Review – ANA Business Cradle – Tokyo Haneda to Vancouver – 787-8

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As our Sydney & Japan trip spawned out of an unexpected ANA error fare, it’s no surprise our return trip to Vancouver is also with ANA.

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ANA 787-8 (Reg: JA840A) in the ANA Maintenance hangar, the exact plane we flew home in

Normally, ANA flies a 787-9 with the Staggered business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration between Vancouver and Tokyo (similar to the one we reviewed here). However, for a couple months between August 2017 and March 2018, the plane was downgraded to a 787-8 that had the Cradle business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. We didn’t mind this much, as we had already flown on the 787-9 with the staggered seating configuration to and from Sydney. We were curious how the cradle seat compared with the staggered seating. 

See our review on ANA’s 777 Business Staggered here, or ANA’s 787-9 Business Staggered here for comparisons

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Boarding at gate 108A today

We were one of the first to board, and were welcomed by the friendly crew and the soothing ANA boarding music. There are two business class cabins separated by a galley, with the forward cabin containing 4 rows, while the rear cabin 3 rows. For the flight, we had selected seats in the last row of the forward cabin, 4A and 4C.

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Forward business class cabin

Available at our seats was a noise-cancelling headset, slippers, a soft blanket, pillow, as well as a Neal’s Yard amenity kit. I’ve already covered these amenities in more detail in our other ANA report here, so I won’t go into detail on them again.

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Our seats for the flight, 4A and 4C

The legroom on the seats are great. With that said, due to the configuration of the seats, the window seats do not have direct aisle access. One other thing I noticed was that the divider between the two seats was not that high, which is perfectly fine for two people travelling together, but may lack some privacy for solo travelers.

The Cradle seat controls, which are available on the center console, are much more basic than the Staggered seating type.  You simply have the option to extend the chair into a lounge position, or set it back upright.

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Center console and seat controls
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Cradle seat in lounge position

The LCD screen is touch screen and can be tilted, but the size of it is much smaller compared to the 777 and 787-9.

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Touch screen LCD screens with tilt function

A standard IFE controller is docked beneath the armrest. I didn’t love the positioning of this, because I sometimes prefer to use the IFE controller docked, and in this angle it was a bit of a challenge.

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IFE controller

A USB outlet, power port, and headphone jack could be found on the side of the center console.

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USB outlet, power port, headset plug

One annoyance I had about this particular seat type was the lack of any significant storage area for larger or bulkier items. Besides the two small storage pockets at the side of the seat, there was no where else to put anything. For most travelers it may not be a huge issue, but if you’re travelling with some sort of DSLR camera like me, you will struggle to find a good spot for it.

The tray table can be folded out from beneath one of the armrests. Having been spoiled with the huge surface area of ANA’s 777 pull out tray tables or the ones on the 787-9 that swivel out, I wasn’t too fond of this fold-able one. It takes a bit of effort to take out and put away your tray table, and it also sits quite low when extended, so if you have larger thighs you may end up feeling a bit cramped.

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Tray table folded beneath armrest
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Tray table fully extended

WiFi was available on board as well, but I didn’t purchase a package this time as I just wanted to catch up on some sleep.

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Wifi packages available

Menus were distributed shortly after takeoff. The Japanese Cuisine looked pretty good to me, so I choose to have that. One thing I love about ANA’s menu is the availability of the Light Dishes at any time throughout the flight. In particular, their IPPUDO ramen is pretty darn good. Definitely give it a try if you fly with ANA!

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ANA business class menu

The first course was the Amuse bouche, which is pretty much a “pre-appetizer”.

Amuse
Cheese stick paprika flavor
Pork ham and tomato aspic with cornichon
Two kinds of olive and cheese with herb oil

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Amuse bouche

The actual appetizer was a set of three dishes which were beautifully presented.

Zensai (A selection of morsels)
Dressed crab meat flakes and spinach with chrysanthemum
Simmered sweet fish with roe in soy-based sauce
Millet wheat gluten with dark brown miso paste / Baby yam fishcake / Maple leaf-shaped fishcake

Kobachi (Tasty tidbits)
Simmered Akashi octopus and taro with pumpkin paste

Otsukuri (A selection of sashimi)
Kombu kelp-cured salmon trout and soy sauce-cured salmon roe

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Appetizer

Grilled sablefish was served for the main course, along with a side of white rice, Japanese pickles, and miso soup.

Shusai (Main course)
Grilled sablefish with magnolia leaf-flavored miso paste
Steamed rice
Miso soup
Japanese pickles

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Main course

I chose to have both dessert options because they both looked really good! One was similar to a creme brulee, while the other was a more traditional mousse cake.

Desserts
“Emotion Sarah” – Passion Fruit Creme brulee, Chestnut gelee, Matcha Green Tea cream
ANA Original dessert – Tea and mascarpone mousse
Coffee + chocolate

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Desserts

After the meal service, both Peterson and I pretty much passed out, as we were running on 4 hours of sleep in the last 36 hours. Because of this, I didn’t end up using the IFE very much.

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Cruising towards Vancouver
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Business class cabin

I slept for about 5 hours, and woke up 1.5 hours before arrival into Vancouver. I was served another light Japanese meal, although I wasn’t able to finish it as I was still very full from the first meal.

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Japanese arrival meal
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Approaching YVR on the Air Show

It was amazing weather throughout our approach and descent into YVR. Sitting on the left side of the plane, I was able to catch a glimpse of my home as we came in for a 26R landing.

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Beautiful weather on approach – you can see the city of Port Alberni in the harbour
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Amazing views of YVR airport, downtown Vancouver and North Shore mountains
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Turning onto base for a 26R approach
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Flying past the Alex Fraser bridge
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Pulling into our gate beside a KLM Dreamliner at YVR
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Thanks for bringing us home!

In Summary:

As I mentioned, due to my extreme lack of sleep, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the flight and ended up sleeping for most of it. With that said, I still enjoyed the Japanese hospitality of the flight and the great food. It would have been great to have the 787-9 lie-flat seats for a transpacific flight, but the 787-8 cradle seat was a decent alternative given that I was travelling with someone else. My biggest gripe about the seat is the lack of any significant storage or side table. As someone who travels with more gear, I really appreciate a seat that can accommodate all my personal items without cluttering up my area. Unfortunately, this seat doesn’t allow for that.

Prefer video? Check out our Trip Report on YouTube, featuring time-lapses of the takeoff and landing!

What do you think about the ANA Cradle business class seat? Leave your comments below! Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for instant updates when we release a new post! Also head over to our YouTube channel for our video trip reports. Thanks for reading!

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Alvin is an aviation geek, enthusiast photographer, and software developer with a goal of exploring the world. He uses mileage programs to redeem premium flight travel, and shares his experiences here on OneMoreWeekToGo.

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