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Friday, October 19, 2012

R.I.P. ex-JAS 7J2/W91 configuration

ex-JAS 777 (JA007D) at Tokyo Haneda
ex-JAS 777 (JA007D) at Tokyo Haneda

When you look at Japan Airlines' (JAL) domestic timetable for October 28 2012 - January 7 2013, one of the things you might notice is the ex-Japan Air System (JAS) 777-200 configuration, 7J2, is missing. This probably means JAL will be pulling the last 7J2 configured 777 off the fleet to retrofit it with the standard JAL domestic 777 configuration.



JAL W91 (7J2) configuration
JAL W91 (7J2) configuration. Image from Japan Airlines

When JAL announced the domestic Class J service back in 2004, it made the decision to keep JAS's fleet of 777-200s intact and not to retrofit them. The configuration has been referred to as 7J2 on the timetable or W91 on the website. It has one of the best Class J seats in JAL's domestic network (well unless you get the internationally configured planes) because 72J is a 3-class configuration and the ex-JAS first class Super Seats, are also used as Class J seats in 72J. It has a 2-2-2 configuration instead of the standard 2-4-2 configuration on JAL Class J cabin. This translates to a much wider seat. The seat pitch of 100cm is also slightly wider than the standard Class J seats' 95cm.

ex-JAS first class Super Seats are used as JAL Class J in 7J2 configuration
ex-JAS first class Super Seats are used as JAL Class J in 7J2 configuration

Even the business class Rainbow Seats, and economy class Regular Seats are quite nice because each seat has its own personal screen! Configuration in business class is 2-4-2, the same as the standard Class J cabin. In Economy, the configuration is 2-5-2 instead of JAL's standard 3-4-3.

ex-JAS business class cabin with Rainbow Seats
ex-JAS business class cabin with Rainbow Seats

ex-JAS economy class cabin with Regular Seats
ex-JAS economy class cabin with Regular Seats
But in an effort to simplify its domestic service and avoid product confusions, JAL has decided to retrofit the ex-JAS 7J2 fleet to standardize their product offerings on their 777-200 fleet. This plan was announced back in February as part of JAL's mid-term management plan. And JAL has acted pretty quickly this time. If nothing changes, all 7J2 will be pulled form service from October 28 2012 when the winter timetable begins. Currently the last scheduled 7J2 flight is JL526 from Sapporo Chitose (CTS) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) on October 27. The flight is scheduled to depart from CTS at 17:30 and arrive HND at 19:00.

It is sad to see the 7J2 configuration go, but it is a good thing for JAL. It always puzzled me why JAL didn't reconfigure them earlier especially when the jet fuel price soared in the past couple of years. It must cost them quite a lot to carry the extra IFE units around. Maybe they were not in the financial situation to invest in reconfiguring them?

I am glad that at least I had a chance to try out the Super Seat before they are gone. The pictures from this post were from my flight from Okinawa Naha to HND last year and because of their retirement, I have to publish them before my actual trip report (yea I was going to work on it but had quite a backlog :P). You will see more of the cabin when the actual trip report is ready. And thanks fumitani from MilePoint for the heads up :)


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