That may soon change. ANA has collaborated with architect Kengo Kuma and British designers Acumen to redesign its First and Business Class seats on 12 of its 23 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
These new cabin products will debut on the Tokyo Haneda to London route (NH211/212) from 2 August 2019. Initially, they will be available on all even number dates in August and odd number dates in September, but the goal is to make this a daily offering once a second refitted 77W arrives.
Here’s a video showcasing what you can expect:
The Suite (First Class)
ANA’s remodelled 77W aircraft will have 8 First Class seats, called “The Suite”. The maintaining of an 8-seat First Class cabin is a welcome development, given how most airlines are downsizing or getting rid of First Class altogether (SIA only has 4 First Class seats on its 77Ws).
These seats boast full height doors and adjustable privacy dividers, which let you turn the suite into a double-wide enclosed space with a companion, or a single private unit when you’re by yourself.
The IFE screen measures a whopping 43 inches, making this one of the biggest screens in the sky (Singapore Airlines’ new A380 Suites are “only” 32 inches). It’s also the world’s first 4K IFE screen, which seems completely unnecessary and awesome at the same time (in case you’re wondering whether you can even tell the difference between 1080p and 4K, this article may help).
Other screengrabs from the promotional video show a latest generation touchscreen IFE remote, an integrated seat control pad and a separate rocker switch to toggle the seat between full flat and full upright (meaning it won’t require separate turndown service, as some First Class seats do).
Couple dining was a bit of an issue with ANA’s old First Class seat, on account of the side panel next to your head that couldn’t be removed. Not so with this one- once the privacy divider is down, it makes for a very pleasant side-by-side dining experience.
The Room (Business Class)
ANA will also have 64 Business Class seats on these 77Ws, which are called “The Room”. The seat design is inspired by modern, multifunctional Japanese living spaces, and features fully-closing privacy doors, a first for the airline.
You’ll also notice a rather unconventional forward and rearward 1-2-1 seat configuration, which evokes comparisons with Qatar Airways’ Qsuites. The main difference is that the four seats in the middle cannot be converted into a central pod.
Based on the images provided, ANA’s new Business Class seats will be extremely wide. When I first saw them, I immediately thought of Singapore Airlines’ 2006 Business Class seats, which some customers felt were too wide at 34 inches (as if that’s possible!).
ANA’s press release states that The Room is double the width of the previous Business Class seat, which would make it approximately 42 inches. Based on four across seating and a 5.96M cabin width, that leaves about 80cm for aisle width, which sounds plausible…but we’ll see when the product actually flies.
It may be my imagination, but based on the video it looks like taller passengers may need to sleep diagonally in order to stretch out fully. I’ve never found this an issue, but I know it’s a bugbear of some passengers in SIA’s Business Class.
Just like the old First Class, ANA’s old Business Class seat wasn’t particularly conducive to couple dining because of the awkward positioning of the privacy divider, so it’s good to see that’s been rectified in this design.
Other new features
Premium Economy and Economy Class also get their own updated seats, but honestly there’s only so much innovation that can be done in these cabins. The main upgrades are improved touchscreen monitors and headrests, along with a new seat cover design which ANA claims makes every seat “completely unique”. That’s probably cold comfort when you’re crammed into one of them on a 11.5 hour flight though.
ANA has also revamped the entrance area of the aircraft to create a hotel-like reception complete with welcome monitors. Passengers can look forward to a new food service area with a self-service bar boasting mini-fridges stocked with beverages and snacks to be enjoyed throughout the flight.
And for those of you who love collecting amenities kits, it looks like ANA is coming up with some new designs. The press release didn’t touch on these specifically, but they’re significantly different from the existing Samsonite kits.
How can I redeem this ?
If you’ve set your heart on trying these new products, do yourself a favor and don’t redeem them through KrisFlyer- the rates are horribly uncompetitive.
Instead, consider earning points on cards like the Citi PremierMiles Visa or Citi Rewards Visa, and transfer them to programs like Turkish Miles & Smiles, or EVA Air. Alternatively, buy LifeMiles or United MileagePlus when they go on sale, and enjoy redemptions without any fuel surcharges.
|One-way awards from HND to LHR||Business Class||First Class|
|Turkish Miles & Smiles||45,000||67,500|
ANA’s new First and Business Class products look sleek, sophisticated and sexy. I’m really hoping these get rolled out quickly to other aircraft and routes, because it’s a seat I really want to review.