Review: ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class from Osaka Itami to Naha

For better or worse, I never had a chance to fly on ANA’s Boeing 787-8s equipped with regional business class on an international flight. With the aircraft being used domestically now, though, I finally could try it on a domestic flight from Osaka to Naha in Premium Class. The flight was a part of my recent ANA mileage run.

Continue reading to see what the onboard service was like as well as what seats are offered onboard the aircraft.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class
ANA Boeing 787-8 (78R) Premium Class.

Transfer & Boarding at Osaka Itami Airport

As I had less than an hour of scheduled transfer time after arriving in Osaka from Kagoshima, I didn’t exit the secure area and instead headed straight to Itami’s ANA Lounge.

While nothing to write home about it still provided a comfortable place to spend some time in while watching aircraft. I reviewed the lounge in detail here.

ANA Lounge Osaka Itami
ANA Lounge Osaka Itami.

I left the lounge around 1:40PM and headed to gate 13 where the flight to Okinawa was departing from.

When I got there a minute or so later, the Boeing 787-8 that would operate the flight was being prepared outside and inside, a large crowd of people was gathered waiting for boarding to start.

ANA Boeing 787
Almost ready for the flight.
ANA Flight to Okinawa
The flight was full.

Soon, an announcement was made that we would be departing with a 15 minute delay due to the late arrival of our aircraft and that boarding would start at 1:51PM. In the end, preboarding started at 1:46PM but it turned out that those passengers were just waiting in the jetway after that – the actual boarding didn’t start until 2:03PM.

Traveling in Premium Class, I headed onboard as part of boarding group 2. Group 1 were ANA Diamond status holders.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Boarding
Gate 13.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Boarding

ANA Boeing 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Cabin & Seat

Currently, Boeing 787-8s used on domestic ANA flights come in two configurations:

  • 78P: Domestic aircraft equipped with 335 seats including 12 regular Premium Class seats similar to those on the airline’s 767s
  • 78R: International aircraft intended for regional flights that are currently being used on domestic flights; equipped with 240 seats including 42 recliner business class seats sold as Premium Class

The aircraft operating my flight was a “78R,” giving me a chance to try ANA’s regional business class seats for the first time. Its 42 Premium Class seats were split across two cabins and arranged in a 2-2-2 layout. Between the seats in each pair was a decently-sized privacy partition that could not be lowered.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Cabin
Middle section pair of seats.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Cabin
Window-side pair of seats.

I wanted to choose a window seat, but none were left by the time I booked my flight and so I chose 2G – a center-section aisle seat instead. While the seat was more than comfortable enough for a two-hour domestic flight, I wouldn’t want to fly longer in it than, let’s say, a five- or six-hour daytime flight.

For some reason, I find sitting on this type of seat in its fully reclined position fairly uncomfortable and prefer to have them in just a slightly reclined position.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat
Fully reclined seat.

Zooming in, on the left side of the headrest was a reading light.

Next to it, on the privacy partition, was a hook for headphones.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat
Reading light.

There was also a small drinks table between the seats. Rather than being separated into two distinct parts, it was shared. Seat controls could be found next to the small table too – unlike ANA’s actual Premium Class seats, this seat was controlled electronically.

In the console under the table were an in-flight entertainment controller, audio output, a USB charging port, a universal power outlet, and a small storage compartment that could hold a bottle and then some.

One thing I have to note here is that facing into the seat itself, the power outlet was in about the worst possible location. I wonder if there are any aircraft power outlets that are placed worse than that – if you know about any, let me know!

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat
Table, seat controls, etc.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat
Power outlet, USB port, etc.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat
The power outlet was in the worst possible location.

A fairly large tray table that could be folded in half and swiveled was located inside the other armrest.

The seatback in front was equipped with a relatively small in-flight entertainment screen, a literature pocket, a seat pocket, and a coat hook.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat
Seatback in front.

ANA Premium Class Pre-Flight Service & Departure

Not long after I got settled in my seat, the purser came to introduce herself and apologize for the delay. Then, sanitizing wipes were handed out.

Boarding was completed at 2:17PM and two minutes later at which point the cabin crew was stowing jackets and handing out blankets to passengers who wanted one. By this time, all of the seats in the aircraft were taken as well – the flight was completely full.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class
Cleaning wipe.

Upon boarding, a pair of slippers and Panasonic headphones were waiting at the seat.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Seat Slippers
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Headphones

We were pushed back at 2:26PM (31 minutes behind schedule) at which point one of the flight attendants made an announcement introducing the crew and so on. Interestingly, instead of doing the English version directly, she recorded the Japanese version on her iPad and played a computer-translated version afterward.

Then, the safety video was played. Once that was done, while we were taxiing to the departure runway, I started watching Top Gun: Maverick.

We took off from Itami’s runway 32L at 2:38PM.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Flight to Okinawa
Watching Top Gun.

ANA Premium Class Light Meal

Seatbelt signs were switched off just six minutes after take-off. At that point, an announcement was made saying they would be switched back on at 4PM – about an hour and fifteen minutes later.

Then, the meal service started with the distribution of drink menus. Sake and shochu, beer, wine, and highball were offered. There was no “Western” liquor (other than the highball which is a mix of whisky and sparkling water).

Those that drink beer would probably appreciate that there was a selection of five different brands including Asahi, Suntory, Sapporo, Kirin, and even Okinawa’s Orion.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Drink Menu
Drink menu.

Five minutes later, the meal was brought. Back when I took this flight, ANA had four types of meals in domestic Premium Class depending on a flight’s departure time:

  • Breakfast (flights departing before 10:30AM)
  • Lunch (flights departing before 1:30PM)
  • Light meal (flights departing before 5PM)
  • Dinner (flights departing at 5PM or later)

With my flight departing at 1:55PM, I was served a light meal. It consisted of a really small piece of ham croissant and some other small bits to eat, a side of fruits, and a couple of cookies. In other words, while the items themselves were tasty, the meal itself was nothing to write home about.

The meal came with wooden cutlery and a cold towel. While the towel was packaged and so at first glance looked like a disposable one, inside the package was an actual cloth towel.

To drink, I asked for a cup of Perrier and a cup of green tea.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Meal

A bit less than 20 minutes after the meal was served, one of the flight attendants came to clear the tray. She also asked if I wanted another drink but I politely declined.

Before continuing, it’s worth noting that luckily ANA seems to have gotten rid of the “light meal” offering and has simplified the meals served in Premium Class to the following meaning passengers departing between 1:30PM and 5PM get a better meal now:

  • Breakfast (flights departing before 11AM)
  • Lunch/dinner (flights departing at 11AM or later)

ANA 787-8 (78R) In-Flight Entertainment System & Wi-Fi

As mentioned earlier, the seatback in front was equipped with a small IFE screen.

While the selection of programming was quite modest, given that the aircraft is being used on domestic flights that are two and a half hours or so long at most, it was more than sufficient.

There were a few movies including – at the time of my flight – Top Gun: Maverick. There were also some TV programs including many episodes of Demon Slayer which ANA partners with. Lastly, in terms of video, there were even some live TV channels although I believe all of those were in Japanese.

Additionally, there was some music.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class IFE Movies
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class IFE Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class IFE Live TV
Live TV.

In addition to regular entertainment, there was of course also an in-flight map.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class IFE Map
Map options.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class IFE Map
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class IFE Map
Flight information.

It’s also worth noting that like most other ANA planes, the aircraft I was flying on offered free onboard wi-fi.

Arrival at Naha Airport

While we were cruising toward Naha, one of the flight attendants put a blanket on a passenger that was sleeping – that’s what I call genuine and nice service! Then, at 3:30PM, an announcement was made saying that passengers were not waked up for service so those that missed it should let the crew know.

Not long after that, one of the flight attendants came to clear my empty cup. At that point she offered me another drink so I had a cup of Coke Zero. For the rest of the flight, I watched Top Gun and did some work on my laptop.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Cruising
Getting some work done.
ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Cruising
Cruising bound for Naha.

At 3:43PM, one of the pilots made an announcement. He mentioned that we were flying at 38,000 feet and that within the limitations of what they could do they were trying to make up for the delayed departure. He also mentioned that it was 24 degrees and rainy in Naha and that we would be starting our descent in 15 minutes or so.

Seatbelt signs were switched back on at 4PM and at 4:22PM, we landed at Naha airport. Five minutes later, at 4:27PM, we came to a full stop at gate 32. As such, in spite of the late departure, we only arrived 12 minutes behind schedule.

ANA 787 in Okinawa
Deboarding at Naha airport.

ANA 787-8 (78R) Premium Class Summary

Overall, it was a fine flight – the meal was tasty albeit small, the seat was perfectly fine for the short flight, and I even got to watch Top Gun on the way to Okinawa.

That said, in general, I would not pay for Premium Class on a Japanese domestic flight unless I was reviewing a specific product for this blog, on a mileage run where it made sense (like in this case), or using ANA’s upgrade points to upgrade.

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