BY Kai-Chin Shih / 23 APRIL 2014/ TOKYOJAPAN/ talkairlines.wordpress.com
Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced that on 28 May 2014, Tokyo(Haneda)-Fukuoka will be the first route to be serviced by planes featuring the “JAL SKY NEXT” interior. This latest and first domestic phase of the group’s “Welcome! New Sky Project” will feature new seats in all 3 domestic classes, including First Class, Class J, and Economy Class (New seats to be introduced May), along with Wi-Fi provided by GoGo throughout the cabin that will allow passengers to have access to free wireless entertainment and/or full internet service with a charge. (Wi-Fi services starts July).
The “JAL SKY NEXT” project, in which up to 77 aircraft (777-200, 777-300, 767-300, 767-300ER, 737-800) will be renovated, marks the airline’s latest attempt to improve its already outstanding products to further increase its competitiveness in the Japanese domestic market. The introduction of Wi-Fi services and wireless entertainment systems in July will make JAL the only airline with the services in the Japanese domestic market. While both JAL and its primary competitor ANA offer Wi-Fi and PTV on some of their international flights, none of the companies have introduced the service on domestic routes. ANA officials stated before that the company wasn’t interested in offering Wi-Fi on domestic routes due to the short flight time. It will be interesting to see if ANA will change its mind and catch up with JAL.
Interestingly, JAL has chosen to offer its in-flight entertainment system through the internet services. By connecting to the in-flight Wi-Fi, passengers can have free access to a JAL webpage in which there will be videos, flight information, and travel information. As usual, if passengers wish to access other websites, they will have to pay a certain amount of fee in order to receive the service. For further information on Wi-Fi charges, visit the company’s official page.
Also exciting is the introduction of new seats. The new First Class seats feature bigger central dividers compared to the previous generation First Class seats, showing how important privacy is to Japanese travellers. Other parts of the new seats appear to be similar to that of the previous version. Nevertheless, the seats are still extremely spacious and luxury domestic-wise.
The new Class J, JAL’s domestic premium economy product, is also an improvement from the current Class J. The new seats are covered by real leather instead of normal cloth. With 97cm seat pitch, 47 cm seat width, and leg-rests, Class J offers passengers originally flying economy a luxury yet affordable alternative option.
Also covered by real leather instead of cloth are the new economy class seats. Through removing unnecessary parts and slimming the seat form, JAL now offers a new economy class that provides more space to each customer than ever before. The seat pitch is approximately 5cm wider than the current economy class product, allowing passengers to have a more comfortable flying experience.
The final part of the “JAL SKY NEXT” project is the installation of LED lightings. The new lighting design, likely motivated by the popular mood lighting introduced on new Airbus and Boeing jets, features lights that shine different colours at different times of the day. Through the installation of LED lightings, JAL hopes to further enhance its passengers’ flying experiences. To >talkairlines, the most interesting part of the new “JAL SKY NEXT” project is Japan Airlines introducing wireless inflight entertainment on its domestic flights. Of course, the system may not be as appreciated by customers as compared to personal entertainment screens. However, regarding the fact that almost no Japanese airlines (With StarFlyer being the sole exception) offer inflight entertainment on their domestic flights, JAL has made itself a preferable option for passengers wishing to have a less boring flight. Also interesting is the attempt of the airline to make all of its seats covered by leather. In previous posts, >talkairlines has mentioned that it is the trend of the industry to use leather instead of cloth due to the fact that leather is easier to sanitise than the latter. Also, leather will allow flight attendants and janitors to easily spot garbage, thus ensuring passengers a clean and organised environment.
>talkairlines is excited to see the roll out of the new “JAL SKY NEXT” interior. In the next few months, >talkairlines hopes to experience the “JAL SKY NEXT” interior and share the flight report with you fellow readers.