All Nippon Airways has unveiled its striking new in-flight product for its A380s for the Tokyo Honolulu route.
The hard product was impressive enough when ANA unveiled its “Flying Honu” sea turtle-liveried Airbus A380 earlier this year: first class suites, staggered fully flat business class seats, premium economy and spacious economy seats. But the Japanese carrier, often at the forefront of passenger experience, is bringing even more to the literal and figurative table with a remarkable range of soft products.
First class passengers will enjoy meals from Michelin-starred chef Ryo Takatsuka, head chef at the restaurant Noe at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina in Hawai’i. This is certainly smart linkage of in-air and on-ground hospitality guest experience. But it’s not just in the pointy end: Australian casual dining group Bills is creating menus for economy on the outbound flight from Japan, which come with a drink voucher for bills’ Waikiki location.
Premium economy, too, will see an upgraded meal offering compared with economy class for the first time on ANA, which promises that it will be offering “ a superior menu in comparison to the one served in Economy Class. As before, a choice from both International and Japanese culinary traditions will be available for flights to and from Japan.”
Throughout the aircraft, a special Blue Hawai’i cocktail (and it’s certainly blue) will be on offer departing Japan, with crew wearing special Flying Honu aprons with tropical flowers, and towards the back of the plane, there are three separate designs of Flying Honu paper cups.
When it comes time to sleep, “In First Class, passengers will be able to wrap up in a comforter from Japan’s famous Tokyo Nishikawa Sangyo. Travelers can rest their heads on pillows made out of premium Hungarian white duck down. They will also receive a 100 percent organic cotton loungewear and a blanket made by the renowned Japanese producer Tenerita, the only Japanese company that obtained the Global Organic Textile Standard certification,” ANA explains.
Business class passengers will get “sheets, loungewear, as well as a comforter and pillow set from Japan’s well-known high-technology bedding company Maruhachi. The pillow is designed so that one side is soft and airy, while the other side is more structured so that it provides more neck support.”
And in ANA COUCHii, which appears to be the Recaro/Air New Zealand-designed Skycouch with the swing-up footrest construct, there’s a special bed sheet, pillow and blanket set.
Amenity kits, too, are spruced up: ANA is working with British luggage maker Globe-Trotter in first class, though the kits themselves are a little too close to Formia’s work for Qatar Airways’ first class to be truly revolutionary. In business, it’s Fred Segal, and both business and premium economy passengers get a special ANA Hawaii tote bag. There’s also a special bag for kids, plus inflatable Flying Honu A380s and a truly adorable silverware set.
The context, as often with Japan, is fascinating. Japanese travelers are used to Joyful Trains, the uniquely-liveried tourist rolling stock on a particular (often scenic) route, with special services on board — including sake tasting tours, seaside viewing trains, or even a bullet train with a footbath on board.
That experience is reading across to ANA’s Hawai’i services: a special livery, with special services, on a particular route. It’s a fascinating glimpse into what a carrier willing to invest in a premium leisure product on a holiday route can do.
The first A380 will offer three roundtrips a week starting 24 May, increasing to ten roundtrips when the second aircraft arrives in July. The airline plans to start sales in January 2019 for both the first class and “COUCHii” Skycouch product.