Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bay Area gets its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight

The Bay Area will be getting its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight when ANA commences its Tokyo (NRT) to San Jose (SJC) route on January 11th, 2013.  This is a long delayed inauguration as ANA had originally planned to begin flying this route on April 1st, 2012.  SJC, once an American Airlines hub and a major transit point during the golden dot-com era, has been reduced down to mostly regional and discount carrier routes since the the dot-com bubble imploded.  Since American Airlines discontinued their SJC-NRT route in 2007, the city of San Jose has been courting ANA for years to return transpacific flights to the estranged airport.  Home to behemoth tech companies like Adobe, eBay, Cisco, and Intel, San Jose hopes that this new route will bridge their businesses and residents with Asia.

ANA's confirmed flight schedule:
NH1076 DEPART NRT 17:35 – ARRIVE SJC 1010
NH1075 DEPART SJC 11:45 – ARRIVE NRT 1610+1

Booked Equipment: Boeing 787-8
Operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
It should be noted that this flight only operates 5 days a week.  ANA is a Star Alliance carrier and will likely be partnering with United Airlines and US Airways to provide domestic connections.  However, Star Alliance flights out of SJC are currently limited to Denver, Houston, LA, and Phoenix, so don't expect a whole lot of domestic connections beyond SJC.  As a result, I anticipate extensive mileage award redemption availability on this flight.

Interior configuration
ANA was the first carrier to fly Boeing's long anticipated and delayed 787.  Consisting of mostly carbon fiber materials, the 787 is 25% more fuel efficient than comparable models.  Its sturdy structural integrity also allows for 30% larger state-of-the-art windows equipped with dimmers instead of sliding shades.  The 787's advanced electronically-driven compressor system produces an internal cabin pressure equivalent to an altitude of 6,000 feet instead of 8,000 feet for conventional jet liners, thus mitigating altitude sickness for prone customers.  ANA's 787 has an interior to be reckoned with:
Business class cabin with mood lighting.  Direct aisle access from every seat.
Fully flatbed seats with 180 degrees of recline, amongst the best hard products in the industry.
Business class self-serve sake bar
Economy class seats with larger windows and state-of-the-art electronic dimmers.  Each seat features expanded 34" seat pitch and audio/video on demand with outlet charging ports for your iPhone and electronic devices.
Expanded overhead storage bins with deeper compartments to accommodate rollerbags.
Economy class on-board bar with complimentary alcohol
Bidet toilet sprays: a Japanese signature product
Bottom line
Fares should be announced soon.  If you're using United MileagePlus award miles, economy and business class roundtrip fares should cost 65,000 and 120,000 miles, respectively.  A good redemption value considering the amazing hard product that ANA has to offer for its flagship plane.  Flying out of SJC also lessens the likelihood for weather-related delays and aircraft congestion that SFO flyers commonly face.  If this route excels, it could initiate the return of long-haul international flights out of SJC.

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