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Thursday, July 4, 2013

ANA introduces Premium Economy and 9-abreast Economy Class on long-haul configured 787-8

New ANA long-haul configured 787-8 seat map with Premium Economy and 9-abreats Economy Class seat.
New ANA long-haul configured 787-8 seat map with Premium Economy and 9-abreats Economy Class seat. Image by All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has just published a new 787 long-haul configuration with includes a Premium Economy cabin and a new 9-abreast 3-3-3 configuration in Economy Class. The new configuration will have a total of 169 seats, up from the previous 158-seat long-haul configuration.

This new configuration includes 46 ANA BUSINESS STAGGERED seats in Business Class in a 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 configurations, 21 Premium Economy seats in a 2-3-2 configuration (presumably the same new seats on 777-300ER), and 102 Economy Class seats in a 3-3-3 configuration except for the last 2 rows.


The current ANA long-haul configuration 787-8 with 8-abreast Economy Class cabin
The current ANA long-haul configuration 787-8 with 8-abreast Economy Class cabin. Image by All Nippon Airways

It has always been a speculation that ANA will install Premium Economy seats in the long-haul configured 787-8. The mini-cabin in Economy Class in the current configuration looks like it was designed for something else. As it turns out, that's exactly where ANA will put in the new Premium Economy cabin. To make up for the capacity loss, ANA decided to add an extra seat per row in Economy Class. This way, it only has to remove 10 Economy Class seats to add 21 Premium Economy Class seats and overall capacity increased by 11 as a result!


ANA current 787-8 Economy Class cabin
ANA current 787-8 Economy Class cabin. Image by Luke Lai

One thing I like about the current ANA configuration is that there are actually two armrests between seat E and seat F (you can see the gap between the two middle seats in the above picture). We all know how it sucks to be stuck in the middle. By adding an extra armrest, at least those passengers stuck in the middle seats don't have to share one of their armrests, which definitely helps in a long-haul flight. Not sure if ANA will keep the extra armrest in the new 3-3-3 configuration and I am not too optimistic about this. No seat specification on the new configuration have been announced yet. So we don't know whether the seat width and pitch would remains the same in Economy Class. But there's definitely an extra row in the back Economy Class cabin. Hopefully ANA is able to keep the seat width and pitch by making the aisles narrower and removing the extra armrest.

Up till now ANA and Japan Airlines (JAL) are the only 787 operators that have 2-4-2 configuration in the international Economy Class. All other operators so far have opted for the narrower 3-3-3 configuration, and ANA also uses the 9-abreast configuration on its domestic fleet. Assuming ANA will retrofit the entire long-haul 787 fleet and the regional ones as well, JAL will be the only operator left with a 2-4-2 configuration recommended by Boeing in Economy Class. We will see if JAL will take this opportunity to reconfigure its 787 fleet as well. But doing so will definitely go against its JAL New Sky Project which aims to provide travel experience one class above the current standard. And JAL has been installing wider seat with wider seat pitches across its long-haul configured 777-300ER and 767-300ER fleet as a result. So I would hope JAL won't follow ANA's steps in this case.


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