ANA Introduces New First and Business Suites, Will Start Flying Them in Just 3 Weeks

Japanese Star Alliance airline ANA offers some of the best service in the air. Their premium cabin seats, while good, are just a little bit ‘off’. Business class seats aren’t nearly as good as Japan Airlines’ Apex Suites (among the world’s best) and first class reminds me of the 1990 Dudley Moore film Crazy People about an ad executive who designs campaigns which tell the truth. One of his slogans was for Volvo, “they’re boxy but they’re good.”

First class seats are spartan in a Japanese way, but window seats don’t have great access to the window and middle seats don’t have great access to traveling partners.

Still I very much enjoy traveling ANA first class because,

  • It’s an incredible value redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles for 110,000 miles roundtrip from the West Coast and 120,000 from the Midwest and East Coast.
  • Service is just so good.
  • Their food is among the best in the sky.

The airline’s new Airbus A380s flying to and from Honolulu now feature suites with doors in first class.

Now they’re rolling out new first and business class products in just three weeks.

New ANA First Class

First class currently is a cube, lacking a door. The new seat will be a suite with doors and will be called The Suite. It will offer access to windows for window seat passengers, and a better divider between middle seats offering a choice of privacy or access to a seatmate.

Credit: ANA

Credit: ANA

Credit: ANA

New ANA Business Class

ANA’s business class will be a suite with doors called The Room, and according to the airline will offer twice the width of the current business seat. They’ll join Qatar Airways, Delta, and soon British Airways in offering a business class suite with doors.

From the photos it appears to me that the new business class could be second only to the Qatar Airways QSuite in terms of hard product, though I’ll reserve full judgment on that until I’ve flown the product. Seats will alternate front and rear-facing. While wide, the seats are still compact and passengers will sleep at some measure of an angle like on Singapore Airlines in business. So where this seat falls in rank order may depend on the kind of sleeper you are.

Credit: ANA

Credit: ANA

Coupled with ANA’s outstanding soft product, though, this will be one of the world’s best business class offerings once it rolls out broadly.

Where to Find the New Product

The first aircraft with the new product will start flying Tokyo Haneda – London Heathrow (flights NH211 and NH212) on even dates starting August 2 and running through the end of August when the new product will be offered daily. There’s no public schedule yet for fully retrofitting the long haul Boeing 777-300ER fleet, so it’s unclear when the new product will be offered on U.S. routes.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Your comparison to the Qatar Airways QSuite isn’t quite warranted. This seat is actually more spacious than the renowned Qatar Airways product. If you look at the QSuite, you can see that the shell surrounding the seat is curved. Qatar Airways is unable to make the QSuite seat as wide as this new ANA seat, given that the shell is in the way – and in turn the seat on the other side! This allows Qatar Airways to save 10 inches in pitch for each seat.

    ANA has gone all out and is providing a seat more spacious than QSuite. The argument about the angle is invalid. You can sleep straight in this seat, but also have the option of sleeping at an angle. In QSuite you have to sleep straight – the cubby area is not intended for sleeping. This seat provides the same sleeping area as the QSuite but the option for more space around your head area exists as well. Other than the Singapore Airlines seat, there is no protrusion around the head area which prevents sleeping straight! The finishes may not be as refined as QSuite, but product sets a new standard in spaciousness. If measured, I am certain this seat provides a greater square footage per passenger.

  2. This is a very nice surprise. The extra wide seats are an interesting concept. Surprised they aren’t using them for US routes first.

  3. Probably too optimistic here, but I’m really hoping they fast-track updating the 777-300ERs. I’m flying ANA first in October, would love to get to try the new product (and also, y’know, be able see out the window). Not holding my breath too tightly though.

  4. Flying ANA F end of February from IAH to Japan. It would be great if the upgrades hit by then. Looking out the window isn’t a high priority for me.

  5. Per their website they’ll only be upgrading the aircraft with 212 seats. That configuration currently only operates out of New York.

  6. Meh. My wife and I flew ANA first last year ORD-HND and I guess we had too high expectations, because we were both seriously underwhelmed. The service was fine. The food less so. There were no air nozzles and the flight was hot, as is common on Asian carriers. The seat was okay, but not as good as Cathay. Storage space was surprisingly lacking. The IFE was lovely but the selection was not very good. None of the flight attendants were really fluent in English on a flight departing the USA. In sum, we decided that if we flew ANA again, we’d likely just fly business.

  7. @Christian

    Actually we had the opposite opinion. Everything on ANA was better than Cathay, other than the huge seat width of Cathay. Our ANA attendants were gracious and professional. Cathay’s are old and grouchy. Cathay’s food has really gone down. Whereas ANA was some the best food I ever had on an airline. I felt the storage room on ANA was the same as Cathay. The ANA plane was newer as well. If I could go fly to all the SE Asia destinations on ANA, that Cathay has and ANA does not. I’d never go back to Cathay.

  8. @JohnB – The food end of things is obviously really subjective. That said, between my wife and I, we tried both Asian and Western menus on ANA, and found neither to be very good. That said, Cathay does not have the best food in the air.

    Did you not find that there’s a great deal more storage space on Cathay? ANA’s was very limited while Cathay has the side storage area and the very big closet thing in front of you.

    For service, ANA had fairly attentive service, although I do wish that at least one of the FA’s had spoken English well on a flight originating in the USA. That’s never been a problem on Cathay as of yet. I’ve always found Cathay’s FA’s to be the best in the business, excepting maybe EVA’s, so I’m not sure what to say, except that after maybe two dozen flights on Cathay, they’ve been astonishingly consistent. I’ve never seen an old Cathay flight attendant or a grouchy one, although I don’t really pay much attention to their ages.

    I’m not sure how much the ambient temperature matters to you, but Cathay seems to keep things a bit cooler, which is great for sleep. I’d still prefer air nozzles, though.

    ANA had larger IFE screens, which was nice, but the selection of programs was pretty limited compared to Cathay. A minor point, I suppose, but all else being equal, I’d rather have more options than fewer.

    One area that I hadn’t mentioned, since it was not actually on the flight is lounges. The ANA first class lounge in HND was just really unimpressive. It felt a lot like a business class lounge in feel, food, and drink. It also didn’t help that my wife couldn’t get a shower in two hours, while we’ve never had a wait at The Wing.

    We’ve flown Asian long haul business or first on American, Garuda, Cathay, Korean, EVA, ANA, and Singapore. ANA wasn’t as bad as American (despite the Captain Kirk seats), but just wasn’t that great. YMMV, I guess.

  9. My wife and I are flying IAH -> NRT -> IAH in F in February and am hoping to experience the new product then *fingers crossed*

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