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Goodbye and Good Riddance to the Old Business Class on a Japan Airlines 767

Where: Osaka, Japan
August 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM | by | ()

If the overnight leg on an old angled lie-flat Finnair seat showed us how far business class seats have come, our recent flight on a Japan Airlines Boeing 767 between Osaka-Kansai (KIX) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) almost took us back to a different era, with the above, ageing, manually-controlled cradle-style seats still going strong.

Almost literally coming apart (torn fabric, wobbly armrests), the likelihood you’ll find this seat on your flight is luckily decreasing, having serviced regional routes in Asia, as well as the crazy busy Honolulu to Tokyo return for a long time (in fact, the in-flight entertainment still had destination features on Hawaii on it). Japan Airlines is phasing in its new 787 Dreamliner, as well as upgrading 767s with “Sky Suites”, fully-flat, all-aisle access seats – check them out below.

A variation on an increasingly familiar theme, the seats will be staggered 1-2-1 across for a total of 24 seats, rather than the 2-2-2 currently. The design is very similar to what Qantas is bringing to its Airbus fleet, meaning solo travelers do best picking the window seats and couples taking the pairs in the middle of the cabin. You can see here what routes you’ll find the Sky Suites on. The seat features a universal AC power outlet, a 15.4 inch touch-panel TV screen, and USB port.

The crew apologized for the out-of-date product as soon as we took off, and given that it was a quiet flight, we had a seat pair to ourselves. The lyrically written description on the menu (above) made us chuckle a bit, both for its inaccuracy in the case of the old 767 product, as well as the slightly off-base translation into English.

The food was however the highlight of the flight, with a tasty Japanese starter and one of the better fillets of beef we’ve had on a plane in a while. While the seat may be difficult to fix quickly, we were disappointed with the crappy quality of the headphones, which fitted poorly and offered worse sound quality – let alone have a noise cancelling feature.

The refurbishment of the 767 also brings excellent news for the Economy cabin, with a 2-3-2 configuration that has an outstanding 34 inch seat pitch across a total of 175 seats.

Flight JL727 left Osaka-Kansai at 4.45pm, arriving in Bangkok at Survanabhumi at 8.35pm. We paid 25,000 British Airways Avios points and about $180 for a one-way ticket, but return fares in business class start at about 186,000JPY ($1,860).

[Photos: JasonD]

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