All Nippon Airways has unveiled the long-anticipated cabin interior of its new Airbus A380 aircraft, affectionately known as FLYING HONU, as it prepares to begin service on the popular Tokyo-Honolulu route in May. Having recently completed its first test flight between Japan and Hawaii, the airline is ready to show its customers what to expect when flying on its latest aircraft.
The first Japanese operator of the super-jumbo, ANA took delivery of the aircraft in March following a delivery ceremony at the Airbus Delivery Center in Toulouse, France. The historic event meant the first Airbus widebody aircraft to be operated by ANA, but also the last delivery of an A380 to a new customer. Despite the public display, the interior was off-limits to attendees, to be revealed at a later date.
Inviting media onboard at an event at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, ANA showed off the inside of its newest aircraft for the first time.
Purchasing the A380 was not the initial plan for ANA, which operates a long-haul fleet dominated by Boeing aircraft, and came as a result of the airline’s acquisition of low-cost Skymark Airlines. With only three A380s on order, the airline’s options for the aircraft were somewhat limited on what to do with the double deckers. However, the carrier kept the order and took delivery of the aircraft in March 2019.
When it took delivery of the A380, ANA became the 15th and final operator of the aircraft, whose production is scheduled to end in 2021 due to lack of demand. As airlines around the world were swapping their A380 orders for smaller, more economical aircraft, ANA was taking its first delivery with a plan to use the aircraft to dominate its most popular route, Tokyo-Honolulu.
Served by numerous airlines, both foreign and domestic including direct competitor Japan Airlines, the Tokyo-Honolulu route is Japan’s most popular leisure route as Hawaii is the most popular tourist destination from Japan. According to ANA, which currently operates three daily services to Honolulu, its flights see an average load factor greater than 90 percent. ANA is hoping to gain an additional 10 percent of the market share with the new aircraft to bring its total to 25 percent.
The addition of the A380 on the route aims to give ANA a competitive edge as the aircraft is desirable among passengers and the airline is tailoring its three A380s specifically for Hawaii service, starting with the exterior paint. The three A380s will all feature special liveries centered around the turtle, or Honu.
The first A380 to be delivered, Hawaiian Sky, featured its turtle named Lani with the color “ANA Blue.” The second aircraft to be delivered, dubbed Hawaiian Ocean, will have its turtle, named La, painted in a color called “Emerald Green,” with the final aircraft, Hawaiian Sunset, having its turtle, named La, painted in “Sunset Orange.” Each of the aircraft’s exteriors represents a different aspect of Hawaii.
The interior has also been specifically designed to immerse passengers in a Hawaiian atmosphere before they’ve even landed in Honolulu. Cabin walls have been painted with Hawaiian imagery, meals will be inspired by Hawaiian culture, colorful drinks crafted by Hawaiian bartenders will be served and special “ANA HAWAii” cups will be used during the services.
ANA is very much selling the aircraft, not just the destination. Advertisements and onboard amenity kits will prominently feature the aircraft, driven by the fact that more and more passengers care about the aircraft they are flying on and people are more likely to choose the A380. According to Airbus, 61 percent of business travelers look at aircraft type when booking travel.
Arranged in a four-class configuration, not uncommon on the A380 with its abundance of capacity, ANA’s FLYING HONU will feature first class, business class, premium economy class and economy class, with a special section of the economy cabin, called ANA COUCHii, designed for families traveling together. With two floors and capacity for over 500 seats, ANA had room to get creative.
The entirety of the upper deck is dedicated to premium classes including first class, business class and premium economy, totaling only 137 seats across the three cabins. The lower deck, on the other hand, is solely economy, with the ANA COUCHii section in the far rear cabin, totaling 393 seats.
The airline has also made use of large screens throughout the aircraft both for branding and to further induce the feeling of being in Hawaii and the atmosphere associated with it. Immediately boarding the aircraft, a large screen displays the ANA name and logo while other screens throughout the plane display photos of Hawaiian.
Aimed towards honeymooners and upper-class holiday-goers, the A380 is only the second aircraft in ANA’s fleet, behind the Boeing 777-300ER, to feature a first class cabin. Furthermore, this is the first time a first class option will be offered on the Honolulu route as the Boeing 787 Dreamliners currently operating the route do not have the ultra-luxurious cabin.
Located in the first cabin of the upper cabin directly atop the main staircase, first class will feature 8 enclosed suites in a 1-2-1 configuration across 2 rows. The fully-lie flat seats feature a sliding door, 32-inch personal in-flight entertainment screens, personal reading lights, 110v AC power outlets, USB charger ports and bounds of storage space.
In center-aisle seats, a partition rises and closes to allow for privacy should you be sitting next to a stranger. Unlike ANA’s current first class product, ANA went with a more modern product, as noted in the dark tones that encompass the suite.
The seats are veritable thrones with plenty of room to stretch out. A large folding table also extends from under the screen with a cushioned seat on the other side should you want to have dinner with your significant other or travel companion.
In front of the cabin is a bar area featuring champagnes and wines, as well as a large screen with photos of Hawaii and flowers. This bar area is located directly atop the main staircase in the front of the aircraft.
The lavatories on either side of the first class cabin are elongated with a cushioned area and will feature enhanced amenities for passengers. Typically, first class lavatories include perfumes, colognes, lotions and other luxurious amenities.
In the center cabin of the upper deck is the business class cabin. The 56-seat cabin spans 14 rows in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration inside a single cabin without any galleys dividing it.
Featured for this first time on an ANA aircraft will be the Zodiac Aerospace seats, featuring three types of seats including aisle seats, window seats and paired honeymoon seats. Each seat has its own unique benefits and all feature direct aisle access.
With this seat type, every seat is slightly angled except the paired seats. Along the cabin wall, the window seat is slightly angled towards the window while the aisle seat is slightly angled towards the aisle. In the center aisle seats, the aisle seats are slanted towards the aisle at a more pronounced angle.
The side aisle window seats allow for the most privacy since one is away from the aisle and directly bordered by the cabin wall. Though the side aisle seats are slightly angled, they still directly border the aisle with only the armrest separating the seat from the aisle.
The paired honeymoon seats, aptly named since ANA is vying to attract the Hawaii-bound honeymoon market, allow for couples to be directly next to each other, though do come with an adjustable partition if needed. The partition is controlled by one press of a button and extends to above eye level for complete privacy when needed.
The seats will feature many of the same amenities as ANA’s current business class seats with upgrades such as 18-inch high-definition touchscreen personal entertainment systems, solid tray tables, side tables, tethered in-flight entertainment remotes, personal reading lights, 110v AC power outlets and 2 USB charging ports.
One of the largest premium economy cabins to be flying, the rear of the upper deck will be the 11-row premium economy cabin configured in a 2-3-2 configuration, similar to that of ANA’s current widebody fleet.
The 73-seats that make up the cabin will be different than the airline’s current premium economy seats with upgrades such as a swivel tray table, 15.6-inch HD in-flight entertainment systems and 6-way adjustable headrests. Additionally, the seatback pockets will be redesigned to allow for better storage for cell phones and small items.
The seats will maintain the foot and leg rests, as well as the adjustable personal reading lights and double drink holders. An upgrade from the premium economy seats found on the Boeing 777-300ER fleet, these seats will have 6-way adjustable headrests allowing for vertical movement as well.
While the upper deck is dedicated to premium cabins, the entirety of the lower deck is dedicated to one class, economy. Arranged in a 10-abreast, 3-4-3 configuration, this is one of the densest cabins in ANA’s fleet, with 383 seats in total stretching from the nose to tail, front boarding door to rear boarding door.
New slimline seats will be featured in economy, featuring an above average 34-inches of pitch. The seats are lighter in color to allow for a brighter ambiance on the place, helpful during long-haul flights such as the blank hop to Hawaii. Seats on the side aisle will be a light grey while center aisle seats will be blue in color.
Every seat features upgraded amenities such as 6-way adjustable headrests, 13.3-inch high definition touchscreen personal in-flight entertainment systems and footrests while maintaining current amenities such as 110v AC power outlets and USB charging ports. Seatback pockets have also be reconfigured to allow for better storage.
The last seven rows of the economy section, however, is a unique section aimed at attracting families flying to Hawaii for vacation. The section, called ANA COUCHii, is arranged in the same configuration as economy but features special seats that can be made into a couch/bed.
The seats are equipped with a highly durable leg rest that can be extended 90-degrees to allow for the occupants to sit as if they were on a couch. The seats also come with special bedding so little kids can snuggle up with parents, a husband and wife can lie down next to each or a solo traveler can stretch out on the nine-hour flight to Hawaii, the possibilities are endless. ANA is the only Japanese airline to offer this product, licensing the product from Air New Zealand.
Having the opportunity to lie down in the seat, I did find it to be very comfortable with the bedding. Empty economy rows are often called the “poor man’s lie-flat seat,” but having the extra room with the leg rests and comfort with the bedding takes that to a whole new meaning. The only difficulty was getting in and out as the aisle armrests are fully immovable. Additionally, while comfortable in the couch position, the bulky leg rests may prove to be uncomfortable while in the stowed position.
These seats feature a slightly less 32-inch pitch, 2-inches less than standard economy. The reduced pitch, however, serves in part to shorten the gap between the edge of the couch to the seat in front of you, giving defined boundaries to the couch and reducing any risks associated with a gap.
Directly behind the cabin, which is sealed off from the rest of the aircraft in its own unique section bordered by two galley areas, is a multi-purpose room.
One of the best features in the aircraft is the in-flight entertainment system, with each cabin seeing an upgraded offering as opposed to older-generation aircraft such as the long-haul flagship Boeing 777-300ERs. With a minimum screen size of 13.1-inches in economy to 32-inches in first, the high definition screens are ideal for keeping one occupied on the long-haul flights between Tokyo and Honolulu.
The system features many of the same offerings as existing systems but features unique enhancements such as a colorful home screen, revamped menu pages, moving maps and enhanced selection posters.
One of the most unique features, however, is the remote. Although seemingly basic, the remote feature as a laptop-esque trackpad that allows one to control the cursor on the screen to choose a selection. The cursor control is already featured on existing ANA aircraft but is currently manipulated using arrows instead of a trackpad.
The A380 also features three external cameras accessible from the in-flight entertainment system allowing views from the nose, tail and underbelly. Other ANA aircraft such as the Boeing 777-300ER feature these cameras but now they can be viewed on high definition screens with multiple angles.
Keeping in line with the Hawaiian theme of the FLYING HONU, ANA has crafted special meals inspired by Hawaiian cuisine instead of the standard catering found on its long-haul flights. Each cabin will feature its own style of meal, with Western and Japanese options available as usual.
The airline has collaborated with Hawaiian restaurants including Bills, a popular Hawaiian establishment in Honolulu, and the Four Seasons O’ahu. A special blue drink aptly named the Hawaii Cocktail will also be featured solely on the aircraft, similarly inspired by Hawaiian tastes.
Self-serve bars will also be located throughout the cabin with snacks and drinks should any passenger get puckish in between the meal service. The business class bar features a selection of refrigerated drinks, wines and spirits in addition to the standard business class snacks.
Premium economy passengers will also enjoy the same champagne, wine and sake as business class.
One Month Until Launch
Having successfully flown its first test run just last week, FLYING HONU is scheduled to enter commercial service on May 24 with its first flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to Honolulu International Airport. ANA expects to take delivery of the two remaining Airbus A380 aircraft from the manufacturer within the next two years, offering daily service between Tokyo and Hawaii on the aircraft starting July 1.