Japan Airlines to increase services to the U.S.

It has not been prime time for overseas carriers flying to the U.S., with all carriers still scaling back their operations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll.  Flights to Asia have been particularly hit hard, with the U.S. Department of Transportation still only allowing 4 weekly flights to China for both Chinese and U.S. carriers.  In light of all the recent cutbacks, which also include the UK, Thailand, and Vietnam, Japan Airlines (JAL) is actually increasing flights to the U.S. with their September 2020 schedule.

Under "normal conditions" pre-pandemic, JAL flew to nine U.S. destinations:

Dallas Fort Worth
Los Angeles
New York
San Diego
San Francisco

In August 2020, Seattle and San Diego were off the schedule, and the other 7 destinations saw no more than 2x weekly flights with the exception of Honolulu and Chicago.  With the September 2020 schedule adjustments, JAL plans to increase frequency to their contiguous U.S. destinations, but continues to leave Seattle and San Diego out of the picture.


JAL currently flies to Boston 2x weekly, but by the end of September, they'll operate 3x weekly services out of Tokyo Narita.

JL8 NRT 18:00 – 17:50 BOS (Tue, Wed & Sat)
JL7 BOS 17:45 – 20:40 NRT+1 day (Wed, Thu & Sun)

All flights on this route are currently scheduled to be operated by JAL’s 787-9 with their older Apex Suites business class cabin (the original Sky Suite) with a 2-2-2 seating configuration.

Fly on JAL's older Apex Suites in business class for all routes except for SFO


Chicago gets the most JAL service out of any US city right now with 3x weekly flights from Tokyo Haneda but, by the end of September, this will have been increased to 4x weekly flights on the following schedule:

JL10 HND 11:45 – 09:30 ORD (Mon, Tue, Thu & Sat)
JL9 ORD 12:25 – 15:35 HND+1 day (Mon, Wed, Thu & Sat)

All the currently scheduled flights are set to be operated by JAL’s 777-300ER aircraft which offer 8 first class seats and 49 Apex Suites in business class.  The key good news with this aircraft is to be found in JAL's updated Premium Economy and Economy Class aircraft where passengers get the most generous amount of legroom in the industry.  The Premium Economy seats (Sky Premium) offer 42″ of seat pitch (at least 4″ more than many other Premium Economy cabins), and the Economy Class seats (called “Sky Wider” seats) match the width of the other carriers' premium class seats (19″) and offer an incredible 34″ of pitch, which is equivalent to most United Economy Plus seating.

JAL promises to offer 41" of pitch space in their updated premium economy

Dallas Fort Worth

Right now, JAL operates 2x weekly flights between Tokyo and Dallas Fort Worth, but that is set to double that to 4x weekly flights by the end of September. Here’s the September schedule as it currently stands:

JL12 HND 10:55 – 08:25 DFW (Mon, Tue, Thu & Sat)
JL11 DFW 10:55 – 14:20+1 day HND (Mon, Wed, Thu & Sat)

Just as with the Boston route, the flights between Haneda and Dallas Fort Worth are currently scheduled to be operated by JAL’s 787-9 aircraft and, with JAL’s older Apex Suites in business class.

Los Angeles

JAL currently flies 2x weekly flights to LAX, but as of September, the schedule gets a "big" boost. The August flights are being served from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and they remain in place for September, but what’s changing is that JAL is bringing back its service between Narita and Los Angeles with 3x weekly flights on this route.  So in total, LAX will have 5x weekly JAL flights (2x HND and 3x NRT).

Here’s the September schedule as it stands:

JL16 HND 17:00 – 11:15 LAX (Mon & Thu) 787-9
JL62 NRT 17:15 – 11:35 LAX (Tue, Wed & Sat) 77W

JL61 LAX 13:30 – 16:40+1 day NRT (Wed, Thu & Sat)
JL15 LAX 14:10 – 17:20+1 day HND (Tue & Fri)

JAL is operating its Haneda service using Boeing 787-9 aircraft the same cabin layout as the aircraft being operated to Dallas Fort Worth and Boston with the older Apex Suites in business class.  But the resumed Narita route will operate with their 777-300ERs with first class, Apex business class suites, and Sky Wider seats in economy class.

New York (JFK)

New York has been getting a 2x weekly service between HND and JFK.  This route will be increased to 3x weekly in September with the following schedule:

JL6 HND 11:00 – 10:55 JFK (Mon, Thu & Sat)
JL5 JFK 13:15 – 16:35+1 day HND (Mon, Wed & Sat)

All flights on this route are currently scheduled to be operated by JAL’s 787-9 aircraft with JAL's older Apex business class suites.

San Francisco

JAL will be doubling their current SFO operations from 2x weekly to 4x weekly in September.  All of JAL’s flights to San Francisco currently operate out of Tokyo Narita Airport and that is set to continue into September.

JL58 NRT 18:05 – 11:50 SFO (Mon, Tue, Wed & Sat)
JL57 SFO 13:50 – 16:45+1 day NRT  (Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun)

Unlike the other U.S. cities that are getting 787-9 service with JAL's older Apex business class suites in 2-2-2 configuration, the Dreamliners operating to/from San Francisco offer the airlines newest reverse herringbone business class seating (Sky Suite III) with all-aisle-access 1-2-1 seating.

Fly on JAL's newest business class reverse herringbone seats (Sky Suite III) on their SFO-NRT route

Bottom line

It's good to see an Asian carrier boldly increase services to the U.S.  Whereas JAL's schedule is still nowhere near pre-pandemic operations, the carrier's schedule for September still mark a significant increase in flying.  Although the number of U.S. destinations served will remain at 7 instead of 9, total weekly flights will be increased to 23, which will allow for much higher seating and access between the two countries.

H/T: Traveling for Miles

From all of us at Flying for Fitness, please stay healthy during this trying time.  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!


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