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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

JAL announces new seats for long-haul flights [Updated]

[Update: Added seat manufacturers information]

Finally, Japan Airlines (JAL) announced the specifications of the next generation long-haul inflight products in all classes. These new seats will first be rolled out on Tokyo Narita (NRT) - London Heathrow (LHR) route starting from January 2013 and will be expanded to New York JFK and the rest of the long-haul Boeing 777-300ER fleets. Also, JAL has plan to update the seats used on the long-haul Boeing 767-300ER fleet too with the latest full-flat seats and other new seats in the second half of 2013!
With the brand new generation of seats, JAL intends to provide the best of the best inflight products in the sky. They have listened to the inputs of the customers when designing these seats.

The 777-300ER new configuration will first be rolled out on NRT-LHR route in January 2013 (wouldn't it be special if they launch this new JAL cabin on Jan 19 2013, the same date they filed for bankruptcy 3 years ago? ;)). JAL will announce the launch date later but the new configuration will have 232 seats with 8 in First Class, 49 in Executive Class, 40 in Premium Economy Class and 135 in Economy Class. Currently JAL deploys a 777-300ER with W73 config which has 272 seats (9F 63C 44PY 156Y) on the LHR route. This means roughly 15% of capacity reduction. 

The current generation of long-haul configuration (W82 config) used on the US routes has 246 seats (8F 77C 46PY 115Y). So the next generation products will see a huge reduction in the business class seats. Upgrade and award redemption will inevitably be much harder to get.

Other than the configuration details, JAL also released some seat specifications but sadly no pictures of the new seats yet.

First Class
The new F seats will be an improvement over the current JAL Suite seats which is very well received. The functionality and sense of prestige will be improved with the new design. Also the personal screen size will be increased from 19 inches to 23 inches.

Executive Class
JAL will make the executive class seats more comfortable and will increase the privacy and personal space of the seat to give passengers the feeling of First class. Of course the seat will be truly lie-flat with expanded seat width and each seat will have aisle access. The personal screen size will be increased from NEO seat's 15.4 inches to 23 inches, the same size as the ones in new F seats!? (Does it sound like something similar to Cathay Pacific's new business class seat but with a bigger screen? :P Or will it be more like ANA's staggered seats?) But the English version of the press release says it will have an "innovative layout" so it could be something completely new too :)

Premium Economy Class
JAL will keep the fixed back design in the new premium economy class seats but functionality and comfort will be improved. Seat pitch will be increased from the current 38 inches to 42 inches (10cm more). Personal screen size will also increase from 9 inches to 12.1 inches

Economy Class
Finally for those stuck in coach, JAL will also has something new for you to improve your comfort. The new economy seats will be 2cm wider and seat pitch will increase from the current 31 inches to 33-34 inches (5-7cm increase)

JAL will reveal more details on the new cabins, new catering and new services some time in September!

Source: JAL Press Release (Japanese, English)

Update:

According to Flight Global, the 767-300ER economy class update will come in October 2013 and the new seat suppliers will be as followed:

First Class: Contour Aerospace
Executive Class: B/E Aerospace
Premium Economy Class: Sicma Aero
Economy Class: Zim Flugsitz

Contour Aerospace and B/E Aerospace are the seat manufacturers for the current generation JAL Suite and JAL Shell Flat NEO seats. However, Sicma Aero and Zim Flugsitz have replaced B/E Aerospace and Recaro as the Premium Economy and Economy Class seat manufacturers respectively.


The First Class Venus seat provided by Contour is very similar to the JAL Suite (which I guess that's the seat JAL Suite was based on and with the details designed by JPA Design). The executive class seats listed on B/E Aerospace website look just like the JAL Shell Flat seats, which is probably what the current and previous generation of Executive Class seats were based on. So I expect JAL will use an unannounced products designed by B/E Aerospace or maybe they will go a step further to install a variant of the Super First Class seat (I know keep dreaming right? :P). The Airgo "FX Premium" seat offered by Sicma is a candidate for the new premium economy class seat too as it also has a fixed back design. The economy class being offered by Zim Flugsitz is called ECO-01 and airlines can customized it just like any other seats.

But please note that these are just the seats currently offered by these manufacturers. It is definitely possible (and some what likely in some cases) that JAL will be using an unannounced product. Also the final product might look a lot different from the ones you see on the website even if the exact seat is picked as JAL will hire design companies to customize the seats for them. The JAL Suite was designed by JPA Design and the NEO and JAL Sky Shell seats were designed by GK Industrial Design.


1 comments:

  1. > install a variant of the Super First Class seat (I know keep dreaming right? :P).

    You are not dreaming, maybe.

    http://www.ugs.jp/pdf/NX_WP_lean_design.pdf

    This document says JAL has ordered B/E's first class seat as its business class.
    That would be the 'Staggered premium = Super first class'.

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