- 360° VR look inside Japan Airlines Business Class on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
- 10 hours of overnight flying on the Tokyo to Sydney flight
- How to book this flight for 40,000 AAdvantage Miles + $129.40
Australia welcomes over 250,000 Japanese each year. And from our end, Japan is one of the top 10 destinations for Aussies headed overseas. We love to visit Japan.
I flew back from Tokyo's Narita airport on Japan Airlines (JAL), the flag carrying airline of Japan, on the overnight flight (JL771).
It is a premium service and I'd book it again in a heartbeat.
Consider this travel relationship well and truly marked into the calendars of Aussies going to Japan year-round on business trips and holidays.
But its not all salarymen and holidaymakers, there's the snowboarders who make the trip north to the snow resorts of Niseko and Hakuba from November until March in search of powder and ramen.
Travel between Australia is set to spike later this year for the Rugby World Cup from 20th September until 2nd November 2019.
- Airline: Japan Airlines
- Flight number: JL771
- Route: Tokyo (Narita) - Sydney (SYD)
- Duration: 9 hours 50 mins
- Cabin: Business Class
- When: April 2019
- Cost: 40,000 American AAdvantage Miles plus $129.40 AUD in taxes
- Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
- Seat number: 2H
- Overnight flight: Yes
- Meal included: Yes
- Amenity kit provided: Yes
- Pajamas provided: No
- In-flight Wi-Fi: Yes
- Baggage: Carry on
Booking this flight
To buy a business class ticket on this popular JAL flight will cost around $7,000 AUD. The hefty price is held up high by the strong demand and weakish supply. Only Qantas, JAL, and ANA fly the route non-stop back and forth between Tokyo from Sydney on a daily basis.
As always booking on points is the best way to do it. If you did have JAL Miles you can book this flight on JAL.com using 40,000 JAL Miles + $50 in taxes.
The problem is that next to nobody in Australia has easy access to earning miles into JAL Mileage Bank. Other than flying with Japan Airlines, there is no way to earn points from your credit card spend.
For some comparison, if I had of booked the exact same JL771 flight (or the JL772 flight from Sydney up to Tokyo) in business class from my Qantas.com account then it would have cost 60,000 Qantas Points + approx $200 AUD points.
Instead, I used 40,000 American Advantage Miles + $129 in taxes! It would have only been $50 in taxes if not for a website error. That's still incredibly good when you think that the normal price for the ticket is AU$7,000. I couldn't book it fast enough! This meant I was able to reach an all-time highest 17.5 cents per point on this flight.
Why would you buy AA miles? During one of the American AAdvantage Miles promotions in 2018, I bought a ton of American AAdvantage miles. Enough to keep me flying and give flexibility around OneWorld partner airlines.
How to get around booking errors on AA.com
What use are AA miles if the website is throwing error codes? I had found the JL771 flight on aa.com website and made it all the way to the final checkout page but couldn't book due to a booking error on the aa.com website!
I hit a problem with a credit card country setting in my AA profile that I just couldn't change no matter how many times I tried.
Instead of quitting I called the AA reservation telephone number. It took 3 attempts at being on hold to get through to a very calm and helpful man on the AA reservation team who took my call and stayed on the call for about 8 minutes until he was able to find the same JL771 flight that I could see online. He made the booking and, crucially, issued me with two booking references: one for AA and one for JL ... just in case.
JAL Airport Lounge in Tokyo Narita
As soon as you come through security and clear immigration at Narita airport the JAL Sakura Lounge is within sight.
Narita can be a really busy airport so time inside the lounge pre-flight is ideal. There's almost everything you could need: loungers, food, drinks, business areas for making private calls, private showers and massage chairs, even a couple of snooze rooms.
JAL Business Class Seats on Boeing Dreamliner 787
You'll find ample room to store your cabin bags at your feet or in the overhead bins.
My seat 7C was an aisle seat which lacked privacy compared to the window seats which are tucked away.
360° Look Inside JAL Business Class
I took my 360° camera onboard this journey to give you a better sense of what it is like. My Sky Suite in 7C was an aisle seat which felt a little exposed. But still much better than say British Airways Club World aisle seat. Next time choose a window seat.
The inflight entertainment screen was giant, there's a personal reading light, charging ports, loads of foot room, and ample storage around your seat.
The overall business cabin of Sky Suites is not glamorous. Let me put that out there. JAL have decorated the cabin in a very functional way. Dare I say, business-ey! Imagine that! Business class that looks very business.
Ready for Ramen
It seems like every restaurant in Japan is a Japanese restaurant and every meal on JAL is also distinctively Japanese.
The Flat Bed Seat
Take the 360° look inside the Japan Airlines Business Class Sky Suite turned down into the bed.
Your seat reclines all the way back to lay completely flat. After dinner was served I asked for my seat to be turned into a bed. The JAL cabin crew quickly whipped the seat into a fully lay flat sky bed complete with seat topper, blanket and pillow. No pyjamas but hey! If you want to hang up a suit jacket just ask the cabin crew - they'll stow it for you.
The B787 is a low noise machine which is something you really value when you're on any plane, especially overnight on a 10 hour flight. I think I slept for 5 hours straight on this flight.
Flying this Japan Airlines flight in JAL Business Class was an amazing experience.
The Sky Suites are very comfortable for sleeping on long haul flights.
Booking using AA miles should have been straight forward but it was a bit more tricky than a normal.
Extraordinary value for points.
There's polite and then there's Japanese polite. Professional too. No corners are cut on service.
I'll be back flying on Japan Airlines.