a large airport with airplanes and cars

Narita Airport


Flying from Tokyo to New York is a long and painful 12 hour flight and any opportunity to fly in business class is a greatly welcomed.  Japan Airlines along with ANA currently fly direct between JFK to Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND) with Japan Airlines award flights being bookable with AA, BA, or AS miles.  Japan Airlines business class has one of the most private seats, with large entertainment screens, lie flat seats, and descent food.

Flying to Japan with stopovers is not recommended, as 12 hours is long enough without having to add more time due to layovers.  Also, Haneda (HND) is better to fly into if you are going to Tokyo versus Narita (NRT). An hour long train ride to Tokyo is required after landing into Narita.

a person's legs in a chair with a computer

Japan Airlines business class seat with plenty of leg room


Business class mileage redemption rates for Japan Airlines partners between Tokyo to New York are:

  • British Airways: 105,000
  • American Airlines: 60,000
  • Alaska Airlines: 60,000

If you want to book using American Airlines miles, it is not possible online.  A search for availability is required on either BA.com or Alaskaair.com and then the flight would have to be booked via phone call to AA.  If you have enough Alaska Airlines miles, it is now possible to book online at alaskaair.com.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

British Airways Search

a screenshot of a facebook page

Alaska Airlines Search

Lounge (3/5)

For this being the major hub for Japan Airlines, I was surprised how unimpressed I was with the Business Class lounge.  There was barely any food to be found and not much non-alcoholic beverages available.  However, there was plenty of hard liquor available and the seats were comfortable.

a bar counter with chairs and a television

Japan Airlines Narita Lounge

a group of bottles of alcohol on a table

Japan Airlines Narita Lounge

a plate of food on a tray

Japan Airlines Narita lounge food was pretty sad


Japan Airlines 4
Narita (NRT) to New York (JFK)
Cabin: Business
Seat: 9K
Aircraft: Boeing 787
Flight Time: 12h 45m

Service (5/5)

Like everywhere in Japan, the service was at a high level and ultra respectful.  There was even an option to order food from the remote.

a screen shot of a phone

Japan Airlines Business Class Remote

Plane Atmosphere (3/5)

Also like everywhere indoors in Japan, it was very hot on the plane.  If you have visited Japan in the winter, you might have noticed that once you walk indoors, it is like a Finnish sauna.  If you are sweaty person, even being in business class for 12 hours sweating up a storm is still going to be miserable.  The lie flat bed wasn’t any able help for catching sleep since the heat was so over powering.

American Airlines never had this issue on this route when they used to fly direct between NYC and Tokyo.  Next time I’ll try ANA to see if the tempature is any better.

a row of monitors on an airplane

Japan Airlines 787 Cabin

a blue light in a window

Japan Airlines 787 doesn’t have shades but dimming windows.  It was still too bright with the dimmers on full.

a basket of food and bottles on a counter

Japan Airlines business class snack area

Food (4/5)

On the plus side, passengers are well fed on the 12 hour flight and were never left hungry.  I enjoyed the sake, steak and ramen.

a table with food and a bottle of liquid

Japan Airlines Business Class Sake

a tray with food on it

Japan Airlines Business Salmon Meal

a plate of food on a table

Japan Airlines Business Class Steak

a bowl of soup with noodles and vegetables

Japan Airlines Business Class Ramen

a bowl of food and a spoon on a table

Japan Airlines Business Class Dessert

a menu of a restaurant

Japan Airlines Business Class Menu

Seat (4/5)

The seat is pretty much walled off and almost fully enclosed, something more common on first class seats. A motorized wall is between the seats that you can raise and lower depending on if you know the person sitting next to you.

a white pillow on a chair

Japan Airlines Business Class Seat

The seats recline to fully flat and provide plenty of room for people over 6 feet tall.  Downside of the seat is the stiffness and bumpiness between the crevices.

a person holding a phone in front of a television

Japan Airlines Business Class Remote

The entertainment system had a gorgeous large screen with an intuitive remote.   The GPS map application was very detailed and interactive.

a bag and case in a plastic bag

Japan Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit

a button on a wall

Japan Airlines Business Class Seat Adjustments

a white outlet with usb ports

Japan Airlines Business Class Universal Power Outlet and USB Charging Port

a pair of black headphones

Japan Airlines Business Class Noise Cancelling Headphones


In conclusion, flying 12 hours between Tokyo and New York in economy class can get uncomfortable and any opportunity to fly business class should be pursued.   Flight award options using miles are pretty reasonable using American Airlines or Alaskan Airlines miles.  While the service, privacy, and food options are all top quality on Japan Airlines business class, the overbearing heat and lumpy seats could use improvement.  People shouldn’t look like they ran a marathon in the Amazon rain forest when they land.

a wing of an airplane

Boeing 787 Wing


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