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Observations about JAL and QANTAS Premium Economy
I just completed a trip for close to six weeks that included Australia and Japan, with Qantas flights between LAX and MEL and Japan Airlines flights between SYD and NRT.
All flights were in Premium Economy. The Qantas flights were on the Airbus A380. The Japan Airlines flights were on the 777 going and 787 returning. The original booking showed the 777 for both legs. I was not paying attention and assumed the flight out was a 777 for the duration of the flight. I think they may have switched over to the 787 after my March 26 flight to Narita.
This was my eleventh trip to Australia and my second trip to Japan. I originally booked the Qantas flights almost a year ago. In November, I realized that another year would pass and I would not see Japan in Sakura season. So I booked the Japan trip as a side trip.
I had flown Qantas Airbus A380 before in business and premium economy. Before the flight to Melbourne, I was concerned that the business experience would have spoiled me and made premium economy hard to tolerate.
Actually, time on the flight over passed about as quickly as any flight I have done to Australia. Qantas paged me before the flight and reassigned me to a bulkhead row seat (24F) because 27J had a defective entertainment system. I had previously flown in 24K, but bulkhead row seats are apparently held for Qantas flyers with status. On the return flight, I had 27J. As it turned out, both seats had more than ample leg room. I would prefer 27J because it is an aisle seat on the right side of a 2-3-2 configuration. 24K was an aisle seat in the three seat center of the 2-3-2 configuration.
On the Japan Airlines flights, I had seat 19C on both flights. The original itinerary was to include 777 flights in both directions. The return flight turned out to be a 787. I was impressed on way up with the seat and flight was quite smooth. On the return flight, the seats seemed to have different characteristics in how they functioned and were extremely comfortable. I noted at the time I boarded the return flight that the plane description in the seat jacket showed 787. I slept reasonably well on the return flight, for four or five hours, so the seat was definitely comfortable. The flight up was a day flight. I napped for about an hour of the flight. I also watched a movie and some documentaries. Overall, both were quite comfortable but the return flight more so.
The premium economy seats on these airlines were extremely good value. The quality was superior on both to 777 premium economy seats on British Air flights on the 777 and Airbus A380.
I accrued over 25,000 flight miles for the total trip. Combined costs were slightly over $4000 USD. Factoring in status bonuses, the value increases dramatically.
I would be interested in observations others have about premium economy type seating in other international carriers. I can do searches but some of the reviews are technical and seem to follow a pre-specified review outline.
I once flew economy flights overseas on many occasions when I was younger. The more I traveled overseas, the more I wanted to travel overseas. The barrier was the discomfort on long economy flights. I am pretty resilient and durable for an old timer, so the premium economy option is a good compromise.