Review of Japan Airlines flight San Diego Tokyo in Economy

Airline Japan Airlines
Flight JL65
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 12:10
Take-off 25 Feb 16, 11:40
Arrival at 25 Feb 16, 16:50
JL   #25 out of 113 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 148 reviews
By 6290
Published on 12th April 2017
I found a roundtrip fare from San Diego to Jakarta last winter for $590.20 and couldn't pass it up. There aren't many longhaul flights from San Diego so I was happy to be able to take advantage of the nonstop San Diego to Narita service on Japan Airlines. I decided to cash in a one-time United Club pass before my flight. This club is nice and new, but small and offers typical United Club food. At least they usually have some hummus in addition to the usual crackers and cubed cheese. I was there in the morning for this flight so they still had breakfast fare out.

From the United Club I headed over to the gate for boarding. The Japan Airlines gate is over by the American Airlines gates, but SAN is small enough that the walk over from the United Club isn't far. From there it was down the giant jetway and onto the aircraft.

Japan Airlines uses a comfortable 2-4-2 layout in economy on their 787-8 and the legroom is decent enough.

Decent IFE

Catering was pretty good as well

I got a nice look at the business class cabin as we disembarked at Narita. Unfortunate 2-2-2 layout though as most airlines are trending towards reverse herringbone on the 787.

photo img_1361photo img_1362photo img_1363
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Japan Airlines

Cabin crew9.0

United Club


San Diego - SAN


Tokyo - NRT



This was a great flight on Japan Airlines. Not only was the hard product comfortable, but the soft product was exceptional too. I liked how all the flight attendants bowed in unison during their pre-flight routine. Could you imagine a group of long haul United or American flight attendants bowing to the passengers? Between the impressive IFE selection and a bit of sleep, this felt like the shortest-transpacific flight I've been on. My only gripe was that I couldn't select a seat until check-in. When I checked in, only the last several rows of the aircraft were open. I was still able to snag an aisle seat though, so I can't complain.



  • Comment 393059 by
    JW19 121 Comments

    Nice review on a Y product seldom seen in FR. Man those Y seats in their 787 really looks the deal. I am guessing seat width of at least 18". Shame to airlines who try to cram as many seats as possible in Y. I will definitely pay the extra to fly JL long haul in Y.

    • Comment 393069 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      Thanks for reading and commenting JW19! The seats were as comfortable as they look. This was also my first time on a 787 and I could definitely tell that it was quieter than other aircraft. For this trip my fare was super cheap, but I agree that paying a little extra to fly JL long haul is probably worth it.

  • Comment 393060 by
    757Fan 595 Comments

    Nice report and photos. JAL always looks to provide a very nice Economy Class product. I'll have to try them sometime!

    Thank you for sharing.


  • Comment 393065 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5361 Comments

    Nice report Nick! Wow, that's a great fare for TPAC. It's an even better value when you factor in that you got a JL 787 in the old Y 2-4-2 configuration. The combo of that cabin + JL (love the FAs bowing too) makes for a pleasant and civilized way to fly! Being so wide and nicely spaced apart, those Y seats almost look like Premium Economy. I see JL is still using that 90's cgi looking safety video, lol.

    The new UA club at SAN looks pretty nice--certainly much nicer than the Airspace lounge I've been to.

    • Comment 393071 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      Thanks for the comments Kevin, this flight was indeed a great value. Cheap price but superior product.

      I've never been to the Airspace lounge at SAN, but I'm actually planning on trying it out prior to a flight I have later this week since I get access through one of my credit cards. I won't get my hopes up, lol. While the UA club doesn't have much in the way of food, it is very new and clean and it's never been crowded when I've visited. The last couple times I've been to a UA club at O'Hare they were so crowded that it was more comfortable to just wait at the gate.

    • Comment 393077 by
      JW19 121 Comments

      Hi Kevin, a check on JAL's website and seatguru shows that all JL 788 and 789s Y are configured 2-4-2 regardless of new or old. They even market it saying it's the most comfortable Y seat in the sky. Clearly they are trying to play a different ball game compared to the rest.

  • Comment 393093 by
    KL651 TEAM 4505 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Wow, the Y cabin looks so spacious and classy, only on a Japanese airline you can find light couloured seats.
    Great meals as well. 590$ for such a long trip on JL is a great bargain.

    • Comment 393137 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment KL651. JL takes great care of their cabin and it shows. I was recently on an Ethiopian 787 and the inside looked like it was 20 years old even though it was a relatively new aircraft.

  • Comment 393150 by
    wop 268 Comments

    Thanks for this report! JAL 787 seems to offer one of the best (if not the best) economy products.
    Some more details on your personal impressions and interactions with the crew during the trip could be interesting. :)

    • Comment 393264 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      The crew was incredible. I'm not exaggerating when I say the soft product on this flight was better than the soft product on my most recent American Airlines long haul flight in business. For example, when I opened my bagel I saw a hair on it. For all I know it could've been my own, but I asked for a new one and they promptly brought it. No less than three flight attendants came over to apologize, though I made it clear that I wasn't upset and didn't think it was a big deal. I think part of it is how friendly the Japanese culture is, but also that Japan Airlines is just a really good airline.

  • Comment 393177 by
    DiegoSS02 69 Comments

    Excellent FR!! JL offering a nice product as always, and that catering looked very complete and tasty. I really like the interior JL gives their 787s. If there was a word to descibe the IFE it wouuld be mediocre. You can't even find the airline's name on it! Greetings!!!

    • Comment 393265 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      Thanks for the comment DiegoSS02. The cabin and catering were great. I though the IFE was pretty good. The selection was pretty deep and the breadcrumb style map was nice. I also like the picture-in-picture with the map in the corner of the entertainment content. I hadn't seen that before.

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