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Thursday, February 28, 2013

JAL SKY SUITE 777 rollout schedule leaked or changed?

JAL Sky Suite 777 rollout schedule leaked?
JAL SKY SUITE 777 rollout schedule leaked? Image from Japan Airlines website

[Update: The leaked schedule is indeed the correct one. JAL has issued a press release to confirm this schedule]

Couple of days ago, I noticed that Japan Airlines (JAL) has updated its website to include a more specific rollout schedule of the SKY SUITE 777 (SS7), the brand new international long-haul products JAL currently uses on the Tokyo Narita - London Heathrow route. It listed the months which JAL SKY SUITE, the new business class seat, will be rolled out to the New York JFK, Paris CDG, Los Angeles, and Chicago routes on the Japanese version of the JAL SKY SUITE seat details page. But then the info has since then be removed from the page. So is this a leaked schedule or the schedule has changed?

Below is the rollout schedule according to the leaked/outdated info.

Tokyo Narita - New York JFK
Sequentially from May 2013

Tokyo Narita - Paris CDG
Sequentially from July 2013

Tokyo Narita - Los Angeles
From November 2013

Tokyo Narita - Chicago ORD
Sequentially from January 2014


Noticeably missing from the above rollout schedule are the Frankfurt and Jakarta routes. Also there's a big gap between the Paris and Los Angeles rollout. As JAL plans to retrofit one 777-300ER per month, theoretically CDG route rollout should be completed by August or early September and 2 more 777-300ERs should have been retrofitted before the Los Angeles rollout.

Also, current data in JAL booking engine shows the Frankfurt route will be getting the W82 configuration with NEO seats and JAL Suite 1.0 from April 5 2013. Initially only on odd-numbered days until May 17 2013 which this will turn into a daily service. The W82 configuration is the configuration JAL usually deploy to the North America and Jakarta routes. 


JAL launched new campaign featuring actor Abe Hiroshi to promote the SS7
JAL launched new campaign featuring actor Abe Hiroshi to promote the SS7. Image from Japan Airlines

This could indicate either JAL is using W82 configuration as a placeholder for the SS7 rollout or a North American route will be getting the SS7 service at around the same time and therefore freeing up some W82 configured 777. According to the above schedule, it seems to indicate it's the former case but then JAL has repeatedly indicates the New York route will be getting SS7 service after the London Heathrow route and in the latest commercials featuring actor Abe Hiroshi is still promoting the JFK route will be getting SS7 service this spring and do not mention the Frankfurt route at all. 

Also note that the above schedule has only been posted on the Sky Suite seat page, not the JAL Suite 2.0, JAL SKY PREMIUM nor JAL SKY WIDER page. So someone must have mistakenly (or pre-maturally) posted those information on the site. 

With all these conflicting information, it's hard to guess. But judging from the strange gap between rollouts and missing routes, my *guess* is JFK route is still scheduled to be the next to get SS7 in April and maybe the Frankfurt route will get it in September. [Update: JAL has announced the rollout dates for the JFK route which matches the leaked schedule] Either way LAX won't be getting SS7 this summer so all I can do is to stick to the SS7 virtual tour for now :P

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