Japan Airlines, like many other airlines, has different business class products across different types of aircraft. On board their Boeing 787, they have traditionally just offered the Shell Flat NEO seat, a product that is somewhat outdated and some way off their beautiful Sky Suites, which, like the NEO product, has also been available on flights between Europe and Japan.
Japan Airlines has both the 787-8 and 787-9 in its fleet, with the Sky Suite III upgrade applying primarily to the 787-9 model. The 787-8 mostly has the NEO product on board, but also some also fly with the first-generation Sky Suite, which provides all passengers with direct access to the aisle thanks to its smart seating configuration.
The NEO seat is not quite flat – it reclines to about 170 degrees – which means that slowly sliding down the seat toward the floor is a problem and a decent sleep can be hard to come by. In addition, the onboard configuration also has the disadvantage of not granting passengers seated next to the window access to the aisle without them having to climb over their neighbour.
When it comes to the Sky Suite III, the seat configuration becomes 1 – 2 – 1, which is roughly the same as what Cathay Pacific offers, where the window seat faces towards the window and the two middle seats face outwards towards each aisle. This sees every passenger now receive direct aisle access.