The wait is finally over — Japan Airlines has just unveiled all the details of its new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. These will will set a new standard when it comes to the inflight experience for the airline, and will feature all new cabins, including an incredible new first and business class experience. Let’s go over all the details.
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Japan Airlines has 13 A350-1000s on order
Japan Airlines has a total of 13 Airbus A350-1000s on order, which will eventually become the carrier’s flagship aircraft. Japan Airlines currently has 13 Boeing 777-300ERs in its fleet, which are the carrier’s current flagship aircraft, so you can expect a 1:1 replacement.
Japan Airlines’ 777s were delivered between 2004 and 2009, so they’re an average of around 16 years old as of now. That’s by no means old, but the carrier likes to have a modern fleet, so it’s not surprising to see these replaced.
The Japanese oneworld airline is expected to take delivery of its first A350-1000s late this year, and should replace all of its 777-300ERs by 2028:
- Two A350-1000s will be delivered before the end of 2023
- Nine A350-1000s will be delivered before the end of 2025
- 13 A350-1000s will be delivered by 2028
You might be thinking to yourself “well doesn’t Japan Airlines already have A350s?” Yes, actually it does. Japan Airlines ordered a total of 18 A350-900s, 16 of which have already been delivered. However, these are exclusively used for domestic flights, and have a totally different configuration. These planes are high density, given the short routes that are operated within Japan.
New York will be first A350-1000 destination
Japan Airlines has so far revealed its first Airbus A350-1000 route. While no exact date has been provided yet, Japan Airlines intends to start flying its first A350-1000 between Tokyo (HND) and New York (JFK) before the end of 2023. The initial plan was for the plane to enter service as of November, but the airline is anticipating a slight delay due to supply chain issues.
Japan Airlines operates two daily flights between Tokyo and New York, and initially only one of those flights will feature the A350. Specifically, the following frequency will be the first to feature the new cabins, though initially only on alternating days:
JL6 Tokyo to New York departing 11:05AM arriving 10:50AM
JL5 New York to Tokyo departing 1:45PM arriving 5:15PM (+1 day)
Japan Airlines A350-1000 seats & layout
What should we expect from the interiors of Japan Airlines’ Airbus A350-1000s? The planes will be in a very premium heavy configuration with just 239 seats, including:
- Six first class seats
- 54 business class seats
- 24 premium economy seats
- 155 economy class seats
You can see the seat map for the aircraft below, along with a comparison of how the seat count compares to the current 777-300ER.
Before we go over the details of each cabin, below is a video that Japan Airlines has produced about the new aircraft.
New Japan Airlines A350 first class
Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 first class will consist of just six seats, spread across two rows in a 1-1-1 configuration. The seats are produced by Safran, and here are some of the key features of this product:
- The dimensions of this seat are unreal — the seat will have 83″ of pitch, 48″ of width, the bed will be 80″ long, the wall will be 62″ high, and the entertainment monitor will be 43″
- For the first time in the carrier’s history, first class seats will feature privacy doors
- To create a more spacious environment, there will be no overhead bins in the cabin, and instead there will be a wardrobe and storage space at each seat
- The suite will offer three seating modes, including a sofa, a seat and a single bed, and a double bed (that’s despite the fact that each seat is designed for one passenger)
- Japan Airlines is introducing the world’s first headphone-free stereo with built-in headrest speakers, allowing passengers to enjoy inflight entertainment without using headphones
- The suite will feature wireless charging, a minibar, and the ability to communicate with flight attendants through a monitor at the seat
New Japan Airlines A350 business class
Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 business class will consist of 52 seats, spread across 14 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats are produced by Safran, and here are some of the key features of this product:
- The seat will have 51″ of pitch, 22″ of width, the bed will be 78″ long, the wall will be 52″ high, and the entertainment monitor will be 24″
- For the first time in the carrier’s history, business class seats will feature privacy doors
- There will exclusively be overhead bins along the windows, to create a more spacious cabin layout; the seats will feature a personal wardrobe as well as baggage storage
- The seats will also feature headrest speakers, so that you can enjoy entertainment without using headphones
- Seats will feature wireless charging and pressure dispersing cushions
New Japan Airlines A350 premium economy class
Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 premium economy will consist of 24 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-4-2 configuration. The seats are produced by Safran, and here are some of the key features of this product:
- The seats will have 42″ of pitch, 19″ of width, and the entertainment monitor will be 16″; this is among the best pitch you’ll find in premium economy on any airline
- This will be the first premium economy product in the world to offer electronically operated reclining functionality
- Japan Airlines will have large partitions in premium economy, to significantly improve privacy
- The seats will feature leg rests that can go up 90 degrees, to give you more options for how you’d like to position yourself
New Japan Airlines A350 economy class
Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 economy will consist of 155 seats, spread across 18 rows in a 3-3-3 configuration. The seats are produced by Recaro, and here are some of the key features of this product:
- The seats will have 33-34″ of pitch, 18″ of width, and the entertainment monitor will be 13″
- This builds on the carrier’s current economy class, but between the excellent legroom, seat width, and big entertainment screens, this is about as good as economy gets
- Economy seats will have AC, USB-A, and USB-C outlets (it’s rare to have that many charging options in economy)
Japan Airlines also refreshing soft product
To coincide with the launch of the new A350-1000, Japan Airlines is also refreshing various aspects of its soft product. Among other things, here’s what we can expect:
- In first and business class, Japan Airlines will introduce new vegan and vegetarian menus
- As of the spring of 2024, Japan Airlines will introduce a new dine on demand concept in business class, giving passengers more flexibility
- In business class, Japan Airlines will start offering pajamas, though you can only use them during the flight (which seems rather cheap)
- In premium economy and economy, the airline will introduce new premium paid dining concepts, for those who want an even better experience
My take on Japan Airlines new A350 cabins
Wow, there’s a lot to digest. Here are a few of my initial thoughts:
- The new first class looks absolutely spectacular; if Japan Airlines has good bedding in first class, this will be by far the best bed offered by any airline in first class
- I’m fascinated by the ability to listen to audio without headphones; I imagine this has been tested so that it doesn’t disturb others, since you wouldn’t expect an airline from Japan of all places to be the first to tell passengers to stop using headphones
- Japan Airlines’ A350 business class looks solid, though it doesn’t look that remarkable or special compared to what else is out there
- Japan Airlines’ premium economy looks exceptional, from the huge amount of seat pitch, to the privacy partitions, to the 90 degree leg rest
- Japan Airlines offering an industry leading 33-34″ of pitch in economy is tough to beat, and I also love all the charging options
- The only thing I don’t love is Japan Airlines’ cabin finishes, as I find the burgundy color to be rather outdated; but that’s also personal preference
Japan Airlines will soon take delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000, which should enter service between Tokyo and New York as of late 2023. The airline is introducing all new cabins on these planes, including new first class seats, new business class seats with doors, and incredibly spacious layouts in both premium economy and economy.
This looks like an awesome way to fly, and I can’t wait to check it out myslef!
What do you make of Japan Airlines’ new A350 cabins?