Japan Airlines has unveiled its long-anticipated new cabins for the A350-1000, including a spacious new business class product with a lot of bells and whistles. We will examine each of the four cabins of service on the JAL A350-1000, but let’s look now at business class.
Japan Airlines A350-1000 Business Class
JAL is updating its longhaul aircraft with 13 A350-100 aircraft, which will gradually replace the 13 777-300ER aircraft that currently serve as the flagship long-haul aircraft. Despite engine delays, deliveries are scheduled to start later this year and will continue through 2028.
The first new route will be to New York JFK, with A350-1000 service operating on alternate days:
- JL6 – Tokyo (HND) – New York (JFK) – dep 11:05AM arr 10:50AM
- JL5 – New York (JFK) – Tokyo (HND) – dep 1:45PM arr 5:15PM+1
JAL is introducing a new first class, business class, premium economy class, and economy class onboard in a very passenger-friendly configuration.
The JAL A350-1000 business class cabin will include 52 enclosed private suites manufactured by French-based Safran.
Key specs include:
- Wall Height – 52 inches
- Seat Pitch – 51 inches
- Seat Width – 22 inches
- Bed Length – 78 inches
- 4K HD Monitor Size – 24 inches
Key features include:
- Lie-flat mode promises “ample space at the foot area” and cushioning structures that “evenly distribute body pressure”
- The headrest also has a reclining function, allowing for the viewing of inflight entertainment while lying down
- Electric privacy partition provides accessible communication with travel companions
- The world’s first headphone-free stereo with built-in headrest speakers, allowing customers to enjoy the inflight entertainment system without using headphones (Bluetooth wireless connectivity will also be available for your own listening devices)
- A wardrobe and storage space for personal belongings inside the suite (there will be no overhead bins in the center of the cabin)
Evolution Or Revolution?
There’s little about this seat that is revolutionary (the headrest speakers being the novelty), but this is a very solid seat and looks to be a very solid upgrade over the APEX suites currently on the 777-300ER. Those APEX suites offer tremendous privacy, but virtually zero personal storage, something I found to be an annoyance when I flew from Tokyo to San Francisco in JAL business class earlier this year.
> Read More: JAL 777-300ER Business Class First Impressions
If you’re thinking that the seat looks familiar, you are thinking correctly: Delta Air Lines has a similar seat on its A350-900 and A330-900neo aircraft in Delta One business class. The Delta seat is manufactured by Thompson Aero, not Saffron, but the design and layout appear quite similar.
The suite looks wonderful and I think it is simply unfair to judge it before trying it. I do have my questions, like how the headrest speakers will work or whether the warm cabins JAL is known for will still be an issue without air vents. But I will reserve that judgment until I try the new product.
And for the record, I do not think “revolution” should be the requirement for whether a new business class product is great or not. A suite should have personal storage, a responsive HD screen, wireless charging, power ports within reach, and most importantly be comfortable in all positions. This new suite seems to check off all those boxes.
Also important is the onbaord food, drinks, service, and amenities. This is an area where JAL has always shined in.
While the new A350-1000 business class suite on JAL may not be revolutionary, it looks to be a solid product and also a solid upgrade from the current flagship suite. I look forward to try it. I am skeptical about the headrest speakers, but will reserve judgment for now.