It’s certainly interesting to watch the Japanese market these days. JAL is turning in record losses and is effectively sitting on a cliff waiting to jump. Meanwhile, ANA has decided to pour a bunch of money into seriously improving its product. This is some pretty impressive looking stuff. Take a look at the new first class suite.
Pretty awesome-looking, huh? But let’s start with coach since that’s where most of us will end up anyway. Coach seats will have 34 inch pitch, so pretty nice legroom, along with headrests AND footrests. Footrests in coach?! Hooray! They will also have 10.6 inch monitors with full audio/video on demand, iPod connectors, USB ports, and power outlets.
In addition, they’ve decided to lay the cabin out in a 2-4-3 configuration. I personally love this configuration because it gives options to people regardless of the size of the party. And nobody gets stuck in the middle of a section of 5. Granted, it required three different types of seat sets (set of 2, set of 3, and set of 4), so it makes things a little more difficult logistically, but from a customer perspective, I don’t think it can be beat.
ANA is also rolling out a premium economy class with a 2-4-2 configuration with 42 inch pitch. The big selling point here is that there are dividers between seats that can move if you so choose, and the epic armrest struggle is unnecessary since there is a double-wide available. Take a look:
Now let’s get to the fancy stuff. Business Class seats will go fully flat in a 1-2-1 configuration so everybody has an aisle. The seats are set up in a staggered way, so you’ll have your seat with your feet going under a table in the seat in front of you. Take a look at this release for an overview of what I’m talking about. The screen here is 17 inches and the service is upgraded. They’re even taking a page from the Virgin America playbook by allowing customers to order their meals on the touchscreen whenever they feel like eating.
Now let’s get back to that first class suite that they’re calling the First Square. This is also in a 1-2-1 configuration but it afford complete privacy from the outside world, just like on Emirates, Singapore, and the like. The screen is 23 inches (anyone else remember when having a 19 inch tv at home was a big deal?) and it has all the amenities you could imagine.
As if that’s not enough, in Tokyo, they’re introducing Suite Check-in for the fancy pants fliers. You go to a private suite where they check you in, take your bags, and put you through security. They’re also creating Suite Lounges so you can have your own private workspace while you wait. Just unreal stuff.
In the air, the changes will begin rolling out on the 777-300ER aircraft beginning on February 20. This will start on the Tokyo-JFK route every other day and it will go on to the Tokyo-London and Tokyo-Frankfurt routes by the end of 2010. In 2011, it will go on the other US and Europe routes.
Tell me you don’t want to try it. That’s what I thought.