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Japan Airlines Airbus A350-1000 Business Class Review [JFK to HND]

Chris Hassan's image
Chris Hassan
Chris Hassan's image

Chris Hassan

Social Media & Brand Manager

210 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 24U.S. States Visited: 26

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a ...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

29 Published Articles 3091 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Airline: Japan Airlines (JL)
Aircraft: Airbus A350-1000
Flight #: JL5
Route: New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND)
Date: February 21, 2024
Duration: 14 hours, 15 minutes
Cabin and Layout: Business class, 54 seats, 1-2-1 configuration
Seat: 5D and 5G (middle seats)
Cost: 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles + $5.60 in taxes each

My wife and I needed to get to Australia for a wedding, so instead of taking the direct route … we took the fun route!

I had a few different options, but since Japan has long been on our bucket list, we decided to jump on this flight from New York to Tokyo when partner award availability opened up.

To make things even sweeter, after booking, Japan Airlines announced that this route would be the first to receive its brand-new A350-1000 aircraft with updated cabins. And since I had booked business class, that meant a big upgrade!

Let’s look at what it’s like to fly 14+ hours to Tokyo in one of the best business class cabins available.

Booking Japan Airlines

The process of finding and booking this flight was relatively simple.

Since Japan Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, I knew that I could redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles to book flights on its planes.

AA’s website is very easy to use. After searching using the award calendar function, I found some saver availability for just 60,000 miles + $5.60 per seat from New York to Tokyo for a date that could work for my trip.

AA JAL receipt JFK HND
60k miles for 14 hours in business class is a bargain! Image Credit: American Airlines

This is an absolute steal when it comes to points and miles, especially since these tickets often cost thousands of dollars each way.

Google Flights JAL business class
The same flight would have cost almost $4,000. Image Credit: Google Flights

Partners award availability like this comes and goes, so I definitely got lucky that my dates lined up with current availability. Plus, when I booked this flight in December 2023, the flight was on JAL’s older Boeing 777.

However, JAL announced in January that my flight (JL5) would receive the brand new A350-1000 with a new business class product, so I thanked the travel gods multiple times on this trip!

Japan Airlines A350 1000 seatmap
Japan Airlines A350-1000 seat map.

I consistently use my Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, but I didn’t have enough miles for both tickets. So, I put 1 on hold from my account and then did the same for my wife.

After transferring over some Bilt Rewards points, my wife was able to top up her account, and we both booked our tickets to Tokyo.

Once we received our confirmation emails, we headed to the Japan Airlines website to select our seats, and we were good to go. To choose your seat on JAL, use the English version of the site and do not log in to your account. Click on Manage Booking, then Flights/Award Ticket before entering your flight information.

Hot Tip:

Learn more about the best ways to book Japan Airlines business class with points (step-by-step).

JFK Airport

Since we were so excited about this trip, we got to the airport about 3.5 hours before the flight, only to find that check-in hadn’t opened yet. No surprise there.

Japan Airlines business checkin JFK
Japan Airlines check-in desk at JFK.

However, there was a pleasant surprise: when the agents opened up, they all came around from their podiums and bowed to all the passengers waiting.

As someone who pretty much only flies American Airlines out of JFK, I was shocked, to say the least!

Check-In

Check-in was efficient and pleasant (like most aspects of this trip), and before we knew it, we had our tickets in hand and were on our way to the lounge.

Japan Airlines boarding pass and passport
Ready to go!

Unfortunately, JAL does not have a lounge at JFK. Instead, it uses partner lounges, including the Soho Lounge for its first class passengers and the Greenwich Lounge for its business class passengers.

I wish first class passengers could access the beautiful Chelsea Lounge and business class passengers could use the Soho Lounge because the Greenwich Lounge is just a rebranded Flagship Lounge.

Greenwich Lounge JFK
The Greenwich Lounge at JFK.

But, that being said, there was chilled Champagne and great views of the apron, so I even got a glimpse of our ride from above!

Japan Airlines A350 1000 on tarmac
Can’t beat that view!

Boarding

Boarding was from gate 4 in Terminal 8, and JAL used a quick and organized biometric scanner.

Japan Airlines gate at JFK
Japan Airlines uses biometrics for boarding.

We were boarding group 2, as group 1 was for first class and Japan Mileage Bank Diamond, JGC Premier, and Oneworld Emerald members.

I had selected row 5, which is in the front section of business class, so after boarding (and tapping the plane for good luck), my wife and I turned left for a delightful 14 hours of flying.

On Board Japan Airline’s Airbus A350-1000

Japan Airlines started flying its brand-new A350-1000 in January 2024, so it was just about a month old when we got to experience it.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 nose
Japan Airlines A350-1000.

Business Class Cabin

My first impression of the business class cabin was that it was incredibly spacious, despite each seat having relatively high walls and closing doors.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business cabin
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class front cabin.

This is likely because there are no overhead bins above the middle seats, which really opens up the space.

The business class seats have the recognizable dark red fabric, just like the older aircraft, but they appear pretty modern thanks to all the technology and fine touches around them.

The window seats are the most private as you have no neighbors, and the sliding door and overhead bins shield you from other passengers.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business window seat
Japan Airlines A350-1000 window seat.

Most window seats had 2 dimmable windows, like on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business windows
The A350-1000 dimmable windows were very impressive.

Despite the “missing” overhead bins in the middle seats, there was plenty of storage for all passengers in the cabin, as each seat had its own storage options.

My wife and I chose 2 middle seats to lower the partition and enjoy the flight together.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business middle seats
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class middle seats.

Unlike Qatar Airways’ Qsuite, the partition does not go all the way down, so you cannot turn these seats into a double bed.

Furthermore, regardless of the row you select, the seats will always be staggered away from each other, with one side always having a bit more privacy from the aisle. But that isn’t a big deal, thanks to the closing door.

The business class seats are all lie-flat and feature the much-hyped closing door to make them “high-privacy.”

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business seat instructions
Japan Airlines A350-1000 new business class seat instructions.

Each seat has a 24-inch 4K screen that you can watch by plugging in your (or the provided) headphones, connecting your Bluetooth headphones, or using built-in headrest speakers.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business closet closed
24-inch 4K mirror.

I was curious whether the headrest speakers would be loud enough to use for a movie, and if so, would they be disruptive?

JAL A350 1000 headrest speakers
My speakers didn’t work as well as my wife’s, but I liked the idea.

Unfortunately, mine were not working correctly, but when my wife had hers set to the maximum volume, I could barely hear it sitting next to her. She didn’t think it was good enough to watch a movie with, but it was suitable for background music as we chatted and ate.

Since most people had headphones on, I couldn’t see the sound being too intrusive to other passengers.

Plenty of storage is at each seat, including a small jacket closet.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business closet open
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business closet open.

Below the closet was a (narrow) shoe storage compartment.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business show storage
The shoe storage was pretty narrow for my pair of running shoes.

A decent-sized storage cupboard could hold headphones, documents, water bottles, etc., and a pop-up storage compartment could store narrower objects like cell phones.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business storage
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business storage.

You could even store your carry-on under your footrest if needed.

There were plenty of options for charging your devices, including AC, USB-A, USB-C, and a wireless charger.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business wirless charger
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business wireless charger.

The seat itself had plenty of lighting and seating positions, including the option to raise just the headrest, which is nice when watching a movie.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business controls
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business class seat controls.

Overall, the seating area was beautiful, with plenty of fine touches. Still, I often struggled to open the pop-up storage compartment with 2 finicky buttons and properly open and close the tray table.

Based on the number of scratches along the brand-new seat, I was not the only one who had trouble maneuvering the tray table when attempting to stow it.

They were minor critiques, but they stood out in what was otherwise a well-designed product.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business open bed
No better way to nap.

I had zero complaints when it was in lie-flat mode, as it was one of the most comfortable flights I’ve had.

Food and Beverage

Besides being able to lie flat on such a long flight, the main thing we were looking forward to was the catering.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business menu
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business menu.

I had heard good things about JAL, so I was excited to try the airline out, and it did not disappoint!

We were served fresh juice as a predeparture beverage (PDB) while reviewing the menus.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business pdb
Juice as a PDB.

Some specialty items were made specifically for this flight. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the “Hideki Matsui” Curry, as it had run out by the time I ordered it. That is fine because, as a Red Sox fan, I really didn’t want to enjoy anything from a famous Yankee! Kidding … kind of.

There was a solid list of Champagne and wine, as well as sake and shochu for beverages. There was also a full bar menu with spirits, beer, sodas, and coffee.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business drink menu
Bar menu.

Moving on to the food menu, there were Japanese and international options.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business japanese meal menu
Japanese meal menu.

À la carte options were also available throughout the flight.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business a la carte menu

I started with a glass of Delamotte Champagne as the crew came around with nuts and olives.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business amuse bouche
I started with some Champagne.

Irodori Gozen

Shortly after takeoff, meal service began. My wife and I both went with the Japanese menu option, which was an Irodori Gozen of 6 different “seasonal colorful delicacies,” including:

  • Scallop marinated in sweet vinegar sauce
  • Simmered prawn Japanese omelet with sweet black beans and picked burdock
  • Stewed beef tongue and radish
  • Deep-fried tofu with crab and Chinese cabbage sauce
  • Red bell pepper with dried bonito flakes and boiled canola flower
  • Salt-grilled yellowtail tuna with pickled radish and yogurt sauce
Japan Airlines A350 1000 business japanese meal
JAL Irodori Gozen.

Everything was flavorful, and we enjoyed almost everything … the beef tongue was our least favorite.

Dainomono

Once we were done with our first course, the main course was served.

My wife and I each chose the grilled salmon. The meal included steamed rice, miso soup, and pickled vegetables.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business salmon main course
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business salmon main course

We both found the salmon a bit dry and the congealed sides an acquired taste. But overall, we were very satisfied.

Also, look at how cute the chopstick holder was.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business chopstic holder
Chopstick holder.

Kanmi

After lunch, there was dessert … obviously!

We were served a strawberry panna cotta, which was delightful.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business dessert
Strawberry panna cotta.

As well as some green tea.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business green tea
The green tea was just what I needed before a long nap.

Snacks

After a nice nap, I woke up thirsty, so the flight attendant brought some whisky and snacks.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business Tamazaki whisky
Snack time.

I went with the Yamazaki single malt Japanese whisky, which costs about $200 on the ground.

The whisky and most of the snacks were delicious — except for the dried squid, which made for a fun video!

À La Carte

Since this was such a long flight, I had plenty of time to try the other menu items.

I opted for the pork cutlet sandwich, which was simple and satisfying.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business pork sandwich
The pork sandwich and a beer were a nice combination.

Also available was the “JAL Original Noodle,” a special tonkotsu-flavored miso ramen noodle, “Kyushu Jangara-style.”

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business ramen
JAL Original Noodle

The noodles were delicious.

Amenities

Waiting at the seat was a blanket, pillow, pajamas, slippers, a shoehorn, headphones, and a menu.

Japan Airlines amenities
There are lots of amenities to shuffle around.

Plus, the flight attendant will set up a mattress pad for you.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business overhead bin
The mattress pad stays in the overhead bin until you are ready to sleep.

Pajamas

The pajamas were part of JAL’s “lending service,” and this specific one was unique to the A350-1000 New York route. UCHINO, a high-quality towel brand in Japan, made the oversized shirts.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business pajamas
JAL pajamas.

My wife used it, but I found it rather thick and warm for the long flight.

The slippers were very nice and made their way home with us.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business slippers
Slippers and a shoehorn!

Amenity Kit

There was also a small HERALBONY amenity kit, bamboo toothbrush, and water bottle.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business amenity kit toothbrush
JAL HERALBONY amenity kit and bamboo toothbrush.

Inside the amenity kit was an additional toothbrush, an eye mask, earplugs, tissues, a cell phone stand, and a charging cable.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business amenity kit contents
JAL HERALBONY amenity kit contents.

I thought the cell phone stand and charging cable were cool. The cable can charge USB-C and Apple Lightning devices, making it valuable when traveling!

IFE

There was a lot of Japanese and international content on the inflight entertainment system.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business IFE options
JAL IFE options.

However, I thought there would be more for such a long flight. Many TV shows only had 1 or 2 episodes of each, so without committing to a movie, I ended up going through most of the content.

That wasn’t a problem because there was a tailcam, so I just watched the beautiful A350-1000 chase the sun in 4K as we traveled west.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business IFE controller
Japan Airlines A350-1000 business IFE controller.

The provided headphones were by Audio-Technica and were perfectly fine.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business headphones
JAL Audio-Technica headphones.

I used them for most of the flight except for testing out the Bluetooth connection and the speakers in the headrest.

Wireless Internet

Since this flight took off around noon, we spent much of the fight awake to enjoy it. That meant lots of posting on social media!

Wi-Fi on the flight was quick and stable for most of the flight and cost:

  • 1-Hour Plan: $10.15 or $9.15 for JALCARD holders
  • 3-Hour Plan: $14.40 or $12.95 for JALCARD holders
  • Flight Plan: $18.80 or $16.80 for JALCARD holders
Japan Airlines A350 1000 business Wifi
Japan Airlines Wi-Fi.

Since the flight was over 14 hours, my wife and I opted for 1 Flight Plan package and rotated logging in.

Lavatory

There were 3 bathrooms for the business class cabin, all located between the 2 sections.

The closest bathroom to my seat was relatively small for a high-end business class cabin, but it was nice and always clean.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business bathroom
JAL A350-1000 business class bathroom.

A tray of amenities included Miller Harris soap and hand lotion, mouthwash, and a cute origami bird.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business bathroom amenities
JAL bathroom amenities.

And no Japanese toilet would be complete without a bidet — even on a plane!

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business bathroom bidet
JAL bidet.

Service

Although the seats and food were excellent, the service really set JAL apart.

From the moment the check-in desk opened until we deplaned, my wife and I received only 5-star service and were addressed by name at almost every interaction.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business eye mask
The warm eye mask was a nice touch before landing.

Service was efficient, friendly, and felt genuine. The crew really wanted to make sure we enjoyed our flight as much as possible.

My flight attendant even made me an origami swan at my seat!

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business origami
The flight attendant made this origami bird at my seat.

Arrival

Before we knew it, we had arrived in Tokyo. We were sad to end a flight we had so looked forward to, but we were excited to explore a new city and check out a brand new hotel: The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza!

Deplaning was calm and organized, especially since business and first class deplaned from the forward doors via a separate jetbridge from economy and premium economy.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business jetbridge HND
Private jetbridge.

This made it feel like we had the plane to ourselves because we hardly saw any other passengers until we arrived at the terminal.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 terminal HND
Haneda Airport.

We quickly passed through immigration, hopped on the subway, and were on our way to our hotel.

Final Thoughts

Flying Japan Airlines business class for 14 hours was an absolute delight. It was a bonus that it was on the brand-new A350-1000, which was extremely comfortable.

Japan Airlines A350 1000 business class seat
Not a bad way to fly to Japan.

From the lie-flat seats with doors to the seemingly endless amount of food to the unbeatable hospitality shown by the crew, I can’t wait to fly JAL again.

If you have the miles and opportunity to fly this route, I highly recommend it!

The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the JAL A350 business class have a door?

Yes, the new JAL A350-1000 business class (and first class) features a sliding door that closes the seat for extra privacy.

Does Japan Airlines have a good business class?

Yes, Japan Airlines is known for its excellent premium products thanks to personalized service, delicious food and drinks, and now a brand-new business class.

How much does it cost to fly to Tokyo in Japan Airlines business class?

Cash tickets start around $4,000 each way but can be purchased with as few as 60,000 miles + $5.60.

Does the JAL business class have speakers in the headrest?

Yes, on the new A350-1000, business and first class seats feature speakers in the headrest to watch the IFE and listen to music.

Chris Hassan's image

About Chris Hassan

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a passion for making content catered toward family travelers.

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