New heights for comfort, style aboard All Nippon Airways’ 787
With its 2-4-2 seating configuration for domestic service, ANA’s 787 offers nearly two inches of empty space between the innermost seats; LED lighting in a rainbow of hues helps set a soothing mood.
By Kenneth Kiesnoski
TOKYO — The new Boeing 787
Dreamliner, described and designed by its manufacturer as an
aviation game changer, is more
than three years behind schedule
in taking wing with its purchasers. But, as the saying goes, the
plane was worth the wait — and
All Nippon Airways is wasting no
time in deploying the first two
models of the new widebody jet
that it has received.
ANA made headlines Oct. 26
when it operated the first com-
mercial flight of the 787, a char-
ter that flew 240 passengers from
Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong. Two
days later, Travel Weekly had a
spot on the first flight of ANA’s
second Dreamliner, an hour-plus
excursion from Narita around the
Tokyo area. ANA has 55 of the jets
on order, with 20 set for delivery
by the end of fiscal 2012.
On the Dreamliner
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takeoff from the
the flight crew a
healthy round of applause once we
were airborne. I was impressed, in-
flight, by the lack of cabin noise —
apart from the animated chatter of
my fellow passengers.
dare I say, chic 787 Dreamliner—
a midsize but long-range jet that
can seat 200 to 250 passengers
— goes a long way toward making air travel gracious once again.
Airbus’ much-ballyhooed and
spectacular A380 double-decker
might beat the 787 in terms of
sheer size and capacity, but the
Dreamliner seemed to be just as
quiet (if not quieter), “cooler” and
In place of the roar of any jet
engines, I heard the somewhat
soothing, low background drone
of the 787’s electrical systems (the
Dreamliner employs a new technology, completely separate from
the engines, to supply electricity
to the passenger cabin, I was told).
Engine roar is further lessened
by the addition of noise-reducing
chevrons on the 787’s engine nacelles.
That last factor might have had
something to do with the configuration ANA has chosen for
domestic 787 service: The 2-4-2
seating in economy offers two
armrests and nearly
two inches of empty
space between the innermost seats. Dreamliners serving long-haul destinations will
feature ANA’s Business Staggered lie-flat seating in business class and
Workers hold a banner for the ANA 787 excursion flight from Tokyo.
For Ken Kiesnoski’s Dreamliner video, go to Travel Weekly.com/ videos.aspx.
“fixed-back shell” seats, which
slide forward rather than recline
backward, in economy.
The twin-aisle 787 also features
Boeing’s new Sky Interior cabin
configuration, which — thanks to
the LED lighting, large windows,
As in-flight gravy, there’s all
the other the high-tech wizardry
and innovation that Boeing has
worked into the Dreamliner. The
windows are 30% larger than
those on other passenger aircraft.
They also don’t have pull-down
shades but can be dimmed to a
beautiful, still-transparent dark
blue at the touch of a button.
And the cabin LED “mood
lighting,” which normally mimics
the natural progression of daylight, can also, in a very psychedelic twist, display a rainbow of hues
upon boarding (as ANA’s 787 did
in my experience). Lighting options include an array of boutique
shades of red,
violet or any hue
in between to
Boeing was able to increase
the 787’s onboard humidity and
air-pressure factors because the
plane’s carbon-fiber composite
materials are less prone to rust
than traditional aluminum airliner skins, an ANA representative told me. Composites, strong
and more stress-resistant yet also
light, are to thank for those larger
windows, as well, and also will
help ANA save an estimated $130
million in fuel costs.
Carriers next in line to receive
their first 787s, in mid-2012, include United Airlines, with an order for 25, and European launch
customer LOT Polish Airlines,
which has ordered eight of the jets.
on my flight,
T W PHO TOS B Y KENNE TH KIESNOSKI