Japan Airlines to add SFO-NRT route

Japan Airlines (JAL) has long flown the lone SFO-Haneda (HND) route until United switched up its 2x daily SFO-Narita (NRT) to 1x daily SFO-NRT and 1x daily SFO-HND a few years ago.  Aside from being much more conveniently located to Tokyo, HND holds several advantages over NRT including modernized terminals, upgraded lounges, and a wealth of domestic and international connections as HND is the second busiest airport in Asia.  In anticipation of increased traffic with the upcoming Summer 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan Airlines has just announced that it will expand its operations at SFO with the addition of 1x daily SFO-NRT nonstop flights inaugurating on March 29, 2020.  The flights will operate with the following schedule:

JL57 San Francisco to Narita departing 1:35PM arriving 4:45PM (+1 day)
JL58 Narita to San Francisco departing 6:10PM arriving 11:30AM

The departure and arrival times out of and into both SFO and NRT should allow sufficient time for those wishing to connect.  The flight will be operated by JAL's low-density 787-800, featuring just 161 seats, including 38 Apex Suite business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 88 economy seats.  JAL's Apex Suites is 6-across seating with excellent privacy and all-aisle access.

The new SFO-NRT flights are expected to be bookable on November 6th, and there may be a flood of brief award availability.  The following mileage currencies are excellent ways of redeeming for JAL business class for SFO-NRT/HND each way:

1.  Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: 60k miles
2.  American Airlines AAdvantage: 60k miles
3.  British Airways Executive Club: 77,250 Avios + ~$117.90 fees

JAL's existing SFO-HND flights, which are operated by 777-300 featuring first, business, premium economy, and economy class, flies the current schedule:

JL2 Haneda to San Francisco departing 7:50PM arriving 1:10PM
JL1 San Francisco to Haneda departing 3:50PM arriving 7:00PM (+1 day)

The flights definitely compliment each other in terms of timing, and it's great to see another flight to Tokyo out of SFO.  JAL's new SFO-NRT addition would represent SFO's 5th daily nonstop flight to Tokyo, and the Bay Area's 6th daily nonstop flight to Tokyo as ANA also flies SJC-NRT.

Bottom line

It's always good to see carriers add routes to a competitive market.  JAL's new SFO-NRT is well-timed, and hopefully will result in increased award availability on a solid product.  Do you plan on flying JAL's SFO-NRT flight when the schedule opens for booking?


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