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Monday 11 November 2019

Returning Home With All Nippon Airways (Part 2: NRT-SIN)

Welcome to my return flight trip report with ANA! 

The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner in the manufacturer's corporate colours.

Photo: Daniel Gorun


It was my last flight of my U.S Adventure. Time passed by very quickly. When I did the check-in, the Boeing 787-10 was scheduled as planned. The day before and after my flight, it was operated by the -9 series. It may not be a bad thing as I have not flown on the airline's -9 yet. So looking at the schedule of both JA900A and JA901A, it seems like I would get back JA900A as JA901A at that time was doing only NRT-BKK (Bangkok) routing. 

For this trip, I can compare the ANA's newest 787-10 to American's 787-9 and there is only one winner, and this includes the in-flight service. There is a lot of things American Airlines can learn from their counterparts. I just hope things will change for the better for the Oneworld alliance member.

For NH801/802 flights (Starting End of October period), the Boeing 777-300ER has replaced the 787-10 on this Singapore to Tokyo Narita route. The 787-10 has been deployed on Tokyo to Manila Airport.

According to Airlineroute, the airline's 2 787-10 Dreamliner are deployed on NRT-BKK and NRT-MNL while The 3rd 787-10 will join the airline's fleet next year. For more information on ANA's 787-10 (October 2019 update), click here.

About ANA's fleet

This is the Lockheed L-1011 in the airline's old livery 

Photo: Kjell Nilsson

This is in the current livery (It has been around for quite a while)

Photo: Marc Hasenbein

Some photos of the airline's current fleet 

Airbus A321NEO (Photo: Seunghun Song)

This is the Starwars livery painted on the Boeing 777-200ER (Photo: Jasiori)

The airline's Boeing 777-300ER in Star Alliance livery (Photo: Hokuden)

ANA's Airbus A380 with the water cannon salute celebration (Photo: Umayadonooil - Ryo.A)

All Nippon Airways is a Star Alliance airline that operates a big fleet of mainly Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The U.S Aircraft manufacturer dominates the fleet with 737, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Recently it took delivery of the first 2 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, deploying on them on high demand regional routes. For regional and popular domestic flights, this is covered by the domestic configured 767, 777 and 787-8 aircraft, not only that, the Airbus A320NEO and A321NEO are purchased to help fill in the lesser demand regional routes and domestic flights. This aircraft, along with the 737 MAX 8 (Not delivered yet), are purchased to replace the 737NG aircraft. However the 737 MAX aircraft is currently grounded and there is no scheduled time frame at this time for the aircraft to return to service, so the delivery of the 20 737 MAX 8 order will be delayed till further notice. In addition, the airline has also supported the local market by ordering 15 Mitsubishi MRJ90, however due to issues with the aircraft, the delivery of the aircraft has been delayed a numerous number of times and for now, the aircraft type is scheduled to be delivered in the middle of 2020. As for the wide-body segment, the airline has ordered the 777-300ER replacement, that is the 777-9, 20 units of it but the delivery of the first aircraft will be delayed due to the engine issues with General Electric. Once the 777-9 comes online, I think it will replace some of the Boeing 777-300ER's routes. 

Tokyo Narita Airport 

Tokyo Narita Airport is formerly known as New Tokyo International Airport, was set up, as the main airport, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) had issues with capacity and noise, therefore the Japanese had to build a 2nd airport, further away from the populated areas. The development plan was made in 1966 and the airport started operation in May 1978. It was not smooth sailing for the Japanese authorities as there were protestors creating lots of issues, affecting the operation of the airport. This led to the decision of building an airport in reclaimed land in Osaka which is known as Osaka Kansai Airport of today.

Japan Airlines moved its international routes from Haneda to Narita when the airport was new while it's rivals, All Nippon Airways at that time was flying only domestic flights. It started international flights from 1986 onwards from the airport, with Guam as its initial route. For now, both ANA and Japan Airlines serve both domestic and international flights at both Haneda and Narita airports. 

This airport is located about 60km east of central Tokyo and the main mode of transport from town to this airport is by the Japanese train. This airport isn't as popular as Haneda due to the distance from the airport to the town area. In 2019, more slots are given to airlines at Haneda airport due to an expansion of the airport and that allows some airlines to transfer from Narita to Haneda. 

Tokyo Narita Airport has 3 terminals and 2 runways. The 2 runways are 16L/34R - 4 km in length while the other runway is 16R/34L - 2,500 km in length. This airport is a hub for Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Nippon Cargo Airlines and the Japanese Low-cost Carriers like Peach Aviation, Vanilla Air and Jetstar Japan. There is a night curfew for this airport, 11 p.m to 6 a.m as this will not disturb the local people as the flight path passes through the residential area. For the 3 terminals, terminal 3 is dedicated to Low-Cost Carriers. 

On the day of departure

After arriving from San Francisco on my previous flight (click here for the trip report), I bid my seatmate farewell and made my way to the airside where I had a couple of hours to hang around. 

This beautiful Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was heading to Manila

Checking my flight details, no issues so far.

With some flights shifting to Haneda Airport, I suspect the traffic here will be lighter. 

It takes a bit of time to get from one end to the other.

This is where my aircraft was departing from. (below)

I spotted both of ANA's Airbus A380 at the airport, one of them was ready for departure to Honolulu.

My flight route: NRT-SIN

Miles: 3,324

My ride: JA900A 

Delivered on 28 March 2019
809th Boeing 787 
Engines: 2 X Roll Royce Trent 1000
Configuration: C38 W21 Y235

Photo: Cozy Goto

Departure date: 24 July 2019
Airline: All Nippon Airways
Aircraft type: Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner
Registration: JA900A
Departure terminal: 1 (NRT) 
Seat: 38A 
Departure: 1815
Boarding: 1746
Push back: 1834
Take off: 1900
Scheduled arrival: 0025
Actual arrival: 0017
Duration: 6 hours 14 mins
Load: 90% Y Class
Departure runway: 16R
Arrival runway: 20R

Boarding started about 30 minutes before departure. It is important to be there early so that the pilots and cabin crew can prepare the flight and seek permission for the flight crew to depart the airport at the allocated time-slot. So always remember to try to be at the gate early. 

We pushed back later than expected as some passengers arrived at the gate later than they should and because of them, our flight was delayed. (We probably miss our take-off timeslot and the flight crew has to apply for another one) These passengers have the Captain to thank for because the Captain could have chosen to remove them from the flight. 

Once engines were started, we taxied to runway 16R for take-off. The take-off was powerful and we flew smoothly across the South China Sea towards Singapore. I slept for quite a bit on this flight, however, I managed to wake up in time for dinner. I missed the 2nd meal of the flight (snack meal), but that doesn't matter. I think at that point, sleep was more important.

Cabin interior photos

For more photos of this aircraft's interior, click here.

Premium Economy

It looks quite comfortable


Once again, the middle seat was vacant, more legroom space for me! I had a good rest on this Economy Class product, a definite improvement over the previous. (Click here for the old Economy Class product trip report) 

The airline is gradually upgrading it's fleet's cabin products on all long haul aircraft. You can check out this website for more information. (Click here for the information)

To me, this Economy Class product is the winner. (among the airlines I flew so far) 

The bulkhead Window Seat looks very cramped. 

This is my seat 

The ambience of the cabin is fantastic!

I like the new seats, they are slimmer yet comfortable.

The 34-inch legroom space is certainly generous 

What is your first impression on this airline's Economy Class? 

Feel free to leave a comment below.

In-flight service and flight experience

From the start to the end of the flight, service was impeccable. The cabin crew went around the cabin with smiles and were helpful in assisting the passengers. I remember not being disturbed while sleeping, missing one of the meals as a result, that is not a bad thing actually. Fortunately, I was awake for dinner meal, and enjoyed it while the aircraft was flying soar high in the sky! The 13 + hours on the 787-10 Dreamliner went past very quickly. This makes even better that no one sat beside me on both flights (SIN-NRT and NRT-SIN), what are the odds of that happening? 

As for the flight crew, the Captain came online to update us on our flight just after take-off and the First Officer updated us on the weather on arrival. 

Unlike my previous flight (SIN-NRT sector), this flight had more turbulence from time to time during the flight. Nothing bad about it and as far as I know, the seat belt sign was only turn on when we started our descent for arrival. 

We landed smoothly at Changi Airport and after 10 days of fun in the U.S, it was back to reality. The flights went past very quickly and now that I have completed all of them, I would do a conclusion on my U.S trip and nominate my best flight. 

The amazing size of the IFE (In-Flight Entertainment) screen

The number of languages available on your IFE system is impressive.

Merlion represents Singapore. What does this mean? 

'Mer' means sea, so when they join together you get sealion. This represents Singapore's origin as a fishing port, reminding us of the history of this small island. This symbol is trademarked in 1966, designed by Alec Fraser-Brunner.

In-flight meal: I had an option between this or the western meal. 

The meal is fine and I always look forward to enjoying it when flying out of Japan.

Window shot photos

We pushed back and started our 2 Roll Royce Trent 1000 engines. The Roll Royce engines are having issues worldwide and the engine manufacturer is currently fixing them, hopefully, that gets sorted out and so that the airlines won't have to continue grounding them and as a result, losing more money. As far as I know, the airlines are seeking compensation for the affected aircraft.

We were on our way 

The airline's Boeing 767-300ER

I apologised for the lack of photos from this point, as I dozed off for a short while before waking up for the take-off. By the time we took off, it was dark and the cabin lights were not turned off for the departure so I couldn't take any more photos due to the light reflection.

My Flight Review 

My rating:

ANA mobile app: 6/10
Tokyo Narita Airport experience: 7/10
IFE system: 7/10
Cabin interior: 10/10
Seat comfort: 9/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
In-flight service: 8/10
Punctuality: 10/10
In-flight meal: 7/10
Overall rating: 84/100


ANA has upgraded its cabin products to keep up with the competition and as far as my thoughts are, the airline has introduced an impressive Economy Class product. For both flights, I was able to sleep well and not a single time, I had backache and that is important for long haul flights. Even though it was about 7 hours on the seat, I thoroughly enjoy every single minute of the flight. The huge In-Flight Entertainment system, though has limited content inside, is good enough for medium-haul flights. I am fortunate to encounter 2 good sets of crew, as they have shown their quality of a 5-star airline, and with competition from the airline's biggest rival, Japan Airlines, they would try their best to maintain their standard to attract the public to fly with them instead. That's why they say, you need healthy competition, to keep each other on the toes all the time. For now, I can't comment which Japanese airline is better, as the last time I flew with Japan Airline, that took place 14 years ago. I will plan a trip with Japan Airlines in the future.

Why is the scheduled Boeing 787-10 aircraft not flying on NH801/NH802 flights during this period? 

Well, the airline operation department works out the schedule on flights every quarter of the year (the load varies depending on the season) and deploys the best aircraft suited for the routes. As more travellers are flying to the U.S from Singapore in November to February period, aircraft changes have to take place to help cope with the demand.(Do note that Singapore Airlines and ANA code-share on flights on SIN-NRT route) As the Boeing 777-300ER carries more passengers than the 787-10, this means one thing, there is demand during this period. As for the 787-10, it has been deployed to Tokyo-Manila route until the end of the Winter period (March 2020). Will the 787-10 return to Singapore after that? No idea. The airline will update us with the schedule a few weeks before the next quarter. 

Click here for the part 1 (SIN-NRT) trip report

My thoughts on my U.S Trip, click here

Thank you for reading! 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


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