Great news for flyers or residents of Vancouver today as ANA announces its plans to fly from Vancouver to Tokyo Haneda. This will be the first flight ever connecting Vancouver to Haneda, which is the closest international airport to Tokyo and the preferred one to reach the capital of Japan. This will also mark ANA’s first operated flight to Canada. All direct flights between Canada and Japan are run and operated by Japan Airlines and Air Canada currently and neither of which are amongst the top-ranked carriers.
On the other hand, ANA is a Skytrax 5-Star rated airline and the only one in Japan to achieve that designation. Thus a direct flight between Vancouver and Tokyo Haneda will provide much more convenience for business and leisure travellers. Passengers on this flight can save up to 1 hour in travel time as they will get better and more convenient access into the city. In addition, travel costs from the airport will also be reduced as it costs a lot cheaper to get to Tokyo’s city centre from Haneda airport than from Narita airport.
From what has been announced by ANA so far, the route is expected to be launched on Mar 30, 2014 assuming approval by the Canadian government and relevant authorities. The flight out of Vancouver is operated as NH115 departing YVR at 4:55pm, arriving at HND the next day at 7:05pm. The return flight is operated as NH116 departing HND at 9:55pm, arriving at YVR the same day at 2:55pm. This means they are expecting a flight time of around 10 hours. And judging by my flights with ANA so far, arrival times could be earlier than scheduled.
As of right now the only unknown would be the type of plane that is expected to serve the route. I am hoping they would use the 787 to operate this route as that would mean full lie-flat business class seats since their competitor on the YVR-TYO (Tokyo) route namely Air Canada and JAL uses full lie-flat seats in business class. However I do think they might actually use the 767 or the 777 with older recliner-style business class seats. This is because the LAX-HND route is served by the 777 with an inferior recliner-style business class seat compared to the LAX-NRT route. Unless ANA uses the 787 or the 77W with full lie-flat business class seats, it is likely I will advise business passengers to stick to the YVR-NRT route served by Air Canada or JAL as they have better seats on a long-haul flight for sleeping.