BY Kai-Chin Shih / 16 MARCH 2014/ CHIBAJAPAN/ talkairlines.wordpress.com
Second flying experience with All Nippon Airways, the seventh Skytrax 5-star airlines and the first Japanese 5-star airlines. Even though I flew coach, the flying experience was still extremely pleasant. Great food, great service, great seats. This is an airline that totally deserves its 5-star ranking
Airlines: ANA/ All Nippon Airways
Flight: NH 009
Aircraft: JA788A Boeing 777-300ER (250 seats configuration)
Class Type: Economy Class
Seat: 25H (25K, J both empty)
Origin: New York City/ John F. Kennedy International Airport
Destination: Tokyo/ Narita International Airport
Date: 18 January, 2014
ATD: 11:55 AM EST
ATA: 3:15 PM JST
Arrived at the airport at around 8 AM
ANA is one of the few Star Alliance members, the others being United and Air Canada Express, to use Terminal 7 at JFK. As a frequent T4 user (most of the times I fly China Airlines to and from Taipei), I am rather unfamiliar with T7 (only 1 United domestic flying experience from this terminal). T4 is way more attracting to me because of its architecture and the great number of airlines that use the terminal. However, the small and elegant T7 check-in area is definitely way less chaotic than that of the humongous T4.
Despite my love for ANA, I still hate the fact that ANA limits its economy class customers to only 1 check-in luggage, even if you are flying long-haul. As to my understanding, it is the only Asian airlines with this particular policy. This makes boarding the plane earlier essential if one is flying coach. Why? Last time when I was flying from Narita to JFK, I was one of the last few customers to board the plane. The one-luggage policy made all the over-head bins in economy class more full than those Japanese trains during rush hour. For the first time, I had no choice but to put my bag under the seat in front of me and my coat on my legs the entire flight. This made the flight experience extremely uncomfortable even though ANA’s economy class has a seat pitch of 34 inches.
The best thing about T7 is the security check point. Going through security and customs at T4 had always been a nightmare. (pretty sure it’s even worse now since Delta is moving more and more flights to T4) When I flew business back to Taipei, I had to wait 30 minutes in the business class line due to: 1. The great number of business class passengers 2. Only one TSA person serving both business and economy class passengers.
However, T7 is a totally different story
Limited number of flights separated evenly throughout the day made the line at both the security check point and the customs way shorter than those at T4. The more orderly nature of the Japanese people also made waiting in line at T7 less uncomfortable than waiting at T4.
After going through security, I headed straight to the business class lounge. ANA uses the British Airways Galleries Lounge to serve its business class passengers.
The Galleries lounge at JFK is extremely spacious and comfortable. The lounge offers free Wi-Fi, power outlets, a great variety of food, and an impressive liquor area. The bar in the lounge offers a great variety of wine, whisky, and many other alcohol choices. The food in the lounge is also rather decent for a Western airlines. Besides offering pastries, deserts, and sandwiches, the lounge also has some specially prepared (cheap) Japanese food in the lounge, including onigiri (rice balls) and instant miso soup, exclusive for ANA flights. The only thing I don’t like about the lounge is its interior design. Compared to the gorgeous BA lounges at London’s Heathrow Airport, the one at JFK should definitely be improved. It seems to me that the lounge was not planned as a whole when it was designed. The styles vary greatly here and there. There are at least 10 different kinds of seats, all with different textures and styles, making the lounge visually chaotic.
Due to the horrible weather that day in the New York area, the plane had to go through de-icing process, resulting in a delay of approximately 20 minutes. I left the lounge at 11:05 AM and proceeded to boarding.
Aerolineas Argentinas A330-200
LAN 787 and TAM 767 parked at the T8 ramps
11:30 AM: Arrival of the British Airways 747-400 flight from London
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN OF THE SKIES!
Pushed back at around 11:40 AM
A United 757 going through de-icing process. Is it always orange?
Gorgeous Air Canada Express CRJ-200
Jetblue :New York City Fire Department (FDNY)” Special Livery A320
(Sorry for the blurriness)
Jetblue “Boston Red Sox” Special Livery A320
A Jetblue A320 going through de-icing process (without all the nasty orange colors)
Took off 11:55 AM. Good bye nasty New York winter!
The gorgeous blue sky
ANA puts 3 different kinds of magazines in the seat pocket
WINGSPAN, ANA SKY CHANNEL, ANA SKY SHOP
Safety card, UNICEF Donation Form, and Duty Free Items Order Form
The ANA economy/ premium economy menu
Gracious 34-inch seat pitch
10.6 inches PTV and remote control
Panasonic eX2 IFE
Despite the good selection of movies and music, The ANA IFE doesn’t have as many movie choices comparing to other major Asian airlines such as Singapore Airlines. It is also not very foreigner-friendly due to the fact that many of the videos don’t have English subtitles.
The unique feature of the ANA economy class seat. With a fixed back, one won’t be bothered when the person in front is trying to recline the seat. In order to change to seat to resting position, one has to move the cushion forward. This will decrease the seat pitch slightly, but doesn’t affect the overall comfort due to the gracious 34-inch seat pitch.
Footrest! Something many airlines choose not to offer.
iPod connector and USB charger
There is also a universal power outlet under every single seat
The aircraft has an extremely interesting 2-4-3 layout.To my understanding, this is something that many airlines chose to offer on their wide-bodies decades ago. I don’t know the reason why however not a lot of airlines still offer this kind of layout. I must say I like it a lot because you can choose what kind of configuration you want according to who you will be traveling with: 2-seat for the lovers, 3-seat for the families.
Pre-meal drink and rice crackers
As someone who hates nuts, I love these rice crackers Japanese airlines offer!
When the cabin crew is serving the person in the front row, you will get a menu of the choices of the day.
With no additional costs, this small thoughtfulness raises the customer’s satisfaction significantly
I chose “Chicken cutlet Milanese-style”
It is nice how even economy class passengers get bottled water. When most airlines are offering water in a paper cup, to “cut costs”, ANA is giving out bottles of water to save time (no need to keep serving customers) and to improve customer’s flying experience.
Flying over the breathtaking Canadian lands
Haagen-Dazs for desert! China Airlines only offer this in business class or first class.
3-seat all to myself! Lucky day!
Last time this happened to me was on a China Airlines flight from Taipei via Osaka to New York
However the armrests of the CI Y class seats can not be raised 90 degrees, meaning that even though I had 3 seats, I still couldn’t lie down.
Leather instead of those bad quality cloth most airlines use!
Flight path NYC-TYO
This sandwich is probably the best sandwich I’ve ever had! Not really sure what’s in it (got eggs, ham, and lettuce for sure) but it tastes way better than those 10 dollar ones sold at NYC cafes!
Watched a short video about the retirement of the ANA 747. Rather sad about this iconic aircraft type slowly disappearing from the skies, but still, its time has come.
Breakfast: Orecchiette with mushroom cream sauce
Love those Japanese-style cream sauce!
Entering Japan: Hokkaido!
Leaving Hokkaido, entering Honshu!
Landed at Narita Airport 3:15 PM local time. Note the Etihad Airways “Blue Moon Rising” Manchester City Football Club special livery A6-EYE!
A Delta 777-200 passing by
Extremely pleasant flight with All Nippon Airways. The standard of their economy class is absolutely remarkable. Great food, comfortable seats, and extremely friendly service. The only small disappointment is their limited choices of movies for foreigners. Besides that, every aspect of the ANA economy class deserves a perfect ranking.
Will definitely fly with ANA again!