Japan Airlines is as good as top airlines in some aspects and below in others. They have expensive ticket prices but offer more checked baggage. They have few international destinations but have great seats and in-flight services available. Japan Airlines has been flying in and out of Japan for the last 64 years.
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The Good

Japan Airlines offer one free checked bag of up to 20 kilograms with the dimensions 50 cm x 60 cm x 120 cm for domestic flights. This is generous compared to other airlines that charge a fee for any checked bags on domestic flights. They also offer two free checked bags on international flight which is also more generous than a number of top airlines who only offer one free checked bag for international flights. First and business class even receive three pieces of free checked baggage.

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Checked Bags
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Our Score
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Japan Airlines offers an online check-in that is similar to most major airlines online check-ins. When a passenger checks in online they are able to choose their seat while looking at the airplane map. This helps the boarding process run smoothly if the passengers can see exactly where the seat they are choosing is located. They can then print their boarding pass at home and when they get to the airport they can head straight to security and begin to board the plane. If the passenger does not or cannot use the online check-in, they are still able to check-in at the airport at the check-in counter. For international flights, passengers need to check-in at least 60 minutes before departure (45 minutes for first and business class). If check-in is not completed by this time, boarding may not be allowed. Japan Airlines recommends passengers are at the boarding gate 30 minutes before their departure time to ensure a comfortable boarding process. For domestic flights, passengers need to be checked in at least 15 minutes before departure and are recommended to be at the boarding gate 10 minutes before departure time.

When looking at the most active routes of Japan Airlines daily flights, they have a number of highly rated flights. The majority of their flights received at least 4 out of five stars. A few of their flights received the full five stars and their lowest rated flight received 3.7 stars (which was the Okinawa to Tokyo flight). The top three flights were as follows:
• Tokyo to Osaka (5 stars, 95% on time)
• Osaka to Tokyo (5 stars, 95% on time)
• Tokyo to Fukuoka (4.9 stars, 94% on time)

Looking at the average of their most active routes on Flightstats.com, Japan Airlines was on time 84% of the time. They were late 8% of the time, very late 2% and excessively late 3%. When this is compared with some of the top airlines, Japan Airlines comes out very similar in terms of being on time. Many of the top airlines were on time in the 80%-90% range making Japan Airlines very similar. All of the most active routes were domestic flights so it is hard to get a reading on what their international daily flights are like.

Japan Airlines was established on August 1, 1951. Their 64 years in business is close to a few of the top airlines. Many top airlines have been around for between 50-80 years and Japan Airlines fits right in with that timeline. They have been in operation for as long as many other airlines and have proven they are around to stay. Japan Airlines have received a few awards for their seats from the Skytrax World Airline Awards including the best economy airline seat in 2015. They have a goal to focus on four main areas to make their airline the best it can be. They are:
1. Bridging Japan and the World
2. Safety and Security
3. Nurturing the Next Generation
4. The Environment

To help keep the environment clean, Japan airlines conducts unique ecological activities such as tropospheric observations by aircraft. They want to keep the earth beautiful as seen from the sky.

The Bad

Whether domestic or international flights, Japan Airline tickets are more expensive than a number of other airlines. When comparing prices with other airlines for flights between Japan locations, which Japan Airlines specializes in, they were still one of the top priced flights available. When looking at their international flights where there are many more options for airlines, Japan Airlines came in at the top end of the price range. They were not the most expensive option but they were more expensive than a number of other options. The ticket price of course depends on the date and time of the flight and could vary when compared to other airlines. Japan Airlines had a number of discounts for tickets available on their website as well which could take make their prices lower than other airlines.

Japan Airlines flies to 117 domestic destinations and 52 international destinations. They have eight destinations in the United States/Canada, they are:
• Vancouver
• New York
• Chicago
• Boston
• San Francisco
• San Diego
• Los Angeles
• Dallas

As shown by these numbers, it is clear that Japan Airlines specializes in flights within Japan. They are a small airline when compared to some of the top airlines available. Many top airlines have over 300 destinations to choose from. Japan Airlines does have a large number of domestic flights available but mainly only fly to the larger areas of the international destinations. Passengers would need to be flying to the specific cities that Japan Airlines flies to when using their airline, which might not suit their specific needs as well as a top airline, which would have many more destination options. Some of the other regions that Japan Airlines flies to include:
• Europe-Middle East (nine destinations)
• Honk Kong (one destination)
• China (10)
• Korea (4)
• Southeast Asia-India (10)
• Taiwan (3)
• Hawaii (1)
• Australia-Guam-Tahiti (6)

The Bottom Line

Japan Airlines is a quality option for international flights. They also have an excellent checked bag program, offering flyers at least 1 free checked bag. While they do fly to 117 destinations, because of their high ticket prices and their focus on mainly international flights, we do not recommend them at this time.

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