Japan Airlines bringing first class to Sydney

This also makes JAL the only carrier offering first class from Australia to Japan.

By Chris Ashton, January 29 2024
Japan Airlines bringing first class to Sydney

Japan Airlines is locking in a first class aircraft switch between Sydney and Tokyo from May 31, with the current Boeing 787 Dreamliner changing to a Boeing 777 – and it’s very good news for Qantas frequent flyers with a stash of points to burn. 

Arranged in a four-class layout, JAL’s 777 is equipped with eight first class suites, 49 seats in business class and a large premium economy cabin of 40 seats. But really, it’s those pointy end pews which will be most highly sought after. 

The daily schedule remains as follows: 

  • JL 52 departs Sydney at 8:15am, arriving into Tokyo-Haneda Airport at 5:05pm.
  • JL 51 sees wheels up from Haneda at 7:20pm, and wheels down in Sydney at 6:10am the following day.

Thanks to JAL’s Oneworld membership, Qantas frequent flyers can swap their Points stash for a first class reward seat, with a quick search in August 2024 revealing there’s still availability in the cabin.

To find reward seats on Japan Airlines, visit the Qantas website and search your preferred dates, filter by Reward Seats and select ‘other’ under airlines to see results.

A one-way first class reward seat on JAL will set you back 129,300 Qantas Points plus $103 in taxes, while business class would be a cool 90,000 plus taxes of $103.

For comparison, a business class reward seat flying Qantas’ Airbus A330 (first class is only found onboard the Red Roo’s A380) would be 82,000 Points plus $245 in taxes. 

Although indeed not as spacious or refined as its counterpart on the new Airbus A350 now winging its way between Tokyo and New York, the 777’s offering is nothing to be sniffed at.

Passengers are given a choice of hard or soft mattress.
Passengers are given a choice of hard or soft mattress.

The cosy two-row cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 layout, with each private suite transforming into a fully-flat bed approx. 84cm (2” 9’) wide and 199cm (6” 6’) in length.

While the suites don’t offer sliding privacy doors on the aisle-side, the centre pairs have a retractable privacy panel in between, allowing conversation if travelling alongside a companion or a more secluded feel when flying solo.

First class guests can also dine with a companion in a single suite.
First class guests can also dine with a companion in a single suite.

In other news this month, Japan Airlines recently opened a First Class Entrance at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, with first class flyers on JAL now welcomed via an exclusive check-in, before proceeding through to an adjacent security checkpoint and immigration.

Positioned alongside security lane 10 on level three of Haneda’s Terminal 3, the dedicated entrance is open to all JAL first class passengers plus one accompanying guest between 6:30am and 11:30am, and again from 2pm to 7pm.

The entrance is found left of security lane 10, behind the F/G counters.
The entrance is found left of security lane 10, behind the F/G counters.

With JL 51 from Tokyo to Sydney taking off at 7:20pm, those hours are perfectly time for Sydney-bound travellers looking to start their journey with a little more luxury.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 139

Thanks Chris

The food in F is stellar ex-Japan and then there is  Salon 😁😁

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 669

JAL are amazing in every aspect. That said, flying long haul on a loud and poor atmospherics 777 isn't really an "upgrade". I'd much rather stay in J on a 787 for long and ultra long haul and arrive fresh and not half dead.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1513

B787 is better in aspect that you described, but not as dramatic as you did it. Business B787 to Business B777 would not be much of upgrade, but Business B787 to First B777 is definitely upgrade.

29 Jan 2024

Total posts 1

Is this a permanent or seasonal change to the 777? Searching for seats in Jan '25 and it still comes up with 787

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 29

I must have just missed that new arrangement at Haneda when I checked in at the First Class counter for a JAL flight to LAX on the 20th. Hmph. And I think I'd rather stay in J class on a 787. Longish flights on a 777 feel more exhausting.

It opened on January 24 - the same day Tokyo-NYC flights on the new A350-1000 began. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 29

Thanks Chris. As Max would say: "missed it by that much"...

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1513

Thanks for news. I managed to snatch 2 seats on the same pane. And I encourage fellow travelers not to give up - it seems like JAL release seats progressively and thus keep checking. I flown JAL First in the past and although many would whinge about sliding doors and shower I personally rate JAL First among the best - it is so damn traditional and Japanese! Last time I flown ex Haneda, so food was "Japan Made" and was absolutely fabulous. This time I fly ex Sydney and we shall see if food would be on par. Definitely looking forward.

22 Nov 2022

Total posts 4

I can't find any availability in any class SYD-HND. Have QF pulled JAL from their awards?

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1513

Just today I have seen in June (if I remember correctly) "straight flush", i.e. Economy, PE, Business and First for two pax. Though August onward is dry as Sahara. Keep coming - it looks like JAL release their seats progressively and you have A LOT of competition. It never been easy to get award tickets especially for two and nowadays it became notoriously difficult unless you happy to burn your points for Economy. I personally would not and rather get commercial ticket. FWIW I managed to book SYD-HND-LHR-HKG-MEL in Business and First for two, but I started a year ahead, have two returns, still not entirely happy with dates and it took me more than 3 months. Good Luck.

22 Nov 2022

Total posts 4

Thanks for the encouragement!

18 Oct 2018

Total posts 3

Finding award business flights with Qantas is a joke. Searching repeatedly compared to previous years is not practical and using points for business tickets for a family is goooone 

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1513

Getting two tickets on the same plane is very hard. You should forget about whole family holiday unless you happy to fly on different planes. I could not remember more than two tickets on the same plane in business  on long international routes even when  getting tickets was much easier.

18 Oct 2018

Total posts 3

I can never find award tickets for one person which effectively makes the FF exercise to redeem points fanciful and a complete scam.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1513

Disagree. For this year I have booked tickets for two SYD-HND-LHR-HKG-MEL in business and first. Yes it is difficult, require lots of time, need to be done well in advance but it is doable. It is not "complete scam", though quite close to it :-))))). Foe on e person look close to departure (two weeks)


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