JAL 787-9 Business Class Review, Photos, Video

JAL 787-9 Business Class Review, Photos, Video


This JAL Sky Suite III, 787-9 Business Class Review is the start of a new trip report on the Maldives. Japan Airlines continues to offer our current favorite international business class, besting even Qatar Qsuites due to JAL's superior bedding and dining, although Qsuites are of course more private.


SFO Lounge Access: Sakura Lounge

We previously posted our JAL Sakura Lounge SFO Review. Sadly, this is a very poor lounge. There's no reason to get to SFO early for this lounge, it should be avoided unless you have no other choice.


JAL Sky Suite III Business Class Cabin and Seat, 787-9

On the 787-9 I was on, there were 52 business class flat bed seats in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, where each seat has direct aisle access. These seats are 20 inches wide, so slightly narrower than the 20.5 inch width of the original Sky Suite on the 777-300ER, although the Sky Suite III bed is longer, at 78 inches vs. 74 inches on the 777-300ER. The Sky Suite III seat felt a bit firmer, with less padding, than the original Sky Suite. Also see our JAL Sky Suite III 787-9 vs. JAL Sky Suite 777-300ER post.

For solo travelers, I recommend one of the window seats that aren't the first or last rows of the cabin, in order to avoid galley/lavatory noise. I was in 5A, which worked well.

JAL Sky Suite III Business Class Seat, 787-9


I especially like that the tray table is stowed vertically and then swivels forward, instead of being stowed underneath the IFE screen as in Qatar Qsuites, Brussels Business Class, etc. where it impedes leg room.

To the left of A and G seats (and to the right of D and K seats) at shoulder height there's small item storage, handy for keeping the provided water bottle, headset, cell phone, etc. within easy reach but secure during take-off and landing). Beneath the stowage cabinet are the power outlet and headset jack, which is convenient placement and much better than those airlines that have a power outlet awkwardly placed around knee height or elsewhere.

JAL Sky Suite III Business Class Power Outlet, Water, 787-9


After boarding passengers were offered a pre-flight drink; I chose orange juice.

Pre-Flight Drink, JAL Sky Suite III Business Class, 787-9


Here's our JAL 787-9 Sky Suite III Business Class Video Review:


JAL Business Class Menus and Dining

Similar to ANA, JAL offers both Japanese and Western meals. While both of these are set meals, with no choices within them, you can pre-order in advance your choice of a Japanese or Western meal to ensure you don't get stuck with your less preferred cuisine.

JAL Sky Suite III Business Class Menu, 787-9


I always pre-order the Japanese meal, as I particularly enjoy the Japanese appetizers, which are both tasty and beautifully presented. My favorites of the ones below were the Chestnut Paste served with shrimp and candied anchovies; the Steamed Layered Sea Bream with citrus soy jelly; and the Simmered Yellowtail.

JAL Business Class Review: Japanese Meal Appetizers


The main course is invariably simpler, and I found the salmon slightly overcooked, but it was still satisfying, especially with the perfectly steamed rice (it's in the rectangular packet).

JAL Business Class Review: Japanese Meal


Later in the flight I tried the Japanese light meal of miso black cod served with tamago (sweet egg omelet), along with more steamed rice and miso soup. I liked it even more than the main course of the prior meal.

JAL Business Class Review: Japanese Light Meal


JAL Sky Suite III Business Class Bed

First the bad news: I don't find the JAL Sky Suite III bed on the 787-9 to be as comfortable as the original Sky Suite bed on the 777-300ER. Now the good news: it was more comfortable than most other airline business class flat beds, thanks to the white airweave mattress pad pictured below, which is thicker than other business class mattress pads (most of which are simply a quilted cover, without any real cushioning). Airweave also makes the memory foam-like pillow, which aids with comfort, and there's a grey duvet to keep you warm.

JAL Sky Suite III Business Class Flat Bed, 787-9


The Verdict

JAL's Sky Suite III on the 787-9 is a good if unspectacular seat. It doesn't have the privacy of the window seats in JAL's old Sky Suite on the 777-300ER, and there seemed to be less padding in the seat cushion, which made for a less comfortable bed, even with the Airweave mattress pad, which is thicker than other airlines' business class mattress pads. But I liked the vertical stowage of the tray table, JAL's Japanese appetizers are excellent, the flight didn't run out of the food I wanted (which has happened in Qatar Qsuites), and service was polite and responsive. JAL really should up its ground product at SFO however, the Sakura Lounge is very bare bones and needs more private seating as well as better catering.

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