All Nippon Airways International Business Class Review

ANA 787-8 Window Seat in Business Class

ANA Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Window Seat in Business Class

ANA Business Product Review Scores Highly

January 12-16 — (San Jose, CA): Welcome to a review of All Nippon Airways International Business Class by Steve Richardson of The review was conducted in the period between January 12, 2013, and January 16, 2013.

Japanese carrier, All Nippon Airways, best known as ANA, has an innovative and competitive long-haul business class product on their flights between the United States and Tokyo. I had the opportunity to fly ANA on both their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner as well as their larger Boeing 777-300ER on a recent trip as a guest of the carrier.

Their business product and cabin features modern Japan combined with concepts and ideas which blend modern Japanese technology with a style of hospitality and service known as Omotenashi.

The Business Class lounge, The Club at SJC, along with ANA’s Business Class lounge at Tokyo-Narita Airport both rate highly in my experience.

All Nippon Airways has a solid business product. When compared to other airlines, including Delta, as well as Star Alliance partner United, ANA provides a superior hard product and a vastly superior soft product.

My overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 points

ANA Business Class Trip Summary and Review

February 10, 2013 – (San Jose, CA): The first of my two ANA long-haul flights was on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner from San Jose Mineta International (SJC) to Tokyo-Narita Airport (NRT) on January 12, 2013, with an arrival into Tokyo the evening of January 13th, compliments of the international date line.

The San Jose (SJC) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) route is new to ANA and is being pioneered by the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, an aircraft well fit for “long and thin routes” such as San Jose. The inaugural flight operated the day prior, January 11, 2013, and the flight experienced a week of smooth operations until the Boeing 787 was grounded.

While the Boeing 787 is temporarily grounded, the aircraft will make a come-back. The Dreamliner is an incredible aircraft for ANA passengers and would-be consumers to look forward to on future flights. It may take a few months before the Boeing 787 returns to the beautiful blue skies, but the 787 Dreamliner will play a significant role in ANA’s future between Japanese Domestic Flights, Asia Regional Flights, and International Long Haul.

After an electrifying flight to Tokyo on the 787 (no pun intended), I was looking forward to the flight back into San Jose. The date of my return, the 16th quickly arrived, but sadly, an ANA flight with a battery problem made an emergency landing this particular morning. The unscheduled landing and ANA grounding the 787 fleet occurred on my return date, January 16, 2013. One thing I’ve learned about ANA is passenger safety comes first. ANA was the first airline to ground their Boeing 787 fleet and did so voluntarily, a decision not taken lightly.

While disappointing, this did provide me with the opportunity to compare the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the Boeing 777-300ER in a period of three days. I was re-booked on ANA flight 8 with Boeing 777-300ER service to San Francisco.

Both the seat and product are the same on the Boeing 787 and the 777-300ER with ANA’s Business Class. ANA also operates the 777-200ER with an identical business product.

US Passport and Boarding Pass for NH 1075

US Passport and Boarding Pass for NH 1075

ANA Flight 1075 – San Jose to Tokyo

Prior to the flight, I enjoyed a late breakfast and beverages at The Club at SJC. ANA uses The Club at SJC for business class passengers and it’s conveniently located across from ANA’s gate, A15 at SJC.

For individuals interested in The Club at SJC, they are part ofPriority Pass– a network with access to over 500 lounges worldwide.

As I boarded and took my seat on the 787 Dreamliner, I was impressed with the roomy cabin, giant windows, and a rainbow of mood-lighting colors. Pre-flight champagne is offered – while an excellent touch, I believe a second beverage, perhaps cold bottled water, should be provided for those who are not interested in a bit of bubbly at the time.

At the same time, the large Business Cabin makes it difficult to take drink orders for delivery during the boarding processing.

LED Light Display during boarding of 787

LED Light Display during boarding of 787 Dreamliner

Boarding is prompt and efficient, despite a full flight; shortly after push-back was engine start. At this point we received a special welcome from the flight crew up in the flight deck – the pilot pointed out this was a new 787 Dreamliner aircraft and said he was happy to have us on-board the newly launched San Jose (SJC) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) flight.

I’m seated in 11D, a middle aisle seat, near the wing and engine in the second Business Class cabin. When the engines were started, I must say it was the quietest engine start I experienced as an individual who has taken thousands of flights.

As taxi started, the safety demo was done in both Japanese and English as we taxied out to Runway 30R, one of the two 11,000 feet parallel runways which make up San Jose Airport. Once at the runway we were given clearance for take-off – we rapidly yet silently accelerated down the runway with a smooth climb-out over the coastal hills across to the mighty Pacific Ocean. After our initial climb out to 38,000 feet, we climbed to 41,000 for our trek across the Pacific.

ANA Business Class Seat

A staggered Business Class seat is used which provides each seat direct aisle access. The seat width is 19 inches while the seat pitch is 44 inches. Best yet, the seat reclines into a 180 degree full flat bed allowing passengers to sleep comfortably on their flight to or from Tokyo.

The seating layout is 2 by 3 by 2 in Business Class, but because of how the seats are staggered, you don’t really realize this on both the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Boeing 777-300W. The staggered seating provides additional privacy from other passengers.

For in-flight entertainment, a 17-inch LCD touch-panel screen is at your seat. Watch a variety of movies and videos, or simply watch the flight progress. Also make sure to use the noise canceling headsets ANA provides in Business. Each seat is outfitted with an A/C power port, a USB port, and an iPod connector.

Business Class Cabin on ANA Boeing 787

Business Class Cabin on ANA Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

The Business Class cabin is super-sized on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The aisles are somewhat narrow because of the seating arrangement, but the above photograph provides a a great overview of the second Business Class cabin.

If you look closely, you’ll notice the lack of window-shades on the windows — instead, the windows are controlled electronically with a dimmer. Both the window seat passenger and flight attendants have the ability to dim the windows. Washlets – yes, a bidet – is even available in lavatories through-out the aircraft.

Appetizer on ANA Boeing 787 Business Class

Appetizer on ANA Boeing 787 Business Class

Meals are served by course and snacks are available through-out flight. The photo above is my initial appetizer – The presentation of food is excellent while the quality is absolutely superb, combined with a service oriented flight crew.

On my flight to Tokyo I went with the Japanese meal option, which includes an assortment of seasonal appetizers (above), simmered chicken meatball, quick-seared sea-bream and boiled octopus with mustard and vinegared miso sauce, grilled sable-fish with soy based sauce, steamed rice, miso soup, and assorted Japanese pickles — then to top everything off, Vanilla and dulce de leche ice cream with raspberry sauce.

It was time for a nap after a meal service like that and the 180 degree lay-flat bed hit the spot.

Flight Map on San Jose to Tokyo

Interactive Flight Map with Flight Path between San Jose and Tokyo.

Specific to the Boeing 787 is a lower cabin pressure combined with enhanced airflow providing for better humidity. This was distinctly noticed after flying the Boeing 777 three days later.

As a result of the winter winds, the flight path takes us north over the Aleutian Islands, across the Bearing Sea, and back south towards Japan. This particular flight path is necessary to avoid strong headwinds of the winter jet-stream which is found at lower latitudes.

Total flight time, wheels up to wheels down, is 10 hours and 42 minutes between San Jose and Tokyo-Narita. The aircraft arrived into a stand where we picked up buses to Japanese Customs and Immigrations.

ANA 787-8 Dreamliner on arrival into Tokyo

ANA 787-8 Dreamliner “Tomo Dachi” on arrival at Tokyo-Narita

I spent 3 nights at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, which I will also conduct a review on.

ANA Flight 8 – Tokyo-Narita to San Francisco

Upon arrival at Tokyo-Narita, the check-in process is quick. After a look around the landside shops, I proceeded to the security checkpoint. I was able to leave my belt and shoes on, but it was necessary to remove my laptop and iPad. The security was sane compared to what we endure with the TSA in the United States.

Once through security, the next stop is Japanese Immigrations, an exit immigration check to be precise. After being “stamped out” of Japan, my first stop was the ANA Business Class lounge.

The lounge is well appointed with a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including a beer machine which makes the perfect pour. Bites to eat from pieces of Sushi to a full Noodle Bar are available.

At the Noodle Bar a delicious spicy chicken curry dish was also being served, which almost filled me up prior to the flight.

ANA Business Class Lounge at Tokyo-Narita

ANA Business Class Lounge at Tokyo-Narita Airport

Locating electrical outlets in the main seating area of the lounge was a challenge, but outlets exist at all of the seats facing outwards to the windows, which provides a great view of aircraft on the ramp.

Upon boarding the Boeing 777-300ER, the first thing I notice is the identical product. It doesn’t have the spacious look or larger windows of the 787, but Business Class seating is exactly the same.

After I take my seat and get buckled up, we begin our push-back and engine start. Again, I am near the wing and engine in a middle row aisle seat, 15D, but as the engines start I can hear it and feel the vibration of the aircraft. The take-off roll was longer and louder, which makes sense for a larger, heavier aircraft, but it made the noise canceling headsets a valuable asset once airborne.

ANA Business Cabin on 777-300ER

ANA Business Class Cabin on Boeing 777-300ER

Shortly after take-off, I decided upon the western menu and had an excellent multi-course meal which included a tasty steak filet, Fillet of beef steak with Japanese style sauce to be precise. Shortly after dinner I got comfortable for the night flight and converted my seat into a 180 degree flat bed – absolutely perfect for sleeping.

After a five our six hour sleep, I awoke and enjoyed several bowels of hot Miso Soup as we started our decent into San Francisco. The Miso Soup at ANA is excellent, in fact, I wish I could find the same tasting Miso Soup locally.

Flight Path from Tokyo to San Francisco

Flight Progress/Path Map from Tokyo-Narita to San Francisco on ANA Flight 8

Our flight path takes us right across the Pacific with a strong jet-stream providing a significant tailwind. We hit several patches of turbulence on the way back and went through a variety of altitudes, but the aircraft never exceeded 37,000.

One downside is the lack of an amenity kit. Instead, items typically found in a kit are available ala-carte on the aircraft near the rear bar. Unless you make the trip back there, you’d have no idea items from eye-shades to ear plugs are available. My only criticism for ANA is to include these products in an amenity kit, along with items such as lotions, and pass them out to passengers.

As a passenger, I would greatly appreciate receiving an amenity kit as numerous higher-end (and not so high end) airlines provide to their passengers.

Upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport, US Customs and Immigrations is a breeze and the priority tags on my suitcase worked!

Editors Note: This trip was sponsored by ANA

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