Japan Airlines is to introduce a new premium economy class on international routes, with the London–Tokyo service the first to see the new seats from December 1.
JAL joins a growing list of carriers opting for a premium economy offering, with Virgin Atlantic recently announcing it would extend the number of premium economy seats on its 747 aircraft (see online news September 20) and Air New Zealand also extending its premium economy capacity to 39 seats (from a launch of 23). The Japanese carrier will fit 44 of the new seats on its B777-300ER aircraft (which ply the London-Tokyo route), in a 2-4-2 configuration.
The new offering will feature its own cabin, with JAL's Sky Shell Seat including 120 degrees of recline, 48cm seat width and 97cm seat pitch, with 20 per cent more legroom than in economy class. The shell-shaped sliding seat back design means passengers will not encroach on those behind them when reclining. Each seat will include a power outlet, and in-flight amenities will be the same as in business class, while premium economy passengers will also receive an upgraded food and beverage service, and noise-cancelling headphones.
On the ground they will benefit from a priority baggage service, their own check-in counters at Tokyo Narita airport, and the use of JAL's business class check-in desks at overseas airports. Passengers will also have access to the recently revamped Sakura executive lounge at Narita.
JAL says it will rollout the new premium economy class to other routes, with Frankfurt-Tokyo and Paris-Tokyo getting the new seats in 2008. The carrier also plans to introduce new seats in both its First and Executive (business) classes next year.
For more information visit jal.co.jp.
Report by Mark