Japan Airlines is tweaking its Boeing 787 fleet with new business class SkySuites as well as premium economy, in the process slashing the size of the current economy cabin by over one-third.
The new design Dreamliners will be decidedly premium-heavy, with 38 business class suites and 35 premium economy seats, leaving only eleven rows of 88 economy seats (arrayed 2-4-2 instead of the current 3-3-3).
Japan Airline's first Boeing 787s joined the JAL fleet less than three years ago.
The airline says that newly-delivered Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 jets will get the three-class configuration and will be flown "mainly on international medium and long haul routes."
The first of these will be Narita-Frankfurt from December 2014, followed by Narita-New York from January 2015.
"We plan to introduce about 10 Boeing 787-8s as JAL SKY SUITE 787" a spokesman for Japan Airlines told Australian Business Traveller.
JAL's new Sky Suite 787 is based on the airline's Boeing 777 business class.
Each of the 38 fully-flat SkySuite 787 beds see passengers tucked away in a semi-suite cubicle.
The seat that folds into a fully-flat 188cm bed, with the width tapering from 65cm at the shoulders to 53cm at the foot.
The2-2-2 layout gives direct aisle access to every passenger, and while the window-side pairs are offset the centre seats are directly aligned for travellers who want to sit together.
Even so, travellers in the A/C and H/K seats can drop the privacy screen to share a toast.
Each SkySuite 787 will be fitted with a 23 inch video screen, up from the current 15.4 inch panel, along with a touchscreen controller plus AC and USB sockets.
The SkySuites will also offer space under the footrest for stowing your carry-on kit.
The Dreamliner do-over also introduces JAL's Sky Premium premium economy seats, of which there'll be 35 (arranged 2-3-2) close to the middle of the plane.
The Sky Premium seats are closer to regional business class in their design.
Each seat is fitted into a fixed shell, "providing a relaxing space even when a passenger seated in front reclines," says JAL.
Speaking of reclining, there's a good amount of angular action.
In addition to the fold-up leg rest , there's also a swing-down footrest from the seat in front...
... plus these clever little nooks for water bottles.
Sky Premium seats are 49cm (19 inches) wide with a 42 inch pitch, and each is fitted with a 12.1 inch monitor – except for the front row, which has to make do with a bulkhead-installed 10.6 inch screen.
Each passenger also gets their own ACB and USB ports.
With JAL's made-over Boeing 787s containing just 88 economy seats – or Sky Wider II seats, as the airline prefers to call them – in a single cabin, travellers have actually gained legroom and personal space.
Sure, the new 2-4-2 arrangement will see two passengers stuck in clamber-over-your-neighbour middle seats, compared to the original 3-3-3 layout.
But the seats will be 5cm wider, at 48cm (18.9 inches), than JAL's current Boeing 787s.
There's also more legroom, with pitch stretched by some 5cm (almost two inches) – up from a tight 79cm (31 inches) to a more knee-friendly 84cm (33 inches).
Here's a slightly more unusual way to look at legroom...
In-flight entertainment is piped through a 10.6 inch seat-back screen – and as with the more expensive seats, there are AC and USB ports at every seat.
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