This is ANA's new international business class on display at Boeing's Delivery Center.

This is ANA's new international business class staggered seat on display at Boeing's Delivery Center.

Step by step Boeing is getting closer to delivering their first 787 Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways (ANA). Today was a huge milestone with revealing the special livery and allow media, ANA employees and invited guests the opportunity to take a look at the inside. This first aircraft that will be delivered (ZA101 – JA801A) will fly domestically with-in Japan, so it has ANA’s new domestic interior. ANA is proud of their new international staggered business class, so they had a few seats on display at Boeing’s Delivery Center that we were able to preview before heading out to the hangar.

I decided to give the seat a shot. At 6’1″ 250lbs, I was hoping for the best. I have flown in ANA international business previously and I really enjoyed the old product. Honestly, I felt the new seats seemed a bit bland looking, but I was told they were designed to look futuristic. The older product has wood and really gives a warm feel, but I suspect the new product will look much better in the aircraft and it does provide a lot more privacy and space to store your things. It is hard to get the full feeling of the seat with only three in a row on display versus seeing it in staggered configuration inside an airplane. Because of that, I will reserve final judgement for testing it out on a future international ANA 787 flight (fingers crossed on that one) or possibly on the newer Boeing 777-300ERs that are also flying the new staggered business class.

The tinted windows on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes odd "mood" lighting in the cabin.

The tinted windows on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes odd "mood" lighting in the cabin.

I have felt privileged to previously been able to take an interior tour of Boeing’s third 787 Dreamliner, ZA003, but that one did not have a full interior. This aircraft looked like it was ready to take on customers with a full interior and it had that new plane smell (which smells very similar to a new car smell). When first walking on the 787 you get a feeling of space — it is not just Boeing PR talk, it is true. There are literal reasons with the overhead bins providing more space and the fact that the 787’s cabin is about 2.5 feet wider than the 767.  The 787 also has LED lighting in the ceiling that also gives a greater sense of height and space.

One window is clear, the other is darkened.

One window is clear, the other is darkened.

One of the many benefits of the 787 Dreamliner are the windows. Gone are the sunshades that either provide full light or complete darkness. The 787’s new smart-windows allow passengers to choose five different settings of tint. Even at the darkest setting, you are still able to see outside. The flight crew has control over all the windows at their computer station, giving them the ability to darken or lighten all the windows at the same time.

The best seats in the 787 Dreamliner are not in business class, but in the cockpit.

The best seats in the 787 Dreamliner are not in business class, but in the cockpit.

One cannot get a full interior tour, without a visit to the flight deck, which holds the best seats in the house. You could tell this 787 was new since there was protective plastic that was still on controls and displays around the cockpit. The pilots have an array of technology to make flying the aircraft easier and safer. Not only are there large screens that can easily show everything that is going on with the aircraft, but there are also Heads Up Displays (HUD) that allow the pilots to look out the front windscreen, while still seeing vital aircraft information like speed and altitude.

The center lavatory had a window. Notice the protective blue film still on the mirrors.

The center lavatory had a window. Notice the protective blue film still on the mirrors.

One of the most interesting features on the aircraft were the lavatories. First off, ANA has decided to offer female only lavatories,  meaning that most restrooms will have an image of a male and female, but others will display a single female image. On this aircraft, the central lavatory had a window and the only shade on the aircraft. There is a dimming switch, but for those who want total privacy, you are able to pull down the shade. For those who are used to a certain level of service in the restroom, do not worry, each toilet has a bidet with special male and female settings.

Looking to the back of the Dreamliner in Economy.

Looking to the back of the Dreamliner in Economy.

Since this was a 787 created for shorthaul flights, it has a small business class section and then economy in the rear of the aircraft. ANA was originally planning an economy-plus type section, but have decided not to implement that in this 787 for now.


Here I am talking with Ryosei Nomura, who is Senior Manager of Public Relations based in Japan, about my thoughts on the new interior.

One of the interior updates are the fixed back shell economy seats. Those are the type that you can still push your button and the bottom part will move forward, but your actual seatback will not recline. This is to help save space for those behind you. Talking to some ANA folks, they stated they have received some negative feedback, but I really like the concept of the seats. I am one that will rarely reclines my seat out of consideration of those behind me and I hate it when I am working on my laptop and the person in front of me puts back their seat. With the seat in the “reclined” position, my knees were hitting the seat on front of me, but I was assured the longer haul economy will have a larger seat-pitch. But with my seat “un-reclined” I had no problems. Since it is not as obviously if your seat is reclined, each seat has an indicator on the head rest which will quickly show the flight crew if the seat is in proper position for take off or landing.

ANA has decided to provide a double armrest in the middle of their 787 Dreamliners.

ANA has decided to provide a double armrest in the middle of their 787 Dreamliners.

The first aircraft in domestic configuration is laid out with 12 business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout and 252 economy in a 2-4-2 layout. The short-haul international configuration will contain 42 business class seats and only 180 economy. The long-haul international ANA 787 will fly 46 of the new business class staggered seat and 112 economy, providing more seat-pitch than the domestic aircraft. One aspect of ANA’s economy that wasn’t at first obvious was the center armrests. No one likes to be sitting in the middle of a 2-4-2 layout, but ANA gives passengers a double arm rest in the middle, making the it less painful to have that middle seat.

For the average passenger, it might not be totally obvious they are in a new 787 Dreamliner. However, they should notice that there is something different, something better about the aircraft. For those of us who know airplanes, it is very obvious this is a next-generation airliner. Yes, the 787 has been delayed three years, but once people start flying on them, I doubt many will care. I cannot wait for this to become the new standard in world travel. A big thanks to Boeing and ANA for holding this event and inviting along for the ride.

* See an exterior photo tour of ANA’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Check out all 39 787 interior tour photos on my Flickr

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
Photos of ANA’s First Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Special Livery

Nice plane, but to say the business class is bland is a understatement.
Looks like cheap plastic. Wonder how it will wear.
Hope their service makes up for the cheap look.

Very nice write-up and intro to the aircraft. It has some very cool innovations indeed. The business class seating looks awful. It looks very much like a dental chair. It appears that they’re a reflection of some very heavy cost cutting, very unfortunate.

Congrats to ANA and Boeing. It looks like ZA101 is just about read to take to the skies. Looking forward to flying on a 787 someday.

There is some cool lighting on the seat. A blue LED light that is on the tray. I am thinking when the seat is in the plane it will look much better. At least I am hoping so.


Dental cleaning while you fly! I think you picked out ANA’s new offering in business class. 🙂

The captain has turned on the “please spit” sign.

Turbulence could put the flying dental office out of business pretty quickly 🙂


I love the idea of the double armrest in coach middle seats. If only they also had a mini partition you could pull up. Since this is the first airline taking delivery I think it will be really interesting to see how other airlines configure their planes. Congrats to Boeing and ANA!

Doctor Smith

I could have Seriously used those arm rests yesterday. Who thought two people could ever share one arm rest?? Geez…

William Brown

Interesting article 0n the 787…. But, when will people learn the correct terminology for the folk who work inside the aircraft? Did the writer mean the CABIN crew, who work in the back, or the FLIGHT crew, who actually fly the airplane, when he was referring to the controlling of the window shades????

Hey William,

After I saw your comment, I was asking people on the correct terminology and what I have concluded is different people use different terms for different things.

I always thought “flight crew” were anyone on the aircraft, pilots or flight attendants and “cabin crew” were the flight attendants. Talking to others I was also hearing, “air cabin crew”, “flight deck”, “flight staff”, “cockpit crew”, “inflight crew”, and “air crew.”

After talking to people I feel more confused than before since some agreed that my definitions would work and some said yours were correct and others had different ones. I am guessing this might be an airline specific thing on how people on the aircraft are named.

To answer your question, about controlling the window shades I was referring to the flight attendants — whatever they might be called otherwise :).


Brett R

I totally disagree on the comment of not reclining seats.
If you are sitting in Economy and expect the person not to recline their seat, well that’s selfish. Just beceause you do not want to recline.
Many times I have been in economy and someone has kicked the back of my seat. Yes I will recline it if I want to. If some one wants to work with a laptop on a flight. Book business class.
As for the fixed back seats. I think they are terribly uncomfortable. I’ve been on many long hauls that have had them and then took them out due to feedback from customers.

Ross Hunt

To the author of the article:
Brett R hit it on the head (no pun intended).
cathay has those fixed shell seats where you push your butt into the seat to have the base of the seat slide forward. It may mean the person behind does not have the seat back in there face BUT your knee space will go from having very little to negative territory in a hurry. Try that out of Hong- Kong for 14.5 hours!
These seats are horrendous on anything over a couple of hours. i ask certain carriers what type is being used on a route simply to avoid them and no longer use Cathay for long haul because of them.
Dreadful trend that needs to be tossed!

mehdi hussain


mehdi hussain

its very comfortable then others i wish to travell one time in dreamline once in my life


Boeing was my customer in the 1980’s. I supplied several robotic systems to the Wichata facility for composite engine cowl inspection for the 757 and 767 aircraft. I also did a ton of work with Northrop on the aircraft composite factory of the future. With all the subcontractors you used and all the problems you encountered, we need to address a few issues.

1. I learned with the Lockheed Skunk Works for the F-17 that you don’t want to cut composites with a high pressure water jet because it causes delamination. That’s why that one fell apart in the sky.

2. You can use an ultra-high speed router with water as a lubricant to cut graphite composites. However, you need to get it back into a autoclave for about 30 minutes before you begin to assemble it to an airplane.

I think the 787 Dreamliner is a fantastic airplane. However, I will wait for years before I fly on one. I look at all the fixes you did on the wing areas where they attach to the plane’s body. Shims are not the way to go. You needed to keep as much manufacturing in-house as you can and contract with Northrop for the composite work. They are the best of the best.

I do a lot of traveling and I do my absolute best to only use Boeing built aircraft. I’ve been to all your facilities in Washington state and you guys make the best wings in the work. I had an opportunity to watch wing and cabin pressure testing the last time I was there. I was most impressed.

For short trips, your 737 can’t be beat. For longer trips, I prefer the 747 or the 767. The 757 is OK for a trip from Cleveland to Los Angeles.

Boeing makes the best airplanes in the world. But like I told McDonnel Douglas one time, you don’t call on the robotics folks to help you cut costs after you go into production and all your tooling is certified. You call them in years in advance. I could have saved Rockwell millions of dollars on the B-1 Bomber had they called me in early. By the time they got to production it was way too late.

The rest of my robotic business was done with the USAF via Wright-Patterson AFB where I served my military time.

I don’t even understand how I finished up right here, but I believed this publish was once great. I don’t recognize who you’re but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger when you are not already. Cheers!

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