ANA

ANA Unveils Special Livery For Their First A380

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After several years of no new orders for the A380, Airbus finally got some life back into the program when they ended 2015 with an announcement that All Nippon Airways will be purchasing three A380 aircraft.

I suspect ANA was somewhat strong-armed into purchasing them, given that it was likely related to Skymark’s bankruptcy. Airbus was Skymark’s second biggest creditor, and ANA really wanted some more Tokyo Haneda slots, so some A380 orders may have very well been the deciding factor in them getting Skymark’s slots.

ANA placed orders for just three A380s, making their A380 fleet the smallest of any airline operating the airplane.

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How Much Airplane “Networking” Is Too Much?

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All Nippon Airways has an article that’s a paid advertisement on CNBC entitled “The 3-3-3 Challenge: How a frequent flyer networks from Asia to the U.S.” In general ANA’s approach to this “article” is smart, as a paid advertisement is much more interesting to read if it’s about an engaging topic rather than just about the airline. So they’re writing about networking planes, though I’m curious if you guys think the premise of it is taken a bit too far:

“In-flight networking is a growing trend among the business set. How does traveling make it different from networking on terra firma? All Nippon Airways (ANA) invited Karl Chong – angel investor, co-founder of Groupon (Singapore) and a seasoned networker – to discern the differences.”

Let me start by saying that I’m generally pretty introverted, and am someone who will almost never initiate a conversation on a plane or in a lounge. It’s not necessarily that I’m opposed to having a conversation with someone, as I’ve had plenty of fascinating conversations with seatmates.

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ANA Will Fly From Tokyo To Mexico Starting In February 2017

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In January of this year I wrote about how Japanese airline ANA announced that they’ll be launching flights between Tokyo and Mexico City as of the second half of this year. For whatever reason that timeline didn’t seem to stick. The good news is that the route is now official, though it’s being started with a delay.

Per @airlineroute, ANA will launch daily nonstop flights between Tokyo Narita and Mexico City as of February 15, 2017. The route will operate with the following schedule:

NH180 Tokyo to Mexico City departing 4:40PM arriving 1:55PM
NH179 Mexico City to Tokyo departing 1:00AM arriving 6:35AM (+1 day)

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ANA 777 First Class In 10 Pictures

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Shortly after midnight yesterday we departed Tokyo Haneda for Los Angeles in ANA’s 777-300ER first class. This was after our flight from Hanoi to Tokyo in ANA business class.

As usual I’ll have a much more detailed trip report shortly, but in the meantime I figured I’d share my initial impressions in another “10 pictures” installment. I’ve only flown ANA’s new first class product once before, so was curious to try them again, given that it has been a few years.

ANA’s first class cabin consists of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

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ANA 787 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Tokyo Haneda! We just flew from Hanoi to Tokyo in ANA’s longhaul 787 business class product. While ANA has 787s configured for shorthaul flying, we lucked out by getting a gorgeous longhaul 787-9 for this short 4hr20min flight.

I’m trying to sample as many new business class products as possible, and hadn’t yet tried ANA’s new longhaul business class seat, so I was excited to try it out. I’ve flown ANA’s first class, JAL’s business class, and JAL’s first class, so was curious to see where ANA’s business class product ranked.

ANA’s 787-9 aircraft have a massive business class cabin, consisting of 48 seats spread across two cabins in a staggered configuration. Seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration.

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ANA Is Offering Free Wifi On Select Flights… With Restrictions

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I’m someone who really values inflight wifi, though even among airlines that offer it, there’s huge variance in terms of pricing and quality.

Generally my preference is when airlines offer a wifi plan without data caps that you have to pay for. Why?

— When airlines offer free wifi (like Emirates), it tends to be outrageously slow
— When airlines charge based on data usage, it tends to be outrageously expensive, to the point that it’s not worth using (like the case of someone who had a ~$1,200 wifi bill on Singapore Airlines)

So I like something in the middle, like when airlines charge ~$20 for unlimited data over 24 hours. Airlines with such plans include American, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, United, and many more.

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Your Chance To Design ANA’s A380

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After several years of no new orders for the A380, Airbus finally got some life back into the program when they ended last year with an announcement that All Nippon Airways will be purchasing three A380 aircraft.

I suspect ANA was somewhat strong-armed into purchasing them, given that it was likely related to Skymark’s bankruptcy. Airbus was Skymark’s second biggest creditor, and ANA really wanted some more Tokyo Haneda slots, so some A380 orders may have very well been the deciding factor in them getting Skymark’s slots.

ANA placed orders for just three A380s, making their A380 fleet the smallest of any airline operating the airplane. Of course not every airline will/can afford to order 100+ A380s like Emirates, though you’d think there are some economies of scale involved here, where the cost per frame goes down significantly when you have more, especially in terms of operating/maintenance costs.

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When You Find That *Perfect* Award Seat…

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the next five trips I have booked. Since then I’ve already taken two of those, which means I still have three to go. As much as I’m excited about the upcoming trips, I’m also pretty exhausted at this point.

Fortunately my next major trip will be slow paced, as Ford and I are going to Southeast Asia for his birthday. We’re stopping in Singapore to start the trip, and then going to Cambodia and Laos, which I’m super excited about. While I’ve visited most major cities in Southeast Asia, it will be my first time to Cambodia and Laos.

As I explained in the previous post, I hadn’t yet decided how we were going to get home from Asia. I had put tickets on hold for us in Korean Air first class, which is always a great backup plan to have, since they let you hold tickets up until shortly before departure without penalty.

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Video: Behind The Scenes Of ANA Flight Attendant Training

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Japanese hospitality is arguably the most distinctive in the world, and it’s hard not to fall in love with the people. Japan is one of the few countries where people consistently take pride in what they do, regardless of the level of work they’re performing.

When I think of Japanese customer service, perhaps the most amusing thing that comes to mind is the time I received an apology for receiving a free upgrade to first class on Japan Airlines. That wouldn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

Service on Japanese airlines is fantastic, whether it be on All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines.

Reader JasonSeattle shared a fascinating documentary I hadn’t seen before, about flight attendant training for ANA. It’s from a TV show about various aspects of Japanese culture, and this particular episode revolves around a Spanish guy who is a service instructor for ANA.

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United Upgrades Can Now Be Used On ANA

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United Premier 1K members receive six Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) upon requalified for status each year, and can earn an additional two for every additional 50,000 elite qualifying miles earned. These can be used to upgrade flights on United, Copa, and Lufthansa, though the restrictions vary by airline and region.

For example, for travel on United you can waitlist the upgrade, so if it doesn’t clear at booking, you can clear all the way up until the plane’s door closes. Meanwhile for upgrades on Lufthansa, you can waitlist up until 10 hours before departure, at which point you can no longer be upgraded, even if there are empty seats.

It looks like there’s good news for United flyers — United GPUs can now be used to upgrade flights on All Nippon Airways, United’s transpacific joint venture partner.

Per United’s GPU upgrade page:

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ANA’s A380 Will Feature First Class (And More Details)

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After several years of no new orders for the A380, Airbus finally got some life back into the program when they ended last year with an announcement that All Nippon Airways will be purchasing three A380 aircraft.

I suspect they were somewhat strong-armed into purchasing them, given that it was likely related to Skymark’s bankruptcy. Airbus was the airline’s second biggest creditor, and ANA really wanted some more Tokyo Haneda slots, so some A380 orders may have very well been the deciding factor in them getting Skymark’s slots.

ANA placed orders for just three A380s, making their A380 fleet the smallest of any airline operating the airplane. Of course not every airline will/can afford to order 100+ A380s like Emirates, though you’d think there are some economies of scale involved here, where the cost per frame goes down significantly when you have more, especially in terms of operating/maintenance costs.

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ANA Announces Their Longest Route Yet

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Yesterday was an interesting day for new airline routes, as three airlines announced their longest flights yet:

— Emirates announced Dubai to Auckland, which will become the world’s longest route (Qatar Airways’ Doha to Auckland flight will be longer, if it ever launches, though we don’t know the specifics of it yet)
— United announced San Francisco to Singapore, which will become the airline’s longest route, and the only nonstop flight between the US and Singapore (at least until Singapore Airlines restarts nonstop service between the two countries in 2018)

And then there’s a third announcement — Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways announced they will launch daily nonstop flights between Mexico City and Tokyo Narita starting in the second half of 2016.

At 7,004 miles, this represents the airline’s longest route, beating out their 6,753 mile flight between Tokyo and Washington.

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ANA Places Order For 3 Airbus A380s!

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While I love the A380 from a passenger comfort standpoint, the plane hasn’t been performing well for Airbus, and is at risk of being a huge money loser for them. Airbus has been pondering discontinuing A380 production, given the lack of new orders for the plane.

A380 works great for Emirates, but other than that airlines don’t really seem delighted by the plane. At least they’re not placing any extra orders, which is what counts.

Why isn’t there more demand for the A380, despite demand for travel constantly being on the rise? It comes down to there being smaller planes out there which are also more efficient, like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. These planes have low operating costs and much lower capacity, allowing airlines to offer more frequencies and also better manage yields.

The sad thing about A380 production potentially ending is that the plane definitely could have a bright future, but it may just be 10-20 years ahead of its time. International travel will get to the point where there will be consistent demand for 500+ seat planes as airport congestion continues to get worse, but it’s just not quite there yet.

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Great Updates To ANA Award Search Tool

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Good news! Premium cabin Star Alliance inventory is now reasonably searchable again using the ANA tool!!

If that sounded like Martian to you, don’t check out just yet — I’ll explain why exactly this is good news here shortly.

Back in April Japanese airline ANA updated their frequent flier program, website, and award search tool. The ANA tool had previously been the gold standard for verifying Star Alliance award space. While united.com and aeroplan.com would occasionally display false results, ANA was pretty reliable if you were searching nonstop routes.

The April updates, however, essentially decimated the ANA tool, particularly for those of us who were using it to search premium cabin award space. While the old version of the ANA tool allowed you to search for a week of space at a time, the new version only allowed searches on a single day, among other issues.

Fortunately, many of the bugs seem to have been fixed, and it’s now possible to search a week of space in a given cabin on a particular route, among other improvements.

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