American Airlines Improves Service On Flights To Japan

Filed Under: American, Japan Airlines

American hasĀ several joint ventures, including a transatlantic joint venture with British Airways, as well asĀ a transpacific joint venture with Japan Airlines. In general airlines do everything they can to create metal neutrality on joint ventures flights, since the intention is that airlines share revenue and coordinate schedules.

So it’s not unusual to see airlines align services in the markets. The always knowledgable @xJonNYC reports that American Airlines is improving service on flights between the US and Japan, so better align with JAL:

We are excited to further align the inflight experience for customers traveling on both American and JAL with new Japanese meals on flights departing North America to Japan. The meals are the same as those served on JAL flights and feature a “bento box” appetizer and three that includes rice and miso soup. The meal is available for preorder on or by contacting Reservations at at least 24 hours before flight departure. In addition, spirits are now complimentary in the Main Cabin on all flights to and from Japan.

As you can see, American is aligning their Japanese meal options with what JAL offers their passengers (though unlike on JAL, you need to pre-order the meal), and American is also introducing free spirits in economy on flights to/from Japan (currently only beer and wine are complimentary).

Japan Airlines business class bento box

Now if only they’d align the important things, like the crews and onboard bidets. šŸ˜‰

While a bit more niche, American and Japan Airlines are also adding priority handling for their top members:

The customer experience is always on our mind, and that’s especially true for our VIP customers. In May, American implemented a process to assist top JAL customers flying codeshare on American to and from Japan at DFW, LAX, and ORD which is modeled after our Five Star Service, including guaranteed arrival, departure and connection assistance. Likewise, JAL will soon begin to assist our ConciergeKey members on select JAL flights at NRT and HND, followed later this year by Kansai International AirportĀ in Osaka (KIX).

These are all fairly minor upgrades, though I still figured they were worth passing on.

  1. Can confirm, I flew NRT-LAX a week ago. The food is similar to the JAL meal shown in the photograph.

  2. Very exciting. American is also putting a 789 on the LAX-NRT route for about 6 weeks over the summer while they retrofit another 772.

  3. I read what you said about coordinating schedules but today at ORD I was making a connection and noticed an American flight and a JAL flight at gates next to each other leaving 15 mins apart. Seems like the smart thing would be to have the two flights at different times of the day offering schedule choices to One World flyers.

  4. You nailed it. Until management starts … managing their onboard personnel for quality, and fix premium bag delivery, these enhancements are completely worthless. I will never spend my money on AA on this route again.

  5. If they really wanted to improve, and align, service they’d dump all those FA’s who resemble goblins and get some similar to JAL’s.

  6. These upgrades are not minor. One of the major complaints of Japanese customers has always been the poor quality of the Japanese offering on NA carriers. By aligning to JAL, AA is trying to expand its reach.

  7. Somehow I doubt AA will pay the money to pull off the same quality of meal that JAL would provide marketing blather not withstanding. Also I will bet my wallet that you have a better chance of seeing Elvis on an AA flight than you do a bottle of Salon or the caviar service that JL has in F. How or why anyone would fly a US carrier in a premium cabin to Asia is beyond me. It is nice they are giving the huddled masses of the great unwashed some booze to temper the bad service they will be receiving but if someone is buying J or F and thinks AA is going to get within a country mile of JAL they are high and should share.

  8. I flew NRT-DFW a couple of months ago (a retrofitted 772 with the great new B/E Aerospace seats). I per-ordered the Japanese meal, and it was spectacular – nothing cheap about it, including the beautiful presentation. But I did notice many Japanese passengers around me requesting it and being turned down, clearly AA is not doing a great job advising the Japan market of the need to pre-order. Perhaps that’s the most important improvement they should consider.

  9. Having flown both to/from LAX-NRT/HND, it doesn’t matter if AA just improves their food (which in the past has been terrible in Y), it’s still a terrible experience. The AA FA’s came through the cabin 3 times in 9.5 hours on my most recent HND-LAX flight, on JAL they come through every 30min with a beverage offering. Plus the seats are wider and more legroom on JAL.

    I would only fly AA in J, but I would be open to giving their premium economy a try once it’s available just to give them a chance. But…if JAL’s price is within a few hundred bucks of AA, it’s no question which airline I choose.

  10. i take this flight 4-5 times a year. Even in Business Class the FA’s are HORRIBLE. no choice – company policy, or else I would ever fly American on this route

  11. AA doesn’t serve complimentary spirits in economy on intercontinental flights? DL has done so for years.

  12. AA needs to align their customer services, IFE, emenities with JAL. AA F/A, pilots, ground staff members are rude, unprofessional. Not to mentioned ugly to look at. Look at the way they dressed…. it’s horrible.

  13. @jimmy They might not be much to look at but I would rather have an FA with 35 years experience in the event of an emergency .

  14. I used to live and work in Tokyo (for three years) and I flew regularly on domestic flights, throughout Asia and also back to the USA two or three times a year. Generally, I would rate ANA and JAL more highly than UA/AA – much better food and service.

    However, like all Japanese transportation, the temperature on every JAl/ANA flight I took was way too high. Interestingly, most Japanese passengers curled up in blankets and slept while I chugged water.

    After the first couple of 14 hour US/Japan flights on ANA I changed to UA where the cabin temperature while dry, was bearable.

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