The Guide to Japan Airlines Business Class

JAL's lie-flat seats (in most planes) and chef-designed menus make long-haul flights to Asia less arduous.
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Written by Ramsey Qubein
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Long-haul flights to Asia can be taxing on the body, but Japan Airlines business class can make the flight both comfortable and pleasant.

Japan Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance, which includes airlines like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Qatar Airways, among others.

It is one of two major network carriers in Japan (the other is All Nippon Airlines, part of Star Alliance). Japan Airlines offers the same type of hospitality the country is known for, and the crew makes sure everyone feels comfortable and welcome, in all cabins.

This Japan Airlines business class review looks at what you can expect when flying JAL business class.

Japan Airlines business class seats

(Image courtesy of Japan Airlines)

Japan Airlines business-class seats aren't all the same, and they can be different depending on the aircraft. Its nine planes have different seating types that can vary between 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 setups.

(Image courtesy of Japan Airlines)

The seats are staggered with privacy walls so that you don’t see the person next to you unless you open the partition. You also don’t cross over the other person’s feet since the seats are enclosed with a partial wall for more privacy.

The airline brands these seats as the JAL Sky Suite. It is available on the Boeing 777 and 787-9 aircraft.

You’ll want to avoid the older seats on the 787-8 planes, which are the “shell flat neo” seats. These are angled lie-flat options that don't fold down to 180 degrees, and a common complaint is that you feel like you are sliding down when sleeping in them.

The seats are also on some Boeing 777-200ER and 777-300ER planes in a 2-3-2 configuration, which means there is a middle seat in business class.

(Image courtesy of Japan Airlines)

On the 767 aircraft, the airline uses a different model of seat known as the Sky Suite II. It reclines into a fully flat bed and is in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Japan Airlines also operates widebody planes on domestic routes, but these don't have the same style of business class seats. The airline has a dramatic range of aircraft types, each with different seating configurations.

The Sky Suite is its best business class product, and it has privacy, decent storage space and the ability to convert to a flat bed, ideal for long flights.

Each seat has a personal entertainment screen, which has a wide range of movies, TV shows, music, games, e-books and a moving map. There is also an electrical outlet and USB port for charging devices.

Food and drink

Dining on Japan Airlines is a treat, and there are options for Western cuisine or traditional Japanese fare.

(Photo courtesy of Japan Airlines)

For the latter, the airline partners with Japanese chefs like Jun Mishina to design the inflight menu, which features seasonal ingredients and rotating options. Some chefs, like Fumiko Kono, attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in France.

(Photo courtesy of Japan Airlines)

Different chefs are highlighted on certain routes, which adds variety to the inflight dining experience. The airline has special meals that are served on its flights from Honolulu to Japan.

To assure you get your preferred meal, it is possible to reserve meals in advance online.

(Photo courtesy of Japan Airlines)

Meals are served in courses on elegant china paired with a long list of drinks including soft drinks, juices, wine, beer and sake.

Japan Airlines works with a wine advisor to help it curate the onboard wine list. The sake selection is also quite impressive. For those who want something lighter, the airline also serves a sparkling, non-alcoholic wine.

The airline is known for its signature dishes that can be served as a meal or in between meals. These include Miyazaki Wagyu curry and chicken soba noodle soup.

The airline serves Maison Kayser specialty breads and fresh juices from different regions of Japan on certain routes. There are also delicious bespoke chocolates from French chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin.

(Photo courtesy of Japan Airlines)

Flight attendants are attentive and friendly, but if you don’t see one in the aisle, you can also order food and drinks via the inflight entertainment system. If you’re traveling with kids, there are special meals available to pre-order.

Amenities and other perks

Sleep amenities

Blankets and pillows are available at every seat, but a common complaint of Japanese carriers is that the cabins tend to be kept quite warm. For those who are cold, Japan Airlines lends Nendo brand cardigans to use during the flight.

JAL business class Wi-Fi

Some, but not all, Japan Airlines aircraft offer Wi-Fi. To determine which planes have the service, the airline includes a symbol on its website booking engine. The service isn't free, and it is available in one-hour, three-hour and 24-hour (entire flight) plans.

Japan Airlines amenity kits

(Photo courtesy of Japan Airlines)

Amenity kits for business class passengers are part of a collaboration with the French brand Maison Kitsuné and include an eye mask, dental kit and tissues.

Other perks of Japan Airlines business class

  • Additional checked bag allowance: Japan Airlines business class passengers get three checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms) each.

  • In-flight extras: Passengers have access to numerous goodies available on request. All passengers receive slippers to wear on the plane. Flight attendants also have postcards and pens, and for those with sore feet, they will offer a bamboo massage stick.

  • Noise-canceling headphones: Sony background noise-canceling headphones are available at each seat to use for the inflight entertainment options.

Is business class on Japan Airlines worth it?

Flying in business class on Japan Airlines is a pleasure. The airline operates flights from Japan all over the world, and its inflight service combines Japanese and Western amenities.

As a member of Oneworld, travelers can earn or redeem frequent flyer miles with any of its airline members. No matter where you travel with Japan Airlines, the business class experience is reliable and enjoyable.


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