For quite a while now there have been rumors of Japan Airlines adding flights to Seattle, and that has now finally been confirmed.
Japan Airlines has announced that they’ll begin flying between Tokyo Narita and Seattle as of March 31, 2019. The airline will operate the ~4,800 mile flight 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)
Japan Airlines will be using their most updated version of the 787-8 for the route, featuring just 161 seats, including 38 business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 88 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.
Japan Airlines’ Apex Suites business class
SeaTac has been growing like crazy lately. JAL will be the third airline flying between Seattle and Tokyo Narita, after ANA and Delta.
They’re also one of two airlines to add transpacific service out of Seattle on March 31, 2019, as JAL’s oneworld partner Cathay Pacific will begin flying nonstop between Hong Kong and Seattle as of the same day.
Cathay Pacific will also fly to Seattle as of March 31, 2019
Seattle is a logical market for JAL to expand to, not just because of how Seattle has grown as a business market, but also because they have a partnership with Alaska Airlines. With the partnership between Alaska and JAL, lots of new one-stop connection opportunities will become available.
Further, Seattle is the closest major US gateway to Japan, so from an efficiency standpoint, this routing will also minimize the number of miles people have to fly for most one-stop journeys.
As of now this new flight isn’t yet bookable, though hopefully it will be soon. If you want to redeem miles for business class on the flight, you’re probably best off using American AAdvantage or Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
A one-way business class ticket from the US to Japan or Korea will cost you 60,000 AAdvantage miles, or you can connect on to the rest of Asia for 70,000 AAdvantage miles (though no stopovers of over 24 hours are allowed).
Meanwhile if redeeming Alaska miles, a one-way ticket will cost you 60,000 Mileage Plan miles to North Asia, and 65,000 Mileage Plan miles to Southeast Asia. Alaska even allows stopovers on one-way awards, so you could do a stopover in Tokyo enroute to your final destination.
I’ll post again once this flight is bookable, assuming there’s a significant amount of award availability.
What do you make of JAL’s new route between Seattle and Tokyo?