Much like its Business Class product, the First Class experience on All Nippon Airways (ANA) is incredible. The Suite, its newest inflight product, features on some of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Designed by Kengo Kuma, The Suite is available on routes including Tokyo to New York and Tokyo to London.
The redesigned seat has sliding doors for the most inflight privacy. Other ANA aircraft however feature the older, cubicle-style First Class product, but no matter what plane you fly, ANA’s premier experience is a treat.
ANA is the ideal way to experience Japanese culture before you even reach Japan with impressive kaiseki cuisine, fine sake and some of the best hospitality in the sky.
As a member of Star Alliance, ANA enjoys nearly two dozen airline partners with whom passengers can earn and redeem miles for their flights including Air Canada, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian, Lufthansa, Swiss International, Thai and United among others. It also means that 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.
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. When travelling in First Class, expect an escort through the check-in and transit formalities to head straight for the lounge.
At ANA-branded, First Class lounges in Tokyo, you will find the airline’s famous noodle bar where people can order made-to-order ramen and noodle dishes. ANA also has a traditional beef curry recipe that is extremely popular. Buffets change according to the day including sushi, salad, hot and cold dishes, sandwiches and plenty of desserts, but expect even more service from staff here than in the Business Class lounge. Self-service wine, cocktails and an automatic beer machine pouring the perfect, foamy glass of Japanese beer are excellent ways to pass time before a flight. Lounges feature shower rooms, napping areas and free Wi-Fi and private work cubicles.
In addition to Tokyo’s two airports, ANA operates its own Business Class lounges in Honolulu and Osaka Kansai. In other cities, First and Business Class passengers can access contract lounges before boarding their flight, many of which are affiliated with ANA’s Star Alliance partners.
ANA First Class passengers arriving at Narita Airport may use the ANA Arrival Lounge before connecting to a domestic flight or leaving the airport.
First Class and Business Class passengers as well as 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.
ANA always has a 1-2-1 layout in First Class - all seats have direct-aisle access. The only ANA aircraft with First Class are its Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A380s, and among these only a subset of the B777-300ERs has its latest product - The Suite - although it is coming to all planes soon.
On the window side of the plane, solo seats are extra private while the pairs in the centre can lower a divider for couples or kept separate for single travellers. The upright position is great for working or watching television whereas when in lounge or flat-bed position it is ideal for relaxing or sleeping. Japanese Nishikawa fabric makes it comfortable and breathable.
The seat is rather firm in the bed position, which is a commonality of Japanese beds. They have a sliding door as well as electronic shades for the window shades that operate with the touch of a button. These make it easier to have a dark sleeping space with minimal disruption although the crew in First Class is very discreet and quiet. Still, the top part of the suite is exposed although there are rarely disturbances.
ANA’s Business Class cabins are rather large with a lot of seats, but First Class is always quieter with much less foot traffic.
Each seat has a large side table, storage area for bottled water or small items, a mirror for primping, power and USB outlets, a dining table that folds out and storage areas near the armrest. The 42-inch screen in front is sizeable, perhaps one of the largest flying today, which sets the tone to be more like your living room rather than an airplane. A tray table can double as a desk thanks to its spacious size. In fact, designers wanted the seat to feel more like a hotel suite, which is why there are so many thoughtful amenities.
First Class on the A380 follows a similar design profile as The Suite, although with a smaller 32-inch screen.
Some Boeing 777-300ERs still feature the older First Class cabin product - ANA First Square - with a 23-inch screen and no door. The older design offers plenty of privacy, although perhaps too much as couples seated next to each other in the centre seats cannot see each other. Window seats also have a partition between the seat and the window - making it hard to enjoy the view.
A duvet, large pillow, day blanket and slippers await at each seat, and the latest First Class update added air vents so that passengers can control the air flow. ANA, like many airlines, can keep the cabin quite warm. The only way to know if you are flying in the newer cabin is if it is marketed as “The Suite” when booking on the ANA website.
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.
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. There is also 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 helpful for those that like to monitor their nutrition intake.
Large cloths cover the tray table, and the printed menu is delivered along with the choice of beverage and small amuses bouches with bread sticks after takeoff. In First Class, like in Business, the menu is dine-on-demand, but in First Class, there is more flexibility for passengers to mix and match from the Western and Japanese menus.
A hallmark of any good First Class is the caviar course, and ANA does not disappoint presenting an entire jar to each passenger along with the signature accompaniments. This is part of the Western set meal, but it is possible to have it with the Japanese meal upon request.
Course after course soon follow presented with great care on the linen-lined table. Traditional trays are used for the Japanese presentation, and refills on drinks are proffered with a smile. Hot towels appear throughout the meal, and dessert for either dining menu includes tasty treats like ice cream, fresh fruit, cake and cheese.
Restaurant-style presentation is a hallmark of the entire service with dishes plated in the galley rather than being reheated. The Japanese set menu is always very seafood-heavy whereas the Western options usually include beef, seafood or a pasta dish. No aisle carts are used.
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.
A second meal, which varies based on the time of day, is available, but passengers can choose when and what they want to eat throughout the flight.
Travellers can pre-order special meals like vegetarian, Kosher, or children’s themed dishes if they wish.
Unlike in Business Class on ANA long-haul flights, First Class passengers can enjoy a pre-departure beverage before takeoff. Flight attendants stop by to introduce themselves and take your order, which can include Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne or Billecart Salmon (you have a choice of Champagne in First Class, and it is always poured at your seat).
Once in the air, another drink service comes with an amuse bouche and warm towels. Printed menus outline all the libations on offer including four white wines, four red wines and port. Also on offer are at least four types of sake, a multitude of shoju and plum wine options.
Spirit drinkers will find familiar names including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Suntory Whisky Hibiki and Bombay Sapphire among others. 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 of coffee - The Daterra - as part of a menu, that includes espresso, cappuccino and ice coffee, as well as a variety of Dallmayr 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.
The service is friendly, yet reserved, and in between meals, the crew keeps an eye on passengers to see if they need anything. They may not walk through the cabin much to preserve the sense of quiet, but they are always available. It seems they gauge each passenger’s needs to see how much or how little they like to be interacted with during the flight. Its truly bespoke service from the moment a flight attendant walks you to your seat to when they bow in appreciation when you deplane.
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.
High definition and enormous screens have touch-screen capability and are packed with 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 Sony 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 no caps on data usage - complimentary in First Class.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on WiFi and inflight entertainment.
Globe-trotter amenity kits stock designer toiletries by The Ginza, including fragrances and face lotions with further amenities available in the lavatory or from a basket offered by flight attendants. These include numerous features like aromatherapy stickers, face masks, lip balm and ear plugs.
Cloth cardigan sweaters are available upon request (they must be returned before landing), and pajamas are a nice way to tuck in for a good rest. In addition to two pillows - one filled with Hungarian white duck down - and a Nishikawa duvet, a Nishikawa bed pad can be spread over the seat when it is time to sleep as part of the turndown experience that the crew lovingly provides. A Tenerita blanket made from organic cotton with the front side made of cashmere is also provided. Other niceties include a shoe bag to store shoes and a shoe horn to use when putting them back on.
On short and medium-haul flights, ANA uses a mix of widebody and narrowbody aircraft, and First Class is only available on select sectors. When offered, the experience is akin to long-haul flights. When not available, First Class passengers may end up connecting to aircraft that only feature Business Class.
The experience varies based on the aircraft with either flat-bed seating or recliner-style seats. They are perfectly comfortable for shorter sectors, and meal service includes hot selections on most flights and cold snacks on domestic flights. On shorter international flights, the full bar remains open, but on domestic services, the drink choices can be limited to soft drinks, wine, beer, sparkling wine, coffee or tea depending on flight length.
The premium cabin offering of ANA on domestic flights within Japan is branded as Premium Class. The airline operates both widebody and narrowbody aircraft on these services and passengers will most likely have a recliner or cradle seat.
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.