Japan Airlines introduces new onboard product

Japan Airlines has just unveiled the details of their new onboard products, which they’ll be rolling out in January of 2013 as they take delivery of more Boeing 777-300ERs. The new onboard product will apparently debut on the Tokyo Narita to London Heathrow route, and will then be rolled out to other European and North American destinations.

You can find the dedicated website for their new product here (or if you can read Japanese you can find that site here, which is a bit more detailed).

Their new first class product seems to be just a mild improvement over their old product, which was already very good. I wrote a trip report about my experience in Japan Airlines first class from Tokyo Narita to New York JFK back in May, which can be found here.

The huge improvement comes with their new business class product, which features fully flat beds in a private configuration, and allows all passengers direct aisle access. Interestingly both first and business class feature 23″ entertainment monitors, which is impressive. You can see a video of the new business class on the website dedicated to the new product.

They’re also going to be revamping their catering in first and business class, which probably isn’t really needed since they’ve always had great catering. The one thing that leaves me scratching my head is the name of their new catering program, JAL BEDD. As the press release states:

A dream team of four Japanese star chefs were brought together to design JAL’s First and Business Class menus using only the freshest and finest-ingredients. Named JAL BEDD to represent the comforts of the full flat beds and also to stand for ‘Dine’, ‘Delicious’ and ‘Dreams’, this new top-class service in First and Business offers the unique experience of a satisfying repast and repose in-flight.

That doesn’t make sense on so many levels that it’s almost funny.

Anyway, this is a huge improvement. I think a lot of people were disappointed when Japan Airlines took delivery of their 787s and installed an angled flat business class product. It’s not clear to me whether they’ll be retrofitting the 787s at all or what the timeline would be, but I’m anxious to get on an aircraft with the new product.

Kudos, JAL!

(Tip of the hat to AAdvantage Geek)

Filed Under: Japan Airlines
  1. So, wait: is it the new meal service that’s called JAL BEDD, or did the chef dream team design the new seating hard product? I seem to be having a Lost in Translation moment…

  2. Whew – thanks, Ben. I feel much better knowing it’s not just me (*haha*).

    I seriously do love Japan — and little enigmas like this are among the reasons — but please, JAL, bring back Seasons! At least we could wrap our brains around that one.

  3. Unfortunately, this seems to happen more often than not with Asian businesses. From your simple mom-and-pop restaurant listing their menu items to this unveiling of a new product by a highly-esteemed global company, grammar and syntax tend to be weak points.

    Other case-in-points for airlines include Asiana. And who could forget Korean Air’s “primitive energy” snafu with the new service to Nairobi, Kenya!

  4. I think it’s interesting that they’re announcing this 6 months after taking delivery of the 787 with angled-flat business in a two-class configuration. Do you think the 787 layout was motivated by the the fact that the 787 is designed to serve long-haul routes with somewhat lower demand?

    Kind of similar to Lufthansa taking the A380 with their old business product.

  5. @ NYinSF – I think it’s possible that the routes targeted for the 787 may have influenced the choice of product, but I also suspect that the 787’s production/delivery delay may have much to do with the interiors already seeming somewhat dated. UA has stated that this factored into some of their new 787s’ fittings at introduction — the IFE, if I recall — and come to think of it, the A380 was a little overdue once it arrived, too…

    Once either a) these previously-ordered products have justified their expenditure, or b) or the tide of competitive pressure becomes too great, I think we’ll see them replaced with more “current” equipment. Those long, thin routes tend to be rather high margin, and being able to bypass hubs tends to command a premium.

  6. I think I read somewhere that JAL was also making some changes with their Economy class cabin- any word on that yet?

  7. @ Euro — It looks like the seats are getting slightly wider and there will be slightly more legroom. There will also be a phone holder, bottle holder, multimedia ports, and touchscreen entertainment.

  8. Has JAL announced the launch date for NRT-JFK? I’ll be traveling in mid-Jan and if I can sit in their new business class, I’d switch to JAL. But since they launch first NRT-LHR launch is on Jan 13, I’m not hopeful…

  9. Flying nrt-dfw

    What do you think about Jal J vs AA J. Or
    Jal f vs AA F
    How would you get back assuming these were your only choices given nonstop.

  10. @ Siso — That’s a toughie, both products are angled flat and leave a bit to be desired. I’d pay the premium for first class if you can, and would go for JL F over AA F.

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