Dreamliner service launches tomorrow from San Diego on JAL and availability is good!

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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.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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  1. I’m award booked on that route for 3/31 in J using AAdvantage miles … Really looking forward to my first 787 experience =)

  2. How does First class availability look? Is it worth it for the increased cost in miles?

  3. There is no First Class on the JAL 787s. I don’t believe any airlines operate 3-Class service on the Dreamliner at this point.

  4. I am from San Diego, but live in Japan now. Will be using this flight Dec 5 for a pre-holiday trip.

  5. @alex would you forgoe JAL in First class on a 777 for business class in 787? Trying to decide on my return from Tokyo in January.

  6. @Sean – I’d take First on 777 any day. First in JAL on a 777 is a lie flat whereas you are looking at an angled flat on the 787. The 787 has a Japanese toilet in Business class and a much quieter cabin….but even so, I think the 777 in First will offer you the more memorable experience on most other aspects.

  7. tough choice for me, jal buss via san, or cx first via lax.

    the buss seats on jal and not conducive to a good rest.

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