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Thursday, September 26, 2013

JAL updates booking engine with SKY SUITE 767 seat map [Updated]

JAL updates the booking engine with JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) seat map
JAL updates the booking engine with JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) seat map. Image from JAL website.

[Update: Flights in December have been loaded with SS6 configuration and initial SS6 service is only 5-6 weekly on the two routes]

Japan Airlines (JAL) has finally loaded presumably the JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) seat map for the Tokyo Narita - Vancouver and Tokyo Narita - Kuala Lumpur route today. Flights JL018 and JL017 from December 9 2013, and flights JL723 and JL724 from February 1 2014 now shows the new seat map on certain days which no longer identifies the seat type in Business Class and no longer shows the type of inflight entertainment system onboard. This usually means JAL is in progress of rolling out a new configuration, which in this case is the new SS6 configuration. If you look at the seat map, it does not even have the new style layout with a nice plane outline!

Before I show you the new seat map, below are the 2 existing international configurations for 767-300ER so we can easily do a comparison. A41 is the older configuration with JAL SKYLUXE seats in the Business Class and MAGIC-III as the inflight entertainment system (IFE). A43 is the newer configuration with JAL SKYRECLINER seats in the Business Class and MAGIC-V as the IFE. The current planes used on the Tokyo Narita - Vancouver route are configured with the A43 configuration.


JAL 767-300ER A41 configuration with JAL SKYLUXE
JAL 767-300ER A41 configuration with JAL SKYLUXE. Image by Japan Airlines.

JAL 767-300ER A43 configuration with JAL SKYRECLINER
JAL 767-300ER A43 configuration with JAL SKYRECLINER. Image by Japan Airlines.

Business Class Cabin

The new seat map shows a 1-2-1 layout in Business Class with 24 JAL SKY SUITE II seats. So there are a total of 6 rows in the Business Class cabin, one row more than the previous configurations.


The new JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) Business Class cabin seat map
The new JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) Business Class cabin seat map. Image from JAL website.

One lavatory is installed in front of 1A, which is the same as the previous configurations. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that there will only be 1 lavatory available for the entire cabin. The old style seat map usually omits the lavatory which is installed right behind the cockpit. Below is the example of how A41 configuration is displayed in the old style seat map, which does not show the lavatory in front of L1.


JAL 767-300ER Business Class old style seat map for A41 configuration.
JAL 767-300ER Business Class old style seat map for A41 configuration. Image from JAL website.


Economy Class Cabin

The new seat map shows a 2-3-2 layout in Economy Class with 175 JAL SKY WIDER seats. There are a total of 26 rows with 6 in the front cabin and 20 in the back cabin. This means there will be 2 less rows in the front cabin compared to the A43 configuration and 3 less rows compared to A41 configuration.


The new JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) Economy Class seat map
The new JAL SKY SUITE 767 (SS6) Economy Class seat map. Image from JAL website.

For the back cabin, seats on the side, i.e. A, C, H, K, go from row 45 to row 63, which means it has 2 fewer rows when compared to the old configurations. However for the center seats, i.e. D, E, G, the row numbers go from 46 to 64, which is the same number of rows compared to the A43 configuration and 1 less row compared to the A41 configuration. So how did JAL give you extra legroom? If you compare the A43 and A41 seat maps, it looks like JAL has installed a large cabinet right behind 64DEG in A43. So my guess is JAL will be removing this cabinet to make extra legroom without decreasing the number of rows.


JAL 767-300ER Economy Class old style seat map for the tail-end of A41 configuration
JAL 767-300ER Economy Class old style seat map for the tail-end of A41 configuration. Image from JAL website.

So how about the lavatories? Looks like there will still be 2 lavatories installed right behind the last row of the front cabin, i.e. row 20, with one on each side. However, there might only be 2 lavatories installed near the tail, behind seats 64DEG. If you look at the old style seat map for A41, which has 3 lavatories near the tail, the lavatory icons behind seats 65AC are gone in the SS6 seat map. So my guess is those might be moving the cabinet there instead.

Updated Rollout Schedule

Tokyo Narita - Vancouver
JAL now has loaded the SS6 seat map on certain flights on the Tokyo Narita - Vancouver route from December 9 2013 except for the following days, which JAL will operate JL017 and JL018 with A43 configuration, i.e. JAL SKYRECLINER, instead. Seat map shows daily SS6 service from February 1 2014.

December 12, 17, 24, 31
January 7, 14, 21, 28

Tokyo Narita - Kuala Lumpur
Seat maps from February 1 2014 have been updated with SS6 configuration except for the following days which will be operated with A43 configuration. Seat map shows SS6 service from February 28 2014

February 5, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27

Even though only flights from February 1 2014 has been loaded with the new seat map, it doesn't mean the rollout has been delayed. Usually JAL updates the flights which it is sure will get the new seats first. This is exactly how the SS7 rollout is done on the Los Angeles and Chicago routes. Tokyo Narita - Kuala Lumpur route is still scheduled to get SS6 service in January 2014. JAL will make the announcement at a later date. Most likely we will hear something 1-1.5 months before the actual rollout.

I guess JAL has to perform weekly maintenance checks (A Check?) on these 767-300ERs and that's why it can't provide daily SS6 service initially. Any guess on which route will receive SS6 next? Maybe Ho Chi Minh City? :P


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