Monday night I attended a reception hosted by All Nippon Airways celebrating 20 years of service between Tokyo and Washington-Dulles and commemorating the introduction of their NewStyle cabins on the DC route.
ANA’s new first class is arguably the best cabin in the sky (I haven’t flown the new first on Emirates yet, but I hear great things, so I caveat this as ‘arguably’). It’s the widest seat in the sky, has a 15″ LCD TV at each first seat, is complemented by Boeing’s on-board internet product as well as ANA’s fabulous food offerings and outstanding service.
The real drawback to ANA is ground service, there’s very little done for passengers before boarding and upon arrival and ANA lounges are universally spartan (though perhaps improved with their recent relocation at Narita, I haven’t passed through on ANA since April when I was flying their old style first).
ANA introduced their new product slowly, beginning with Tokyo-New York service in 2002, so the DC route was a long time in coming. They began offering their improved product every other day in late April, so I just missed flying it myself both directions recently.
Their reception at the Fairmont had NewStyle seats on display: a working First seat that folks could try, 2 business seats to try, and the Premium economy seat.
They provided an open bar with midshelf liquor, several sushi bars, dessert and h’or dourves stations.
There were plenty of dignitaries on hand from the Japanese embassy, Ministry of Transportation, the US State Department, the airport authority, and from ANA.
They were quite proud of 20 years of Dulles service, although they joked about 18 years of financial losses. Even when I flew on a Friday in April the only non-stop from the nation’s capital to Tokyo couldn’t have been more than one-third full.
The Connexion by Boeing folks were well represented, and included one of their pens and a 30 minute free onboard internet card in the gift bag. ANA also included a model of their Boeing 777-300.