a seat in an airplane

I’m not going to lie, I spend almost absurd amounts of time touring new airline cabins with people waiting for me to go “ooh” and “aaah”. As such, I don’t often get all that excited when an airline totes a brand new cabin. Like Tinder dates, they can be far from what they seem, and realistically, most so called “new” seats are an iteration of an “off the rack” seat which has been plugged at design shows for years, and ultimately it gets a few bells and whistles thrown on to make it look unique, and that’s about it.

When I entered All Nippon AIrways (ANA)’s new Boeing 777-300ER “The Room” business class suites with privacy doors on it’s very first flight from London to Tokyo, all I could think was “holy $#!T”.

a tv and a chair in an airplanea seat in a planeBest Business Class

Sitting in this seat as a customer accustomed to business class, or anything below, is like being mega rich for the first time and buying a house that’s just absolutely way too big. You don’t know what to do with the space, or where to sit. There’s literally so much room in this suite, you don’t quite know what to do with it, but nonetheless I’m making do just fine.

a seat in an airplane a seat in an airplaneFor example, I haven’t even managed to use the other half of this seat in the first few hours of flight. I’ve put my laptop bag, my excess pillows and anything else that comes to mind there, just because I can.

That other side a pleasure I’ll now choose to reserve for the sleeping portion of this flight, which ANA’s special selection of wine is sponsoring very shortly, after my fried sea bass with miso. On that front, the very comfortable sleep angle ANA has created with the extra large bed means that this seat avoids all the awkward pitfalls of any similar ideas before it.

a tv in an airplanea seat in an airplaneCrowns, titles, awards, bla, bla bla.

Before that happens, there’s a few things I’m going to call out here, to properly put this comparison into perspective. First, an award winning business class is more than just a seat, or “hard product” as many aviation nerds like to call it. But if we are putting a first place ribbon on the best business class hard product, it would be this – hands down. I’ve flown the Qatar Qsuite on every plane they fly, and this takes it by miles.

a laptop on a table in an airplaneThe screen is larger, the bed is wider, the entertainment is as fast or faster and the privacy door holds every inch. I can’t think of a single “hard product” discipline where this seat is equalled. Plus, these newly retrofitted Boeing 777-300ER have the new Boeing sheer curtain blinds, which create a lovely diffused lighting. Plus, you can control the TV with your own phone. That’s just baller.looking out of an airplane window

a seat in an airplane A friend text me asking if this was as grand as it seemed, and I said this makes the Qsuite look like a Fiat SUV next to an Audi Q5. I’ve driven both, and I know which one I prefer. And I freaking love the Qsuite!

Before we go to the boxing ring and hold an airline’s hand up, as noted, it’s deeper than that. Qatar and other top airlines in business class offer more flexible dine on demand concepts, and arguably better quality booze in flight as well. Plus, they usually do it with a more scripted and personable service. But here in lay the cultural differences, which are ultimately different strokes for different folks.

There is beauty in the highly professional and non colloquial service of an All Nippon Airways crew, operating a flight with exacting standards. The airline shows respect to passengers in their culture by keeping things formal and buttoned up. They don’t call you “darling”, nor do they join you for a pint mid flight, which is probably good. With that said, each ANA flight crew I’ve ever enjoyed has been lovely – with today being no exception.

What Qatar Airways, or a cheeky Virgin Atlantic crew does may play more naturally to my upbringing and cultural norms, but I have the utmost respect for both.  Weighing in the dine on demand concept Qatar offers, they definitely win on the service or “soft product” side of things, for the nerds. In full balance, the best business class in the sky is whether you value the private massive suite, or the soft touches.

a laptop on a desk in an airplane a room dividers with black trimI’m on the first ever flight as we speak, and will be on the same cabin again in a few days, but I just never expected to feel this way about another airline seat so quickly. The moment I saw this cabin in promo photos online I had the highest hopes, and actually lost sleep last night hoping they would all come true. Unlike many modern day online dating experiences where profile pictures probably don’t quite match up, I’m very pleased to be the first to report that these are absolutely true to form, and maybe better.

This is the best business class seat flying in the sky today. You’ll just have to fly London to Tokyo for a while to enjoy it, since there’s no guarantee when other routes will receive it. For everyones sake, let’s hope it’s really soon. Here’s more details on the current opportunities to fly it.

What are your thoughts on this new seat/suite?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Oh man, I’m flying ANA biz this November. Anyway to see from their online seatmap as to whether or not you will get the new cabin?

  2. Totally agree. Just looking at the ANA promo video and the photos online, my response was WOW!! Definitely better than the Q Suites and blows away all other airlines. I love SQ, CX, and JAL, and like their business class seats, but compared to this they are all way behind the curve.
    ANA’s new business class seats are the new king of the hill.

  3. Obviously I’d have to try this “cabin” to see if I agree with your adulation but I do recall an old version of SQ’s J seat that had a similar wide bench-like seat. I found it very uncomfortable as I prefer being cradled and even anchoring myself against one side, I just could not get enough pillows on the other to comfortably rest my other arm (and side of my body). From the looks of this seat,I’d have the same issue.

      1. I am annoyed at how all the miles “experts” keep parroting that Virgin Atlantic is the best way to redeem ANA business. Have they forgetten that ANA’s own program (transferable from Amex) costs 85k regularly and 75k off peak? With better availability and free date change? And also include Intra-japan flights for “free”? (while VA doesn’t.) VA is only good when there’s a transfer bonus or for first class!

        1. As an actual “expert” i’d say mileage experts say this because there’s at least 5 easily transferrable currencies which allow you to instantly create Virgin miles, and only one that allows you to create ANA miles, and only the US Amex allows it too. So given the regular transfer bonuses and the supreme ease of earning Virgin miles, this is by far the easiest.

          1. I see your point, but here’s why I think it’s irresponsible to say that VA is the best way to book ANA business . ANA’s own program has better availability, and that is key. Doesn’t matter how many miles you have, if there’s no availability, then you’re out of luck. For business class, ANA also costs 15k less in low season (which covers prime cherry blossoms season) and offers more (the intra-japan flight with a stopover in Tokyo). Also, you can add a flight to cities like Hong Kong and Seoul for only 3k more one way. I don’t see ANY blogger talking about ANA”s own program when it comes to business class. Yes, VA wins when it comes to first class, but a lot of time, for a lot of people, ANA”s own program makes more sense in business!

  4. The seat looks very upright – almost like a bench – is it comfortable to sit in or do you have to recline to get comfy? 🤔

    1. Comfy! You can slouch the entire surface as much as you like, all the way down to flat bed mode. I found half way was nice for relaxing.

  5. The seat looks pretty amazing. How is the seat in bed mode? do you have to sleep at an angle like on Singapore Airlines?

  6. This reminds me of the first time I flew on the old SQ A380 in Business Class with the wide seats. There was so much space, I didn’t know quite what I was going to do with it!

  7. How can we differentiate these 2 new planes from the others/with older seats ? By registration numbers. I fly out from Houston. Has been lucky enough to scores twice, 2,FC in ANA. Now, it’s time to search for these new C seats. Thanks for the post. Safe travel to all.

  8. Great report! Does the bed recline into flat mode or does it need to be flipped like the old Singapore seat?

    1. You read, I assume, the post, looked at the gorgeous pics of the new seats, learned about the amazing service onboard. Then finally made a comment about a swear word?! If that’s your takeaway from the post then you sir discredit yourself.

  9. Very encouraging for those who want to join the mile high club😛 ! Why do people need sooooooo much privacy ?

  10. What a contrast in how this is being launched vs. the hype around the BA “suite”, available on a whole 1% of the fleet by the end of the year.
    Speaks volumes for how the respective corporations think of their customers and actually delivering the products marketed.

  11. Seriously considering flying out of the way through LHR to fly this to HND. New Business class looks nicer than old First class even!

  12. I was on this same flight on the 2nd and agree with the comments here. The seat is not awkward like the SQ seat and I found the layout felt natural. Much better than SQ as it felt open and airy as well as wide.

    What I didn’t like was the seatbelt as it was awkward with the 3 point belt. Also, the phone connection to the TV felt like a gimmick and I wouldn’t use it. Otherwise, an amazing seat and well worth travelling on.

  13. First, I can’t believe there was more than one comment about “holy s#%t.” Eyeroll. This isn’t a blog for 8 year olds; grow up folks. I’m sure your big girl/boy ears can handle it.
    Second, great review and insight into the new ANA J suite! My wife and I really enjoyed flying ANA J from ORD to NRT last year (flew JL J on the return). In a couple months, we’ll get to experience Singapore Air’s J class on their 350-900ULR. And holy s#$t we can’t wait!

  14. Thanks for the detailed review.

    I was on the inaugural HND-LHR in “The Room” and loved it. Thought it was better than the QSuites (wider and more spacious) and was able to sleep straight, not angled like SQ J. (I’m 5’7″). The width didn’t bother me and it felt even slightly wider than SQ J (I was on one of their older A380s a couple of days later). Perhaps, it was the ability to recline to more angles, or more bedding on the seat.

    There were a few interesting features:
    – Meal table light – great for food photography
    – Service information for the flight on the IFE – showing progress of the flight, meal timings
    – In-room “sleep” lighting (slightly gimmicky) – I didn’t really use it as it was a day flight but a timer can be set to dim out and gradually brighten up

    There was limited 4K programming and live TV channels but the hardware is in place and will be great when they have more content. Btw, the IFE screens in First look massive and extremely vibrant

    Minor niggles, and nothing to do with the seat, but would have been great to have some complimentary Wifi in Business and better quality noise-cancelling headphones (i.e. BYO). As it was the first flight, was expecting some publicity at the gate or giveaways, but there was none. Lots of oohs and aahs on boarding though.

    1. Jason, really interesting to see someone agree here! I echo your sentiment entirely, particularly with the headphones. If they get the soft touches fully up to scratch, this is a force to reckon with. Best regards!

  15. thanks for the review.
    quick question – is there an HDMI port in business class?
    I see one advertised on ANA’s site for First, but not business… it’d be cool to be able to hook up phone / tablet to the 24″ screen.

  16. My biggest problem with most of the Asian airlines including ANA, Singspore airlines, EVA etc is they have no temperature or air control above the seats. On top of that, most Asian offices and airlines seem to run their air conditioners 5-7deg warmer than we do in the USA. What’s the point of these awesome seats if I am waking up all sweaty every time?

  17. I am more interested in what is the best seat for a couple – my wife and I like to sit next to each other and be close enough to chat while in business class (I don’t know any premium first-class seats where we can do this).
    Which airlines/aircraft would you recommend for us?

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