Japan Airlines

AMAZING DEAL: Japan Airlines First Class Award Space Wide Open!!!

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There’s no denying that booking first class awards to Asia using American AAdvantage miles is getting more and more difficult. Nowadays Cathay Pacific doesn’t release much first class award space in advance, and there are even rumors of Cathay Pacific soon completely shutting off members of partner frequent flyer programs from redeeming for award tickets.

The one other excellent partner American AAdvantage has for first class awards to Asia is Japan Airlines. I recently reviewed Japan Airlines’ new first class, and had two incredible flights:

— Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Jakarta To Tokyo Narita
— Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Tokyo Narita To New York JFK

The flights were fantastic, from the seat to the service to the food to the onboard wifi.

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Review: Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Tokyo Narita To New York JFK

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After a really awesome flight on JAL from Jakarta to Tokyo Narita, I was excited to see whether it was a one-off, or if JAL has really become this awesome. In this review I won’t focus too much on the hard product, since I covered that pretty thoroughly in the last installment.

At the door I was welcomed by the senior cabin attendant, Akahane, and two of the other first class crew. I got a full round of bows before I even stepped foot on the plane. I was escorted to my seat, 2A.

As soon as I sat down Akahane came to my seat for a more detailed welcome, including informing me of the flight time of 12hr15min. She offered me a drink, and I of course requested a glass of Salon champagne. It was served with a hot towel.

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Review: Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport

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I arrived from Jakarta at 6:25AM, and my connecting flight to New York was at 11:10AM, so I had a sizable layover.

I cleared transit security in no time and headed to the Japan Airlines First Class Lounge located in the main concourse, only to discover that it actually opens at 7:30AM, so I had about an hour to kill before I could use the lounge.

Admittedly I should have researched in advance (not that it would have changed anything in practice), but I do find it a bit odd that the lounge opens so much later than the first bank of arriving flights.

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Review: Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Jakarta To Tokyo Narita

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Japan Airlines began rolling out their new first class product a couple of years ago, and I’ve really wanted to try it ever since. I’ve flown Japan Airlines’ old first class a couple of times, though was never all that impressed.

My experiences in ANA first class have always been exceptional, and I’ve kind of thought of them as the “premium” Japanese airline. I was curious if my impressions changed after flying Japan Airlines’ new first class.

At the door I was welcomed aboard with a triple bow by the senior cabin attendant and two of the first class crew, who immediately directed me to my seat.

Japan Airlines’ new first class cabin consists of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While they’re not fully enclosed suites, each seat is spacious with a good amount of privacy.

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20,000+ Miles In 72 Hours: Introduction

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For reasons I’ll probably explain at another point, I had to be in Hong Kong for a morning. Not the most efficient use of time, but at the same time I don’t mind redeeming miles for Cathay Pacific first class to Asia, given what a great value it is. I’ve gotta spend my weekends somehow, and sipping Krug at 39,000 feet doesn’t suck that much. ­čśë

Originally I was just going to book a roundtrip first class ticket on Cathay Pacific from the US to Hong Kong.

But after giving it some thought I realized that I really wanted to fly Japan Airlines’ new first class, which I’ve been meaning to try for a long time (I’ve only flown JAL’s old first class between Tokyo and New York).

As luck would have it, Japan Airlines had first class award availability from Tokyo Narita to New York JFK on the exact date I needed.

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Will Japan Airlines Resume Tokyo Narita To Dallas Route?

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Japan Airlines has done a great job utilizing the Boeing 787 to actually grow their route network. Thanks to the 787, they added routes from Tokyo Narita to Boston and San Diego. On top of that, a few days ago JAL launched 787 flights between Osaka and Los Angeles.

JAL’s CEO was asked about potential future routes to the US, and it seems that Japan Airlines is seriously considering adding a Tokyo Narita to Dallas route, via JAL Flyer. Keep in mind that this is a route which they started operating in 1999, and then discontinued shortly after 9/11.

Launching the route would be a no brainer, given the growth we’re seeing in Texas, as well as the potential connecting traffic thanks to Dallas being the largest hub of oneworld partner American. ANA recently announced that they’ll launch flights to Houston, which is United’s biggest hub.

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Review: American Airlines Admirals Club Honolulu Airport

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While the flights to/from Honolulu were utterly unremarkable/boring/had the most apathetic flight attendants I’ve ever had, I figured I’d review the Admirals Club in Honolulu.

The Admirals Club Honolulu is especially interesting because it’s not exclusively an Admirals Club. It’s actually a shared facility between American Airlines and Japan Airlines. So it’s not that one airline runs it and the other airline uses it, but instead there are elements of both airlines incorporated into the lounge.

Honolulu Airport, while well past its prime, has to be one of the cutest airports ever. It’s largely open air with great tarmac views, Japanese gardens, etc. I mean, hell, the TSA is even friendly.

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How Good Is Japan Airlines’ New First Class Product?

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In late 2012, Japan Airlines began introducing a new first & business class product throughout their longhaul fleet. While it looked great, it wasn’t actually until this past weekend that I flew it.

Up until this trip I wasn’t too hot about Japan Airlines. Yes, I knew they were a decent airline, but based on my flights with them prior to that, I was never blown away by them. I always kind of thought of them as the second rate Japanese airline, after ANA, with which I’ve had nothing but amazing experiences.

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Redeem US Airways Miles On Japan Airlines More Than 90 Days Out?

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US Airways Dividend Miles has been adding several footnotes to their award chart lately, some of which make sense, and some of which don’t. They’re also not always consistently enforced, so that only makes them more complicated to some.

One of the recent updates which left me puzzled was the following footnote on US Airways’ award chart:

“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.”

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Japan Airlines Osaka To Los Angeles Flight Bookable With Miles

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Over the weekend I wrote about some changes that Japan Airlines announced to their network, including the addition of a daily Osaka to Los Angeles 787 flight starting March 20, 2015.

It’s a bit odd because the flight doesn’t seem to be loaded into the GDS — it doesn’t display on ExpertFlyer or through online travel agencies, though I do see the flight directly on Japan Airlines’ website.

Japan Airlines’ website does indicate that the flight will initially be operated by a 787 with Japan Airlines’ old business class product, which is unfortunate. Over time I suspect it will be operated by a 787 with the new product, though I guess it makes sense to first put the 787s with the new business class product on routes where they have competition.

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New Japan Airlines Osaka To Los Angeles Flight

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Yesterday I posted about Japan Airlines’ upgraded service to Sydney later this year during peak season. They’re upgrading their daily Tokyo Narita to Sydney flight from a 777-200ER to a 777-300ER, which is exciting since that plane features fully flat beds in business class, plus eight first class suites.

Given the introduction of first class on the route, Japan Airlines is releasing eight first class seats per flight, which is amazing.

In addition to that, Japan Airlines actually announced some other exciting service changes. There are lots of minor equipment changes, though personally I think the most interesting changes are as follows:

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Japan Airlines First Class Awards Tokyo To Sydney!

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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:

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Japan Airlines First Class Award Space WIDE OPEN!

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Japan Airlines announced an equipment change on their San Francisco to Tokyo Haneda route today. Per airlineroute.net, they’ll be upgrading the route from a 787-8 to a 777-300ER as of December 1, 2014.

But that’s not what’s exciting about this change. What’s truly exciting is that Japan Airlines’ 787s feature angled flat business class as the top cabin, while Japan Airlines’ 777-300ERs have both fully flat business class and eight first class suites.

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