All Nippon Airways Boeing 767-300ER lands at YVR on Sunday afternoon – Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo
ANA – All Nippon Airways’ first scheduled flight to Canada landed at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Sunday afternoon. The arrival of the Boeing 767-300ER from Tokyo International Airport – Haneda (HND) ushered in the option of a new airline and new destination airport for Tokyo-bound passengers who originate or connect in YVR.
Located on Tokyo Bay, Haneda airport is a short 15-minute train or monorail ride for passengers to connect to Tokyo’s extensive transit system. Haneda was relegated to domestic flights in the late 1970’s, when Narita International Airport (NRT) opened to serve international traffic. Although a new express train now serves distant Narita, many consider traveling between downtown Tokyo and NRT to be a time-consuming and expensive ordeal.
Looking to return HND to its previous status as Tokyo’s convenient gateway, a new International Terminal was opened in 2010. Initially, international flights were limited, and slot-restricted to middle-of-the-night arrivals, which wasn’t particularly appealing to passengers or airlines. Fortunately, HND opened up daytime slots in 2014, most beginning this week. ANA’s YVR-HND route is just one of many new international flights serving the airport.
BONUS: Touring Haneda Airport’s New International Terminal
AirlineReporter was invited to join in the inbound flight’s arrival festivities at YVR, and to fly to Haneda on the inaugural. As AR.com’s Vancouver-based correspondent, I was given this ’œplum’ assignment. But not without much jealousy coming from our staff in the Seattle area, including our illustrious Editor-in-Chief!
Me sporting ANA Business Class pajamas, which unfortunately you have to give back at the end of the flight. They are super comfy! – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com
Recently you’ve heard often from airlines that they are cutting first class products and services from their aircraft, but that still leaves many with a competitive business class cabin. When people say that ’œbusiness class is the new first class,” the statement is becoming more truthful each day. Lie-flat seats, designer amenity kits, and multi-course meals are now as common in business class as they are (or were) in first. But one small item is slowly making an emergence in business class, one that has always been thought of solely as a first class staple: airline pajamas.
Airline pajamas have, up until now, been given out to those flying first class on international airlines like Singapore, Lufthansa, Thai, or Emirates. They’re provided to the passenger so that they can relax while onboard without having to wrinkle their own clothes, or to allow them to get that full night’s sleep more comfortably.
But times are changing; as airlines roll back those first class cabins, passengers who fly in business class expect the same level of service and amenities. So airlines like Qatar Airways, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, and All Nippon Airways (ANA) are now providing pajamas to passengers in the business class cabin. But are these pajamas as good as the first class offerings out there?
Saying good bye Narita.
This is the final installment of a multi-part series covering my trip from Seattle to San Jose to Narita to Hong Kong and back as an ANA Ambassador. My flight was provided by ANA, but all opinions are my own. Part1: San Jose to Tokyo on the 787 Dreamliner – Part2: Connecting in Tokyo’s Narita Airport – Part3: Tokyo to Hong Kong & Back Again – Part4: A Helicopter Flightseeing Tour of Hong Kong – Part 5: Two AvGeeks Visit Hong Kong.
After another short connection in Narita (made shorter by hunting for Japanese Kit Kats), I was heading home to Seattle onboard an ANA Boeing 777-300ER. This route originated last year on July 25th, and on the 1st of October it changed over to a 787 until the grounding. On the 1st of June, the same day we flew out of San Jose, the route resumed with the 777-300ER. What it meant for me was a nine hour flight home, with the gentle strum of GE-90s.
ANA operates their older model-777s on this route, so unfortunately there was no ’œInspiration of Japan’ service. Sold as a 2-class flight but operated by a 3-class aircraft, ANA reserves the first class seats for their top-tier frequent fliers. How do I know? I tried to get into those seats after picking it on the seat map. I failed, but it was worth a try, right?
The ANA Business Staggered Seat. This is the “C” seat with the storage window side giving true Aisle access. Chose “A” if you love a true window seat.
During my ANA Ambassador trip, I was given the chance to fly three different types of All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class seats and I wanted to share my thoughts on them. For my story, I will be concentrating mostly on the hard product (the seat) vs the ’œsoft’ product (meals, service, amenities), which is common across all the aircraft.
The current generation of Business Class seats are fitted to ANA’s 787 as part of the Inspiration of Japan series. There are two different versions: international and domestic. The long haul (international) 787 seats are called ’œBusiness Staggered’ and are similar to a small pod. This is currently the airline’s premium product. The seats lie fully flat and, with a length of over 6ft, allows passengers to easily get some rest. The Business Staggered seats can also be found in some of ANA’s 777s (though the 777 version is slightly larger).
A view from the Singapore Flyer. Photo by Blaine Nickeson.
Maybe it’s not to the extent of the regular contributors to this site, but I’m an #AvGeek. I love planes, airlines, and miles. But given my busy career, two toddlers, and a wife who thinks I’m crazy, I don’t get to participate in nearly as many adventures as I would like. My wife’s come a long way in supporting my habit; I think it may have had something to do with flying her to Europe this spring in Lufthansa First Class on miles. Maybe that helped lead to the amazing adventure I had recently.
I live in Denver, and I fly United Airlines (UA). There has been lots of local media coverage about the introduction of UA’s DEN-NRT flight, operated by the 787 Dreamliner, which started on June 10th (unfortunately that flight had an issue after having to divert back to Seattle).
This is a big deal for DEN, not so much because of the Dreamliner, but rather it’s our first nonstop to Asia. A few weeks ago my wife casually opened a can of worms, stating, ’œI looked at booking you on that Dreamliner flight for Father’s Day, but it was just too expensive. I know you really want to fly on a 787, and also need to re-qualify for your status-thingy.’ I, of course, sprung in to action trying to take advantage of this moment that was sure to be fleeting.
Long story short, I scored a ride on the (re)inaugural ANA 787 Dreamliner flight from San Jose (SJC) to Narita (NRT). To make the ticket cheaper (this logic fails me) I continued on to Singapore. Final routing was 19,000 miles; DEN-SJC-NRT-SIN-HKG-SFO-DEN, or about 39 hours in the air during a 77 hour period. Yes, I’m crazy, but it was worth it.