partners, including ones participating in the oneworld and SkyTeam alliances, along with several non-affiliated airlines.

On top of that Alaska Airlines has great award redemption rates and allows stopovers on one-way awards, making for some great values. Their program is great even if you don’t have miles with them yet, given how frequently they sell miles at a discount. Alaska is also pretty good about adding new partners. For example, in the past year they’ve added Hainan and Icelandair as partners.

Well, it looks like we can soon add another airline to the list. Pending government approval, Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines will launch a partnership as of June 29, 2016. This partnership would include both a codesharing agreement as well as a reciprocal frequent flyer agreement.

Per the press release:

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Here’s How You Should Book Emirates First Class Awards Going Forward

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Earlier I posted about the huge devaluation that Alaska made to Emirates first class award travel overnight, where we saw the cost of some first class awards increase by 100%. To me this destroys a lot of my trust in the Alaska Mileage Plan program, because trying to catch members off guard with changes undermines the very point of a loyalty program.

So is this the end of Emirates first class redemptions for me? Nope, at least for as long as the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program stays the same. I’ve written about how to redeem Japan Airlines miles on Emirates in the past, though figured I’d recap it again, given the drastic change which happened today.

Japan Airlines has a distance based award chart for travel on Emirates, as follows:

The basic rules of these redemptions are as follows:

— You can travel either one way or roundtrip
— You can fly up to six segments per itinerary
— You can make up to two stopovers per itinerary
— Mileage required is based on the total cumulative distance flown on all sectors

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Japan Airlines Announces New 777-200ER Business Class Seat

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Japan Airlines has just announced a new business class product for their fleet of 11 Boeing 777-200ERs, which they use primarily for mid-range flights (including within Asia and to Hawaii). This new product will be different than what JAL offers on their Boeing 777-300ERs, 787s, and 767s, which they otherwise use for their longhaul flights (more on that in a bit).

Japan Airlines will be installing reverse herringbone seats in business class on their Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, which is the first time JAL will be offering such a product. This is similar to the product offered on select aircraft from American, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, etc.

These reconfigured 777s will feature 42 business class seats, spread across 11 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. Presently JAL has two configurations of 777-200ERs, with one having 56 business class seats, while the other has just 28 business class seats.

In both instances, the new configuration will represent a reduction in net capacity, given that Japan Airlines is also installing a new premium economy product on these planes. Kudos to JAL for investing in improving their product.

The reconfigured 777-200ERs will feature 42 business class seats, 40 premium economy seats, and 154 economy seats. Here’s the seatmap for the reconfigured plane:

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Redeem Miles For JAL First Class To Australia

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Getting to Australia in a premium cabin on miles can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re trying to redeem American AAdvantage miles.

That might seem counterintuitive, given that American partners with Qantas, which is Australia’s largest airline. However, Qantas is stingy with releasing premium cabin award space, so that eliminates a lot of options. American also has pretty strict routing rules, so doesn’t let you route from the US to Australia via Asia on a single award.

However, if you’re willing to redeem extra miles, it looks like there’s a good option for getting to Australia at the moment.

Via Point Hacks, Japan Airlines has a great amount of first class award availability between Tokyo Narita and Sydney. JAL has as many as four first class seats per flight. Four first class seats represents half of the first class cabin!

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Japan Airlines Upgrades Boston To Tokyo Flight

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Japan Airlines launched flights between Boston and Tokyo in April 2012, which was a pretty nifty new route. It was the only route from Boston to Asia at the time (in the meantime Cathay Pacific and Hainan fly to Boston as well), and was the beginning of a huge international growth spurt for the airport.

That’s the beauty of the small and fuel efficient Boeing 787, as it makes “long and thin” routes much more feasible to operate. With a low per passenger operating cost, it has allowed airlines to enter all kinds of markets which weren’t previously practical.

Japan Airlines has been flying the Boeing 787-8 to Boston since the route launched. The 787 is a nice plane, though unfortunately the version of the plane Japan Airlines has been flying to Boston features the airline’s old, angled business class product.

In the meantime Japan Airlines is in the process of reconfiguring their 787s with a great new business class product, though it’s only available on select routes as of now (and Boston isn’t among them, sadly).

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How The Paris Attacks Have Impacted Airlines

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Any sort of terror attacks can greatly impact airlines. Part of the concern from passengers can be out of hysteria (I know plenty of people who think it’s “dangerous” to go just about anywhere at the moment), while another part of the concern can be over practicality (I answered a reader question recently about someone who didn’t want to go to Brussels because they were shutting down a lot of public transportation in light of the attacks).

With that in mind, what has been the impact of the Paris attacks on passenger numbers for airlines?

Air France & KLM said that the Paris attacks cost them €50m in revenue for the month of November, while the impact seems to have largely worn off after that. Via BBC:

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Suspicious: JAL Shuts Down Award Search In The US

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Given how tough it can be to find award space nowadays, it’s important to use all the resources available to you for searching space.

In other words, if you want to redeem American AAdvantage miles, you shouldn’t just look on American’s website for award space, because they don’t show space on all their partners, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Japan Airlines. Instead you have to use a combination of other websites to search space, and then if you find saver space it should also be bookable via American (in those instances you’ll end up having to call to book).

For oneworld there are four websites I use for searching award space:

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Great Route For Redeeming American Miles To Asia

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In late August, Japan Airlines announced that they’d begin Boeing 787 flights between Dallas and Tokyo Narita. American and JAL have a joint venture between the US and Tokyo, so this would complement American’s existing flights in the market.

The route would be operated by a Boeing 787 featuring JAL’s new business class product, which looks fantastic. It’s fully flat and quite private. While I haven’t had the chance to fly it myself, I’ve heard great things about it.

Shortly after the new route was announced I noted how award availability was wide open on the flight, as there were four business class award seats available most days. That made it a great option for redeeming AAdvantage miles between Dallas and Tokyo, as American charges just 50,000 AAdvantage miles for an award between the US and “Asia 1.”

It’s worth noting that JAL’s flight between Tokyo Narita and Dallas launched today, November 30, 2015.

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JAL Business Class Awards Wide Open Between Dallas And Tokyo

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In late August I wrote about how Japan Airlines will be launching 4x weekly nonstop flights between Dallas and Tokyo Narita as of November 30, 2015. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-8, featuring business class, premium economy, and economy.

American and JAL have a transpacific joint venture, so this complements American’s existing 2x daily flights between Dallas and Tokyo Narita.

Anyway, this new flight has been bookable for a couple of weeks now, though I haven’t been seeing any award space on it based on searching the British Airways award search tool. However, dantheman pointed out in the “Ask Lucky” forum that award space is actually wide open on this flight… it just doesn’t show on the British Airways website.

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JAL Launching Tokyo To Dallas Flights In November 2015

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Japan Airlines has one of my favorite first class products in the world, and has a pretty decent route network to the US — they fly from:

— Tokyo Narita to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York JFK, and San Diego
— Tokyo Haneda to San Francisco
— Osaka to Los Angeles

They’re fairly good about releasing award space, both in business class and first class. While business class awards are usually available as soon as the schedule opens, first class awards are typically most readily available last minute.

It looks like Japan Airlines’ US route network will soon be expanding, and this one is especially useful for American flyers.

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