Japan Airlines (JAL) Premium Economy Class: CGK-NRT B787-9

Japan Airlines offers day of departure cash upgrades to their Sky Premium (Premium Economy) from Economy for a flat rate. I decided to try it out on a recent flight from Jakarta to Tokyo. The Premium Economy Class was wide open with only a handful of seats booked prior to the day of departure. This almost guaranteed there would be an upgrade upon checkin. The checkin agent was trying to up-sell me on it and even had a laminated flyer. I knew prior to getting to the airport that it would be a no brainer for a redeye flight to Tokyo. The price for this route (CGK-NRT) is IDR 2,800,000 which is around USD 200. I told the agent I would like to upgrade and she was excited to have a sale. The agent escorted me over to a cashier to make the payment and then we returned to the counter to collect my boarding pass. It was a seamless process and I had a choice of almost any seat in Sky Premium. I selected a seat where nobody was sitting next to me so I’d have a row against the window to myself.

We were flying on JAL’s new B787-9 so it featured the Sky Premium which is their newest Premium Economy seat. Upon boarding the plane, I found my seat which already had a pillow, slippers, headphones and a Good Sleep Service amenity kit bag. The little touches make JAL an excellent airline. You barely get slippers in Business Class on American Airlines. I knew the aisle seat wasn’t booked so I put all my items in the aisle seat and sat in the window seat. The seat itself had a foot rest & leg rest, but it wasn’t as comfortable as the Cathay Pacific Premium Economy leg rest. The seat slides to recline reducing the length between the seat and footrest. You’ll find seat 20K too crammed if you are over 5ft 6in.  I should’ve kept 17K as originally booked. 17D,E,G have the most legroom followed by 17A,C,H,K on the 787-9.

It was a redeye flight so I didn’t use the inflight WiFi much, but the speeds were excellent at 3.5Mbps down and 0.32Mbps up. It was $18.80 for unlimited usage for the duration of the flight. The service is provided by T-Mobile.

The service was excellent as always! Japanese carriers seem to offer the best service and will go above and beyond for anything. It’s in their culture.

Conclusion: For the extra space it was well worth the upgrade for a redeye flight, but you still don’t get much sleep compared to Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy with a longer leg rest. I wouldn’t book the seat at full price, but the upgrade price makes it a decent value.

Have you flown JAL Premium Economy? If so, what are your thoughts?

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