Saturday, September 22, 2012

ANA introduces Dreamliners to West Coast

ANA, the go-to-market name for All Nippon Airways, will debut a new 787 Dreamliner on its recently begun Seattle-to-Tokyo route on Monday, October 1, marking the first opportunity for air travelers on the West Coast of the United States or Canada to ride this remarkable new aircraft.

ANA began non-stop service between Seattle (SEA) and Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) airports July 25 using a Boeing 777. The airline took delivery of the Dreamliner it will be using on the route August 30 and since then has been outfitting the plane and making it ready for its first paying passengers.

Configured for long-haul flights, ANA devotes more than half the Dreamliner’s cabin space to Business Class, with the rest serving economy passengers.

There are 46 lie-flat Business Class seats configured in such a way that each and every seat has direct access to an aisle. No climbing over fellow passengers to stretch your legs or go to the lav. In addition, my sources say Business Class will have at least two lavatories that are considerably larger and more luxurious than the normal airline loo. Officially called the “premium lav,” they were at one point, predictably, called the “Dream Lav.”

The 112 Economy Class seats are among the widest in the industry, at 18.5” according to SeatGuru.com. ANA's web site says the pitch (the distance from your seat back to the back of the seat in front of you) is 34", which is more generous than the 31" pitch on the 777s operated by United and Delta on their SEA-NRT routes. Passengers on the 777s can also choose EconomyPlus® or Economy ComfortTM Class respectively, for a higher fare than regular economy, while ANA's Dreamliner does not currently offer Premium Economy class.

In addition, those triple-7s carry more passengers in economy alone than in an entire ANA 787, so economy passengers will be bumping shoulders with far more folks getting on and off – and waiting to get through customs at the end of their flight – than economy passengers on ANA’s Dreamliner.

It’s worth noting that the Dreamliners serving ANA’s West Coast routes do not have a section labeled “First Class.”

Flights will leave SEA at 1:15 p.m. and arrive at NRT at 3:15 p.m. local time the next day, as the flights cross the international date line.  Return flights leave at 5:25 p.m. local time, arriving in Seattle at 10:55 a.m. on the same day the flight departed, again owing to crossing the international date line.

As of this writing on Sept. 22, an economy ticket for flights leaving October 1 and returning October 5 can be purchased for as low as $1,400.60, while the lowest Business Class round trip ticket is $8,723.60.

Next year, passengers traveling from the San Francisco Bay area will be able to board the Dreamliner closer to home. ANA will start 787 service between San Jose’s Norman Y. Mineta Airport (SJC) and NRT on January 11.

Meanwhile, on Sept. 21, ANA announced it had ordered 11 more 787s, bringing its total order to 66, the most of any airline. Only International Lease Finance Corporation, a company that buys aircraft and leases them to airlines, has ordered more.

All 11 of the new aircraft will be the 787-9 model and will be delivered between fiscal year 2018 and 2021. This will give ANA a fleet of 36 787-8 aircraft and 30 787-9 versions, according to ANA’s news release.

I am very much looking forward to experiencing the Dreamliner, and will share my experiences here.

Bon voyage!

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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