Last week, I attended a private event hosted by All Nippon Airways (ANA) at Pier 36. “The ANA Experience” promised a journey from New York City to “Neon Future” on ANA’s newly redesigned B777-300 ER, showcasing the new seats in first, business, premium economy and economy. Of course, the new ANA business class is amazing.
While I rarely go south of Canal, I was intrigued since DJ Steve Aoki would be the DJ for the event (Neon Future IV is the title of his upcoming album.).
A lot of my friends know I was a DJ in NYC for almost a decade (shout out to MySpace!).
I had 3 residences a week in downtown Manhattan, including Beauty Bar where Steve Aoki was also a DJ (LA location), and we ran in the same group of friends. It’s crazy to see how far he’s gone in his career (I left DJing to focus on writing full time).
Anyway, I wasn’t surprised Steve was DJing corporate events (DJs do this), but I had no idea he had a partnership with ANA, including a branded Aoki ‘N Air podcast.
ANA is a *great* airline. It’s received a 5-star rating from Skytrax for seven years now, and the airline is constantly reinventing itself. The 777-300ER happens to be one of my favorite planes in general. In fact, it’s what truly anchored American Airlines as a progressive airline, and it’s one of the best planes for several international airlines, like Cathay Pacific.
New first class seat, THE Suite
While most top airlines are cutting back or eliminating first class seats, ANA thought to improve them. “THE Suite” features privacy-enhancing doors as well as a 43-inch monitor touted as the world’s first 4K personal monitor on a commercial airliner.
THE Suite also has a movable partition that can be adjusted upon request to pair seats, as well as a luxury dark wood finish.
New business class seat, THE Room
The new business class is called “THE Room,” inspired by modern, multifunctional Japanese living spaces. Each seat, minimally designed, has a flexible door for privacy, and according to ANA, “one of the largest business class seating environments in the world.” In fact, a wide sofa doubles the width to previous seating.
The architect Kengo Kuma finished the seats with three different wood finishes inspired by modern Japanese homes – Rosewood, Light Japanese Ash and Dark Japanese Ash. Of course, ANA business class is amazing.
For first and business class, ANA provides bespoke seat mattress and bedding in partnership with Nishikawa.
Premium Economy and Economy seat
For travelers flying premium economy or economy class, the new seats have upholstery redesigned with Japanese patterns, traditional prints including tatami mat pattern that represents a “Japanese welcome” and an arrow design taken from the Yagasuri pattern to suggest movement and direction.
ANA improved touch-screen monitors and headrests that are adjustable along six distinct axes.
For the plane, ANA revamped the entrance area of the aircraft to create a “hotel-like reception” complete with welcome monitors.
ANA has also designed a new food service area to embody the Japanese ‘Omotenashi’ philosophy of hospitality; redesigned the self-service bar area (which now have mini-fridges stocked with beverages and snacks); and offer a contemporary design of the galleys to integrate a back light panel.
I think partnering with Aoki is interesting since he has a strong millennial/party demographic, and ANA… does not. I imagine ANA is targeting a younger audience to stand out from competitive airlines like JAL and United.
While there is no information on the median age bracket for U.S. visitors to Japan, about 32 million travel there every year, according to Japan National Tourism Board, which is a crazy spike from the 10 million overseas tourists in 2013.
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