All Nippon Airways or ANA is perhaps the better airline in Japan and one of the best airlines worldwide. I have enjoyed my flights on their aircraft between Tokyo and Sapporo for my ski trips and had a couple of memorable First Class flights with them as well.
Today, ANA announced that they are launching a new First and Business Class product specifically for the 777-300ERs which are used on their flagship routes between Tokyo and North America and Europe. In the press release, ANA mentioned that the new premium cabins have been inspired by ‘Japanese heritage and Western design principles’. It has been in development for the past 5 years and was a ‘collaboration between Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and leading British designers Acumen’. The first plane to fly with the new cabins flying between Tokyo Haneda and London Heathrow as NH211/212 starting from August 2 this year.
What is interesting about the new cabins is that ANA has reduced total seat capacity with the new 777-300ERs seating just a total of 212 passengers over 4 cabin types. This must be one of the least dense configurations on a 777. First Class remains in the same configuration with 8 full suites with doors over 2 rows at the front. On top of the addition of doors to make it a full suite, the biggest change visible is that all 3 windows are now open and there is a large 43″ 4K monitor for amazing inflight movies. In addition the seat apparently features a ‘cushion made in collaboration with Nishikawa Sangyo for superb comfort’, according to ANA.
However the biggest change has got to be in the Business Class cabin. ANA seems to have chosen seats that is similar to Qatar Airways’ Q-Suites with seats on the odd rows facing backwards and seats on even rows facing forwards. This means the two center seats on the odd rows would be the best seat type for couples travelling together. Meanwhile ANA have also chosen to add doors to the Business Class seats giving it the feel of a mini-suite.
From images released by ANA, it seems the seats will recline into a full-flat bed with the seat having a wide stance when upright, giving it plenty of space like Singapore Airlines’ Business Class. Compared to the older Business Class seats on ANA with its clinical blue and white theme, the new seats seems to exude a sense of warmth and lending the cabin a more upmarket ambience. According to ANA’s press release, ‘Kengo Kuma finished the seats with three different wood finishes inspired by modern Japanese homes – Rosewood, Light Japanese Ash and Dark Japanese Ash’. In this aspect more premium finishes on aircraft interiors seems to follow up on the amazing cabin interiors of China Airlines.
Aside from the First and Business Class cabins, ANA has new Premium Economy and Economy class seats though these are not really that fascinating. Premium Economy seating will be in a 2-4-2 configuration over 3 rows while Economy Class cabin has seating in 3-4-3 configuration. With ANA’s focus on Business Class cabins, the Premium Economy and Economy cabins actually take up less than half of the airplane’s space. It is also worth noting that the 3-4-3 Economy Class cabins is a downgrade from the 2-4-3 seating in some of the original 777-300ER that ANA has. It is also a step down from Singapore Airlines 3-3-3 seating, so ANA has basically spent more effort to improve First and Business Class while keeping Premium Economy the same and squeezing more seats within a smaller space for Economy Class here.
With the new First Class and Business Class, I think ANA is positioning itself further up as a premium airline. The high operational costs of Japanese based airlines means it makes sense to focus on the premium segment for profitability. Considering ANA has one of the finest food & beverage offering inflight and some of the best service I have encountered onboard, the new seats in First & Business Class would definitely tempt me to fly with them using an award redemption or when there is a fare deal.
For more on the new ANA cabins, there is a Youtube video released by ANA which you may view below: