This review is a continuation of my fun US Airways redemption that I wrote about back in this post. I reviewed Turkish Business Class: Washington DC to Istanbul and Cathay Pacific Business Class: Tokyo to Hong Kong already.
I was extremely excited for my nonstop flight from Tokyo to Washington-Dulles on ANA. About two months before our scheduled departure, we had an equipment change and would be flying their Boeing 777-300ER featuring ANA’s “new” flat bed business seats.
We took a Cathay Pacific redeye back from Hong Kong to Narita where we had a long layover before our final flight home in the late morning. Both the ANA lounge and flight delivered in every way. The inflight experience was fantastic, especially the service and seat, so I can’t wait to fly ANA again.
How was the seat, bed, food, service, and entertainment in ANA’s new Business Class configuration? Was the ANA lounge a good place to relax for a few hours?
After arriving in Terminal 2 at Tokyo-Narita, we took the bus to Terminal 1. After some searching we found an ANA agent able to check us in. Apparently we were one of the first to arrive for our flight. Given that it was almost five hours until our flight, I wasn’t surprised. The agent printed out our boarding passes and lounge invitations
We made our way to security where a sign noted that the screening area opened at 7:00 a.m. Considering some flights were departing around 7:45 a.m., I thought the late opening was very strange. We waited a few minutes and then passed through without issue. In minutes we were at the lounge.
Though the Suites lounge to the right was for first class passengers only, the business class lounge to the left was absolutely massive and featured plenty of seating areas, work stations, and food offerings. I will let the pictures do the talking.
There were plenty of finger foods and beverage choices. As the lounge filled up, more and more people congregated at the noodle bar. I wanted to try it out, but stuck with the basic offerings before our flight.
I whiled away on my computer for a few hours, as the wi-fi speed was excellent. After cleaning out my inbox, I made my way to the shower rooms. Though the attendant was initially confused as I didn’t have an appointment, she quickly prepared a room for me. I wasn’t able to snap photos, but the rooms are very spacious and the water pressure was incredible.
After the much needed shower, we headed to the gate. On the way, I was able to snap a pick of Thai’s A380, which I flew a month prior from Paris to Bangkok.
The gate area was relatively quiet and the boarding process was quite orderly, contrary to other ANA reports I’ve read. At about 10:30 a.m., we were welcomed on the plane and directed to our seats by two very friendly flight attendants.
Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Washington-Dulles (IAD)
Depart: 11:10 AM on November 16, 2013
Arrive: 9:40 AM same day
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seats: 7D & 7F (Business Class)
After stowing my bag, I began snapping photos of my seat and the unoccupied 7A across the aisle. I was initially worried about being so close to the galley, but it was a non-issue for the entire flight. The area was a bit busy during meal time, but I never felt the activity to be bothersome.
The cabin and seats struck me as very sleek. I was definitely impressed. My exuberance likely was evident, as one of the flight attendants offered to snap a photo of me in the seat. Excuse the post-shower hair.
As mentioned above, the privacy of the seat was impressive. It was even difficult to carry on a conversation with my seatmate in 7F. We had to constantly lean to address each other. Couples, take note!
There was plenty of legroom, though not an expansive ottoman like on Turkish.
The screen was certainly large enough for watching without straining one’s eyes. Directly below the screen was a power port and several outlets. There was also a handy tray which was perfect for charging my phone.
To my right was a small area where I left my backpack and blanket when not in use. I doubt the pack was supposed to be there for take off and landing, but no one ever said anything.
To my right above the armrest was a raised area for small items with the seat controls directly below. There was even a plastic compartment on the raised area, which was absolutely perfect for my passport, watch, and wallet.
Also at my seat were a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, amenity kit, and slippers. The headphones were Sony brand and their noise-cancellation feature worked just fine.
The amenity kit was fairly basic, featuring L’Occitane products.
The same cheery flight attendant who snapped my picture returned with a tray of orange juice and champagne. Her colleague also circled the cabin with hot towels. Given the morning departure, I went with OJ.
After a few minutes delay, we pushed back from the gate and were in the air within minutes. Flight attendants made their way through the cabin with menus which read as follows:
Meal service began with a tomato, mozarella, and olive starter with parma ham and smoked scallop. Both were very good.
For the entree I elected to go with the marble-styled flounder in breadcrumbs. The fish was delicate and one of the better pieces I’ve ever had on an airplane.
I was stuffed from the meal and exhausted, so I declined dessert in favor of bed. The seat goes fully flat, and the provided pillow/blanket combination was more than adequate.
When in the bed position, your feet will go into a compartment. Luckily the compartment is roomier than on Swiss’ business class product, which I flew from Boston to Zurich. Side sleepers might have some minor issues with this configuration, but I got about six hours of solid sleep, waking up as we were over Canada.
I decided to scope out the entertainment system. There were many choices, though most were edited for language. I had to turn off my selection because the dialogue was too stilted.
After getting up to stretch my legs, I went into the galley area, where there was a small selection of snacks and drinks to grab.
Nothing was appealing, so I instead ordered a bowl of spicy ramen. It was fantastic and not pictured because I ate it too quickly. After downing the snack, breakfast service began. I declined, but my partner ordered the Eggs Benedict. She said breakfast was very tasty.
Before I knew it, we had begun our descent into Washington D.C. We landed a few minutes early and took the infamous Dulles moon rovers to immigration, where the line was extremely short. My companion was through in no time, and I breezed through with Global Entry.
How I Did It
I booked this flight as part of a three segment US Airways award to Asia, connecting in Turkey for only 90k miles in Business Class. The award relied on US Airways’ cheap award chart and the generous space that Turkish releases on many of its flights. I was lucky to snag a nonstop from Tokyo-Narita to Washington-Dulles on ANA’s newly configured 777-300ER business class cabin. ANA does flies this route with the 777-300ER every other day. I was originally scheduled on the old product, but there was an equipment change in my favor.
US Airways’ incredible chart will likely be with us for another year, though US Airways leaves the Star Alliance on March 30. Hire the MileValue Award Booking Service to help you take advantage of it.
Seat: Plenty of room to maneuver, and the extra mini-storage compartment was a huge plus. The distinct amount of privacy between seats was also a welcome feature.
Food: I stuck with the Western options which were very good, especially the fish. Everything was quite good with a special recognition to my mid-flight ramen. Next time, I will have to go for the Japanese cuisine.
Service: Excellent all around. The flight attendants were helpful, genuinely nice, and friendly. They anticipated needs, something you don’t often see in business class. Minor language barrier issues aside, it truly felt like we were being taken care of.
Bed: It’s fully lie-flat for sure and also features a foot compartment area, though the space is much larger than on Swiss. I waffle between sleeping on my back and on my side, and experienced no issues. It’s comfortable and the natural privacy of the seat only helps the overall comfort level.
In Flight Entertainment: A decent selection but most of the movies were pretty heavily edited. Next time I will just load up the laptop. My downtime was mostly spent reading anyways.
Recommendation: I thoroughly enjoyed ANA’s new 777-300ER business class product. The seat’s privacy is great and it’s very spacious. I loved the small compartment for personal items. The flight crew also stood out even though there were a few minor translation issues. They went above and beyond, including checking up on us constantly (not in an annoying way) and being proactive with requests. After an amazing time in Tokyo, I am eager to get back to Japan. I can’t think of a better way than ANA’s business class!