Japan Airlines reveals stunning A350-1000 interiors but delays launch


Japan Airlines (JAL) has unveiled stunning new interiors for its new 239-passenger Airbus A350-1000 twinjets, including new first, business and premium economy seats from Safran, an economy class platform from Recaro and nose-to-tail 4K inflight entertainment systems with Bluetooth connectivity from Panasonic Avionics.

Notably, first and business will also feature what JAL reckons is “the world’s first headphone-free stereo with built-in headrest speakers”. The so-called Euphony solution, developed in collaboration with Devialet and tested by Runway Girl Network last year at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, allows customers to enjoy the IFE without using headphones.

The A350-1000s will certainly feature a number of firsts for JAL. But the Japanese flag carrier has been forced to delay the jet’s service entry to year-end due to supply chain constraints.

“The airline’s launch of the A350-1000 aircraft, originally planned for late November 2023 on the Tokyo (Haneda)–New York (JFK) route, is expected to commence before the end of the year due to a supply chain disruption affecting the delivery of components,” explains JAL in a statement, whilst assuring that once the A350-1000 is ready to enter revenue service, guests will “experience an even higher level of comfort aboard the aircraft and can anticipate a unique overall journey that is individually tailored”.

Rendering of JAL A350-1000 in-flight over clouds.

Japan Airlines plans to take delivery of a total 13 Airbus A350-1000s. They will gradually replace retiring Boeing 777s. Image: JAL

Already renowned for offering a stellar if admittedly aged first class product on its internationally-configured Boeing 777s, Japan Airlines will offer a smaller first class cabin on the A350-1000s — just six luxurious suites in a 1-1-1 configuration, down from eight on its 244-seat 777-300ERs. But the new high-walled, doored product from Safran Seats GB in the UK is simply remarkable, marrying substantial privacy with impressive comfort options.

“The primary seat converts to an 80” bed with high shells and doors for utmost privacy,” notes Safran. “The suite can accommodate up to three people in-flight with both the primary and side seat paired with the adjacent ottoman.”

Rendering of the suite from the inside, with a focus on the large sofa created by the primary seat and adjacent seat.

The suite can technically accommodate seating for up to three people. Image: Safran

Moreover, three main seating modes can be achieved in this space, says JAL: a sofa, a seat plus a single bed, or a “double bed” mode if all seats — i.e. the primary platform and adjacent side seat — are transformed into a bed configuration. Multiple stowage options are provided, including a wardrobe, a large under-ottoman space, and an insulated drinks compartment.

Rendering of the main seat in bed mode. The seats in this suite are chocolate brown, with lighter furniture as accents. The large IFE screen can be seen.

JAL lists wall height at 62″, seat pitch at roughly 83″, maximum seat width at approximately 48″, maximum bed length at 80″ and the individual IFE monitor size at an impressive 43″. Image: JAL

In a passenger pleasing move, JAL will — as mentioned — offer Safran’s Euphony headphone-free stereo with built-in headrest speakers in both first class and business class. The adjustable headrest, it notes, also has a reclining function, “allowing comfortable viewing of the inflight entertainment even in bed mode”.

Rendering of the stereo producing sound from the headrest.When RGN tested Euphony last year, we found that a passenger could pull both wings around their head, or pull one away to have a conversation with somebody else. The sound quality was solid, and there was very little vibration from the speakers themselves.

In business class, JAL will increase capacity on the A350-1000, offering 54 staggered seats versus 49 on the 777-300ERs. Safran Seats GB is producing the seating platform for the airline.

Top down view of the business class cabin showing individual suites with red seats and grey thermoplastics.

The enclosed doored suite in business features a wall height of 52″, seat pitch of roughly 51″, maximum seat width of approximately 22″, maximum bed length of 78″ and an individual IFE monitor sized 24″. Image: Safran

Importantly, JAL has added doors for the first time. And overhead storage compartments are exclusively positioned on the window side to create an open atmosphere, it says.

Rendering of business class on the A350 with maroon seats, large IFE screens and black accents.

The console paired with the meal table provides additional space for work or leisure activities. Image: Safran

JAL is, however, reducing capacity in premium economy, offering just 24 seats on its new A350-1000s versus 40 on the 777-300ER. But here again, passengers can expect a more private affair with large moving partitions.

Manufactured by Safran Seats France, the premium economy seats are equipped with a fixed backshell and together with the divider, ensure that each passenger’s own personal space “is preserved at all times during the flight”, notes the seatmaker.

JAL premium economy is pictured with a stylish maroon and black covered seat, and translucent partitions.

Premium economy is decked out in a stylish maroon, black and grey color scheme. Image: Safran

JAL boasts that this product is also the first premium economy platform in the world to introduce electrically operated reclining functionality. The electric leg rest, it says, can be adjusted horizontally, “allowing you to relax in your preferred position” whilst the 16″ 4K widescreen IFE monitor “is approximately 1.3 times larger than the current model”.

Seat pitch is roughly 42″ whilst seat width can reach a maximum of about 19″. Image: Safran

In economy, passengers can look forward to 18”-wide Recaro seats on the A350-1000s, as JAL has opted to offer a 9-abreast configuration on its A350-1000s, and a cushy 33-34” of seat pitch.

Front view of an economy class seat triple in various browns. The seats are wide at 18" and offer plenty of legroom.

Among a host of planned soft product changes, economy class passengers can also avail of an optional “paid service” menu if they so choose. Image: JAL

With Panasonic supplying in-seat IFE from nose to tail throughout these twinjets — including accessible “visual support measures” like the ability to perform color correction of the content — it’s not surprising that JAL will also offer Panasonic’s Ku-band satellite-supported inflight connectivity service. IFE and connectivity have traditionally been coupled up on the A350, though this paradigm is changing as Airbus offers various new nextgen connectivity options as part of its new supplier-furnished Airspace Link HBCplus program.

Close up of the IFE screen in economy class.

Most IFE screens in economy class are sized 13″. Image: JAL

Beginning in spring 2024, JAL customers will also be able “to create their favorite movie and music playlists in advance using the JAL Mobile App and easily enjoy them during the flight”, says Japan Airlines. And language support has been expanded to cover 15 languages.

Meanwhile, soft product upgrades include refreshed menus and amenities.

A LOPA map of the aircraft showing that first class features six seats, business features 54, premium economy features 24 and economy, 155 seats.

Passengers can expect more intimate first and premium economy class cabins, but larger business and economy class cabins on the A350-1000. Image: JAL

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Featured image and, as noted, some embedded images credited to Safran. Others, as noted, credited to Japan Airlines