ANA Takes a Step Toward Global Superstar With Product Changes

ANA, Seats

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.

ANA First 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.

ANA New Coach Seats

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:

ANA New Premium Economy Seat

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.

ANA Business Seat

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.

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25 comments on “ANA Takes a Step Toward Global Superstar With Product Changes

  1. Cranky,

    I thought you were taking the p1ss with that first image of the First suite, but that’s the real deal! It’s like an Ikea showroom. Seriously tempted to go to those Japanese conferences, now that there’s a fancy Star Alliance airline with footrests (!!!!) in scum-class.

  2. Bless! Cranky, you don’t travel internationally much, do you?!

    There’s no question this is impressive, but there’s nothing new here, except maybe the partitions in premium economy. First Suites have been around a while (Emirates, Etihad, Singapore), the staggered Business layout is identical to Swiss and one of the numerous Delta layouts, Economy footrests have been around for years (Singapore, Qantas and their foot “nets”), the 2-4-3 layout was standard and is still around (Egypt Air?) and 34″ is still standard on a number of airlines (Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Air NZ 744s)

    What *is* impressive is that ANA is doing “all of the above” and not compromising in any class of travel… Wonder how many seats they’ll lose and whether the load/yield improvement will compensate for their investment/loss of seats?

  3. The most amazing thing about that ANA first suite is, I think I stayed in a hotel room in Nagoya a few years ago that was smaller than this suite. Amazing.

  4. @ kt74:

    No, the staggered business class is not identical to Swiss or Delta. It’s much wider than that. Same 1-2-1 (overall 2-4-2) as DL, but ANA is doing it on 777, not 767. 777 could have 2 more seats in a row (3-4-3 or so). Swiss has one more seat in a row but on narrower 330.

    Many airliners still have 34″ in Y, but most of them has very thick seat, so in the end similar room with SQ’s 32″ seats. ANA’s new Y has slim seat, so it will be huge! Also it is sliding forward same as CX, but 2 more inches than CX.

    I just think the new product is superior in every aspect, and not compromised any class as you mentioned.

  5. Flew business class on ANA a few months ago HKG-NRT and back on a 777-300ER…it was great then, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like after these upgrades. Now I wish I could’ve waited a few more months to take my trip!

  6. kt74 wrote:

    Bless! Cranky, you don’t travel internationally much, do you?!

    I’m not sure why you say that, because there was nothing here that I’ve said incorrectly. I didn’t say that everything they did was innovative but rather that this is a very impressive and excellent product throughout the airplane.

    First Suites have been around a while (Emirates, Etihad, Singapore),

    Yes, and I noted that in the post.

    the staggered Business layout is identical to Swiss and one of the numerous Delta layouts,

    I think hk2 covered this one well, but remember, even Swiss isn’t 1-2-1 throughout. They have some rows that are 2-2-1 (or 1-2-2, can’t remember which) and the airplane is narrower, as hk2 said.

    Economy footrests have been around for years (Singapore, Qantas and their foot “nets”),

    Foot nets and foot rests are completely different. I’ve used the foot net and it didn’t really do much for me.

    the 2-4-3 layout was standard and is still around (Egypt Air?)

    I would hardly call that standard. KLM did have that on their MD11s but they’ve since gone to a 3-3-3 layout. Egyptair may have it, but it’s certainly not a regular configuration.

    and 34? is still standard on a number of airlines (Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Air NZ 744s)

    As hk2 said, the slimline seats mean legroom should be more here, but that’s fine if 34″ is standard on some airlines. It’s still above average.

    What *is* impressive is that ANA is doing “all of the above” and not compromising in any class of travel… Wonder how many seats they’ll lose and whether the load/yield improvement will compensate for their investment/loss of seats?

    Good question. I bet they have a real opportunity to steal share from JAL since they’re on the ropes. This could be an aggressive push on their part.

  7. I always like when an airline does something for coach passengers. Is shows they know the largest (and vocal) group of people on the plane are there. To many times the airlines while improving First and Business travelers screw the coach passengers to do it.

  8. I wish UA’s *A award chart had a way to redeem miles for the premium economy product. It looks like some (older) business class cabins.

  9. Hmmm…I have tentative plans to head to Tokyo next year…ANA is part of the Star Alliance…**wheels turning**

    Cranky, any idea when they’ll be installing these changes on their Chicago routes, if at all (or are they scrapping Chicago? I’m kind of behind the times on this one)?

  10. kt74 wrote:

    34? is still standard on a number of airlines (Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Air NZ 744s)

    According to seat guru, 34″ is only standard on specific types of aircraft at each airline. No airline has a universal 34″ seat pitch for all long haul flights.

  11. kt74 wrote:

    34? is still standard on a number of airlines (Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Air NZ 744s)

    According to seat guru, 34″ is only standard on specific types of aircraft at each airline. No airline has a universal 34″ seat pitch for all long haul flights.

  12. kt74 wrote:

    34? is still standard on a number of airlines (Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Air NZ 744s)

    According to seat guru, 34″ is only standard on specific types of aircraft at each airline. No airline has a universal 34″ seat pitch for all long haul flights.

  13. @KT74
    “34? is still standard on a number of airlines (Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Air NZ 744s)

    According to seat guru, 34″ is only standard on specific types of aircraft at each airline. No airline has a universal 34″ seat pitch for all long haul flights.

  14. Zach wrote:

    Cranky, any idea when they’ll be installing these changes on their Chicago routes, if at all (or are they scrapping Chicago? I’m kind of behind the times on this one)?

    It shouldn’t be until 2011, but they haven’t announced firm dates for anything beyond NYC yet.

  15. 2-4-3 is how Air New Zealand first had their 747-200’s in the 1970’s and are currently pondering going back to on the 777. Great for a couple, or families, and no dreaded double middle seat, two seats away from an aisle, as Cranky pointed out.

  16. I think KT74’s comments are spot on!! ..and he is correct regarding the Delta layout! (on their 767-400s) He is talking about Layout, not space!

    ANA basically copied Swiss, and improved upon it!

    I continue to be amazed at how Cranky can trash (and offer up biased reports time and time again) this time with JAL off the bat, and yet totally ignore JL’s upgrades. http://www.jal.co.jp/en/inflight/inter/ Its clear that NH blows JAL out of the water, but their upgrades are still far superior to ALL US carriers, and it should be noted!

    Based upon what I have read over the past year on this site. Whereas Cranky clearly knows the US domestic market! Its also clear that he does not travel much overseas…..and his blatant nonstop trashing of Virgin America is proof of this. As I mentioned before several months ago. Richard Bransons dream was to launch a US based Virgin airline. Its a dream (something “most” Americans do not understand the concept of) that he would sink $1 billion dollars into a hole to make it happen! ..its been a long fight, and worth it, regardless of the outcome in the future. Understand the parent company, to understand the product!!!

    Sometimes Im just beside myself when I read this site!…BUT. CF is great when he sticks to the domestic market!.

  17. Jordan wrote:

    I think KT74’s comments are spot on!! ..and he is correct regarding the Delta layout! (on their 767-400s) He is talking about Layout, not space!

    Yes, that’s fine. I don’t recall saying that this was the first time anyone had ever used this layout?

    I continue to be amazed at how Cranky can trash (and offer up biased reports time and time again) this time with JAL off the bat, and yet totally ignore JL’s upgrades. http://www.jal.co.jp/en/inflight/inter/

    Hmm, welcome to Cranky. Apparently you haven’t been reading very long, because I most certainly did cover the JAL seats when they were launched last year. Have a read:
    http://crankyflier.com/2008/06/17/japan-air-lines-rolls-out-new-first-and-business-class-seats/

    Based upon what I have read over the past year on this site. Whereas Cranky clearly knows the US domestic market! Its also clear that he does not travel much overseas…..and his blatant nonstop trashing of Virgin America is proof of this. As I mentioned before several months ago. Richard Bransons dream was to launch a US based Virgin airline. Its a dream (something “most” Americans do not understand the concept of) that he would sink $1 billion dollars into a hole to make it happen! ..its been a long fight, and worth it, regardless of the outcome in the future. Understand the parent company, to understand the product!!!

    I fail to see how just because Richard Branson has a dream, I shouldn’t be able to trash it? If he wants to drop a ton of money into an airline, he’s more than welcome to do so. I will continue to say I think it’s a dumb idea. Also, I’m not quite sure why this means I don’t travel much overseas, but I suppose that’s a discussion for another time.

    By the way, of course this site has bias. People don’t come here to read the news. They come here to read my opinion and the opinion of all the commenters. All comments are welcome, and when there are civilized disagreements, it’s at its best.

  18. Hhm, I am wondering about the recline of those new economy seats. I couldn’t find anything on this in the ANA announcement. The backs of these seats don’t move, so the recline must be ‘internal’ a la Thompson and probably isn’t big. Recline is the #1 thing for me (not legroom, as I am not very tall). I just can’t sleep if the seat does not recline considerably.

  19. Crazy thing is this really isn’t that much of an improvement for first class. ANA came out with a really innovative product 6+ years ago in first, it’s still quite good, and they’re also the best food in the sky.

    Sure, this new first will be ‘better’ and it’s time for an update. But where ANA really needs to focus in first class is ground service. Remains to be seen how much of an improvement this’ll be on the ground.

    Business looks great, not really innovative but a huge leap forward compared to their angled flat product. And of course there are big advances in the other two lesser cabins.

    Always love it when airlines make product improvements, rather than cutbacks!

  20. sntheorist wrote:

    Hhm, I am wondering about the recline of those new economy seats. I couldn’t find anything on this in the ANA announcement. The backs of these seats don’t move, so the recline must be ‘internal’ a la Thompson and probably isn’t big. Recline is the #1 thing for me (not legroom, as I am not very tall). I just can’t sleep if the seat does not recline considerably.

    You’re right, it is an internal recline. You can get an idea from the pic at this link, but it’s hard to know if that’s the full recline or not:
    https://www.ana.co.jp/int/svc/en/new_brand_2010/y_class.html

    You would think that with 34″ pitch, they’d be able to have it recline more than the airlines who try this with lesser pitch, but I don’t know for sure.

    Gary Leff wrote:

    But where ANA really needs to focus in first class is ground service. Remains to be seen how much of an improvement this’ll be on the ground.

    Did you look at the suite check-in and the suite lounges? It seems like they’ll be really on top of their game in Tokyo, but that doesn’t really apply to the rest of the system. What aspect needs the most help in your opinion?

  21. hey Cranky! do you cover Emirates airlines frequent flyer topics too? I’d love it if ek’d also copy ana’s ideas for coach, biz class, 1st etc.

  22. Nice but really not that impressive. I guess the “flying suite” has come full circle, but in all honesty they aren’t as comfortable as the old cradle type First Class seats of yesteryear on carriers like Pan Am and TWA.

    It all looks so sterile, and uninviting to me, they remind me too much of the velvet prison known as office cubicles.

    **Exception***

    I DO like those economy seats, they look like much better offerings than current economy class. Those Prem seats look pretty comfortable as well. Very soon, there will be no justifiable reason to pay the $$$ to sit up front.

  23. One thing not mentioned in the article is that the business-class seats take up (by far) the largest portion of the space on the aircraft, with the rest being divided between first class, super-economy, and economy seating. The economy seating section looks very small in comparison.

    The foot rests – even in economy – is a critical feature for Japanese travelers. Shorter legs get very fatigued hanging in the air over a long flight. The footrests help them rest their feet, and can be pushed out of the way for a longer-legged passenger.

    As for reclining seats – I never recline my seat, because I figure it is discourteous to the person sitting behind me. Even if it’s only a small recline, this feature allows me to do so without intruding into somebody else’s space.

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