On May 24, Sam reviewed the Business Class product of the brand new A380, known as The “Flying Honu” flying from Tokyo Narita to Honolulu, Hawaii. The flight arrived at Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport at about 08:30. The second flight operated by this special aircraft, which is also the inaugural flight inbound from Tokyo, was scheduled to depart at 11:30. I was able to take this special flight and below is the review for ANA‘s Premium Economy product.

Check-In

ANA is operating out of Terminal 2 at Honolulu International Airport. There are six check-in counters opening for premium passengers, three for Business Class, two for First Class, and one for ANA Mileage Club Diamond members. Star Alliance Gold may use the Business Class counters.

During the check-in, every counter has a seat map for this new A380 aircraft. Seat numbers and configurations are clearly printed.

ANA Suite Lounge

From May 24, eligible passengers travelling on ANA’s flight out of Honolulu can use either of their two brand-new lounges, the ANA Suite Lounge and the ANA Lounge. First Class passengers and Diamond Card Holders have access to the ANA Suite Lounge while Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold Members have access to the ANA Lounge. These two lounges are the first ones ANA has opened outside of Japan.

During check-in, I was given a map indicating how to go from the check-in counters to the lounge.

While the walk would take 20 minutes, I chose to take the bus. Surprisingly, ANA is operating their own buses for passengers going to the lounge. The bus was quite empty, with only four passengers (including myself) on-board.

While I thought the bus would take me directly to the lounge, it did not. The driver dropped us off at an entrance near gate C4, where we had to walk to an elevator that would then takes us to the lounge.

Upon entering the lounge I was greeted by a friendly waitress, after choosing a seat she handed me a hot towel and proceeded to ask me what I would like to drink; to assist my selection I was presented with a beverage list.

There are not many seats available in the Suite Lounge, on the day of my flight almost every seat was taken before boarding began.

The dining area of the lounge included a buffet, ordered noodles, and a beverage bar.

The screen on the wall was showing how far the lounge is from boarding gates.

There was some merchandise on display in the lounge for sale, including a pair of Hawaiian flight only bears, a Tumi bag, and a “Flying Honu” plane model.

While the ANA Lounge is only separated by a wall of half height, there is not much difference except the size and service.

Inaugural Flight Ceremony

Because of the importance of this flight, there was a small ceremony prepared at the gate before boarding. While the size was not comparable to the ceremony that happened in Tokyo, it was still meaningful for every passenger who was able to see it.

After the ceremony, every passenger was taking pictures of this cute aircraft from the window.

Boarding

Passengers seating in Business Class, First Class, and Premium Economy Class with lounge access can choose to board directly from the lounge using the aircraft door on the second floor. When boarding, every lounge staff member came to say “thank you” and to wish us a safe journey.

For those who still want to board normally, different classes are also separated near the boarding gate.

For this flight, and for this flight only, no matter whether boarding from the first floor or the second floor, passengers received a small box of gifts from ANA.

After boarding from the first left door on the second floor, I needed to pass through Business Class to get to my seat. Business Class seats are in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration and each seat has direct aisle access. They are all in one large cabin.

After Business Class is Premium Economy Class in a 2-3-2 configuration. Seats are separated into two cabins by two exits, however there is no wall in between.

Each seat features: an adjustable headrest, a large personal in-flight entertainment screen, a remote control, magazine storage in front, adjustable foot support, leg support, bottle storage in the front middle console, storage space in the outside armrest, an unfoldable tray table in the middle armrest, a reading light, a clothes hook, and an air nozzle. The window seats even have an extra storage compartment due to the curved body of A380. Seat control buttons are located on the middle armrest.

Waiting on seats was a whole bag of amenities including: a blanket, a pillow, a pair of slippers, a pair of headphones, and an amenity kit.

In the seat back in front of me, I found the menu, service guide and the safety instructions. The seat instructions featured special “Flying Honu” elements.

In the in-flight entertainment system, there is software specifically designed for watching the cameras outside the plane so that even passengers that do not sit next to a window can see what is happening outside. There are three camera options: forward, tail, and downward; however, only forward and tail work during takeoff and landing.

Before takeoff, the flight attendants provided all kinds of amenities for passengers to take with them. This is quite similar to the service of Singapore Airlines Business Class, where passengers choose their own amenities.

I also noticed that this aircraft was equipped with large speakers near the emergency exits, is it because the aircraft is so huge?

In-Flight Service

The flight time from Honolulu to Tokyo was 7 hours and 30 minutes, and 2 meals were served, a hot one and a cold one.

The menu reads as below:

Shortly after takeoff, the first cart came to provide: a wet napkin, rice cracker, and a beverage. I chose to try the Honolulu-route specific special drink, pineapple juice; it was very refreshing.

After the first cart, the second came to provide the meal on one tray. I chose the beef hamburger steak and Hawaiian sausage with mushroom sauce. The appearance looked good and the dish was delicious.

The dessert was a made in Hawaii ice cream.

After the first meal, I was able to take a few pictures of the cabin. The bathrooms for the Premium Economy Class passengers are both located in front of the cabin and behind the cabin, there are three to choose from; the facilities inside the bathrooms were quite Japanese. I also noticed that they have a microwave in the kitchen, which is rare in Economy Class or Premium Economy Class.

In the middle of the flight, we were provided with instant noodles and cookies. I tried out the noodles; they were creamy pasta instead of the normal soup kind, which makes it tastes better.

About 90 minutes before landing, a cold meal was served. There was a sandwich, some fruits and a bag of chocolates in a box. I tried out the special cocktail for the Honolulu Route.

Before landing, every passenger was given a boarding certificate and a luggage tag from the inaugural flight.

Other Cabins

As I said above, Sam took the inaugural flight from Tokyo to Honolulu in Business Class and also Honolulu to Tokyo in First Class. If you are interested in reading or watching the review for those, please click the links below.h

How to redeem miles to fly on ANA A380?

Bottom Line

It is great to see ANA is introducing differentiated service between Premium Economy Class and Economy Class by providing different amenities, different food and different floors, of course. From the inaugural flight, I can feel that ANA is spending time and effort in making this “Flying Honu” brand a success. With the addition of another two A380 aircraft, I hope ANA can keep providing their great service.

Do you like the “Flying Honu”? Are you planning to take flights operated by ANA A380s in the future?