Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class: NRT-SAN B787-8

In May 2022, I was able to secure JAL (Japan Airlines) Business Class on CGK-NRT-SAN for 65,000 Alaska Airlines miles + $73.67 in taxes. It’s much harder to lock in a connecting itinerary via Tokyo on JAL now due to availability and it also costs 100,000 Alaska Airlines miles. I’m glad I booked another award for later this year prior to the March 2023 increase. This was my first time flying Business Class on JAL’s 787-8 and landing at one of the most challenging runways in America, San Diego (SAN).

As I had a 36hr stopover in Tokyo, I had to lug my checked luggage around and recheck it to SAN from NRT. Luckily, I have OneWorld Emerald status with Alaska 75K Gold so I could use the First Class check-in. The agent tagged my baggage with a First Class tag meaning my bag would be one of the first bags off the plane in SAN making the arrival process very quick.

We boarded on time and I settled into seat 1A. The staggered business class seats make it easy for the window seat to access the aisle. The seating area was spacious and I enjoyed that it wasn’t angled like so many other business class seats.

Shortly after takeoff, dinner was served. I opted for the Japanese course which was delicious. I always order the Japanese option when departing from Japan. It might take you out of your comfort zone, but give it a try on your next return flight from Japan. They served Suntory Chita Whisky which was a nice touch. I was ready for bed after dinner being it was an evening flight. A flight attendant converted the seat into a lie-flat bed and added a mattress pad. The bedding was very comfortable. Typically JAL flights run warmer than others, but this time it wasn’t too warm to sleep.

Inflight WiFi was available for $18.80 and included unlimited usage for the entire flight. It was plenty fast to surf the web, check email and iMessage.

Inflight WiFi

Inflight WiFi

Prior to landing, we were offered a final meal service. It was a lighter meal, but very delicious. During the meal service, I was able to see Big Sur, CA below us. Amazing view! 3 windows for seat 1A 🙂

We landed into SAN on time and my baggage was the first out of the baggage claim. I was able to go from plane to car in 15 minutes. Wow! Much better than landing into LAX.


Conclusion: JAL never disappoints! The service was top notch. I was pleasantly surprised with the seat. It was spacious and comfortable. Landing into SAN makes customs & immigration so easy. I would highly recommend this route for anyone going to/from Japan.

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1 Response

  1. August 31, 2023

    […] Wow! I’ve traveled 1 Million miles since 2013 which is enough to circle the world more than 40 times in less than 10 years. I did travel prior to 2013, but didn’t track it with TripIt. I crossed the 1 Million miles mark after arriving on JL66 into SAN from NRT in November 2022. […]

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