Professionalism, grace, and a good nights sleep…
A great business class experience may ultimately come down to a quick glass of champagne, a padded seat and a casual flick through the in flight entertainment before dozing off, but getting to that blissful point is where all the magic is. ANA’s 787 Dreamliner business class experience offers fantastic comfort, inspired food and refined staff touches which make you feel welcomed from the moment “go”. When you add in the quiet cabin of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it’s all very hard to argue with…
I find ANA ground staff to be amongst the most professional and proficient in the business. There’s a level of respect and pride amongst staff which sets the right tone for any journey and all issues or questions seem to always be met with ease. Across the USA, Japan and Australia, the service was impressive. Our travel documents were checked, destination confirmed, seat preferences locked in and within minutes we were on our way, with boarding passes in hand.
The ANA business class lounges in both Tokyo Haneda and Narita get the job done with efficient seating, great food bars, ample showers and impressive business facilities. The spaces are quite large and cater to an enumerable amount of passengers, which the lounge manages via various dividers and art installations. Think dimly lit, black and white rooms with lots of leather. They’re solid, and that’s fine – but save your excitement for the plane.
ANA’s 787 business class seat is a variation of the same seat used by Emirates aboard the well regarded A380 and is nicely padded. The cabin offers excellent options for solo travelers, those looking for extra privacy, couples and business people alike, with varied seating options in each row.
No ANA 787 Dreamliner Business Class seat offers more privacy than those found in rows A, K respectively. These 787 seats are against the window, with the tray area toward the aisle. From a seated position, you’d hardly see another soul in flight, unless you tried. Couples or colleagues who wish to speak or collaborate should stick to the middle section of the plane, in seats D, F or E, G respectively. These seats are close, but not “too close”.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner offers an improved cabin experience versus many older aircraft, and the extra large, dimmable windows set a great mood from the onset, as does the improved cabin pressure and humidity. As you can see, ANA’s business class cabin aboard the Dreamliner is far more royal blue than bling, bling, but the 787 cabin lighting spices things up nicely. A great touch on this particular plane is the size of the entertainment screen. It’s massive, it’s HD and it’s more than you could ever need for some binge watching. If we could pick on ANA in one area however, it would be the lack of selection across back to back flights. You can only watch a handful of great movies a handful of times…
Bed mode is quite comfortable and thankfully, the foot cubbies are large. Like – no complaints, fully toss and turn in your sleep with ease – large. As to the softer side of things, ANA’s business class duvet and pillow sets are substantial but not overbearing. The duvet manages the correct balance between warm and comforting, but not so warm that you wake up in a metal (or in this case composite) tube with the hot sweats. A touch I found particularly useful, is that ANA offers aromatherapy “cards” which offer a variety of scents designed to help you sleep and relax. It’s a thing. You’d be amazed how effective they are. Also, I may have asked for a second pillow, and the crew most definitely obliged.
Food & Drinks
If you love Japanese food, you’ll be quite happy – if not curious. The “Kaiseki” option will lead to more food than you can eat, some of which you may not be able to name. If Japanese isn’t your thing, All Nippon’s “Connoisseurs” collection offers more regional dishes, curated by regional chefs from each destination.
On that note, hot tip, ANA actually allows you to see the exact food and beverage menu for every flight within the season. You don’t have to panic or wonder, and can simply head to this webpage to get the full scoop on what you’ll be offered. On each of the segments, food and drinks were just as advertised. Just scroll to the bottom of the (linked) page above and you’ll be able to input your route and download a PDF! This begs just one question: why doesn’t every airline do this?
On the beverage front, other than a very nice champagne, I was elated to encounter Chateau Mars. For any wine fan, this is an exciting adventure, because it’s a wine not in fact produced on Mars, but in Japan. It was exacting, well concentrated and unique in a very nice way. Expanding your palate is a wonderful thing. Apparently, it’s generally a First Class wine, but ANA offers regular wine promotions where select bottles make the rounds. You can check your booze menus here too.
The seat’s comfy, the bed is spacious, the entertainment screen is huge and the food is both tasty and amusing, so the only potential for let down could derive from service. We say potential, because there just wasn’t one. Not once, over many segments. Know this: the cabin crew are not going to give you the “tell me everything darling” and become your best friend approach you may find on American or British air carriers. It’s not how they are trained, nor would it be reflective of the wonderful Japanese culture they represent. Things will be very formal, and if you appreciate precision, keep attention to detail and quiet demeanor, you’ll find it all outstanding. On all flights, it seemed as if crew members were doing cabin sweeps, looking out for passenger needs with almost chronographic precision.
If you love a shower in the airport, you probably also love a good pair of airline slippers. ANA’s slippers are comfy and are some of the only pairs to have survived the many journeys over the years. You’ll find an amenity kit with Neal’s Yard amenities and skincare products, an eye mask and the slippers at your seat, but if you want more, there’s more. ANA offers foot rollers, extra pillows and most importantly, a well stocked arsenal of toothpaste, toothbrushes, ear plugs and even combs – if you need them.
I’d book another ANA 787 Dreamliner Business Class ticket in a heartbeat. The business class seats are comfortable in virtually any position, the crews deliver exacting standards of service and the food and drink options are bountiful. With the “dine anytime” ramen options, you could quite literally gain pounds (plural) on a flight. I’d love to see ANA invest in more varied content both new and old, but my desire to watch more movies on their planes is telling of just how good the All Nippon business class experience really is. It’s an A from this seat.