ANA joins nine-across B787 economy class club

4 Jul 2013 by Alex McWhirter

What set All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines apart from other B787 carriers was that they alone offered a comfortable international economy class.

Unlike every other B787 operator, these two Japanese airlines provide passengers with a comfortable eight-across 2-4-2 layout. It is a configuration that was originally recommended by Boeing and it is something which has elicited praise from customers.

But I am afraid to say that ANA has now broken ranks - it is introducing a second variation of B787 seating.

This means that in the near future economy passengers will be sitting nine across 3-3-3 just as they do at British Airways, Ethiopian, Qatar and so on.

Why the change of heart? Because ANA will install a small premium economy cabin - configured seven across 2-3-2 - on its latest B787s. It means the space (for this cabin) must be found from another seating zone.

So that old airline maxim "space is the most precious commodity on a plane" is as true today as it ever was.

ANA's existing B787s accommodate just 158 passengers with 46 in business and 112 in economy. The new B787s will be configured for 46 in business, 21 in premium economy and 102 in normal economy. That means a total of 169 seats giving ANA the potential to boost revenue.

ANA has today published its new international seating plans for its B787s.

There are now three separate B787 versions in its fleet with the newest variant - the one with premium economy - being the 169-seater version.

ANA has yet to announce where the 169-seater B787 will be deployed. But the carrier today announced it would be starting new B787 routes from Tokyo to Munich and Seattle (effective September 1), Shanghai (September 30) and Singapore (October 1).

So the new B787 may make an appearance on one or all of these routes.

Business Traveller will keep you updated as and when we receive further information.

Alex McWhirter

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