One of the most exciting new Business Class cabin products to hit the market recently is ANA’s “The Room” on its latest brand new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The product, which will also be retrofitted to some of the airline’s existing jets, features an extra wide seat with closing privacy doors, direct aisle access, and an alternating forwards / backwards-facing layout; a true Qsuite contender.
There’s also a luxurious First Class cabin, similar in style to that found on ANA’s (unwanted) Airbus A380s, but it’s the Business Class section which steals the show in our opinion.
The new products started flying to London in August this year as NH211/212, originally on alternate days but quickly ramped up to a daily service, which remains effective.
Last month ANA confirmed that the first US destination for the new seats would be New York’s JFK airport. The first flight departed yesterday, 8th November 2019. Services are operating from both of Tokyo’s main airports, Narita and Haneda.
Since the aircraft operating the Narita and Haneda routes “swap over” in New York halfway through their journeys, the launch schedule for flights with this new product is complicated to say the least.
It means the new products will fly a mixture of Narita and Haneda flights on different days of the month, which don’t follow a ‘day of the week’ pattern, until enough aircraft with the new products are in service to allow all flights on both routes to operate consistently with the latest fit.
Why is the schedule so weird?
ANA doesn’t do this just to be difficult or to try and confuse everyone.
The airline doesn’t actually have any Boeing 777-300ERs based at Narita in the high-density premium cabin configuration, which boast the most Business Class seats (68 in the older layout and 64 in this new layout), at the expense of the Economy section.
Since the airline wants to continue to use the premium-heavy configuration on all Tokyo – New York flights (i.e. to and from both airports), the Haneda-based aircraft has to swap duties in New York and return to Narita, then fly a mirror image of the same pattern until it makes it back to its base in Haneda.
Each ANA aircraft flying the Tokyo – New York route actually operates HND-JFK-NRT-JFK-HND, taking 2.5 days to complete the ‘rotation’ each time.
A new aircraft sets off every morning on this routing, to provide daily service on all sectors, but it means that with only one refitted aircraft currently flying this pattern, each flight only sees the new cabin products every third day.
These are the daily timings on the Tokyo – New York route:
|Flight||From / To||Aircraft|
|NH110||HND1020 – JFK0900||77W|
|NH109||JFK1655 – HND2110*||77W|
|NH10||NRT1640 – JFK1510||77W|
|NH9||JFK1045 – NRT1500*||77W|
* Next day
Without a specific ‘day of the week’ pattern to the flying programme for these new seats, the only way we can show it is by date.
The following tables highlight operation of the new aircraft by flight number and departure date from the origin city. Do note that arrival date is one day later for NH9 and NH109 services.
From 13th December 2019 (departing Haneda) a second aircraft with the new cabin products joins the route, allowing operation on two out of every three days.
This pattern then continues to the end of the winter 2019/20 season in late March, with no indication of the route receiving the new cabins on a daily basis at this stage.
Again since an old configuration every third day does not follow a consistent ‘day of the week’ pattern, our only way to show you the dates with the new products is the list them by individual date through the end of March 2020.
At the time of writing, ANA has not loaded the new Boeing 777-300ER cabin configurations on flights in the summer 2020 season (from 29th March 2020 onwards), even for the London route. Schedules are likely to be updated in due course.
How to be sure
ANA operates four different variants of the 777-300ER:
- 264 seats (8F / 52J / 24W / 180Y)
- 250 seats (8F / 52J / 24W / 166Y)
- 212 seats (8F / 68J / 24W / 112Y)
- New 212 seats (8F / 64J / 24W / 116Y)
It’s the “New 212 seats” configuration which has the latest cabin products.
To tell if you have it, you can check the Business Class seat map for your flight on the ANA website, or a third-party tool like ExpertFlyer.
The Business Class cabin on the aircraft with the new cabin products ends at row 20.
If the seat map for your ANA Boeing 777-300ER ends at row 17 or row 21, unfortunately you still have the older seats.
Here’s an example from ExpertFlyer, with the subtle difference between the new configuration with 20 rows (left) and one of the older ones with 21 rows (right).
Notice also how ExpertFlyer reflects the amended seat letter assignment for the rear-facing couple middle pairs (E/F) and forward-facing aisle seats (D/G) in the middle section, which is different from the older variants.
As we mentioned in our article last month, you’ll probably want to avoid using KrisFlyer miles to redeem these new products given the steep rates for Japan – USA flights for partner redemptions.
If you’re flush with more miles than you know what to do with though, or don’t hold any balances in other programmes, here’s how much it will set you back.
|KrisFlyer Star Alliance Redemption Tokyo ⇄ New York|
The better value proposition is to use miles in another Star Alliance frequent flyer programme.
ANA does not permit one-way award redemptions outside Japan, so you must redeem a round-trip ticket using their miles.
The airline also prices award flights on its own aircraft by season, with low season dates being the cheapest followed by regular season and high season.
|ANA Mileage Club Redemption Tokyo ⇄ New York (return)|
Remember these are return award prices, not one-way like the ones quoted for other programmes, so the value is actually quite good. If you can find a return Business Class award available on your preferred dates in low season, it’s the equivalent of paying just 37,500 miles each way.
|Other FFP redemption rates Tokyo ⇄ New York|
You can transfer into Turkish Miles&Smiles from Citi, for example. Miles & More and MileagePlus can be earned via Standard Chartered, while for some others like Lifemiles and Aegean Miles+Bonus there are often ‘buy miles’ promotions through the year.
Frankfurt is next
An additional Boeing 777-300ER delivery with these cabin products will allow the airline to also start flying them to Frankfurt from Q1 2020.
Start dates for this service switching across have not yet been announced (ANA tends to only give a week or two’s notice of these changes).
There are two daily ANA Tokyo Haneda to Frankfurt flights, and it’s likely to be the premium-heavy configuration NH203/204 services that see these new products early next year, initially on alternate days (NH223/224 uses an aircraft with a lower Business Class seat count).
Once we know the schedules for the Frankfurt route, we’ll be sure to update you.
A slightly complicated launch schedule for these latest cabins on ANA’s New York route, largely because of the way they operate it to make best use of their fleet.
Though it has kicked off operating only once every three days, this will increase to two out of three days in mid-December 2019.
Frankfurt will be the next destination for the latest seats in early 2020, and like the London route we expect this to initially operate on alternate days until more aircraft with the new seats arrive.
Finally if you’re redeeming the (still rather elusive) award seats in First and Business Class, either to London or New York, it’s not KrisFlyer where you’ll achieve the best value but in fact some other FFPs like ANA Mileage Plan (for return itineraries), Turkish, Lufthansa and Lifemiles.
(Cover Photo: Kentaro Iemoto)