Japan Airlines Launching Flights To Seattle As Of March 31, 2019

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 A350 Business Class
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?

Comments

  1. Arrives around the same time as all other intercontinental flights into SeaTac. I hope most of thepoor souls on this flight have global entry. SeaTac immigration is like a cattle market.

  2. I’m really interested how this is affecting deltas yields and how increacse international carriers will impacts delta futures Seattle plans, restarting honkong or possible tapie or Singapore routes. The market is getting arguably even more competitive then back sfo but imo it cant support it so much for a dominated delta hub

  3. Interesting, since this is when DL is upgrading their SEA-NRT from a 767-300 to A350. Will JL’s SEA-NRT cancel DL’s upgrade to A350? And NH also operates this route with a 787-9 daily, so I feel like that one of the three will have to drop frequency.

    Also recently on flight searches, I’ve been seeing DL selling NH domestic Japan tickets from NRT and NH selling DL United States domestics from SEA. Is that a sign of DL and NH starting a small codeshare partnership? (although DL have KE and NH have UA).

  4. Their 8-abreast economy cabin also has better legroom and MUCH better food and amenities than anything offered by US carriers.

  5. Flying Japan business in the 787 in 6 weeks (unless first opens up).

    Curious which seating people prefer, center or window (traveling with spouse). Does the privacy/space of the window suite offer enough of an advantage to offset the annoyance of not being able to make eye contact? Never flown Apex suites before.

  6. Love this. JAL is one of my favorites and APEX is my favorite business seats. Also, I love the late time slot on the new flight since all the other transpacific out of SEA (except EVA) is in late morning to early afternoon.

  7. I think you meant to say: “JAL will be the third airline flying between Seattle and Tokyo Narita, after ANA and Delta Air Lines.” instead of “JAL will be the third airline flying between Seattle and Tokyo Narita, after ANA and Japan Airlines.”

    ANA and Delta both currently fly SEA-NRT routes.

  8. Lucky – I agree with others, please call out the 8-abreast seating on JALs 787 – its a huge difference in the marketplace at this point.

  9. I’m hoping this competition will help bring prices down a little. This will be the third option for flying direct to Tokyo from Seattle.

  10. @evan my wife and I have done window and aisle and window and window, one behind the other. The way the apex suite is set up its quite hard to have a conversation or shared experience so you might as well go for window and window and maximise the privacy, bare in mind the centre seats on the 787 are both aisles and and offset if on the 777.

    My wife and I have such different habits on the plane that window and window works very well for us.

  11. if I were only traveling between NRT and SEA in economy, I’d consider redeeming 25,000 British Airways Avios for one-way. Too bad JAL doesn’t offer pionts+cash on BA.

  12. @DTS Yep, international arrival around that time is a zoo. Even zipping through immigration with global entry, waiting for bags is a big problem. I waited about 45 minutes for baggage and they even stopped unloading our plane midway to unload a different flight on our baggage carousel then resumed. Confused and irritated hoards all around. They are building a new international terminal that is $300 million over budget and delayed until at least August 2020.

  13. Agreed with everyone else, that 11am arrival is going to be harsh. Glad Cathay went with the EVA-esque midnight schedule. Last time I flew back from Korea, we on Kal weren’t even allowed off the plane. Emirates, Asiana, Norwegian, a few Delta all landed within 20 minutes before us. Was absolutely a shhh-show

  14. I echoed others here. Seatac is my home airport and Global Entry (or Nexus) is a must. But even with that, you still have to wait a long time for the bags because Asian-originated flight, almost all of them, arrive around the same time bracket. Add Emirates and Lufthansa, means a zoo-like environment. Either travel light, or pick EVA or specific Delta flight (when possible).

  15. Looks like with Avios will be 25.000 one way economy 62,500 business. I’ve had good luck finding 4 business class seats for JAL yvr-nrt, hope the same pattern holds for their sea flight.

  16. Hainan’s flights from Shanghai and Beijing, and Xiamen’s flight from Shenzhen also land in the morning… Damn it.. It is really a Zoo there.

  17. According to the Japanese version of the press release, the sales for this route will open on November 5th.

    Adrian

  18. it’s pretty pathetic that someone finds the time and feels the need to copy an annoying poster… thx fake endre

  19. Lufthansa & British Airways, both B747 arrive before noon. Definitely a zoo arriving internationally from YLW at 12:30. They rolled our luggage in and placed it on the floor in front of carousel 33. Thank god for global entry. The security for onward connections is a nightmare. I just go landside and back through TSA Pre at departures.

    If you don’t have global entry, certainly use Mobile Passport. Download the app. You can make your declaration upon landing and breeze past immigration. There is a separate queue too. If you don’t have to wait for baggage, it can be faster than Global Entry.

    James

  20. JAL is actually resuming its service to Seattle. It pulled out of the market in 1992 after several decades of service on the Seattle-Tokyo route.

  21. Lucky, apparently JL will reconfigure some 787-8 frames into a 2-class config. (C and Y; no PY) and such reconfigured frames will be used for this route. C will be the SS8 seats and Y will be in 2-4-2 configuration.

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