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Onboard Japan Airlines’ exciting A350-1000 inaugural from New York to Tokyo

Editor’s note: Japan Airlines provided TPG with a complimentary round-trip ticket between New York and Tokyo so we could be aboard the airline’s inaugural A350-1000 flight, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of the author and were not subject to review by the airline or any other external entity.

It’s not every day that an airline welcomes a new aircraft to its fleet, let alone one sporting all-new seats and cabins. But that’s what makes the debut of Japan Airlines’ Airbus A350-1000 maiden route between Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) so exciting.

The first JAL A350-1000 flights between these two airports took Wednesday (Jan. 24, 2024). Although this A350 variant has been flying for several years now and is a fleet mainstay for other airlines including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic, Japan Airlines only took delivery of its first A350-1000 in December. It now has a pair of the jets and will put them into daily use on the route between Tokyo Haneda and JFK starting Feb. 1, 2024.


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This is a new aircraft variant for JAL, although the airline has a growing fleet of A350-900s, which it deploys domestically. One of those A350-900s was involved in a crash earlier this month at Haneda, though all passengers and crew aboard the JAL aircraft escaped.

For its part, the A350-1000 is also the launch aircraft for the airline’s newest long-haul first, business and premium economy classes, each of which holds some intriguing surprises and features for passengers.

We were on board to experience all the fanfare with the inaugural leg from New York to Tokyo in business class. Here’s a rundown of everything that happened and just how the new business-class suites measure up.

Where does Japan Airlines’ A350-1000 fly?

So far, Japan Airlines has just two Airbus A350-1000s, so the aircraft is only deployed on the route between Tokyo Haneda and New York JFK. As of Feb. 1, 2024, these jets will operate one of two daily services Japan Airlines flies in either direction on this route.

If you want to experience JAL’s A350-1000 for yourself, book the following flights for the time being.

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  • JL 5 departs New York JFK at 12:40 p.m. and arrives at Tokyo Haneda the following day at 5:15 p.m.
  • JL 6 departs Tokyo Haneda at 11:05 a.m. and arrives at New York JFK the same day at 10:00 a.m.

Thanks to the International Date Line, it’s like time travel!

The airline’s other two daily flights on this route are JL 3 and JL 4, but they are operated with a Boeing 777-300ER. So be sure to pay attention to the flight numbers before booking tickets.

Once the airline takes delivery of more A350-1000s, it will deploy them between Tokyo Haneda and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

Japan Airlines’ A350-1000: New plane, new classes of service

Japan Airlines has 13 A350-1000s on order and received the first two of these aircraft from Airbus in mid-December. Since then, the airline has been putting the finishing touches on the jet and training crew members, which is key because the aircraft also contains JAL’s newest international long-haul seats.

Here’s what passengers will find on board these jets.


Japan Airlines A350-1000 first class

Perhaps most exciting of all, Japan Airlines partnered with seat manufacturer Safran to devise innovative self-contained suites with privacy doors for its new first class. These are a far cry from the chocolate-hued leather recliner-style seats aboard the airline’s 777-300ERs. While the latter are still spacious and comfortable, reclining to lie-flat beds, they have started to show their age and are in need of an update.

Japan Airlines’ new first-class cabins contain just six suites in two rows of three, each laid out in a 1-1-1 pattern.


As you can tell from that configuration, each of these suites feels like an extra-wide fixture and is up to 48 inches across with a whopping 83 inches of pitch. They recline to lie-flat beds that are up to 80 inches long.

The shells surrounding the seat as well as their closing doors are 62 inches tall, so while not fully enclosed, they are still ultra-private. The doors themselves are made of a frosted glass-like material inspired by traditional Japanese shoji screen doors with bamboo-like patterns on them.

Reminiscent of a luxury train compartment, the first-class suites comprise a long, banquette-like seat on one side that can be converted into three distinct seating configurations: a sofa, an upright seat and single bed, or a double bed, though this last is more like a double bed at the shoulders, while passengers will still have to lie somewhat diagonally to wedge their feet onto the ottoman.

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Across from the seating area are a faux-marble countertop and wide ottoman as well as a jaw-droppingly large 43-inch 4K entertainment screen. Speaking of entertainment, the seat’s headrest has built-in speakers for headphone-free stereo sound. That way, passengers don’t need headphones to listen to the entertainment system, though Bang & Olufsen ones will still be on hand.


In order to retain an airy feel, JAL did not install overhead bins in the cabin. Rather, passengers can store their belongings in wardrobe-like spaces embedded into the seat shells and small carry-on bags can fit underneath the ottomans.

Speaking of the ottoman, it doubles as a jump seat complete with a seatbelt so you can invite a fellow passenger in first class to dine with you, or just to pop by for a drink and some conversation to pass the time.

The seats also have small compartments that double as so-called minibars for bottles of water and other little items.

Additional high-design touches include gold chrome sconce lighting, wireless charging surfaces and digital tablets passengers can use to communicate with the flight attendants.

Tickets in JAL’s new first-class suites start around $14,000-$15,400 one-way or $20,200-$25,500 round-trip, depending on the direction from Tokyo to New York, or vice versa. But you might be able to score one-way tickets in them using just 70,000-100,000 JAL Mileage Bank miles (plus around $735 in taxes and fees), 80,000 American AAdvantage miles plus around $19-$57 in taxes and fees, or 110,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (once Alaska’s new award charts go into effect) plus $19-$57 in taxes and fees.

Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class

Although Japan Airlines’ business class has long been a frequent-flyer favorite thanks to the semi-private Apex Suites aboard its Boeing 777-300ERs and on some of its 787-8s and 787-9s, the seats flyers will find on its A350-1000s feel like a whole new class of service.


Each JAL A350-1000 has 54 business-class suites in a 1-2-1 pattern split up into two sections. The first, directly behind first class, has five rows of four seats each. The aft section houses the remaining 36 seats in a somewhat staggered configuration with eight rows of single seats running along the sides of the cabin and nine rows of two seats running through the center with large adjustable privacy dividers between them.


Just like the first-class seats, these new business-class ones are manufactured by Safran and upholstered in a wine-like burgundy. Each is 22 inches wide with 51 inches of pitch, though they convert into 78-inch lie-flat beds. Their high-end finishes include brushed-metal and faux-stone and woodgrain surfaces as well as discreet sconce light fixtures.


Like first class, these seats also have doors that close, though they are only 52 inches tall. So while not fully enclosed, they do offer a fair degree of privacy from the noise and activity on the aisle. Electronically operated partitions between the center seats lend them an air of seclusion for folks traveling alone. Passengers can store small items and coats in compartments built into the doors and stow carry-on bags beneath the ottoman.


The entertainment systems are 24 inches across diagonally and passengers will find other technological novelties like the same headphone-less speaker technology in the seats’ headrests and wireless charging pads on the dual-level side consoles, where you’ll also find a uinversal power plug and USB-A and USB-C ports along with the touch-screen remote for the entertainment system.


Tickets in JAL’s new business-class suites start around $5,000 to $5,200 one-way or $5,100 to $7,900 round-trip. But you can also redeem 50,000 JAL Mileage Bank miles (plus around $735 in taxes and fees), 60,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 75,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (once the airline’s new award charts go into effect) each way.

Japan Airlines A350-1000 premium economy

Although most folks might be taken with JAL’s new first- or business-class experience, premium economy is well worth a look, too, thanks to some industry-leading features.


Aboard the A350-1000, JAL’s 24 premium economy seats are located in a small section just behind business class comprised of three rows of eight seats each in a 2-4-2 configuration. The black and burgundy patterning of their upholstery is inspired by traditional kimono designs.


Each premium-economy seat is about 19 inches wide with approximately 42 inches of pitch, which is among the most generous of any airline. The aisle seats have small privacy wings near the headrest, and all seats have adjustable semi-transparent partitions between them for more privacy.


They have fixed backs, meaning they do not recline (so no smashing your rear neighbor’s laptop). Instead, the cushions slide forward. Additionally, these seats have motorized moving parts including leg rests that rise to a 90-degree angle. They also have footrests that deploy from the preceding seatback for more ergonomic comfort.


Their 4K entertainment monitors represent a huge improvement, too, clocking in at 16 inches across and featuring Bluetooth capability so passengers can pair their own headphones with the system.


The seats also have little pop-out trays for beverages, small shelves that can hold tablets, and both USB-A and USB-C charging ports along with universal power ports located in small side cubbies by the armrests.


Tickets in JAL’s new premium economy start around $1,500 to $3,750 one-way or $2,640 to $2,950 round-trip. One-way, you can redeem 32,500 JAL Mileage Bank miles, 50,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 50,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (once the new airline’s award charts go into effect).

Japan Airlines A350-1000 economy

Finally, Japan Airlines’ A350-1000 has 155 economy seats in a single large cabin at the back of the plane with 17 rows of nine seats each in a 3-3-3 pattern plus a lonely pair of seats in the very last row on the left side near a galley and the lavatories (i.e. avoid these seats if possible).


Although compact, these seats are 18 inches wide and have 33-34 inches of pitch, which is pretty comfortable for long-haul flights compared to most economy products. They have headrests that adjust up and down and space-saving features like flip-down cupholders so you don’t have to use the whole tray table to hold a beverage.

Each has a 13-inch 4K entertainment monitor that you can pair your personal headphones to via Bluetooth, a universal power plug and both USB-A and USB-C ports embedded beneath the entertainment monitor.


Tickets in JAL economy start around $740 one-way or $1,407 to $1,949 round-trip. One-way, you can also redeem 25,000 JAL Mileage Bank miles, 35,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 37,500 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles each way (once the airline’s new award charts go into effect).

Japan Airlines A350-1000 pricing

Here’s a look at what round-trip airfares and mileage prices between New York and Tokyo start at over the next year.

Class Economy Premium economy Business class First class
Airfare $1,407-$1,949 $2,640-$2,950 $5,100-$7,900 $20,200-$25,500
JAL Mileage Bank 50,000 + $735 taxes/fees 65,000 + $735 taxes/fees 100,000 + $735 taxes/fees 140,000-200,000 + $735 taxes/fees
American Airlines AAdvantage miles 70,000 + $76 taxes/fees 100,000 + $76 taxes/fees 120,000 + $76 taxes/fees 160,000 + $76 taxes/fees
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles 75,000 + $76 taxes/fees 100,000 + $76 taxes/fees 150,000 + $76 taxes/fees 220,000 + $76 taxes/fees

As you can see, your best bets will be to redeem either American AAdvantage or Alaska Mileage Plan miles given the high taxes and fees on JAL Mileage Bank redemptions.

What’s included in Japan Airlines A350-1000 tickets

Depending on which class of ticket you reserve, you can expect the following services included in your airfare, versus those you might have to purchase.

Class Seat selection (cost) Cabin baggage allowance/cost Checked baggage allowance/cost
Economy Varies 1 carry-on, 1 personal item, up to 22 pounds total 2 bags of up to 50 pounds each for free
Premium economy Free 1 carry-on, 1 personal item, up to 22 pounds total 2 bags of up to 50 pounds each for free
Business class Free 1 carry-on, 1 personal item, up to 22 pounds total 2 bags of up to 70 pounds each for free
First class Free 1 carry-on, 1 personal item, up to 22 pounds total 2 bags of up to 70 pounds each for free

Checking into and boarding Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class

Japan Airlines business-class passengers can take advantage of the following priority services at the airport.

Priority check-in Yes
Lounge access Yes, Japan Airlines and Oneworld partner lounges
Does the airline participate in TSA PreCheck? Yes
Priority boarding Yes, after preboarding and first class

Japan Airlines departs from Terminal 8 at New York JFK, along with its Oneworld partners, American Airlines and British Airways.

My business-class ticket enabled me to use the airline’s priority check-in counters, where there was no line, and I had my bag checked and my boarding pass in hand within two minutes of entering the terminal.

Many of the other international long-haul flights depart later in the afternoon or early evening, so thanks to TSA PreCheck, I was through security within five minutes.


My business-class boarding pass also gave me access to the American Airlines and British Airways joint Greenwich Lounge, which is the former American Airlines Flagship Lounge near Gate 12.


Very little has changed about the lounge since its rebranding – you’ll still find plenty of seating areas, a self-serve buffet and bar, shower suites and some quiet spaces. Those in the know will stake out a table in the former Flagship First Dining area, now called the Tasting Room, for prime tarmac views.

Instead of lingering, though, I headed down to the gate for the inaugural festivities.

How comfortable was Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class?

There was a small step-and-repeat set up at the gate, where executives from Japan Airlines and American Airlines made some brief statements about their joint venture, JAL’s new aircraft, and how excited New York JFK was to be the inaugural destination for the jet.

Then there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting and boarding commenced shortly after, at 12:30 p.m. That put us behind schedule by about 20 minutes, but folks were quick to board and were given commemorative bags with items like stickers, tote bags and keychains.

Passengers entered the jet between the two business-class cabins, so I immediately turned left to try to get some videos and shots of first class and part of business before the rest of the passengers boarded. Then I hopped back to premium economy for some shots of those seats, which look quite sleek with their fixed-shell design.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the dimensions and layout of the Japan Airlines A350-1000 business-class cabin.

Number of seats 54
Cabin layout 1-2-1
Seat recline 78 inches, fully flat
Seat width 22 inches
Screen size 24 inches

I settled into my own window seat, 13A, toward the back of the aft business-class cabin.

Japan Airlines’ new business-class suites look very sharp, with thoughtful space allocation and design flourishes. Like many similar products, the seats along the sides are either closer to or farther from the aisle depending on which side their larger armrests are and those in the middle can be closer or farther from the aisle depending on the row.

There’s also a 3-inch-wide pop-down armrest from the other side of each seat in case you want to lean in that direction.


The seat itself was upholstered in reddish burgundy fabric with a leather headrest that you could adjust up and down as well as cradling your head with the wings.

I was immediately struck by how wide and open the seat felt. The closest comparison is to Delta One suites, which have the same sort of layout as well as closing doors. But thanks to larger footwells, a decent amount of pitch and higher doors, these seats manage to feel both enclosed but spacious. Like Qatar’s Qsuites, these also taper slightly from the floor to their tops, but in a much smaller degree that doesn’t feel constrictive.


I measured the seatback to the screen to be 40 inches, with around 25 inches between armrests, so there was plenty of space to move around. Also lending an expansive feel, the footwell was 18 inches wide, 27.5 inches deep and 11 inches tall at its narrowest, but larger toward the opening. While some big-footed folk might have a hard time maneuvering, it felt plenty large to me.

Underneath that, there was a luggage stowage area measuring 18 inches wide and 10 inches tall – large enough to accommodate little carry-on bags and backpacks, but not any oversize carry-ons. For that, there are overhead bins running along the sides of the cabin, and plenty of room given the ratio of passengers to overhead space.


Next to the entertainment monitor, there was a small hanging closet area that was 17 inches wide and a few inches deep so you could stow your winter coat or other clothing articles in there, which was handy.


Beneath that was a small cubby for shoes, which was convenient if you wanted to use the provided slippers.

The large side console (which measured 13 inches by 13 inches) held all the controls for the seat as well as the tray table and a small, shallow cubby for storing small items like glasses or a phone.

Along the back of the suite was a power panel with a universal power plug, the USB-A and USB-C ports and a jack for the provided headphones. Above those was a small cubby with a pop-out door and a stylish sconce fixture for ambient lighting as well as a little pinpoint reading light.

Below, meanwhile, was a wireless charging pad. While my iPhone 15 Pro had trouble charging with a mag-safe case on, as soon as I removed that, it began charging at a rate of about 1% every three minutes. It might have been another thoughtful touch to put a hook for the provided headphones somewhere around here, perhaps in the cubby, just to keep them out of the way when you weren’t using them.

That was the extent of the stowage capacity for the seat, so if you want to keep other bags with you or have your laptop on hand, it’ll have to go in a bin. But it didn’t feel limiting to me since I could keep my backpack in my seat area without impinging upon my legroom and simply grab anything I needed from my bag at my convenience.


The tray table pulled out toward the front of the seat and then you could swivel it over to the chair. It was also adjustable forward and back, which was handy for getting in and out of the seat, though the movements weren’t entirely smooth. It measured 21 inches wide by 12 deep, so it was large enough to accommodate most laptops without taking up an excessive amount of space.


On the higher portion of the console, there was a touchscreen remote control that you could use to adjust not just the entertainment, but also the lighting and positioning of the seat.

Finally, toward the bottom of the console, embedded in the quasi-armrest was a set of controls for the suite’s lighting and seat positioning. The rounded shape of that armrest and the fact that the flip-up one was flush against the wall made the seat feel even roomier in lie-flat mode and meant that I didn’t rack my elbow or shoulder on any protruding parts when turning from one side to another. It’s a great, ergonomic design that I wish more airlines would adopt with their business-class seats.


You could maneuver the seat into preset positions for takeoff and landing, lounging and lie-flat, as well as adjusting the seatback and headrest for ergonomic support, but the one thing missing was the ability to raise or lower a legrest. Instead, you were left to perch your feet on the ottoman. That’s not a huge issue, but for shorter travelers, it might not be as comfortable. Light-sensitive sleepers might also find the brightness of these buttons a bother, but there’s always the eye mask in the amenity kit.


Speaking of light, this Airbus A350-1000 had electronic window shades, sort of like a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, rather than the old-fashioned ones you manually raise and lower. A lot of folks prefer the latter since they block out all light, but these ones functioned extraordinarily well, going from full brightness to total dark in about 45 seconds. The photo below doesn’t do them justice due to my iPhone’s color correction.

About an hour after the meal service concluded, I decided to try to get some rest. I used the seat controls to recline the chair into a lie-flat bed. What’s more, you just had to touch the button for each position once rather than holding it down for the seat to navigate into its final alignment.


The airline provides busines-class passengers with Airweave mattress toppers, which are thick and comfortable but designed to breathe so that you don’t get too hot while sleeping. I made up the bed with the pad and then put a light cover over that before laying the blaket on top with the pillow as the final touch. Overall, it was a very comfortable airline bed, and I wish more carriers included at least seat covers to provide some padding (and separation from potentially germy seatbacks).

I closed the door to my suite, which the flight attendants unlocked shortly after takeoff. Thanks to an unobtrusive metal handle, it opened and closed very smoothly, and I wish other airlines with suite doors on their seats thought about adding these. When open, there was just under 19 inches of space to slide through to the aisle, making it easy to get in and out.


Then I illuminated the do not disturb indicator using the entertainment screen and drifted off for a solid six hours of snoozing.


Japan Airlines’ A350-1000 has three lavatories dedicated to the business-class cabin, all of which are located in the main galley area between the two sections of seats, two on the right side of the aircraft and one on the left.

These were kept clean throughout the flight with regular tidying, and had Toto toilets (complete with bidet functions) and no-touch sinks and flushing. There were Miller Harris skin tonique and lotion available, too.


Amenities in Japan Airlines A350-1000  business class

In addition to the bedding provided, I found a pair of slippers and a set of Audio Technica noise-canceling headphones waiting at my seat, which worked pretty well.

The airline is also using amenity kits with six different designs by neurodivergent artists contracted by the Tohoku-based art and lifestyle brand, Heralbony. The ones on my flight were designed by Sanae Sasaki and called “No title,” with whorling patterns based on traditional weaving and paper-cutting crafts.


I thought the colorful kit I received was quite eye-catching and I appreciated the inclusions of ear plugs, an eye mask, tissues, a USB-A charging cable and a smartphone cradle. Everything was packaged with paper rather than plastic to reduce the kits’ environmental impact, though that probably doesn’t make a dent compared to the plastic packaging that all the bedding comes in. It would be nice to see JAL add a high-end skincare product or two to their amenity kits, just to give the kit a little bit more of an elegant feel.

There was a special edition Misoka toothbrush being offered for a limited time, which is made without petroleum-derived plastic and which can be used without toothpaste – only water is required. I used mine later in the flight and while my mouth felt clean afterwards. It wasn’t quite the same as sudsing up with good old-fashioned toothpaste. If you want to try one for yourself, they’ll be available through February 2024.


Business-class passengers can also “borrow” new loungewear tops from Uchino’s 100% cotton Airy Touch line. These looked like fleece nightshirts and I found mine to be breathable and soft, but I preferred to change into athletic clothes to sleep.

Perhaps the most exciting amenity of all, however, are the new entertainment systems aboard JAL’s A350-1000. The ones in business class are among the largest in the airline industry, at 24 inches across with super-crisp 4K resolution.

You can control the system either via the main touchscreen or with a touchscreen remote that’s cradled in the seat’s side console. Starting later this year, you will be able to create a personalized content library with your favorite movies, music and more in the airline’s mobile app and then sync it with the system on your flights so you can pick up wherever you left off in your viewing or listening.


There weren’t tons of movie and TV choices, though there were some big new releases like “Barbie” and “The Haunted Mansion” as well as plenty of albums.

The map function did not track the flight properly, but was still fun to watch, and there was alway the tail and ground camera to look at if you just wanted some scenery. You could also check out some of the food and beverage options on the flight, though they did not seem very specific. Eventually, it looks like you might be able to order meals via the service on demand.


Although I don’t travel with Bluetooth headphones, if you do, you can pair your set to the entertainment system for a better listening experience. Perhaps more interestingly, though, the new business-class seats (as well as the new first-class ones) have built-in speakers in the headrests so you can listen to the entertainment without needing headphones.


The system worked surprisingly well, with decent volume and sound-focusing, though some dialogue was hard to hear.


Even right outside the suite, the noise from this was negligible, so the sound focusing must be quite good. That said, given the other passenger noise and galley traffic, you’ll probably want noise-cancelling headphones for true quiet during your flight.

Japan Airlines offers inflight Wi-Fi, but unfortunately, it didn’t work on either my Macbook Pro or my iPhone for most of the flight. In the last hour or so, I tried logging on again on my iPhone and it worked on there with download speeds of about 9 Mbps.


I’m not sure if some of the security software on my computer prevented it from connecting, but I’m hoping to resolve it for my return flight.


JAL charges the following for in-flight Wi-Fi:

  • 1 hour: $10.15
  • 3 hours: $14.10
  • Full flight: $18.80

There are slight discounts for JAL Mileage Bank members.


Finally, JAL’s A350-1000 does not have individual air nozzles, which means the cabin temperature might not suit your preferences. On this flight, though, the crew kept the ambient temperature cool, at around the 68-degree mark, so it remained comfortable throughout.


How was the food in Japan Airlines A350-1000  business class?

Although not yet available on the inaugural A350-1000 flight, Japan Airlines plans to introduce dine-on-demand service in first and business class so that passengers can time their meals to their liking. This new service should be available starting sometime in the spring.

New menus, including four-course vegan and vegetarian options available when departing either Tokyo Haneda or Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT), will be created by some of the airline’s partner chefs including Fumio Yonezawa of the restaurant No Code in Tokyo’s Nishi-Azabu district.


Business and first-class passengers are able to pre-select their meals on long-haul international flights. For my particular journey from New York to Tokyo, I was given the following options:

  • Washoko Japanese meal presentation
  • International Cuisine: Beef
  • International Cuisine: Non-beef

That wasn’t much to go on, but I knew I wanted to enjoy the airline’s famous Japanese meal service, which typically consists of a “gozen” course of many small dishes along with a cup of miso soup, a larger main course that’s usually a cut of fish with some pickles, vegetables and rice, and a selection of desserts.

The meal I received did not disappoint, though it did take longer than usual – unsurprisingly for an inaugural flight where the crew is still getting used to the aircraft. Overall, however, the service on this flight was excellent and another reminder of JAL’s high standards. The flight attendants working in business class were unfailingly cheerful and efficient, greeting each passenger by name, proactively passing through the cabin multiple times to see if anyone needed anything and making recommendations on the menu items (on a side note, passengers were not given individual menus but were lent them by flight attendants to make their selections before being removed). They were also on hand within 30 seconds of anyone hitting a call button with a few exceptions during the busiest meal service times. It was a practically perfect welcome to Japan before we’d even arrived.

During boarding, flight attendants passed through the cabin with a predeparture beverage of fresh-pressed lemon, apple, ginger and pineapple juice, which was sweet and refreshing.


Meal service started about 45 minutes after takeoff with beverage service and a snack of spiced nuts and olives.


About 30 minutes later, I was served a selection of small bites that included scallop marinated in sweet vinegar sauce, deep-fried tofu with crab and Chinese cabbage and salt-grilled yellowtail with pickeled radish, among other options.

That was followed another 30 minutes later by a main of braised beef short ribs with tofu and yuzu-flavored salmon wiht bok choy plus steamed rice and a bowl of miso soup plus a small plate of pickled vegetables. Finally, there was a dollop of strawberry panna cotta for dessert plus commemorative cookies with A350-1000 and the New York City skyline emblazoned on them.

The Western menu on my flight included a roasted chicken and prosciutto ham salad, USDA beef tenderloin with Bordelaise sauce and pumpkin conchiglioni or seared Chilean sea bass with black truffle potage and the same panna cotta for dessert.

Meal service concluded about three hours into the flight, which should get shorter as crews get more practice on the airline.

Throughout the next few hours of the flight, most passengers rested, though some ordered from the a la carte menu, which included a pork cutlet sandwich, Kyushu-style vegetable ramen, vegetable lasagna and a beef curry dish, which the airline recreated from a recipe by former New York Yankees player Hideki Matsui’s mother..


About two hours minutes landing, the crew brightened the cabin and came through taking orders for the second meal. The Japanese option was Japanese grass-fed beef with tamari soy sauce and wasabi, mushrooms and red onions accompanied by sweet pickled daikon radish, salted kelp and radish with a side of steamed rice and miso soup. The international option was shrimp with chili sauce and rice followed by yogurt with strawberry sauce.


I ordered the pork sandwich and ramen, which was a hearty, tasty way to get ready for arrival in Japan.

The airline’s wines are selected by sommelier Okoshi Motohiro and currently include:

  • Champagne Delamotte N.V.
  • Albert Bichot Bourgogne Chardonnay Cuvee Origines 2020
  • Chapoutier La Combe Pilate Viognier
  • Stepp Pinot Noir
  • Domaine Virginie Thunevin Bordeaux

And, of course, a selection of sake and shochu such as:

  • Mimurosugi Junmai Daiginjo Yamadanishiki
  • Senkin Issei Junmai Daiginjo
  • Imo Shochu “Tsurusora”
  • Mugi Shochu “Nakanaka”

The airline also serves a variety of soft drinks, juices, coffee, green, black and herbal tea and mineral water.

Final thoughts on Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class

Japan Airlines’ new A350-1000 business class is game-changing for the airline. Don’t get me wrong; the older Apex suites you’ll find on its other long-haul aircraft are very comfortable and private, too. But the airline has made a great leap forward installing these spacious, private suites aboard its latest jet.

Among the drawbacks are a lack of in-seat stowage compartments and (hopefully temporary) Wi-Fi issues and service flow that could be more efficient. That said, the spacious footprints, stylish design finishes and comfortable soft amenities, not to mention the decent award availability you can find using American AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan miles should make this a top choice for traversing the Pacific as more of these planes go into service.


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