Hayabusa services, the cutting-edge Tohoku Shinkansen E5 Series rolling stock making two daily round trips between
Tokyo and Shin-Aomori and one between Tokyo and Sendai, were launched on 5 March 2011.
Hayabusa is Japan’s first shinkansen to include the first class section called GranClass, which has its own attendants providing passengers with constant top-class service.
JR East intends GranClass to be a feature shinkansen service. The name is derived from the words ‘gran’, meaning big, and ‘class’ in the sense of grade. We feel this name clearly conveys our concept of ‘high-class and comfortable travelling space and services’.
The carriages have been designed around the catchphrase ‘Exclusive Dream—special travel moments, just for you’. The interior design is unconventional but elegant and refined. Luxurious materials such as real leather have been used for the seats, which are both comfortable and also employ a novel back shell-type design. The seat pitch is 1300 mm and the maximum reclining angle is 45°, providing passengers with a wide personal space where they can relax completely without having to worry about bothering other passengers.
Another special feature of GranClass is that Japanese and Western-style light meals using typical Tohoku
ingredients are provided, as are drinks, including alcohol.
The Green Cars on the Hayate and Komachi Tohoku
Shinkansen already provide soft drinks and moistened
hand towels, but GranClass differs in that it offers specially produced
original wines and snacks with the GranClass
logo, as well as aromatic coffee and herbal teas. The
blankets, eye masks, slippers and shoehorns are also of
higher quality; every item that each of our passengers uses is typical GranClass high quality.
So that our passengers can relax fully onboard, an important
part of the attendants’ job is to organize on-demand services
for them by referring to data such as the stations where they
will board and alight. Unlike an airplane, passengers get on
and off a shinkansen at stations along the way, so attendants
must always be aware of how to pace and tailor the service for each passenger.
The first contact with a newly boarded passenger is to
provide a moistened hand towel and welcoming drink once
they are seated. We also provide these with a light meal if the
passenger so desires. After this, the pace is customized to
each passenger, and we are careful to provide on-demand services accordingly.
We expect our professional attendants to provide
attentive service that displays consideration and vigilance.
It is also important that the optimum service for any given
situation is provided, so they need to acquire the correct
knowledge to do so, and to always focus on their work
while remaining flexible and aware of the wider picture. Our
training includes the importance of ‘self-study’ so that our
attendants make our passengers’ journey as pleasant as possible and leave them with a good impression.