Farewell Miles – A Mileage Burning Party with All Nippon Airlines, Thai Airways and Asiana Airlines in Business Class (with a BMI Leg)
Featuring the ANA International 787-8.
- Oh BMI *shakes head* (The Introduction)
- The Off, Birmingham Airport, Birmingham Airport to Frankfurt with BMI for Lufthansa
- Hotel Savigny, Around Frankfurt
- Frankfurt Airport and Meeting the 787
- Frankfurt-Tokyo Haneda with ANA’s International 787 – THIS SECTION
- The Strings by Intercontinental, Tokyo
- One Time Exception: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- Tokyo Haneda International – Hong Kong International with ANA’s 777-300
- Crown Plaza Causeway Bay (Happy Valley)
- One Time Exception: An Emergency Camera Clean…
- Hong Kong to Seoul with Thai Airways International
- Ramada Seoul Dongdamun
- One Time Exception: Jongmyo Shrine
- Seoul Incheon to London Heathrow with Asiana Airlines
- Wrapping up
At last I’ve made it to the big piece of writing and photography – the ANA Boeing 787 in International Configuration. I make no apologies for the length of this, as well as the photos in it as this needed to be documented. I hope you enjoy.
NH204 Frankfurt-am-Main International – Tokyo Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport)
All Nippon Airlines
Boeing 787-8, Seat 7K Business Class (Window-Window Seat)
5832 miles flown
(WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY)
- ANA’s International 787 to Japan – Set 1 –http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/02/23/ana-787-to-japan-1.html
- Set 2 – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/02/24/ana-787-to-japan-2.html
- Set 3 – Dimable windows – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/02/25/ana-787-to-japan-3-cabin-and-the-dimable-window.html
- Set 4 – The TOTO toilet http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/02/26/ana-787-to-japan-4-the-toto-toilet-onboard.html
- Set 5- The Seat and it’s amenities – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/02/27/ana-787-to-japan-5-the-seat.html
- Set 6 – Coming into Haneda – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/02/28/ana-787-coming-into-tokyo-haneda.html
Boarding the aircraft through the business entrance I was greeted with a bow, and directed towards my suite at 7K. This took me through the first business cabin and then the second cabin, where 7K is the Window seat, next to a pair of windows (as opposed to 6H which was a bulkhead, but nearer to the isle in a staggered suite style)
I was welcomed by the purser, who after seeing my Maroon British Passport spoke to me in English after trying Chinese. Ah. I love confusing people being a halfcast sometimes 😉
A glass of champagne was offered (abite in a plastic glass as a welcome drink).
The crew was mostly Japanese, with an British Crew Member acting as the “translator/announcer”. From what I could tell, there was a fair mix of crew who were used to the 787, and quite a few not used to it.
This manifested during pushback, when one of the curtains didn’t secure correctly. Therefore good olde packing tape was used to secure the curtain.
Even though there was a strike on at Frankfurt, our plane pushed back on time and taxied off.
With a short takeoff run, the plane was up in the air. The noise levels were.. akin to a A330 (bear in mind, I was sat next to a Rolls Royce Trent 1000), and the air levels seemed better thanks to the new system.
Soon enough the crew were released and menu cards were handed out.
An Amuse Bouche arrived with the diet coke. The amuse bouche was that. The Cheese was lovely, as was the pepper and the pate meat was just right. A lovely introduction.
The First course came… and what a course!
A lovely Zensai (seasonal appetisers, kobachi (tuna) and sunomono (Crabmeat with tartar sauce)
Firstly, the presentation was amazing. Heck people. Someone put some thought into their food. Whatever next in an airline?
The fish was nicely done, and the range of tastes and textures was amazing. Simply that. There had been thought from the way the carrot had been cut to the whole putting of the menu together.
The main course came, and that again – was simply wonderful.
A tasty Miso soup, Rice and a Grilled Yellowtail Fish in Teriyaki Sauce
Again, the flavors were wonderful with the fish cooked well. The thought that went into this designing this meal service shows.
The meal was concluded with an ice-cream with plum service. And again, just to show that they are first to fly the 787, there’s an chocolate for that.
With the service cleared down it was time to explore the seat and my surroundings.
Firstly lets get onto one of my general bones of contention when flying – In Flight Entertainment Systems (this blog isn’t called GhettoIFE for nothing). Now the IFE screen is lovely, big and clear and seems to be based on the Panasonic EX2 system, which as an IFE system is a great basis as the controls are easy to use (be it via touch or remote).
However, a great IFE system is only REALLY great when there’s content on it. And the content seemed to be lacking. Whilst there was a good mix of Western Hollywood films, it’s a very general mix. Thankfully ANA have a wonderful feature aboard their planes – iPod connectivity. The idea (like the Singapore Airlines and United Airlines idea) is that you plug a cable in, and you can use your iDevice to watch on their system (and it’ll charge the phone at the same time). Unlike United, you ask the flight attendant nicely, and they’ll bring you a cable you can use for the flight.
So with a cable and a follow the instructions, I had my GhettoIFE system… or rather a GhettoIFE System Plus. And it looks rather good wouldn’t you agree?
Moving on to the windows. And as we all know the 787’s have these Electrochromism-based “auto-dimming” window things. Here are a few examples of me playing with the windows.
Whilst it dims pretty dark, from an angle, some light does get through. In addition, I’m not over hot with the idea that crew can control the light controls from a central place. And I dread to think what will happen when the system one day fails – will it leave everything clear or in pitch darkness?
Anyway, the cabin itself is full of LED lighting. And whilst there were no rainbow displays, there we colour shifts from the Dreamliner blue, to an evening orange, to black at night, with Red and Green lights for the toilets.
And that of course takes me to the most scary part of the plane – not the plastic composites that make the thing up, but the Toilets. How can a toilet be scary?
When Toto make toilet.
For those who have not traveled to Japan or Asia, there is a love out there for toilets that do more that just flush. A lot around are the Washlet style toilets which have… advanced cleaning functions and more buttons than is good for a toilet. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilets_in_Japan, but I’m not going into the subject much further.
There is room in the toilet, but as a plane toilet, there is still isn’t much of it. There is a window in the 787 business loo – which is interesting if you want to see what you are doing 35,000ft up. And whilst the flush control is a wave or push button thing, the thing we’re all interested is to the side. The controls for the washlet function. And that’s as much as I’ll say on the Toto Washlet.
Seriously – some things are better unsaid.
The toilet had amenities the usual business class amenities, toothbrush, mouthwash and fresh wipes.
Lets move onto cabin matters, and the seat. The seat is a true flat-bed options (as opposed to Wedge beds that lie at an angle), and it is darn comfortable as a bed.
In fact whilst some might think the seat looks a bit narrow, it felt slightly wider than the UA Business seat, but slightly narrower than some of the wedge seats out there. This can be slightly put down to the staggered layout which does compromise space a bit, but creates a private suite feel. It’s horses for courses – and liked what i was resting in.
Some more of the seat:
Mid-flight it was snack time. And whilst there was cheese and fruit options, I was yearning for something a bit hotter. So the crew did some noodles for me.
And as you can see it was a lovely thick Udon noodles braised deep fried Tofu on it on top. Not too spicy, but a lovely Delicious taste and a reasonable mid-flight portion.
I had hoped that would send me to sleep, but that failed, so I spent time switching between the map, to my GhettoIFE Plus system, to simply closing my eyes and enjoying this rare trip up the front of the plane
With two hours to go, the crew came around for the final service ordering. Of course I went with the Japanese food again.
Again the food was presented wonderfully, with a wide variety of tastes
The bok chock and fried bean curd was lovely set of textures, whilst the sablefish was simple and divine. A lovely end of flight meal.
Let it not be said I wasn’t hungry on this flight 😉
The crew seemed to be a fair mix, with some flying the 787 for the first time, with some flying a few times. The “English” speaker was English, with a very BBC Style voice. The crew in business class seemed mostly confident in English, with a couple not so confident. Nothing that a few gestures, pointing and lots of smiling can not get past. Of course there were a couple of reminders for duty free. And yes, I fell to a gift set of ANA 787 postage stamps.
Most. Expensive. Stamps. Ever.
Oh well. Chalk it up to a very powerful yen (something that would haunt me the rest of the trip).
The plane was cleared down and the final approach into Tokyo, crossing Japan, and down across the bay before touching down at Haneda International Airport.
Decent was a bit bumpy, with it starting 30 minutes before landing…. and for those who don’t like hard landings… look away now.
After a short taxi, the plane came to a halt at Gate 109, where the cabin crew held back the hoards to allow the business class passengers off first. I thanked the crew for their amazing service and went off into the terminal to encounter Japan.
- The International 787 resting after its long flight
OVERALL (PRODUCT): AMAZING. Psst. United. You want to see how business class is done properly? Look no further. The quality of the service was amazing throughout and delivered with a smile and the soft side of the service is excellent. The presented hard product was really good for a business class product, and you were made to feel special aboard. Which is part of the joy of flying.
OVERALL (AIRCRAFT): I’m honestly not sure what to make of the 787. Part of me still thinks it’s a 767 on steroids (in fact the 767-200 and 787-8 are the same size lengthwise (with the 787 being slightly wider), whilst the rest of me thinks it’s a shiny new plane.
The cabin itself was bright and airy… and had a newish smell to it still. The lower pressurisation point whilst good, didn’t do much for me (lets put it like this – I wish I brought some lip balm). LED Lighting is all well and good, whilst the windows… I’m sorry – I’m not a fan of those. The reduction in noise alas I couldn’t tell as I was next door to an engine turbine.
I do think Boeing has a winner on it’s hands with the 787 providing its used the aircraft is used for the right mission by the airlines. Business on this craft was 1-2-1, and I could easily see airlines trying to do 2-2-2 or worse on international runs. Similarly, (whilst I didn’t wander down the back), with Economy configured in 2-4-2 (which is A330/A340 standard), it is a squeeze from the 767 which (on average) is a 2-3-2. Although knowing some airlines, 3-3-3 is entirely possible.
Next stop – The Strings by Intercontinental – stay tuned!