Japan Airlines Becomes Skytrax 5-Star Airline

Japan Airlines has just become the 11th airline to get a Skytrax 5-Star rating. 10 of the Skytrax 5-Star airlines are Asian (only Lufthansa isn’t), and Japan Airlines also becomes the second Japanese airline to get the rating, after All Nippon Airways.


Japan Airlines 777 first class

The three most recent airlines to get a 5-Star rating are Lufthansa (in December 2017), Etihad (in October 2016), and EVA Air (in June 2016).

Here’s what the CEO of Skytrax had to say about awarding Japan Airlines this rating:

“Japan Airlines has worked extremely hard over the last 5-years to truly transform their product and service experience for customers. Without doubt, JAL are now delivering some of the best standards of inflight seating and IFE hardware, and this has been well paired with staff service quality that continues to increase in appeal for both the domestic and International markets.”

Here’s what JAL’s president had to say about receiving this rating:

“It’s an amazing feeling to receive these awards from Skytrax, while also being recognized by our customers for providing one of the best seat products in the industry. This is definitely a step in the right direction as JAL aims to become one of the most preferred airlines in the world.”

Now, let me say that I don’t put much weight at all into Skytrax ratings. I actually think Skytrax lost a huge amount of credibility by awarding Lufthansa with a 5-Star rating. Skytrax claimed that a key factor in Lufthansa getting their 5-Star rating was that they announced a new business class, though it will be several years before even the first plane features it. Skytrax also claims that one of the key considerations in awarding an airline with a 5-Star rating is the consistency of their product, and if less than 80% of their fleet features a product, it will have a negative impact on their final quality rating. So how a business class product that doesn’t yet exist factors into their rating is beyond me…


Lufthansa A320 in Skytrax 5-Star livery

Keep in mind that Skytrax also provides consulting services for airlines, and there’s not much transparency as to the connection between the airlines they consult for and the airlines that have 5-Star ratings. So my point is that I have a lot of concerns about their metrics and standards, and while I follow what they do closely, I don’t put much weight into it.

That being said, Japan Airlines absolutely deserves to be a Skytrax 5-Star airline, and I’m happy to see Skytrax awarding the airline as such. There are differing opinions on this, though personally I think JAL is better than ANA, so since ANA had the rating, I thought JAL deserved it as well.

There are so many fantastic things about JAL:


Japan Airlines 777 business class

So congrats to Japan Airlines on this, it’s well deserved, even if I question Skytrax’s general system of awarding these ratings.

What do you make of JAL receiving a Skytrax 5-Star rating?

Comments

  1. JAL service is definitely not flawless, even in F and J. They have a good product but I have had my share of crews who took a long time to fulfill simple requests (a drink), who were huffy about getting their service done and getting their rest, who pushed past passengers standing in the aisle (instead of saying excuse me) and who were somewhat short of being charming and welcoming to passengers.

  2. “Now, let me say that I don’t put much weight at all into Skytrax ratings. I actually think Skytrax lost a huge amount of credibility by awarding Lufthansa with a 5-Star rating. ”

    And yet you write about them all the time. Like Paul Ryan calling trump’s actions racist but supporting them anyway. Or Republicans condemning trump bending over for Putin but doing nothing concrete about it.

    Hypocrisy abounds!

  3. @ ABQ — I suspect because they have 2-3-2 business class in a majority of their fleet. But personally I think they should be 5-Star if Etihad is.

  4. Sounds like JAL bought their rating in order to help level the playing field with ANA. They’re good; but they’re not 5-star good.

  5.  I also don’t put much weight at all into Skytrax ratings, but I would put a lot of weight into an OMAAT rating.

    Actually I appreciate how you try to review so many airlines, and how you are so spot on with your reviews. Airlines would do much better if they said they earned an OMAAT 5 star rating. That would have some weight.

    One review request I have would be for airline review of their non-stellar products, or the ones that often are easier to book with points. For example I would like to see a review of JAL 787 with the slanted – J seat. Or a review of Emirates 2-3-2 J

  6. @ Gregg – With an inferior business class seat, 3-3-3 in 787 economy, 3-4-3 in 777 economy, and a first class seat where you can’t even look out of the window (in a window seat), I’m not sure why ANA is so heavily pedestalled. I appreciate that service on ANA is usually flawless, but I’ve had equally good experiences on JAL as well.

  7. @ Michael — I tend to agree. And personally I think Hainan as well. They’re very good (especially by mainland Chinese standards), but I don’t think they’re one of the top 10(ish) airlines in the world.

  8. They absolutely deserve it. Their economy class, with less seats across than many other ‘5-star’ competitors alone is worth the rank.

    I have personally flown multiple times in their economy, business and first cabins. My experience has always been flawless. The last time their 787 had a 2 hour delay on the tarmac, the purser apologized to every biz pax and bowing so deeply like she just broke my grandma’s favorite china.

    Almost all is perfect, like their fatty tuna in NRT F lounge. I only wish their flagship F lounge was more exclusive.

  9. I almost responded to a stupid comment above, but then I realized it was just the comment section’s resident troll. You almost got me!

  10. Lufthansa 5 star? That gives Skytrax as much credibility as the Nobel Prize after Pres Obama received a Nobel Prize AT THE BEGINNING of this first term.

  11. @Alvin – I don’t think ANA is a five-star airline either. In my opinion, the nearest one to a true five star is Qatar Airways. But then again the ratings are generally bogus anyhow. I would put much more weight on an OMAAT rating providing it remained neutral and not part of a marketing or consulting agreement with the carrier.

  12. If Skytrax stop awarding 5 star ratings, Skytrax is no longer a business with revenue.. so..

  13. I did recently fly JAL domestic, and the service was indeed very good. As the only non-Japanese person on the (full) flight, I was given personal translations from the attendants for any announcements – a nice touch.

    Their domestic business and first class is not really anything special, though.

    Yet to fly international, hoping to use some avios for JAL apex in the near future.

  14. With 5 star ratings can be easily obtained through deals, i actually feel sad for GA that actually deserve it. I mean, while other airlines have spare money to acquire their competitor to become greater brand, GA is bleeding money. They have the potential, no doubt. Awesome crew, even in economy. Just like JAL they had 3-3-3 configuration for their 777, and real business class product on 737. They spend so much to change their face, and i know maybe some deals were involved for their 5 star rating, but they sure work hard keep themself relevant to the ratings.

  15. “Skytrax also claims that one of the key considerations in awarding an airline with a 5-Star rating is the consistency of their product, and if less than 80% of their fleet features a product, it will have a negative impact on their final quality rating. So how a business class product that doesn’t yet exist factors into their rating is beyond me…”

    It is very consistent, it does not exist on any plane.

  16. Well-deserved for JAL, but it remains a ridiculous joke that LH got a 5-star rating before JL.

    There are too many 5-star airlines now, as well. If Skytrax wants to get any credibility back they should start by dropping LH, OZ, HU, and probably EY too to 4 stars.

  17. I flew JAL biz from SFO-HND (Alaska miles).
    Impeccable service and flight.
    Comfortable seat and lie flat bed.
    Helpful and respectful crew: they sincerely mean it when bowing to you.
    My only comparison would be UAL from SFO-NRT same class: well, I won’t go there.

  18. I have only good things to say about JAL, from their ground staff to their in-flight services, elegant and sincere. Top-notch catering and hard products.

    For me they are among the top 3 airlines in the world.

  19. congratz to JL. they absoutely deserve this, just for the fact that their Y are 8 across in 787 and 9 across in 777 I would rate them above most of other peers.

  20. I agree that JAL is way better than ANA. JAL service is better. Foods are better. Staff are more friendly. They need to improve their Sakura (biz) lounge to be on par with ANA biz lounge with more food selection as noodle bar.

  21. @ Dusty – In relation to Japan Airlines, the subject of the comment. The Apex Suite on Japan Airlines is better than ANA’s staggered business class seat.

  22. ANA has more consistent business class than JAL. All longhaul NH flight will feature 1-2-1 staggered full flat seat. Their angles cradle seats are only restricted to short to medium haul.

    JAL on the other hand still feature 2-2-2 angled seats on some of their 787s that flies longhaul. So although I agree the Apex suite is better than staggered 1-2-1, in terms of consistency, NH wins.

    Service and soft product on both airlines are all very good. Their maybe some hit and miss depending on FAs of the day. But that happens to all airlines. I had mediocre service on SQ and CX before. But generally I’d say both NH and JL’s service are up there with the best.

  23. @Hiro
    ok NH does have a few 3-4-3 77W, but I can’t find any sources that they’re reconfiguring the rest, and if they are, I hope they’re getting a new first class seat; the current one is awful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *