JAL reveals new 'first class' (business class) Airbus A350 seats

By David Flynn, June 21 2019
JAL reveals new 'first class' (business class) Airbus A350 seats

Japan Airlines has revealed its latest-generation domestic first class seat, as well as the new ‘Class J’ seat created for its Airbus A350-900 fleet.

Let's hit the pause button and break this down for a moment.

These are domestic seats because all 18 of JAL's Airbus A350-900 jets will serve as workhorses on its domestic network (as are four Boeing 787-8s due later this year), beginning with Tokyo/Haneda to Fukuoka on September 1.

Japan Airlines Chairman Yoshiharu Ueki tells Executive Traveller that the nation's domestic market is not only "the third biggest in the world, but our domestic and international markets are about 50% each."

As such, and in common with the US market, domestic first class is what most countries would actually categorise as 'business class'.

Meanwhile, what JAL terms 'Class J' is pitched towards the business traveller but stands closer to international premium economy.

Maybe the pictures will help tell this story.

There are twelve first class seats on JAL's Airbus A350, arranged in two rows across a 2-2-2 layout and tucked away in their own cabin.

Developed by JAL with Jamco Japan, the A350's 51cm-wide first class recliner seats offer what the airline describes as "sofa-like comfort".

A wrap-around shell offers a subtle degree of privacy, with a sliding partition between the paired seats.

Each passenger gets a 15.6-inch video screen and access to their own AC and USB power sockets.

Behind first class is what JAL terms as 'Class J', with 94 Recaro-supplied seats following a 2-4-2 layout.

Each is 48cm wide with 38 inches of pitch, a decent legrest, a tablet-sized storage nook to one side of the seat and another small compartment under the 11.6-inch video screen, plus AC/USB sockets within easy reach.

(Another unique trait of Class J is that passengers traveling on international JAL flights in first or business class are assigned Class J seating on connecting domestic flights on the same itinerary, such as Sydney-Tokyo-Osaka.)

The rest of JAL's Airbus A350 is filled by 263 Recaro economy seats arranged 3-3-3 – each with a tighter 31-inch pitch, a 10-inch touchscreen display, wing-style wrapping heardrest and AC/USB power sockets.

Also noteworthy is that every passenger from the first row to the last enjoys free inflight WiFi on a 'gate to gate' basis – you can jump online the moment you settle into your seat, all the way through until it's time to grab your bag and go at the end of your journey.

JAL's inflight video system adds live TV to the usual 'movies, music and TV' menu.

Finally, if you do end up flying on JAL's Airbus A350, take a moment to appreciate the interior design work of London-based Tangerine, which incorporates JAL's Tsurumaru logo at the A350's entry while picking up traditional Japanese blacks and reds throughout the cabins.


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.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1192

Looks pretty good. Tangerine has a distinctive and classy style about their designs. As well as JAL, they have done extensive work in premium cabins for BA, Azul as well as being responsible for The Business on VA.

20 Jan 2017

Total posts 46

From a domestic point of view it looks great. For relatively short flights the 350 would be a pretty comfortable ride.

Interesting that it's the third biggest domestic market. Between a couple of great airlines and the shinkansen the Japanese have it covered.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 79

JAL Domestic firs Class is outstanding. Others could learn from this. This new enhancement looks good . Key is JAL service in First is outs

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 31

JAL has one of the best soft products, now they have a seat to match.

21 Apr 2016

Total posts 22

JAL soft product on domestic is virtually non existent. You get a soft drink and a seat. On some planes, you get wifi. That's it..

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 156

Perhaps Qantas could learn something from the Class J (premium economy) seating. 38" pitch on a domestic sector. Qantas have far less pitch on their 17 hour trek to London.

28 Dec 2016

Total posts 71

QF will give you the worst product they can get away with. Given how successful they are in terms of $$$, i doubt they will switch to a better product anytime soon on their 787

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 144

That 2-4-2 layout would make a good long haul economy setup..

KLM - Flying Blue

05 Feb 2019

Total posts 38

Japan Airlines offer a superb passenger experience

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 144

I booked my brother in law on an economy flight from Melbourne to Tokyo with JAL. He loved the experience.

Glad they cater well for all travel classes.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 407

JAL is an excellent airline for both the seats and the meals in business class. I'm glad AusBT mentioned the free Super J seating on a domestic JAL leg of an international itinerary, because this is a great part of the JAL package.

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