All Nippon Airways, better known as ANA, began nonstop service between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport on Friday. The service is so impressive that it just might tempt San Franciscans, Marinites, and East Bay residents to make the trek south.
All things considered, this reporter ranks ANA airlines’s new service five out of five stars.
What’s special about the Dreamliner?
Here’s my top five:
1. Seats. If you are like me, you like to do work or watch DVDs on your laptop. But there is always that anxiety of someone in the seat in front of you leaning back too suddenly and breaking the screen or spilling your drink. That’s not a worry with the Dreamliner. Even in economy, you are protected from the seat in front of you by a hard plastic case. All the seats recline, but without impinging on anyone else’s space.
2. Business class. About half of the space of the Dreamliner is reserved as business class. The Dreamliner takes business class to a whole new level. For starters, each seat is an aisle seat. You will never have to crawl over anyone to go to the rest room. The room and comfort in ANA’s Dreamliner service is superior to most other airlines first class service. Each seat has a side table in addition to the standard tray table. And all business class seats allow you to position to lie flat.
3. Windows. The Dreamliner has extra large windows and all windows are tintable. You can adjust the tint to let almost no light through or you can open it up to let all the light in. This is a great option if you want to block the glaring sun but at the same time you want to enjoy the view.
4. Entertainment Extra large TV screens in economy and business. You can watch what you want on demand when you want.
5. Power. Plug your devices and use at full throttle without worry about running down the battery.
By the way, if you are thinking of heading out to San Jose airport from up north, don’t worry. It is an easy drive and parking is a lot cheaper than at SFO. A number of off-airport lots with free shuttles are available. Caltrain offers a free shuttle from the Santa Clara station.
Currently, ANA has the only regularly-scheduled Dreamliner service from any of the Bay Area’s airports. United is considering adding Dreamliner service to a few of its domestic routes later this year. But if you want to go to Tokyo in style, head to San Jose. Nonstop service is every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But wait, there’s more. If you fly out of San Jose, you can also enjoy the airport’s brand new lounge. It’s free for ANA’s business class customers and just $35 for everybody else. That’s a bargain considering most other airlines charge around $50 for use a lounge. And you won’t find the perks you will find at the San Jose lounge, including free hot food and booze. Many airline lounges only give you free soft drinks and stale pretzels and maybe a rotten apple or two. But like ANA’s new 787 Dreamliner service, the San Jose lounge is first class all the way.