As part of my Hong Kong status run, I returned home via Tokyo on ANA in business class. Here is my review of the product and service aboard ANA’s 777-300ER from Haneda to Chicago.
- Mileage Running May Be Dead, Status Running Still Alive
- United’s Polaris Lounge San Francisco
- Polaris Business Class Service San Francisco to Hong Kong
- Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui – Suite
- Hyatt Regency Sha Tin – Suite
- Shenzhen Day Trip
- Shenzhen Electronics Market
- Too Much Traveling
- Singapore’s Bad Hong Kong lounge
- ANA Business Class Hong Kong Tokyo
- ANA Haneda Lounge Review
- ANA Business Class Tokyo-Haneda to Chicago O’Hare
There was some confusion at checkin in Hong Kong when I discussed the seat for this flight. I was unable to change it using the United app and hadn’t bothered to call and secure something specific. We went round and round establishing what exactly constitutes a window seat.
“Is this a window seat?” – Me
“No, it’s a table seat.” – Agent
“Pardon? Is there someone else next to me?” – Me
“Yes.” (points to middle aisle) – Agent
“Is there anyone in between me in and the window?” – Me
“No. Table.” – Agent
Following that exchange, I took my assignment and started my journey. When I arrived at my seat, I understood what the agent meant regarding a table, but also thought that it constituted a window seat.
In fairness, however, all of the seats have the same exact table accompanying them. Wouldn’t they all be table seats then?
The lie-flat seat features tons of storage. There is, in fact, a table at the window though I still consider the seat to be a window seat. There are several modes for reclining and sitting, standard for this type of seat and class of service.
One way that ANA differentiates their product is by including a small bed mat. American Airlines uses Casper, Delta uses Westin bedding, United has Saks Fifth Avenue. I have tried a couple of those products but found that ANA’s no name mattress pad was comfortable, easy to set up and something I would have liked to wander off with. I didn’t. That would be stealing. In reality, the size of the mat would have little utility outside of their service anyway, but it was really comfortable.
I previously mentioned all of the storage space which held my passport, documents, headphones, and everything else in a closed space with easy access for me but difficult access for anyone else. The one drawback of the product (maybe this is why the staff is adamant about which seat is a true window and which is a “table”) is its lack of privacy. Not every business class seat has to have a closed-door or “suite” function – that’s what first class is for. But the reverse herringbone that some carriers offer faces away from the aisle and have higher than normal walls which feels a bit more sheltered from passersby. With ANA’s seat passengers are essentially lying immediately next to the aisle. Every cart or passenger that rattles by is next to your head and that’s a little unsettling.
The menu offers excellent choices for sophisticated Japanese diners. I love trying the local flavor and enjoy Japanese cuisine. Most Japanese cuisine. This menu, however, was not a hit for me. My FA, one of several in business but this particular one serving just three or four passengers in a half full cabin, had tried to persuade me to order the western option. I find that most FAs on foreign airlines try to encourage this to ensure a happy passenger. Given my excellent experience in the lounge, I was both fairly full but also remained adventurous. In the same way that I wanted to try the Star Alliance lounge in Hong Kong (the provided lounge was Singapore SilverKris though I could have gone to any other) I also wanted to give their Japanese options a try even if I didn’t like them. How else would my readers know?
The main course was actually rather good, though the old adage is to never eat seafood on an airplane I ordered the Swordfish in a soy-based wasabi sauce. Following the meal, I slept for nearly the remainder of the flight.
About an hour and a half prior to landing I awoke to find the FAs preparing the breakfast meal for arrival. I can have an omelet anywhere, I wanted the Pork Katsu Curry, a curry, rice, and fried pork dish. I love this dish and though it was a heavy meal, I preferred it over the breakfast option, again a western choice. Bless the heart of the FA that collected my last Japanese meal mostly full of food (except for the main course) and really pushed back on my choice for a snack over the omelet. I appreciate that she was only trying to ensure I had a great experience.
Lucky for us both, I did. The dish was well prepared, served quickly and I cleaned the plate.
For frequent travelers to Japan, the experience of their culture is common. To those who infrequently travel through or to Japan, they will be blown away by the attention to detail, respect and order that permeates all areas of the experience. Perfectly executed boarding, the crew immaculately dressed, elegant and polite are all part of the ANA service. One thing that I loved (call me a schmuck if you like) was that the ground crew, FAs, and pilots show respect for each other and their passengers before the plane departs.
Once pushed back from the gate, placed on the line to head to the taxiway, the aircraft pause while ground crew give a long, deep bow to the pilots and passengers before rising and waving as the plane taxis away. It’s a really nice touch and emblematic of their culture.
Yes, I have a bathroom section on a flight review. Why? Because of the wonderful Japanese toilet with bidet and seat warmer – on an airplane. Many carriers do special things for flagship aircraft in their fleet. American Airlines has an espresso maker (many others do as well) that is only for first-class passengers (and they are strict as was ANA – I can try right?) Many use the large pass bar area as a snack station, but this is the first and only time I have found a bidet attachment on an airline seat.
It was glorious. I have one in my home (though mine has more options and a seat warmer – get jealous), you should too.
The soft product was excellent with the ground experience leading the way. Service was exceptional and while not everything I ate was to my taste, I could tell that the food and beverage were of a high quality. The hard product was very good, the seat itself not industry-leading, but very, very good. I am surprised the cabin was not more full as I understand that SWUs from United should clear on ANA codeshare flights, this one certainly was such a flight. As a United 1K, this would be my target flight for applying the upgrades in the future. And that bathroom, oh that bathroom! If the prices and routing are fairly similar to the competition I would choose ANA’s business class product on this Tokyo-Haneda route again in a heartbeat.
What do you think? Is the seat good enough or does it need a refresh? How about the toilet? What’s your favorite in-flight amenity from a carrier?