Review: Japan Airlines JL 718 Business Class Bangkok to Tokyo (Narita)


Seat version: JAL Shell Flat Neo (Boeing 787-800)
Cost: 25,000 miles + US$52.90 for BKK – NRT and NRT – CGK
Date of flight: Mar 2021
Frequent Flyer Program: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Not too long ago, travellers from South East Asia could fly to Japan for a long stopover before returning to the region, all in one multi-city itinerary. This amazing sweet spot was mostly closed in 2019 due to a change in Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan’s stopover rule.

However, this ‘JAL Stopover Trick’, is not fully dead as travellers can still fly the same itinerary as long as they leave Japan by the next calendar date.

I wanted to fly from Bangkok to Jakarta but the most direct itinerary was on Singapore Airlines with a 12 hours overnight layover in my home country, Singapore. I chose to fly the long way with JAL as I preferred to spend the additional hours in a Business Class seat and a First Class lounge in Tokyo’s Narita Airport than in a controlled transit area in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Aircrafts with this seat

This seat type can only be found in some Japan Airlines Boeing 787-800.

To find out if you will be flying in this seat, you may simply check the seat type on your Japan Airlines reservation. Another way is to check if the seat map shows a lavatory behind seats 3A and 3C. If it does not, you’ll have the much better Sky Suite (Apex Suite).

Boeing 787-800 seat map with JAL Shell Flat Neo seats

Boeing 787-800 seat map with JAL Shell Flat Neo seats

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Airport lounge

Flying Business Class with Japan Airlines from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport gives you access to Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge in Bangkok

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge in Bangkok

The seat

The term “Shell Flat Neo” is a little misleading as the seat cannot be transformed into a fully flat bed. It does, however, goes close to being fully flat. There is a foot rest at the bottom of the seat so that you do not slide forward while sleeping.

The seat position can be fully controlled and has 3 preset positions, upright, relax and bed.

Unlike in business class seats with 1-2-1 configuration, there weren’t much storage space in this one.

The monitor is 15.4 inches in size.


I was offered assorted sushi right after take-off and a choice between Japanese or Western breakfast. I went for Japanese breakfast and it tasted as good as my last JAL Business Class meal in 2019!

The only difference is that the food came covered this time. Can’t complain about better hygiene!

There are 2 types of champagne being served on JAL Business Class flights right now and the Ayala was offered on my flight.


As we were the only Business Class passengers, service was very personalised. I asked if I could extend one of the seats to bed mode for some photos and the cabin crew said “sir, do what ever you want in this cabin”. 😂

One of the cabin crew placed a decorative Sakura tree near us and mentioned that she was sorry that we could not witness the Sakura in Japan this time and hoped that the mini Sakura tree helped a little. 😭

At the end of the flight, the cabin crew gave me an Origami Swan, a farewell note and even that mini Sakura tree! How thoughtful. She made me miss Japan even more. 😢

Ratings (vs other Business Class seats)

Seat: 4/10
Dining: 9/10
Privacy: 3/10
Service: 9/10
Cleanliness: 9/10

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Bottom line

Any Business Class seat on an overnight flight of over 4 hours that does not transform into a fully-flat bed is simply not good enough. However, given the limited options that I had during this period, it was a pleasure just being on this flight.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Japan Airlines JL 718 Business Class Bangkok to Tokyo (Narita)”

    • Hi Ken,

      You can still fly this itinerary for only 25k AS miles. The only difference now is that you can’t stay in Tokyo for as long as you want. The system will only allow you to book the itinerary if you leave Tokyo by the next day.


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