BusinessClass.com - Review of ANA Business Class
ANA Business Class
BusinessClass.com expert review by Ramsey Qubein
9
/10
A great flight you will recommend to friends
Airport Experience - 9/10
Cabin & Seat - 9/10
Cuisine - 9/10
Beverages - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Entertainment - 8/10
Amenities & Facilities - 9/10
Short & Medium Haul - 8/10

Review of ANA Business Class

Japanese precision and service are hallmarks in ANA’s highly regarded Business Class, which includes its newest product known as “The Room,” available on a few of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This redesign includes seats with sliding doors, but even the original Business Class seats have full-wall partitions around each seat – providing excellent inflight privacy on the airline’s long-haul fleet.

All Nippon Airways is an ideal way to experience Japanese culture before you even reach the Japan or as you transit through to other international destinations. On board, you can enjoy delicious kaiseki cuisine, fine sake and other Japanese delicacies.

As a member of Star Alliance, ANA enjoys nearly two dozen airline partners. Passengers can earn and redeem miles for their flights including Air Canada, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian, Lufthansa, Swiss International, Thai and United. Star Alliance Gold members from other partner airlines can enjoy special benefits when flying, even if in economy class. ANA has its own loyalty program known as Mileage Club for those that want to earn miles with the carrier.

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9/ 10

Airport experience

ANA operates dual hubs at Tokyo Haneda (the airport closer to downtown Tokyo) and Tokyo Narita. Its network also extends to dozens of Japanese airports with substantial operations in major cities around the country. Its Tokyo hubs, like many places in Japan, are incredibly efficient, providing convenient transfers between flights with friendly security and ground staff.

Passengers starting their journey in Tokyo have premium check-in areas for swift service as well as fast-track security access; these are also available in most other ANA departure points around the world. Travellers can quickly be on their way to ANA’s chic lounges (or partner facilities).

At ANA-branded lounges in Tokyo, passengers will find the airline’s famous noodle bar where guests can order made-to-order ramen and noodle dishes. ANA also has its one popular traditional beef curry recipe. Buffets change according to the day including sushi, salad, hot and cold dishes, sandwiches and plenty of desserts. Self-service wine, cocktails and automatic beer machines that pour the perfect, foamy glass of Japanese beer help to pass time before a flight. Lounges feature shower rooms, napping areas and free Wi-Fi and private work cubicles.

ANA offers a dedicated Arrivals Lounge at Narita Airport, giving Business Class passengers an opportunity to refresh and relax before connecting to a domestic flight or leaving the airport

In addition to Tokyo’s two airports, ANA operates its own lounges in Honolulu (Hawaii) and Osaka Kansai. In other cities, Business Class passengers can access contract lounges before boarding their flight, many of which are affiliated with ANA’s Star Alliance partners.

Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members travelling in any cabin always enjoy priority boarding lanes to have more time to get settled. ANA does a remarkable job of boarding aircraft quickly and efficiently with staff walking through the boarding area with signs designating when certain groups can board and even bowing to customers at the start of the boarding process.

9/ 10

Cabin & Seat

ANA operates a wide number of long-haul aircraft including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s. All of these have flat-bed seats designed in a 1-2-1 configuration. The pairs of seats in the centre section feature two side tables - one on either aisle or two in the middle. In the latter configuration, the seat is closer to the aisle, which means it feels more exposed. Couples will prefer the former setup as the seats are closer together with tables on the sides of the aisle. Solo travellers will want to avoid that style of seat since seats are close together even though there is a small privacy partition.

On the window side of the aircraft, solo seats have side tables alternating between being on the side of the window or the side of the aisle. Seat maps show which seats have a small table closer to the aisle for those that prefer to have a barrier between your seat and the aisle. Solo travellers will prefer solo seats, and since the airline does not charge for seat assignments, it is wise to review the seat map before departure to choose the best seat.

Centre seats have a privacy shade to lower to create more of a suite atmosphere for passengers flying together when the side doors are closed.

While the new incarnation of these seats - The Room - features a more stylish look and leather seat covering, the layout remains similar to the previous version with an important difference being that they alternate between forward and backward facing seats. These seats are much wider with Japanese-designed cushions providing more space to curl up and relax.

The seat is rather firm in the bed position, which is a commonality of beds in Japan. They also have a sliding door, which the earlier version of the airline’s Business Class seats do not have, as well as electronic shades for the window shades that operate with the touch of a button. These are only being installed on some Boeing 777-300ERs, and while it may be hard to tell just by looking at the seat map, ANA designates these flights as using The Room product on its website.

Many planes have smaller “mini cabins” separated by the Business Class galley. These can seem far more private since there are fewer seats. 

ANA’s Business Class cabins are rather large with a lot of seats. Equally sizeable are its Boeing 767 Business Class cabins, but they typically operate shorter flights. There is also a small fleet of Boeing 737s that fly 6 to 7 hour flights with recliner-style seats.

Each seat has a large side table, storage area for bottled water or small items, power and USB outlets, a dining table that folds out and storage areas near the armrest. Electronic controls bring the seat into various positions including reclining position for lounging or fully flat for a sound rest.

The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft. Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.

9/ 10

Cuisine

ANA’s inflight service is incredibly friendly, but also very Japanese in its service delivery with everything served with formality and precision. Passengers can choose between Western cuisine and Japanese set menus with dishes designed by a team of ANA “connoisseur” chefs. It is not possible to mix and match dishes from either set menu, but there is a snack menu that offers alternative choices that can be substituted for parts of the meal service. A unique feature of ANA’s menus is that many dishes list the calorie count - which is rather helpful for those that like to monitor their nutrition intake.

Large cloths cover the tray table, and following the aperitif, the starter and soup course arrive with a side plate for one of three types of bread plus butter, olive oil, and salt and pepper shakers. Even for those choosing the Western cuisine, passengers can order steamed rice, traditional pickles and miso soup with their meal, which offers a morsel of Japanese flair.

Restaurant-style presentation is a hallmark of the main course with dishes plated in the galley rather than being reheated and served in elegant fashion. Options usually include beef, seafood or a pasta dish. No aisle carts are used, which means the service is slower paced and more elegant. Dessert soon follows with cake, fruit, cheese or pudding.

Presentation is excellent. Still, the service flow is slow and not geared around your own dining routine, but rather that of the galley.

Another nice touch is that there is usually a setup of refreshments and light snacks like fruit and sweets in the galley if you are hungry midflight, but you can also order from a set menu. It includes the airline’s signature ramen or curry and rice dish, pasta, sandwiches, salads and ice cream. These can be ordered any time after the main meal service.

Two to three hours before landing on long flights, a pre-arrival meal is served and varies based on the time of day.

Travellers can pre-order special meals like vegetarian, Kosher, or children’s themed dishes if they wish. There is no “dine-on-demand” service, but if you ask the cabin crew to hold a meal until later, they are sure to oblige.

8/ 10

Beverages

One disappointment on ANA long-haul flights is the lack of pre-departure beverages in Business Class. This break from tradition certainly does not make a great first impression, but flight attendants do stop by to introduce themselves before takeoff. Oddly, after takeoff, a tray of Champagne (often Duval-Leroy Brut Reserve), water or orange juice is offered - which would be better timed if served during boarding like most other airlines.

This is then followed by the beverage of your choice with an amuse bouche and warm towels, but with such a large business class cabin, service can take time. Beverage refills are not very proactive, either.

This is a shame given the long list of drinks to choose from on ANA flights. Printed menus outline all the libations on offer including two white wines, two red wines, port, and one premium wine from a list of rotating selections. Also on offer are two types of sake, two soju options and one plum wine.

Spirit drinkers will find familiar names including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Suntory Whisky Hibiki and Bombay Sapphire. This is in addition to cocktails, mocktails, liqueurs and bitters. Both Japanese and international beers are on the menu including non-alcoholic beer plus soft drinks and juices.

The airline has a special Brazilian blend made for the airline as well as a variety of teas including iced green tea. ANA’s bespoke citrus and honey drink is another non-alcoholic beverage to sample on board.

The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.

8/ 10

Service

The service is friendly, yet reserved, and in between meals, the crew does not walk through the cabin much. They speak Japanese and basic English, which may lead to some service reticence, but they are always well-intentioned and want passengers to have a quiet cabin for resting. Expect them to be at your seat in no time if you ring the call button as they take pride in their service. If only the cabins weren’t so big so that the first meal could be delivered more quickly (it can take up to three hours for the full meal service).

8/ 10

Entertainment

High definition, 24-inch screens with touch-screen capability face the seat offering Hollywood and international movie selections and a range of short-subject programs and music. Programming is available in many languages, and there is a large collection of Japanese, Korean and Chinese music and movies. Many travellers will notice a lack of international sitcoms, however.

Noise-reducing headsets are available at each seat during boarding, and remote controls make it easy to change the channel while reclined. The 3-D moving map display allows views from different angles and gives details of the points of interest the plane is flying over. Many ANA aircraft also feature external cameras so that you can watch the scenery below from your seat.

Wireless Internet is available with pricing based on time connected rather than data usage.

The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi.

9/ 10

Amenities & Facilities

Amenity kits by British luggage brand Globe-Trotter stock designer toiletries from Japanese cosmetics brand SHIRO, with further amenities available in the lavatory or from a basket offered by flight attendants. These include numerous features like aromatherapy stickers, face masks and ear plugs.

A package of slippers is also a benefit so passengers can get comfortable inflight, and cloth cardigan sweaters are available upon request (which sadly, must be returned before landing). In addition to two pillows and a duvet, a mattress sheet can be spread over the seat when it is time to sleep. It does not add much padding, but is meant more for cleanliness purposes. Other niceties include a shoe bag to store shoes and a shoe horn to use when putting them back on. Before landing, flight attendants distribute candy and sweets as a small farewell token.

Bathrooms have extras like mouth wash and face lotion. Another unique feature is that its long-haul aircraft have bidet toilets. Families travelling with infants can request a bassinet on long-haul flights to use at certain seats.

ANA offers a unique aroma in its airport lounges and on board its aircraft. The originally blended aroma has been designed "to bring ANAs Inspiration of Japan brand consept to life", and is blended from traditional Japanese aromas such as Japanese umbrella-pine and Yoshino Japanese cedar and others such as mint and rosemary. Wet towels in First and Business Class are infused with the special aroma, as is the hand lotion and special aroma cards, available to passengers on international flights.

8/ 10

Short & Medium Haul

On medium-haul flights (international), ANA used a mix of widebody and narrowbody aircraft. In Business Class, passengers will have a full-flat, recliner or cradle seat. On most flights, the meal service includes a hot selection and there is also a full bar service.

On domestic flights, ANA has rebranded Business Class to Premium Class. ANA flies both widebody and narrowbody aircraft on these services and passengers will most likely have a recliner or cradle seat. Passengers only receive cold snacks on domestic flights and the drinks choices can be limited to soft drinks, wine, beer, Cava, coffee and tea depending on flight length.

Sustainability

In addition to recycling and switching to more fuel-efficient aircraft, the airline’s operational teams work to maximize efficiencies in the air and on the ground to reduce fuel use. The airline is working to reduce carbon emissions and is boosting its engine maintenance and cleaning protocols for more efficient operation. It is also implementing new flying programs including continuous descent, which uses less fuel, and reducing the amount of pre-flight auxiliary power.

Hawaii is an important market for ANA, and the airline´s three A380 have been painted in a special livery depicting sea turtles which are native to Hawaii.

The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.

What We Love

  • The Japanese cuisine and long roster of sake, wine and soju served aboard
  • Chic lounges with automatic beer-pouring machines!
  • The new Business Class seat - The Room- boasts one of the widest Business Class beds in the sky and doors that close for privacy

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