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A couple of months ago, ANA had an error fare for a round trip business class ticket from Vancouver to Sydney for an insanely low price of $800 CAD. Peterson and I had been lucky enough to score a pair of these tickets, allowing us to fly ANA in business class for the very first time!
After arriving in San Francisco from Vancouver on United’s domestic First Class, we were ready for our first segment with ANA. Arguably, this segment from SFO to NRT was the one we were most excited about, as it was the only 777-300ER in our itinerary (The rest were 787-8 and 9’s). As a five-star airline, I’ve heard a lot of great things about ANA. Having watched YouTube trip reports of their business class seats, I was coming in with high expectations. (spoiler: I was not disappointed 😉)
After doing some lounge-hopping at SFO, we arrived our gate early to be among the first to board. As you would expect from Japanese punctuality, boarding began right on time, beginning with Diamond members and First Class, followed by Business Class, and finally Economy.
San Francisco (SFO) -> Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Airline: All Nippon Airways
Flight No: NH7
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Date: Monday, September 18, 2017
Scheduled Departure: 12:15 PM
Scheduled Arrival: 3:20 PM
Duration: 11 hrs 5 mins
We boarded through the second door, behind the first class cabin. I really enjoyed the classy boarding music that was playing as I walked to my seat!
ANA’s 777-300ER features staggered business class seats, which are set in a 1-2-1 configuration. Every seat boasts direct aisle access, so you don’t have to worry about being disturbed throughout the flight. There are 13 rows of business class seats spread out over two cabins. The first one is a mini cabin with just two rows, which is right behind the first class section. The second larger cabin contains 11 rows of seats.
Peterson and I had booked seats 14K and 16K, which are the last two window seats on the right in the main business class cabin. We try to book seats in the rear of the cabin to minimize disturbance to other passengers, as we like to take a lot of photos of the cabin for blog purposes.
Available on my seat was a set of noise-cancelling headphones, a pair of slippers, an amenity kit, a pillow, a comforter, and a mattress pad.
The amenity kit was supplied by Neal’s Yard Remedies, and it incorporates ANA’s logo outline into their design, which I thought was very nice. Contents consisted of an eye mask, toothbrush set, earbuds, lip balm, facial mist and hand cream.
The flight attendant serving our area came by to introduce herself. She was super friendly and genuine, and I could already tell this crew would be fantastic.
Pre-departure beverages were served, and the options included sparkling wine and orange juice. I’m not a fan of sparkling stuff or wine, so I picked the orange juice. Besides, the “sparkling” wine didn’t really sparkle much.
The crew also distributed ANA sweaters for the flight. I never actually wore it as the cabin temperature was just right for me, but the sweater was very soft and felt comfortable. Too bad we couldn’t keep these after the flight!
The side table was large and featured a compartment for storing small personal items. There’s also a cupholder ring to secure any water bottles.
Seat controls are located on the side of the seat beneath the side table. They were simple and intuitive. A standard IFE controller was docked here as well.
The ottoman provided plenty of footrest space, and should accommodate taller individuals. Beneath the ottoman was more storage space where you could place shoes or bags. I also found it to be a convenient place to store the mattress pad if you’re not using it.
Directly in front of the seat was a 17″ LCD touch-screen, which was responsive to the touch and had good display colors. Power ports and USB charging are found beneath the screen.
Found in the literature section was a seat guide, which I thought was a pretty useful read. It described in detail the features of ANA’s staggered business class seats, and detailed how to prepare the mattress pad on the bed. Neat!
We had a timely push back at 12:15pm, taxiing to runway 28L for departure, which had no queue.
With a tremendous roar of the powerful GE90 engines, I was pushed back against my seat as we began the takeoff roll. There are very few sounds in the world that can top a 777 at full thrust! Moments after takeoff, we were already slicing through the low hanging clouds, on our way to Tokyo!
Once we reached our cruising altitude and seat belt signs were turned off, I was delivered the menu as well as a neatly rolled hot towel on a tray.
For meal service, ANA provides two cuisines: International or Japanese. As a die-hard fan of Japanese food, I had already made up my mind before I looked at the menu. Additionally, I was very excited to try ANA’s “Washoku” Japanese meal, which is a special way of preparing and serving traditional Japanese food.
Click on menu thumbnails to enlarge
The first course was an Amuse bouche consisting of boiled shrimp canape, roasted duck with orange and three kinds of nuts. It was presented beautifully on a small plate.
The second course appetizer was an an assortment of delicacies. The food was refreshing, light, yet tasty. From their menu, it reads:
Zensai (A selection of morsels)
Thinly-sliced salmon head cartilage with soy sauce gelee
Grilled channel rockfish with soy-based miso sauce
Grilled vegetables rolled with beef
Deep-fried ginkgo nut
Kobachi (Tasty tidbits)
Simmered vegetables in soy-based sauce
Otsukuri (A selection of sashimi)
Poached squid and salmon roe
The main course consisted of Saikyo miso-grilled sablefish, steamed rice, miso soup and Japanese pickles. I’d have to say that the sablefish was among the BEST fish course I’ve had in the air. It rivaled the halibut appetizer I had on Emirates last year.
That was a lot of food, but we can’t skip dessert! There was a choice of caramel chocolate cake or “Dorayaki”, which is a round sponge cake filled with red beans. I couldn’t decide, so I asked for both.
After the meal, the flight attendant informed us that for the remainder of the flight, I could order freely from the Light Snacks section of the menu. They also asked if they had permission to wake me for the arrival meal should I be asleep at the time. I love the crew’s attentiveness!
The flight offered WiFi service, with three different plans:
- 15 MB limit / 30 minutes / $4.95 USD
- 30 MB limit / 60 minutes / $8.95 USD
- 100 MB limit / entire flight / $19.95 USD
The plans were a bit pricey, especially given the hard usage limit. I thought it was unnecessary to have both a usage limit and a time limit. Why force me to use 15 MB in 30 minutes, if it can actually last me the entire flight? Regardless, I purchased the 100 MB plan anyways, as I wanted to review the speed and connectivity, as well as being able to post live Instagram story updates. By the way, if you’re not already following us on Instagram, make sure you check it out! =)
The speed of the WiFi ended up being good enough for messaging, emails, and some light use of photo sharing, but definitely not enough for anything more data-hungry like videos. The connection cut out a few times near the second half of the flight, but it was simple enough to reconnect from the browser login. It also shows you the amount of data remaining, which was nice.
As an avid collector of airplane models, I was aware that ANA had recently started selling a 1:400 model of their special Star Wars R2D2 787. Sure enough, I found it for sale in the ANA duty free shop magazine! Peterson and I each ordered one. We also took the opportunity to request for an ANA postcard and pen, which should be available free upon request. Shortly after, the flight attendant returned with not one, but three ANA post cards, an ANA pen, as well as an awesome ANA baggage tag! Thanks so much ANA!
After the duty free shopping, the cabin was dimmed as passengers started to rest. This was when I noticed how cool the LED in the side table was, which reminded me a bit of the movie Tron. I wish there was a bit more mood-lighting in the cabin itself though.
I wasn’t tired, so I took the time to lounge back and check out the entertainment system. The IFE was easy to navigate, and I found the selection to be decent, as it managed to keep me entertained throughout the flight. The air show was the standard one you get on most airlines. I ended up watching Baywatch, which was full of lame jokes and corny scenes, but was enjoyable and provided a good laugh nonetheless!
After the movie, I followed the seat guide instructions to set up the bed. Pretty soon, I had a very comfortable looking bed that I was ready to jump into for a few hours. I didn’t realize it at the time, but both armrests can actually be pushed down to effectively widen the bed by several inches.
I ended up sleeping for just about an hour. That doesn’t reflect badly on the bed, I just don’t sleep that much on a plane, even with such a comfortable bed as the one on this flight. Looking at the flight map, we were in the middle of the Pacific ocean, just east of the International Date Line. We still had about halfway to go… perfect time to order a mid-flight snack!
I browsed the menu and decided to try the IPPUDO miso “DAICHI” ramen, a Ukai tofu soup, and a cold green tea to drink. The ramen was very savoury and tasted amazing. It came with a side of butter which you could add to the ramen to give it an extra creamy texture. I really enjoyed the taste of the tofu soup as well.
About two and a half hours before our arrival into Tokyo, the crew turned up the lights in the cabin to help passengers wake up, and began the arrival meal service. This service was a much shorter and lighter meal than the first, and everything was served in one tray. I selected the Japanese course again, which consisted of egg tofu to start, followed by a simmered mackerel with Japanese plum in soy sauce, vegetables, steamed rice and miso soup. Fruits were served for a light and healthy dessert. Once again, the fish was really good, but it didn’t top the sable fish from the first meal.
As we began our descent into Tokyo Narita Airport, our flight attendant came by to serve candy and chocolates, and took the time to ask us what we thought of the flight. I was very impressed by the professionalism, responsiveness and hospitality of the crew. Most of the time we were addressed by name, and the flight attendants were genuine and friendly throughout every interaction I had with them. Even though I expected a very high level of Japanese service coming into this flight, I was still blown away by the experience.
With regards to meal service, the pace of both meals were perfect. I tend to be a slow eater, and add on the fact that I take photos and video of each dish before I actually eat it, I am usually one of the last to finish a full course meal on any flight. Sometimes, flight crews try to make meal service more efficient by delivering the courses based on what works for them, instead of catering to each individual passenger. However, on this ANA flight, I didn’t feel rushed at any point, and could enjoy the meal at my own pace. I really appreciated this.
Our first ANA business class experience was nothing short of amazing! We were completely blown away by the level of friendly Japanese hospitality that was given. It was truly one of the best crew I’ve had on a flight. ANA not only has a great soft product, but a very solid hard product as well. The direct aisle access staggered seating provide convenience as well as a good level of privacy. The lie-flat bed is spacious with lots of legroom, and I really appreciated the addition of a mattress pad and slippers, which isn’t always available for business class. The meal service was perfectly paced, attentive, while the food was absolutely delicious.
Considering all factors, I would say this is one of the best flights I’ve ever had. ANA truly deserves their five-star airline rating. If given the chance to fly with ANA again? I would not hesitate one bit!
Fly along with us by watching our ANA business class trip report on our YouTube channel:
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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.