The good and the bad of ANA 787-8 economy (it’s mostly good…ish)

The good and the bad of ANA 787-8 economy (it’s mostly good…ish)

The ANA 787-8 economy class situation is a little complicated at the moment. At the time of this writing, there are three different versions: The domestic version, the old international version, and the new international version.

Making things extra spicy is the fact that this is a review of the old international version on a domestic Japanese route (HND-HIJ).

I know. It makes my head hurt too, but all you need to know is that flying around Japan on a 787-8 (even in economy class) is a pretty good time. I highly recommend it.

Tokyo, Japan (HND) – Hiroshima, Japan (HIJ)
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Aircraft: 787-8
Registration: JA815A
Duration:  1 hour 2 minutes
Seat: 24K (Economy Class)

ANA 787-8 (JA815A) side view
ANA 787-8 (JA815A) side view illustration by
NH671 flight track
Our route from Tokyo / Haneda to Hiroshima this morning as NH671.

My full review of ANA 787-8 economy from Tokyo (Haneda) to Hiroshima

I had originally planned this to be a review of the domestic ANA 787-8 economy class experience, but there was an aircraft swap at the very last minute. It was still a 787-8 thankfully, but one with the old (outgoing) international configuration instead. Them’s the breaks sometimes.

Arrival at the Tokyo Haneda Airport (Terminal 2)

I probably don’t even need to tell you how tired I was feeling as the shuttle bus dropped me off at the entrance of Terminal 2 at HND. I had just cleared Japanese customs and immigration after arriving on a flight from San Francisco, and to be quite frank, I would’ve much preferred walking into a hotel at that moment than an airport. But this review ain’t gonna write itself…

Tokyo Haneda airport terminal 2 arrivals level
Greetings from Terminal 2 at the Tokyo Haneda Airport! This is the arrivals level, which is probably irrelevant to this review considering my forthcoming departure to Hiroshima. I’m not getting off to a very good start here…
Tokyo Haneda airport terminal 2 main entrance
That said, the escalator ride up to the departures level was nothing short of wild. Terminal 2 is amazing!
Tokyo Haneda airport terminal 2 departures hall
Ain’t nothing wild about trying to find the security checkpoint in a strange airport when you’re severely jetlagged though. The fact that I’d been wearing the same pair of underwear for nearly 2 days at this point didn’t help.
Tokyo Haneda airport terminal 2 interior
I am making progress though! I eventually made it through security, only to find that Terminal 2 here at the Haneda airport looks exactly like the terminals over at Narita. Wild, eh?
Gate 65 terminal 2 Tokyo Haneda airport
Gate 65 is where this flight to Hiroshima is going to be departing today. Seems as if I have arrived with enough time to spare to dip into the bathroom for a change of underwear.
Tokyo Haneda airport window shades
I know it’s kind of hard to see it through the window shades without using copious amounts of imagination, but that’s the ANA 787-8 taking me to Hiroshima this morning. 

The boarding process for ANA flight number 671 to Hiroshima 

Flying is much more relaxing in Japan than it is back home in the US. Nobody starts crowding around the gate area 20 minutes before boarding time, and pretty much everyone stays seated until their zone number is called. Maybe nobody wanted to go to Hiroshima today. I don’t know. What I do know is that I highly appreciated not having to protect my groin (and other sensitive parts) as I approached the boarding pass scanner. 

ANA united mobile boarding pass HND-HIJ
Hmm. This is the boarding pass for this flight that I downloaded over 18 hours ago before leaving San Diego (from the United app). There has since been an aircraft swap resulting in a seat change, so…is it even valid anymore? When you’re as jet lagged as I was, you tend not to care all that much. 
ANA 787-8 parked at gate 65 Haneda airport
Success! The gate agents didn’t even bat an eye at my woefully outdated boarding pass, which makes this ANA 787-8 economy review a go. Or “ready for takeoff” (depending on how nerdy you want to get).
Haneda airport jet bridge
Japanese jet bridge advertisements are interesting. I have no idea what she’s trying to sell, but she seems to be awfully aggressive about it.
ANA 787-8 boarding door
She got me though. Trying to figure out what that ‘GMO’ stuff is (and why I need it in my life) was the only thing occupying my mind as I approached the boarding door to this beautiful ANA 787-8.
ANA 787-8 old business class
Business class. I’ve got a lot to say about this (particularly since this is an internationally configured aircraft), but I’ll keep it to myself since this is a review about economy class. Stay focused, Scott!
ANA 787-8 economy class cabin
There are no premium economy seats in this old configuration, so basically what happens is that you get hit right over the head with economy class immediately after exiting the business class cabin. 

My first impressions of the economy seats on the ANA 787-8 

I’ll admit it. Walking through the antiquated business class cabin on the way back to economy class gave me palpitations. I was expecting the worst. I mean, if the premium cabins look that antiquated, I can only imagine what steerage is like!

Thankfully, the economy seats are pretty nice. They are every bit as spacious as their newest long haul economy seats featured on other aircraft in the ANA fleet, and they contain the same great technology as well (large video screens, in-seat power, and a fully featured remote control for the entertainment system). 

ANA 787-8 economy class seats row 24
Row 24 (seats H, J, and K). It’s not like I have a choice at this point, but that window seat looks perfectly acceptable for the 1 hour ride to Hiroshima this morning.
ANA 787-8 economy class seats
For a fairly old international economy class seat, I’m having a surprising amount of difficulty coming up with something critical to say about them. Does “I don’t like the arch of the armrest” make me sound too desperate to sound like a real airline reviewer?
ANA 787-8 economy class seat details
I mean, unlike business class, these economy seats seem to be pretty darn competitive with JAL 787-8 economy. I guess what I’m saying is that I was expecting to have to complain and now I can’t think of anything to say (other than “this is freaking nice!”).
ANA 787-8 economy class leg room
Wait! Here’s something: The leg room appears to be roughly 5mm less than what you saw in my ANA 777-300ER economy review. So there.
ANA 787-8 economy seat back video screen
The seat back video screen is smaller as well. How will I ever survive?
SANspotter ANA 787-8 economy class
Being a super critical airline reviewer is fun!
ANA 787-8 economy class cabin and jumpseat
Nope, it won’t be the end of the world if you end up in economy on one of these older ANA 787-8s. This is nice.

To help put my feelings about these seats in better context, be sure to read my ANA A321neo economy review. As you will see, the seats here on the 787-8 are a lot more spacious than even the newest seats on ANA domestic aircraft. 

Along those same lines, I’d even say that they look like mini versions of the seats you’ll find in ANA 777-300ER premium economy. Right down to the color and texture of the fabric!

The departure out of HND

Flying into or out of the Haneda airport is always a treat. This is an airport located smack dab in the middle of Tokyo, and the scenery (whether you’re departing or arriving) is spectacular. Unless it’s foggy and rainy of course, in which case you’re not gonna see s**t. Guess what the weather was like today?

ANA 787-8 pushing off the gate at Haneda Airport terminal 2
Pushing off from the gate (and hopefully not into a gas truck or something).
ANA 787-8 terminal 2 Haneda Airport
Am I alone in thinking that the ANA livery is one of the best in the world? It’s a little rigid (and less swoopy) than other modern airline liveries, but it makes up for it in precision and cleanliness. 
SANspottter in ANA 787-8 economy class
Not even two seconds later, that annoying attention deficit order of mine had me thinking about the GMO stuff again. Maybe it’s a feminine product of some kind? I don’t know.
View from left side of aircraft when taxiing out to runway Haneda airport
Pro tip for anyone hoping to get good views of the terminals (and aircraft) at the Haneda Airport when taxiing out to runway 16L: Sit on the left side of the aircraft. There’s not much to see here on the right.
ANA 787-8 takeoff from HND
Then again, HND is an incredibly busy airport located smack dab in the middle of one of the most interesting cities in the world, so you won’t have to wait very long to see some super cool AvGeek stuff.
ANA 787-8 takeoff from Tokyo Haneda airport
“Super cool AvGeek stuff.”
ANA 787-8 departure from Tokyo Haneda airport
Boats too! See? There’s something for nearly every type of transportation nerd here at HND.
SANspotter looking out the window of an ANA Boeing 787-8
Nerd alert!

Those of you who have no patience for looking at pics (and reading captions) are in luck! Here’s a full video of the taxi and takeoff out of the Haneda Airport this morning:

In-flight entertainment 

Don’t let the small(ish) video screens fool you. Despite not being as large as what you will find in ANA’s newest economy class seats, it still features the same great software and catalog of content. In additions to movies and TV shows, you’ll find a fairly vast collection of music and e-book titles. Much of it in Japanese, of course.

ANA 787-8 economy in-flight entertainment user interface
Oops. I forgot to select “English” from the start screen and now I’m jammed up good. Help!
ANA 787-8 economy in-flight entertainment screens
Once I figured out how to switch languages, it was nice to see that this is the exact same in-flight entertainment UI featured on ANA’s newest aircraft. This is a very high resolution image by the way (so click on it to see all the gory details).
ANA 787-8 economy in-flight entertainment Tom and Jerry
Tom and Jerry! I’ll never understand Japan’s fascination with one of the most violent cartoons to ever come out of the US, but I’m not complaining. It’s my favorite cartoon of all time (which probably explains why I turned out so weird). 
ANA 787-8 economy streaming movies and TV shows
There’s also the ability to stream content directly to your device if you want. (I didn’t want).
ANA 787-8 economy entertainment system remote control
The remote control. Judging by how squeaky clean this thing is, I don’t think it sees a lot of action.

It’s worth noting that ANA does not provide full-size headphones in economy class on domestic flights. All we got was the same cheap little earbuds that we get in economy in the US. 

ANA 787-8 economy complementary earbuds
Nope – ANA doesn’t provide real headphones in domestic economy like they do on long-haul flights, but these earbuds do the job just fine. Arigato!
ANA 787-8 economy entertainment system audio and data jacks
Is that an ethernet port next to the headphone jack and USB-C outlet? My apologies for not having any CAT5 cable on me to test it out.

The snack service 

If you’re looking for the best possible way to feel disappointment, it’s simply a matter of showing up to a domestic ANA economy flight feeling hungry. Of course you would be a fool to expect a full meal service. But I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that there would be a delicious snack (or two). That’s what I did.

Long story short, they don’t serve snacks on these flights. All you’re going to get is one of three drinks: water, tea, or apple juice (served in a tiny little cup no less).

ANA 787-8 economy snack service
I have no better pic to summarize the entirety of the snack service other than this. Even I was expecting more.
ANA paper cup
Even though all we got was a drink in a tiny Japanese sized cup, the illustration of the ANA 767-300 printed on it (accurate right down to the registration number) negates all of the negative things I was just about to say.
SANspotter ANA 787-8 economy drinks
Sorry, but  it’s impossible for me to say anything bad about a little paper cup if it has airplane illustrations on it. #AvGeek #kompai #bottomsup #ANArules
ANA 787-8 economy tray table cup holder
The only bad thing about this super-convenient cup holder built into the tray table is that it covered up the illustration of the aircraft when the cup was in it. There’s always a catch.

Seat comfort

Hate on this old economy class configuration all you want, but I could easily go 12 hours in these seats. Really – they are every bit as nice (and fully featured) as what any other airline in the world is offering. It’s the generous legroom that makes the most difference in my opinion, and if you’re over 6 feet tall, you’d be a fool to choose any other airline for long-haul economy. 

ANA 787-8 economy seat comfort
Whether or not these seats will be comfortable to you depends entirely on how tall (and wide) you are. Japanese-sized people will appreciate this more IMHO.
SANspotter sleeping in ANA 787-8 economy
American-sized people (like me) won’t have any issues getting comfortable either if gobs of jet lag are entered into the equation. That flight from SFO (right before this) kicked my butt!
ANA 787-8 economy overhead in-flight map
With a flying time of only one hour between Tokyo and Hiroshima, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have anything negative to say about seat comfort. I mean, how sad would it have been to say something bad about a domestic Boeing 787 experience?

The descent and arrival into Hiroshima

It had been a while since I had flown into Hiroshima during daylight hours, and I forgot how mountainous the terrain is surrounding the airport. As a matter of fact, the environment is so challenging that they actually had to build a portion of the runway extending off the side of a mountain. It’s hard not to freak out when it looks as if you’re about to crash into the jungle when landing at HIJ! 

ANA 787-8 starting descent into Hiroshima
Darn it. Starting the descent so soon? This flight was way too short for my liking (and that’s not fair).
ANA 787-8 landing in Hiroshima
Wow! One moment we were skimming mountain tops, and the next we were over the threshold for runway 10. It’s an admittedly jarring experience when you’re not expecting it.
ANA 787-8 landing at HIJ
Welcome to Hiroshima! FYI, monkeys live in those hills in the distance – and I bet they’re all hard-core AvGeeks as well. How could anyone (or anything) not be when living so close to the airport?
Boeing 787-8 humid window condensation
It’s a little humid here today.
ANA 787-8 taxi into the gate Hiroshima airport
I can only hope the monkeys got better pics than I did as we taxied into the gate. The weather conditions were challenging to say the least.
ANA 787-8 economy and business class cabins
Here’s one last look at the economy and business class cabins upon deplaning. It’s a good thing that this review is over, because there is still so much I want to say about those ‘premium’ seats. Bah!
ANA 787-8 parked at the gate HIJ airport
The final pic (better than the monkeys could do).

Pros and cons of the domestic ANA 787-8 economy class experience

I really want to tell you that ANA economy is the best in the world, but I just can’t. Yes, the flight attendants are beyond amazing, and the amount of organization and cleanliness is next-level awesome. That said, they’re awfully stingy when it comes to in-flight service. I was expecting a lot more on this 1 hour domestic flight. 


  • The amount of legroom is fantastic. It’s basically premium economy levels of legroom for the price of economy class.
  • The flight attendants are absolute rock stars. Ask for anything (well, except maybe for food), and they’ll be happy to oblige.
  • Everything is spotless and clean. The Japanese take pride in their work!


  • The food (or the lack there of it) was a letdown. Something as simple as a bag of snack mix to go with my drink would have done wonders to knock back my jet lag a bit.
  • Speaking of drinks, it’s important to remember that Japanese serving sizes are a lot smaller than US serving sizes. There’s no shame in asking for seconds though, because the flight attendants will essentially trip over themselves to get it for you. 

Comments (4)

  1. Peter

    August 2, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      August 3, 2023
  2. AVLspotter

    August 4, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      August 4, 2023

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