The ANA page tends to default back to Japan (as a home region) when you log out and log in again. I didn’t think much about it until I finished all the screenshots for this and another post. Then I realized that all that JPY pricing might look weird (duh!) but seriously, I’m not going to redo all these screenshots again. Just divide the pirce by 100 and you will get the approximate value in dollars. At the time of writing, $1 is 107 Japanese Yen.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know when ANA dropped YQ on Scandinavian, one of its Star Alliance partner airlines, so my apologies if this is old news to some of you. When I saw that Scandinavian stopped adding fuel surcharges to award tickets a few years ago, I presumed the other Star partners would do the same. And so I though it was odd that ANA kept adding the fuel surcharge back then even after Scandinavian removed YQ on its own award tickets. Fortunately, they aren’t doing it anymore. I’ve been researching my upcoming trip to Norway, and the fuel surcharge is gone.
Why is it big?
ANA has fantastic Business Class redemption rate between North America and Europe — 88,000 miles per round trip. You can also add a stopover and up to 2 open jaws and route your flight any which way you want, as long as you’re following its routing rules. For example, you can’t fly from North America to Asia or Australia via Europe, or to Europe via Asia or Australia. But, other than that, ANA allows a lot of things, even backtracking. As a reminder, here are the routing rules.
One beauty of Scandinavian Airlines is that it offers nonstop flights from the U.S. to Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. And from these European hubs, they have a reasonably extensive network all over the continent.
Avoiding fuel surcharges on ANA redemptions to Europe isn’t easy, but it’s gotten easier. Most European Star Alliance partner airlines like Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian add huge fuel surcharges. The only ANA-redeemable “non-YQ” airlines from North America to Europe used to be United and Air Canada. However, United award space between the U.S. and Europe is tight, especially in business. And finding award space on Air Canada can be even harder due to the scheduling and married segments issues. (You might find it harder to nail a segment from Canada to the U.S. than from Europe to Canada on the same ticket).
Scandinavian is a perfect tool to increase your chances on getting where you want without having to dole out the exorbitant fuel scamcharges to Lufthansa, Swiss, or Brussels.
How good is Scandinavian Business Class?
The new Business Class cabins that are supposed to be installed on all Scandinavian flights include fully lie-flat staggered seats equipped with mattresses and massage functions in 1-2-1 configurations. Add the top-notch food and service, and Business Class simply doesn’t get much better than this, with the exception of incredibly private JAL window seats or new Delta One or Qatar suites.
Unfortunately, there is one infamous A340 in the Scandinavian fleet that still features that old and tired 2-2-2 design, although the seats are fully flat. It often flies between Chicago and Copenhagen, but can be found on other routes, too. AFAIK, you can’t tell in advance, so cross your fingers and hope you don’t get it on your next journey. The math is on your side.
Spotting award space on Scandinavian can be tricky, but as long as you’re looking at least 9 to 10 months in advance, you should be fine. I don’t recommend searching for availability on ANA unless you want to test the limits of your sanity, so just search the United or Air Canada website (I prefer United) and punch the dates into the ANA booking engine. In most cases, the Star Alliance partner airlines flights available on United can be snatched up on ANA.
Where to fly on Scandinavian
Here are a couple of options that can put the ANA stopover rule to good use. This one is kind of obvious. You can easily visit two Scandinavian capitals using the ANA stopover rule.
Or you can go wherever Scandinavian can take you including the Canary Islands. Getting a Business Class flight between Scandinavia and Gran Canaria isn’t super-easy, but possible with good planning.
… Although you’ll spend 12 of them in 737 🙁
Have you flown on Scandinavian or used ANA miles on Star Alliance partner airlines for flights to Europe? Share your experiences.
To be continued