Review: Japan Airlines 767 Economy Class (NRT-SEA)

Jyaga loves (5/5)

Japan Airlines flight details

Airline : Japan Airlines
Flight No : JL68
Departure City : Tokyo – Narita (NRT)
Arrival City : Seattle – Tacoma (SEA)
Equipment : Boeing 767-300ER (JA618J)
Blocked Time : 9h30m
Seat No: 15K

After my roughly 10-hour layover at Narita Airport, it was finally time to get back in the air to fly to Seattle! I have explained about the booking process for this trip in the first instalment, which you can read here! Although an older Boeing 767-300ER operates this flight to Seattle, I was happy that the plane is equipped with JAL’s excellent SkyWider Economy Class product.


Seeing that the flight was scheduled to depart from the Satellite Terminal, I left the JAL Lounge just over an hour before the 17.25 departure time. After a leisurely 10-minute walk, I got to Gate 92, from which our flight to Seattle will depart. However, soon after I got in line, multiple delays were announced with regard to our boarding time.

Gate 92 at Narita Airport

At first, this seemed concerning, since a timeframe was not initially specified. However, the gate agent finally announced, explaining that the flight was delayed due to final cabin preparations. Finally, those requiring special assistance were preboarded at 17.08 before general boarding commenced at 17.15. As I was in Group 1, I was able to board first, boarding the plane from Door 1L.

Boarding jetbridge

Our flight today is operated by JA618J, a Boeing 767-300ER delivered new to Japan Airlines in February 2008. As always, I was greeted by JAL’s wonderful boarding music, I Will Be There with You, which is very close to my heart.

JA618J at Narita Airport

JAL Boeing 767-300ER Cabin

JAL’s Boeing 767-300ERs are the airline’s smallest and least premium-heavy long-haul aircraft, equipped with just 24 seats in Business Class and 175 seats in Economy Class. This totals just 199 seats, making the Boeing 767 one of the most spacious planes in the sky (if you’re flying Economy that is!).

JAL Business Class

The Business Class cabin features just six rows, in a 1-2-1 configuration. On the Boeing 767-300ER, this cabin consists of the JAL SkySuite II, which is based on the Thompson Aero Vantage seat you’d also find on the likes of Delta Air Lines, Malaysia Airlines, and SWISS.

SkySuite II Business Class
SkySuite II Business Class

I’ve flown this product several times in the past and found it to be sufficiently comfortable. However, I’ll note that the seats are quite narrow owing to the width of the Boeing 767-300ER. As such, these seats aren’t as great as the excellent JAL SkySuite I seats you’d otherwise find on JAL’s Boeing 787s and Boeing 777-300ERs.

SkySuite II Business Class
SkySuite II Business Class

JAL SkyWider Economy Class

The Economy Class cabin is equipped with a 7-abreast 2-3-2 configuration divided into two cabins, totalling 24 rows. The SkyWider seats are 17.7 inches (45 cm) wide, which is amongst JAL’s narrowest Economy Class seats. By comparison, the SkyWider seats on the Boeing 787 are 18.9 inches (48 cm) wide.

JAL Economy Class cabin
JAL Economy Class cabin

The bulkhead rows are reserved seats and there are signs noting as such. These seats must be reserved in advance online or you could pay to ‘upgrade’ to these seats by contacting a cabin crew member. As always, JAL Global Club elites and oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members can reserve these seats free of charge.

JAL Economy Class cabin
JAL Economy Class cabin
Rear bulkhead Economy Class seats

Seat details

Standard seats

As you’d find on the Boeing 787s, the cabin is a sea of red cloth. Each of the 175 seats features a large 10.6-inch personal monitor equipped with JAL’s latest Magic VI entertainment system. Each seat also has a USB outlet, and each pair of two seats shares one universal power outlet. Furthermore, there are also multiple seat pockets, one of which is dedicated to the safety literature and the inflight magazines.

SkyWider Economy Class seats
SkyWider Economy Class seats

On the seatback itself, there is a coat hook, as well as a remote control, as well as two small compartments under the monitor. Additionally, the tray table is located right under the remote control and is folded. Despite being folded, I found the tray table to be sizeable and sturdy enough as a work surface.

Magic VI entertainment system
Tray table
Tray table
Universal power outlet

Furthermore, in ordinary rows, the standard seat pitch starts at an incredible 33 inches (84 cm). Standing at 180 cm (5’11), the gap between my knees to the seatback measured 18 cm (7 inches), which I think has to be one of the best standard Economy Class legroom offerings out there. Finally, I’ll add that the padding with these seats is much better than those on the Boeing 787 I flew in from Jakarta. An all-around excellent seat!

SkyWider Economy Class seats
JAL SkyWider Economy Class
Legroom in non-bulkhead seats
Bulkhead seats

On this flight, I was seated at 15K, the bulkhead seat on the right side of the Economy Class mini cabin. As this is not an exit-row seat, there aren’t any obstructions directly in front of the seat. Expectedly, there is unlimited legroom for these seats, stretching over 50 cm (20 inches) from my knee to the bulkhead. Pillows were readily available at each seat, as were headphones and blankets.

Bulkhead Economy Class seats
Legroom in the bulkhead seats
Economy Class recline

By design of being a bulkhead seat, the inflight entertainment monitor comes out of the centre armrest, as did the tray tables. Despite being folded, the latter were sturdy enough for a laptop. Additionally, you can also find a USB-A charging outlet on the side armrest. Sadly there aren’t any overhead airvents installed on these Boeing 767s.

Inflight entertainment monitor
Tray table
Tray table
Entertainment remote control
USB-A charger
Overhead panels

Departure from Narita

The cabin door was closed 18 minutes after boarding started, prompting the purser to welcome us on board this flight to Seattle. In particular, she announced our expected flight time to be 8 hours and 40 minutes, which is a lot shorter than I expected. As I settled in my seat, I saw that a China Airlines Airbus A330-300 was parked next to us, featuring the airline’s beautiful plum blossom livery.

Hello China Airlines A330-300!

We began pushback two minutes later, by which time the safety video was played. As the screens in the bulkhead seats may not be used during taxi, a manual safety demonstration was specially conducted for these passengers. As we taxied to the runway, we passed by a bunch of other JAL planes alongside an Emirates Airbus A380.

Pushback from Narita
Traffic at Narita Airport
Traffic at Narita Airport

We took off from Runway 34L at 17.53, 18 minutes after we started pushback.

Taking off from Narita Airport
Taking off from Narita Airport

Dinner service


The seatbelt signs were turned off 13 minutes after takeoff, by which time the crew started to prepare for the dinner service. First, the crew passed through the cabin distributing JAL Business Class-branded hand towels. This was followed by a drinks service, with which rice crackers were also distributed along with beverages. I got my regular fix of cold green tea – very refreshing!

Packaged wet towels
Canapé service
Rice crackers

This was soon followed by the main meal service, for which there were two choices of mains. To avoid miscommunications, the crew held up a laminated menu in English and Japanese as the meal trays were distributed. On this flight, the choices were either ‘Dry Curry & Turmeric Rice Topped with Melted Cheese’ or ‘Yakitori-style Grilled Pork Rib over Rice with Chicken Meatballs & Green Pepper’.

Main meal tray

Dry Curry & Turmeric Rice

As curries are often favoured by Japanese airlines, I finally relented and tried the Dry Curry & Turmeric Rice Topped with Melted Cheese. Served on the side were ‘Catalonian Tomato Toast’, ‘Grated Lotus Root’, and ‘Dumpling Squid & Spicy Cod Roe’. Alongside this was a fresh salad with ‘salad dressing’ and a cup of miso soup. Overall, I found the sides to be fresh and tasted excellent.

Dry Curry & Turmeric Rice
Side dishes
Fresh salad

As expected, the main dish of dry curry and turmeric rice was very flavourful and tasted very good. The curry component is an interesting blend of curry and a combination of minced beef and chicken. Despite lacking any soup, the curry was moist and the rice fluffy. Very nice!

Dessert and post-meal

After the meal trays were cleared, the crew passed by the aisle once again to distribute cups of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Curiously, the flavour on offer was milk tea tart, which you can find exclusively on JAL flights. This is a bit of a shame since I’d proactively look out for this flavour if it were sold commercially. Yum!

Milk tea tart-flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream

After the meal, the crew still regularly passed through the cabin with drinks. A basket with a small selection of snacks was also set up in the galley.

Snack basket


Before attempting to go to sleep, I checked out the lavatories to freshen up a bit. There wasn’t anything special about the lavatories, although I appreciated that they were clean and well-kept throughout the flight. Unlike other international JAL planes, bidets are not available on the Boeing 767-300ERs. However, fabric air fresheners and hand sanitisers were provided.

JAL Boeing 767-300ER lavatory
Fabric and air freshener and hand sanitiser

Inflight entertainment

Given how tired I was up to this point in the journey, I managed to sleep for just over three hours. Given how bad of an aeroplane sleeper I already am, I considered this to be a very good amount. As there were about three more hours to go on the flight, I decided to take the time to check the inflight map and see the entertainment selection. I’ll note that the provided headphones aren’t great, so I’d suggest using your own.

Magic V entertainment

While JAL has historically been lacklustre with its inflight entertainment selection, I noticed a dramatic improvement on this flight. In particular, there were some 113 movies, 100 of those being in English. The selection also includes some relatively new releases like John Wick 4 and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning. I also appreciate that there are box sets for certain franchises, like John Wick and Mission Impossible. For more information, JAL’s latest movie selection can be browsed here.

Magic V entertainment selection
Inflight map

There was also a selection of three games and three channels of live television available on the flight. Although the screens looked quite old and low-definition, I appreciated that they were responsive.

Live television
Game selection

In addition to the inflight entertainment system, provided was also the airline’s inflight magazine, Skyward, and a shopping catalogue. A paid WiFi service was also available on this flight.

Inflight magazines

Pre-Arrival Meal

Two hours before landing, the cabin lights were slowly turned on in preparation for the pre-arrival meal service. Given the relatively short duration of the flight, this meal service is a lot simpler compared to the dinner service served just several hours before. A single choice of main is served with two sides on a tray.

Pre-arrival meal service

On this flight, the warm main course is developed in collaboration with Muji x Well-being. Served in a takeaway box, the meal consists of vegetable chop suey that is to be poured over a bed of sticky barley rice. On the side, there was even a pamphlet explaining how to assemble the meal.

Muji x Well-being collaboration meal
Assembly of the chop suey and sticky barley rice meal

Although I was highly sceptical of this meal, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh and delicious it turned out to be. The vegetable chop suey came with a thick and starchy broth that worked really well with the barley rice and tasted naturally savoury. Delicious!

Vegetable chop suey over barley rice

On the sides was a vermicelli salad and a cold almond jelly, which were fresh though not my cup of tea. Regardless, I still managed to gobble up the pudding as I enjoyed the beautiful sunrise outside the window.

Vermicelli salad and almond pudding
Sunrise on our way to Seattle


As you’d expect in Economy Class, the service is not personalised. Even so, I was impressed by how friendly and courteous each crew member was. Not only were their grasp of English exceptional, they also regularly passed by the cabin to offer drinks and were happy to take any food or beverage request. I’d say this is as good as service gets in Economy Class.

Arrival in Seattle

40 minutes before arrival, the purser announced that we were expected to commence our descent soon, with the seat belt signs to be turned on 25 minutes after. Sure enough the seatbelt signs were turned on right on time, with the cabin prepared for landing after that. On our descent, I had my eyes glued out the window as we passed the majestic Olympic Mountains. Wow, what a sight!

View of the Olympic Mountains
View of the Olympic Mountains
On approach to Seattle

We ended up landing in Seattle at 09.32, with a smooth touchdown on Runway 34L. Despite departing late, we still managed to arrive 18 minutes early thanks to the short flight time.

View of SeaTac before touchdown
Landing in Seattle

As we taxied to our gate at the South Satellite Terminal, I managed to caught sight of several interesting planes, including a National Airlines Boeing 747-400BCF landing on runway 34L. An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 then landed shortly after. What a perfect greeting from Seattle’s hometown airline!

National Airlines Boeing 747-400BCF
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800
Alaska Airlines hangar

We ended up parking at a gate next to an Omni Air International Boeing 767-300ER. What a rare sight! The cabin door was opened shortly after we parked and I thanked the crew before disembarking from Door 1L.

Omni Air International Boeing 767-300ER


I had an objectively pleasant experience flying Japan Airlines’ Boeing 767-300ER. In particular, I loved the excellent food and the frequent and friendly service from the crew. Additionally, although the seats were narrower than the ones on the Boeing 787s, I found the padding to be a lot better too, allowing me to get some much needed sleep. Overall, long-haul Economy Class flights don’t tend to get this nice and comfortable! If only JAL could take their entertainment offering to the level of Cathay Pacific, Emirates, or Singapore Airlines…

Read more from this trip here!

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