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JAL Welcomes First Airbus A350-1000: Tokyo to JFK Flights Debut in January

The Japanese carrier will operate its first flight with the aircraft between Tokyo Haneda and New York JFK in January 2024

by Lauren Smith

December 14, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Airbus

Japan Airlines (JAL) will deploy its brand-new Airbus A350-1000 for the first time on January 24, 2024, on its regular flight between Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

JAL has ordered 13 long-haul A350-1000 jets from Airbus to replace its aging Boeing 777-300ERs as its flagship international aircraft. The A350 offers better fuel efficiency, reducing flight CO2 emissions by 15 percent to 25 percent and lowering cabin noise for the comfort of passengers.

The Japanese carrier intended to inaugurate its first Airbus A350-1000 in November, but delivery of the jet was delayed by “supply chain issues”—a familiar story for airlines and aircraft manufacturers in the post-pandemic period.

The first unit has been delivered to the airline on December 13, flying straight from Toulouse to Tokyo Haneda.

JAL’s first A350-1000 will now debut in late January, operating JAL Flights 5 and 6 between Tokyo and New York City.

  • JAL Flight 6 departs Tokyo at 11:05 local time and arrives in New York at 10 AM local time
  • JAL Flight 5 departs New York at 12:40 local time and arrives in Tokyo at 5:15 PM local time the next day

Although the flights are daily services, the A350-1000 will initially only fly on alternate, even-numbered days until the carrier receives its second A350, scheduled for March 31, 2024. After that point, the A350-1000 will fly every scheduled JAL Flight 5 and 6.

A peek inside the new A350-1000

The planes have been configured to provide six first-class suites, 54 business-class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 155 in coach as JAL makes its pitch to premium and corporate travelers.

JAL has also revealed the next route to be operated by the A350-1000: Tokyo to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). JAL didn’t reveal an exact date but said the A350-1000 would begin flying to Dallas when it takes delivery of its third jet.

Travelers who find themselves on JAL’s new planes are in luck. The planes also mark the debut of JAL’s new soft product, including a top-tier first-class cabin.

The front of the plane seats six passengers in fully enclosed suites, the first time JAL has offered that degree of privacy. Each boasts a massive, 48-inch-wide seat, which can be configured as either a sofa, a single bed and separate chair, or a double bed. The overhead bins have been removed to give these suites an airy, spacious feel, and carry-on baggage relocated to underneath the seat.

The 54 business class seats also have sliding doors for privacy and fully reclining seats.

Premium economy seats boast partitions between passengers and recline electronically, allowing passengers to put up their feet on a comfortable leg rest.

Even the seats in coach are generous, with a pitch (distance between rows) of 33 to 34 inches, higher than the industry average of 30 to 31 inches.

Entertainment systems have also been upgraded across the plane, with each seat outfitted with personal 4K screens and Bluetooth capabilities. In first class, those screens are 43 inches, comparable to home entertainment systems, and the seat headrests have built-in speakers, eliminating the need for headphones.