This week saw JAL receive the first of 8 Airbus A350’s which the airline is bringing online as a workhorse of its domestic operations. The state of the aircraft is actually the first Airbus plane the airline to join the fleet, which was purely Boeing prior to the addition of this wide-body. Although Mitsubishi will also join the fleet in the future, with 32 MRJ90s set for delivery in the mid 2020’s.
What is interesting is that the passenger accommodation includes three separate classes, although on average the flight lengths will be between and hour and two hours only. There are no flatbeds here, which is understandable, but the airline has adopted a First Class, Class J (Business) and economy cabin.
While the Class J, (regional business class) is the equivalent of an international premium economy seat, the standard economy seats are nine abreast in a 3 x 3 x 3 configuration, which is standard for the A350 economy cabin even on the longest of flights.
The different cabins, brought together by UK-based company Tangerine feature three distinct design approaches, but all feature red accents, bringing in the core brand colour. Economy there’s a dusty blue denim look and feel to the seats, while in Class J, there is a two-tone seat fabric, injecting a deep maroon colour.
It’s not all red here though. Though the livery itself will have three different colour ways, one in Red, the signature brand colour, it will also come in silver, to showcase innovation and progress, and a green livery, to showcase the airline’s commitment to sustainability.
In First Class, there will be just 12 seats in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration, which will offer a deep slide-recline in their hard shells.
These First Class seats are more like domestic business class seats, but that is understandable considering the duration of the flights the A350 will service.
Featuring a branded entrance way with a deep red monument and JAL Tsurumaru crane logo in silver, there is a distinct service difference here. There are also large TV screens featuring a range of entertainment. However, the technological advances can also be seen in gate-to-gate WiFi for all passengers, allowing people to utilise connectivity on otherwise short flights.
In Class J, the 94 seats in two mini-cabins configured in a 2 x 4 x 2 arrangement, offer 11.6inch monitors, ample storage, reading lamps and calf rests.
In economy, passengers also benefit from large seats, USB and power socket charging, and absolutely free WiFi. The airline will commence flying the aircraft on the Tokyo/Haneda to Fukuoka route on September 1st.