This post may contain affiliate links from our advertising partners, such as American Express. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here.
Japan Airlines is launching a new nonstop service between San Diego and Tokyo tomorrow, December 2 on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Initial service is four weekly flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
New routes are always exciting to me because they generally offer an excellent opportunity for a lot of open award space. The schedule is set well before the airline can understand the true demand on the route and thus the airlines are more willing to open up the cabin. Prior to the launch of Cathay Pacific’s service from Chicago, I can recall having a hard time finding a flight without boatloads of award space available.
JAL award space can not be seen or booked on AA.com so use BA.com when looking. I have performed several searches and most days I see plenty of Business space available especially over these winter months.
Both directions look good. Economy is even more wide open. Again it is hard to find days in the near future where there aren’t 4 Economy seats available.
I recently booked a First Class ticket to Japan on Lufthansa without a return so choosing this new service was an easy choice. I secured two one-way award seats in Economy using 50,000 AA miles. Business Class was also open for the days I wanted but I chose not to pay the additional 50,000 mile premium (25,000 per person per way). You can read more about the seats and the service here.
The bottom line
Booking awards on yet to launch flights is one of my favorite tricks for finding good award space. The demand of the route is not fully understood by the airline and I find they tend to err on the side of releasing more tickets to awards. Since the flight is coming up soon, I will be sure to let you all know how the KFC is!
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This post was accurate at the time of posting, offer may be unavailable on this site at a later time. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.