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First Look: Inside JAL’s Flagship Airbus A350-1000
JAL's premium-heavy A350-1000 features brand-new first and business suites with maximized space and privacy.
Japan Airlines, also known as JAL, will take delivery of its first A350-1000 on December 14. AirlineGeeks was able to gain early access to its cabin, which consists of brand new, industry-leading hard products that will set to debut on JAL’s flagship route from Tokyo Haneda to New York-JFK next January and to Dallas/Fort Worth later in 2024.
The new airplane will feature a total of 239 seats, with six in first, 54 in business, 24 in premium economy, and finally 155 in economy class. In terms of cabin floor space, the premium classes will occupy door 1 to door 3, with only the very last section of the cabin for economy class.
The First Class cabin is configured in a 1-1-1 arrangement, with sofa seats that can be turned into a double bed and 4K personal IFE screens. There are sliding doors for privacy and all overhead compartments are removed to create space.
The Business Class seats have a 1-2-1 configuration with private suites that come with doors and dividers. Each lie-flat seat comes with a personal IFE screen, plenty of storage, and a so-called smart cushion.
Premium Economy seats use hard-shell products in a 2-4-2 configuration; the electrically controlled seats can recline without affecting the passenger behind. Each seat is equipped with reading lights and privacy dividers are present between every seat.
Japanese Elements Meets Western Functionality
JAL has stated that many Japanese elements are consciously incorporated into the designs of the seats and cabin. Especially in business class, the use of the Japanese rice paper wall, or Shoji, is incorporated in both sliding doors and closets. The individual lights also carry an Eastern flair.
The designs also kept functionality in mind. Working with U.K.-based design firm Tangerine, the cabin has an emphasis on practicality. Many storage spaces are available and business class travelers are able to store their luggage in their seats under the footrest, on top of the many mini storage spaces and overhead compartments on the two sides.
The emphasis on privacy resulted in sliding doors and dividers between seats. All seats are separated from one another as JAL intends to deploy the aircraft on business-oriented routes where many solo corporate travelers fly. Another focus for the new products is space, from seating space, legroom to storage space, across the board there is more space and fewer total seats, compared to the 777-300ER which the new Airbus replaces.
Many Industry Firsts
JAL has invested heavily in improving customer experience, especially focusing on improving the cabin features and innovating when designing the seats. In forward cabins,
- Industry’s first built-in speakers in seats, available in both business and first class cabins;
- First three-people dining space in first class, a seat which could also be turned into a double bed.
In Premium Economy:
- The first airline to use an electric automated recline in the premium economy cabin;
- It will also feature a non-moveable privacy divider between seats in the middle of the cabin, as shown below, to maximize privacy for premium economy passengers.
Crew Friendly Design
The design keeps the crew and operation smoothness in mind. The cabin galley space is significantly larger than other types thanks to the ‘New Cabin Standard’ that Airbus has rolled out on most of its A350s. The seats in the premium cabin also come with an external touch screen that gives the crew the status of the passenger, lightening up their workloads significantly during services and turbulences.
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