Japan Airlines Expanding At SFO

Filed Under: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines has just announced some international expansion, including one new route to the US mainland.

Japan Airlines will launch a daily nonstop flight between Tokyo Narita and San Francisco as of March 29, 2020. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

JL58 Narita to San Francisco departing 6:10PM arriving 11:30AM
JL57 San Francisco to Narita departing 1:35PM arriving 4:45PM (+1 day)

The ~5,120 mile flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-8, featuring business class and economy. Japan Airlines has among the least densely configured 787-8s, and this particular plane has 206 seats, including 30 business class seats and 176 economy seats.

Japan Airlines’ 787 business class

In business class they have excellent Apex Suites, which are among my favorite business class seats out there. For a sense of what to expect, check out my review of JAL’s 787 business class.

Meal in JAL business class

The new flight isn’t yet on sale, but is expected to go on sale at 2PM Japan time on November 6, 2019. If you want to travel to Japan for Cherry Blossom or the Olympics, it could pay to look for award space then, as it’s possible they’ll release some seats.

This new service will complement Japan Airlines’ existing daily flight between Tokyo Haneda and San Francisco. The airline operates that flight with a 777-300ER using the following schedule:

JL2 Haneda to San Francisco departing 7:50PM arriving 1:10PM
JL1 San Francisco to Haneda departing 3:50PM arriving 7:00PM (+1 day)

Japan Airlines’ 777-300ERs have first class, while their 787s don’t

Japan Airlines has a joint venture with American Airlines on transpacific flights, so these flights are also American Airlines codeshare flights.

Bottom Line

It’s great to see JAL increase capacity at SFO just ahead of the Olympics. This is part of JAL’s 2020 international expansion, including new flights to Bengaluru, Guam, and Vladivostok.

What do you make of JAL’s new NRT to SFO flight?

  1. Lucky, JAL deserves credit for being the ONLY airline in the world to continue having super wide 19 inch Economy seats on its 787s in a spacious 2-4-2 config. So much better than 17 inch on other airlines and even wider than some Premium Economy on the A350 (18.5 inch)! You should mention this.

  2. Lucky, JAL deserves credit for being the ONLY airline in the world to continue having super wide 19 inch Economy seats on its 787s in a spacious 2-4-2 config. So much better than 17 inch on other airlines and even wider than some Premium Economy on the A350 (18.5 inch)! You should mention this.

  3. Lucky, it it true that the JAL F lounge at HND is under construction for the near future? If so, what are the current lounge options (do you have reviews of them?). Terrible timing as I have an upcoming JAL F flight to HND and was really looking forward to the “Red Room” portion of their lounge.

  4. Are we sure this flight will have the Apex suites? Some JAL 787-8’s have angled flat seats in business class.

  5. Ben

    Just to add, this will match just perfect with the new BLR – NRT flight which is starting same day in both directions. BLR-SFO is a huge market ( AI does BLR-DEL-SFO).

  6. Absolutely the best airline in the World. Just flew DFW to NRT last week and they were simply amazing. Thanks JAL for making it a wonderful way to fly.

  7. Apex Suite 787-8 could have PE or not. All angled-flat or shell flat neo 787-8 don’t have PE.
    There’s no way JAL using angled-flat 787-8 on SFO route. It’s all being used on intra-Asia routes now.

  8. This new launch will compliment their BLR NRT flight. BLR must have been a major factor in this launch. BLR SFO sees a ton of pax.

  9. @ Ethan

    I believe both KIX-LAX and NRT-SAN use 788’s with the angle flat J seats. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. KIX – LAX uses Sky Suite 3/reverse herringbone 787-9, NRT – SAN uses Apex Suite 787-8.
    Pro tip: you can see which flight uses Sky Suite 1/2/3 on JAL site.
    JAL stopped used angled flat/shell neo flat on these routes like several months ago and Lucky reported it.

  11. That’s good to hear. I flew San Diego to Narita on one of the angled 787-8s last year and those seats were awful.

  12. I just flew JAL from Tokyo to Dallas in business class.

    The service has really dropped off. Napkins, empty glasses, and trash were left in my Sky Suite the entire flight. After my meal I asked for an ice cream, and the stewardess told to me ask again later on in the flight and wouldn’t explain why.

    They were also incredibly noisy in the galley, it was hard to get to sleep from all the banging going on.

  13. All 787-8’s with Sky Suite will have PY cabin phased out by November 5th, 2019. The SS8 is now only the E12 (J30Y154-ish) configuration.

  14. @jason the JAL Sakura lounge (business) at Haneda is under construction right now. First is open, at least it was two weeks ago. I remembered to take some shoes to get polished this time.

  15. @Ben if you read the press release, it mentioned that the 787 will only have Y and J, no PY.

    The Sakura Slyview Lounge has been closed for renovation. It opens again 1st of November, which is when the F lounge closes for renovation. The F lounge will be closed until March 2020.

  16. Other note, all JAL flights to North America are with full flat seats now.

    The old NEO seats (angled flat) still do some intra Asia flights but will gradually be reconfigured to fly for Zip Air. JAL’s new LCC

  17. A BIG THANK YOU BEN for the heads up!! I booked two round trip award tickets in J with Alaska miles the minute the flight went on sale. I’ll be on the inaugural flight from SFO on March 29th. Never been on an inaugural flight before, hope there will be a big ceremony!

  18. Hi Lucky,
    Thanks for the head’s up! I may change my existing SFO-HND to this since I’m connecting at NRT anyway, but when I called AA, they noted they got a pop-up stating “pending government approval” which made the agent nervous, especially given the potential for a government shutdown (which could horse up the process potentially).

    Any feel for the risk associated with that?

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