First Look: ANA (All Nippon Airways)

26 Sep

Route: NY-JFK –> Tokyo-NRT

A highly trafficked route (at my last count, 5 different carriers namely, ANA, American, Continental, Delta, and JAL offer nonstop service to Japan from the NY area), and thus competition fierce, driving the need to offer patrons unique experiences. This is always a good thing for consumers as airlines try their utmost to lure the purchasing public, especially business travelers. On this particular journey, I flew coach and therefore the perspective from which the airline’s being reviewed.

ANA’s service to Tokyo is on the stretch version of the 777 series, the 777-300ER. All aforementioned carriers fly variants of this aircraft (either the 777-200 or 777-300 with Delta the one exception opting instead to now fly the newly acquired 747s from the former Northwest Airlines fleet). The 777 is one of my favorite wide body jets. They’re easily identifiable with 3 rear landing gears on either side (as opposed to the standard two, plus addnl inward supporters, for other aircraft in the same class like competitor Airbus’ A340-500/600). The cabin width is also generous enough to comfortably accommodate a  standard 3-3-3 (some airlines like Air France configure their 777-300 series in a 3-4-3 alignment like the 747) in coach vs the slimmer A330/A340 comparisons which have narrower cabins and come configured in a standard 2-4-2 arrangement.

I love ANA’s seating configuration in Economy. They’ve opted to go the 3-4-2 route which I think is clever, accommodating a sort of lovers’ lane with the 2 on the side and the others which remain standard. Seats are pretty comfy with decent legroom (34” seat pitch) and pull down leg rests. In-Flight entertainment is good with large (10.6-inch) LCD touch-panel personal monitors and a variety of on-demand entertainment options-though not the best I’ve seen (think Cathy Pacific or Virgin Atlantic for comparison), and, Universal PC power port and USB connections.

The food is absolutely delicious and portions satisfying, especially the post takeoff meal (served shortly after being airborne). There are typically a couple choices–western or Asian. One criticism here, there’s no mid-journey meal, though ANA has a for purchase menu where you can purchase light meals from. I did find this a tad odd for a 14hr nonstop flight. To be fair my 16hr journey on Cathay Pacific earlier in the year also had no meals midway through, though we were served snacks. Standard pre-arrival light meal service offered.

Overall, a very good experience.

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