Photos: JAL's new first, business, premium & economy seats

By David Flynn, November 2 2012
Photos: JAL's new first, business, premium & economy seats

JAL has revealed photos of the new seat designs for all four classes of its flagship Boeing 777-300ER fleet, which will debut on the daily Tokyo-London service from January 2013 before being rolled out to New York and other US and European destinations.

The seats will also make their way onto JAL's 767-300ER jets, starting with the lie-flat Sky Suite business class product, in the second half of 2013.

First Class

Although christened the JAL Suite, these are more of a 'mini-suite' – along the same lines you'd see at the pointy end on Qantas, or British Airways – rather than the full-enclosed private cabins of Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

The 777s will feature eight first class berths equipped with all the mod cons, including a 23 inch flat-screen telly.

The 83cm wide seat converts into a 2 metre bed.

We love the spacious table – no awkward juggling of laptop and dinnerware here!

And speaking of space, there's plenty of stowage for your in-flight kit.

Business Class

49 fully-flat Sky Suite beds are ensconced in their own cubicles, going further down the privacy path than even Cathay Pacific's business class design.

The lie-flat beds can accommodate 1.88 metres from feet to follicles, with width varying from 65cm down to 53cm at the base.

The cubicles also sport a class-beating 23 inch monitor, up from the current 15.4 inches.

Despite a 2-3-2 layout, JAL has staggered the seats to ensure that every passenger has direct and unobstructed access to the aisle.

Couples can't really sit together, but they can open the privacy screen and share a toast.

Again, we always like to see room for cool-looking carry-on bags.

Premium Economy

The 40 Sky Premium seats are closer to regional business class in their design.

JAL has retained a fixed backrest "for an undisturbed space even when the passenger in front reclines"...

... but says there's now an extra 4 inches of pitch over the 38 inches of the current Sky Shell seats.

The seats have an extra 2.8 inch of slide over the current design and are 48cm wide.

And if there's nothing to watch on your 12.1 inch seatback personal video screen, why not make your own fun and create a 3D pie-chat?

There's a footrest which folds down from the seat in front...

... plus these nooks for water bottles.


This isn't the the usual angle for trumpeting legroom, but we can live with it.

According to JAL, the aptly-named Sky Wider seats gain 3 inches of pitch for a total of 34 inches, due to the adoption of a slimmer seatback design which affords an extra 7cm of space at knee-level.  

If you're travelled in any of JAL's current seats, what do you make of these upgrades? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

For more on the latest trends in travel, aimed squarely at the business traveller, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT. 


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 232

I've travelled on JALs current seats between Sydney and Tokyo and Tokyo and New York (which are different, but both equally bad) and these new ones are going to be much better.
This is a bit over due from JAL but will definitely a giant leap forward for them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Like the all-aisle access Business class. First seems a good mix between privacy yet without the clustraphobic factor of the 'suite' designs

Having just flown on a JAL 777-3 (LAX-NRT) in the middle business seat, this would be a massive improvement.

These new products are starting to put Qantas's SkyBed II - which with age seems to develop an unfortunate droop (to shame) in three respects - direct aisle access, a fully flat bed that stays flat (by virtue of the fixed feet part), a larger TV that doesnt fold out.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2012

Total posts 9

I've flown on JALs 787 and would certainly appreciate easy access to the aisle, particularly on night flights.


03 May 2012

Total posts 120

Thanks David for another heads up on new product.  I always appreciate these pieces as well as the actual reviews when one of the AusBT crew has flown.  Would it be possible to include information about the seat widths when doing these?  There is always great information on the ins and outs of the seat pitch of all the classes of travel and I would be interested in knowing how good the product is in terms of width as well, which isn't normally included in the reviews.  I have found a big variation in various business class seats (eg EK A380 v SQ A380) and it is an important aspect of travel comfort.  Tabs again. 


03 May 2012

Total posts 120

That should have been "thanks again"

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Hi PK, and thanks for your thanks... I've sourced the seat width and dropped that into the article.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

Seems like the Business class design means that the "aisle" side seat would be quite claustophobic with no window.

Give me the Cathay seat anyday.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 26

I travelled recently on JAL economy - according to the airlinequality seat guide index, seat pitch is now 33" but it felt much more cramped than that. The person in front was very noble in not reclining her seat or it would have been torture.  I'd take the claim of an effective 34" "new" seat pitch with a grain of salt no matter how spacious that photo makes it look (and I remember CX doing some interesting photography for its 31" pitch shell seats, too, but the photography didn't make the seats any less cramped than they actually were once a westerner of average size attempted to sit in one. 

Business class seat upgrades are sold by JAL very cheaply on some domestic flights - just an additional $12 or so took me from super-cramped Y to very spacious J (normal Y service, J points) on a flight from Narita to Itami.  Any international business class seat is great in those circumstances, especially if it happens after a long Pacific flight in Y. Any improvement would be an additional bonus, of course. 



03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Hi Dundas -- I was as skeptical as you, but when JAL had me into their Haneda seat workshop I got to try out the new economy seats, and they really have added extra room, both in terms of advances in seat pitch (taking advantage of new seats' thinner backs) and simply spacing them out further. That's a trend we really, really like to see!

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