Wide Open: Awards On JAL’s New Seattle Flight

In late September, Japan Airlines formally announced that they’ll be launching flights to Seattle as of March 31, 2019. The airline will operate the route daily using a Boeing 787-8, with the following schedule:

JL68 Tokyo Narita to Seattle departing 6:00PM arriving 11:00AM
JL67 Seattle to Tokyo Narita departing 2:20PM arriving 4:30PM (+1 day)

JAL is using their most updated version of the 787-8 for the route, featuring just 186 seats, including 30 business class seats and 156 economy seats. In business class JAL has Apex Suites, which are among my favorite business class seats out there, so this will be an excellent product.

Anyway, this new flight is bookable as of today, for anyone who is interested in taking it. More importantly, award availability is wide open — I see two business class award seats and at least four economy award seats on just about every single flight between March 31 and the end of the schedule (which runs through October as of this point).

This is a phenomenal way to redeem miles for travel in an exceptional business class product. Generally speaking your best bet is to redeem Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage miles.

If redeeming Alaska Mileage Plan miles:

  • A one-way business class ticket to North Asia costs 60,000 miles, and you can have a free stopover in Tokyo
  • A one-way business class award to South Asia costs 65,000 miles, and you can have a free stopover in Tokyo

If redeeming American AAdvantage miles:

  • A one-way business class ticket to North Asia costs 60,000 miles, though no stopovers are allowed
  • A one-way business class award to South Asia costs 70,000 miles, though no stopovers are allowed

Regardless of which airline you book through, you can include positioning flights to Seattle on Alaska Airlines at no extra cost.

Bottom line

Seattle is seeing a lot of transpacific growth in 2019, as Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Singapore Airlines are all adding flights there. This should also be great news for those looking to redeem miles, since this will open up lots of new award options.

Japan Airlines has one of my favorite transpacific business class products, so this is a great opportunity to fly with them.

Anyone plan to redeem miles for this new JAL route?

Comments

  1. I would like to try JAL but am concerned about their cabin temperature. I have read several reviews that report high temperatures on JAL long haul flights. Anyone had any recent experience?

  2. @james

    It’s a fuc***ng oven, bos/nrt twice on jal, yes business class was nice, great seat and service but temp was an issue, then again we start grilling outside in March…

    If your sensitive to warm temps dry cabin like me just change in someone loose fitting and lite (thin running pants and a T) change back on arrival

    Worth it, best business class for a 13’ish our flight, just chill out on all the salty food in the lounge and airplane service lots of chapstick

  3. @Tracy Alaska includes a positioning flight to Seattle (or another gateway) for you so that you can get to their partner airline’s gateway city.

  4. @Lucky Thank you so much for the info. Previously book YVR-NRT and have been monitoring when the flight from SEA is available and today I was able to change it. I was so nervous because that the two seats would be gone while I was calling the agent. The tax $10 cheaper out of SEA. Btw, your seat map is different with the one JAL site when I did the seat selection. It’s only has 30 seats business.

    @Eva I used Alaska airlines.

  5. I don’t see anything via American Airlines at least when looking into September/October. Alaskan appears to show more availability currently

  6. @aarowa. Does booking the positioning flight require a phone call, or can it be done on the website?

  7. @Michael C.

    Most times no phone call needed as far as I can tell. The positioning flight is bundled in the same mileage cost, as long as Alaska flies to the cities you’re coming from (there might be other restriction as well). But of course for certain partners, you have to call in, since their systems are not connected (like Cathay).

  8. @James – on our most recent flight, we politely asked the flight attendants if they could adjust the temperature downward (it was a bit warm, but not an oven), and they happily obliged. It actually got a bit too cool, but we didn’t say anything as it was perfect for sleeping at that point. Our JAL crew definitely wanted us to be comfortable!

  9. Regarding positioning flights on Alaska, it’s not as simple as that.

    There must be award availability at the lowest (saver) level.

    For first and/or business awards there must be availability in ‘u’ space.

    And neither of those seems to be a given anymore. Buyer beware.

    Spoken as someone who holds an upcoming JAL and CX award with no positioning flights.

  10. No. They are using a modified 787-8 (SS8) featuring Apex on this route which is J30Y156 (No PE). At the same date the San Diego flight will also be swapped with this lie-flat modified SS8.

  11. I’ve booked this with Alaska miles. SEA-NRT-LAX

    However, now I am looking at the seat maps on JAL and they are blocking ALL window seats on the SEA-NRT leg. Any idea if this is common? (NRT-SIN has only 6 open window seats.) (Flight is in 8 months out)

  12. These tickets went on Monday 14:00 Tokyo time, yes I called Tokyo office and asked ha ha. Tickets booked SEA – NRT – SIN! Can’t believe ALL the window seats are blocked

  13. @Jason:

    No.

    “U” is upgrade availability on Alaska. It’s an overlay on coach signifying immediate upgrades using instruments, miles or certain coach fare buckets.

    What you want is “A” (Saver first) or “W” (Saver coach).

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