JAL certainly have embraced space in a big way when it comes to their 787-9, an aircraft designed to take up to 420 passengers. Instead the Japanese carrier has opted for just 195 seats onboard their aircraft, offering literally twice the amount of space per passenger. Naturally it doesn’t actually get shared out like that, instead the carrier has opted for 44 Business Class seats, 35 Premium Economy seats and a delightfully low count of 116 Economy seats. The business cabin, split in two by a galley, takes virtually half of the floor plan of the aircraft.
This may very well be the most spacious twin aisle aircraft in virtually every aspect. Throughout all the classes only 60 seats won’t have direct access to the aisle – that’s means roughly 70% of seats have aisle access (we’ve allowed for all bulkhead seats to in effect have aisle access). Unbelievably that’s including in economy. And with JAL’s decision to maintain a 2 x 4 x 2 abreast seating configuration in economy, compared to most airlines configuration of 9 across, there are less middle seats and the seats in even the back of the plane are some of the widest in the sky.
Whilst some carriers are looking at “economy minus” stripping travel back to the bare necessities, its great to see a carrier embrace the jet-set era once again, offering passengers comfort above all else. JAL have created a prime example of how Boeing’s Dreamliner can really live up to its name. If you want to find out about the comfort levels in each class, take a look at our low-down on JAL’s 787-8 that offers the same creature comforts in each class.
There is logic behind this configuration. Whilst there is a natural loss in revenue from less seats, with such a light aircraft with such efficiencies in flight compared to other frames, the weight of each passenger and seat offers very little commercial gain, as a plane with less passengers needs less fuel, and therefore can run more efficiently, so the carrier isn’t perhaps losing as much revenue as you may think – as well as reducing the need for as many cabin crew.
One thing is for sure, with the new aircraft operating flights to Jakarta as of July this year, we are desperately trying to find reason to have a meeting over in Indonesia, even if it’s so we can experience what will be one of the airiest (and quietest) rides in the sky. Well done JAL, once again, you’ve bucked the trend!