If you are traveling to Japan by coach, you may want to consider a Japan Airlines economy seat. It’s a long flight, and while your JAL Sky Wider seat may not be as luxurious as the reclining Business Class seats, the airline’s economy class comfort and service is superior to many competitors.
People often complain about economy class seats, and for good reason. Reduced legroom, decreased width, disappeared padding – for decades airlines have used every trick in the book to reduce weight while squeezing more passengers. The result: seats that some airline travelers are less than happy to reserve.
Economy seats on a JAL international flight might be the best. In 2019, the World’s Best Economy Class and Best Economy Airline Seat awards – the fourth time JAL has won this latest award since 2015.
At a time when so many airlines, including premium airlines like Emirates and Japan-based All Nippon Airways, have increased their density from Boeing 777s to 10 seats, Japan Airlines remains wonderfully old-fashioned. It is the seat size and pitch (the distance between rows) that matters most on long-haul flights. This is where Japan Airlines really offers:
More than a review of the international economics of Japan Airlines gives top marks for budget foods and drinks – from Japanese chicken cordon bleu soba noodles for food, and plum wine and whiskey to sake for drinks. A full menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is included with your economy class ticket.
All economy class ticket holders for international flights are entitled to two checked bags of up to approximately 50 pounds (23 kilograms) each. Domestic travelers in economy class can check in one piece of baggage weighing up to approximately 44 pounds (20 kilograms) free of charge.
JAL has no , but when it comes to award tickets your best bet is to use “base miles”. Base miles are the lowest fare you can find in the JAL International Award Ticket PLUS award table (similar to a reduced fare in US mile programs). The other fare, “Plus”, offers better availability of rewards, but your ticket can cost an exorbitant number of miles.
With base miles, Japan Airlines economy flights between the continental US and Japan will likely cost you 25,000 miles each way.
Booking a JAL award ticket in economy class is easy from the airline’s website.
1. Go to and log into your Mileage Bank account.
2. Scroll down until you see the Redeem your miles section. Click on “JAL Group Airlines Award Tickets”.
3. On the next page, click on “JAL International Award Ticket”.
4. Enter your travel information and click “Search”.
If flights are not available for these dates, you can choose alternatives or click on “Go to calendar”. If flights are available, click “Continue”. Fill in your payment information and complete the reservation.
JAL miles are not easy to accumulate. The main ways to get them are by flying with JAL or flying on one of its partner airlines and selecting JAL Mileage Bank miles as your earning preference.
Unlike other airlines which allow you to get miles by transferring , Where , JAL does not partner with any major transferable currency program.
If you have points in certain hotel loyalty programs, like , Where , you can convert these points into JAL miles. But that’s not good value. For example, you will only get 1 JAL mile for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer. However, you get a 5,000-mile transfer bonus for every 60,000 points – so you can convert 60,000 Marriott points to 25,000 JAL miles, which should be enough for a one-way flight between the continental US and the United States. Japan.
If you have miles in the loyalty program of one of JAL’s partner airlines, including Oneworld Alliance airlines, you can use them to book an award flight on JAL. You will probably pay more, however. For example, you can travel with Japan Airlines with Where , but either will cost you around 70,000 miles round trip.
When it comes to economy class, Japan Airlines is leading the way. JAL serves over 10 destinations in the United States and its international economy headquarters are arguably the best and most comfortable you can find for flights to Japan. A one-way award ticket starts at 25,000 miles, which is very reasonable. If you don’t have enough JAL miles, you can transfer points from a major hotel loyalty program or book a JAL flight with US or Alaska miles, although this will likely cost you more.
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