Review: All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class B787-8, Seattle – Tokyo Narita

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All Nippon Airways (ANA) is one of the less known carriers in the Star Alliance Network. While it’s not as popular as some other Asian carriers, it does offer outstanding Japanese on board catering that is unlike any other in the world. We tested out their class leading ANA Business Staggered Class product on nine hour Trans-Pacific flight.


This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: All Nippon Airways (ANA) Staggered Business Class B787-8, Seattle – Tokyo Narita

“The ANA Inspiration of Japan Business Class service offered exceptional service and outstanding world renowned Japenese catering unlike any other

Before we knew it, it came time for a most anticipated flight. This particular flight would be our first flight experience on a Boeing 787. We had intentionally flown and re-positioned to Seattle to fly this particular aircraft as it was not prevalent amongst international carriers at the time of this report.

We left the Club International / The Club at SEA Lounge at “S” Concourse and headed for the plane. For those that want to read more about the check in experience and the lounge, please see our earlier post outlining the features of the lounge.

ANA 787 Dreamliner Parked under sunny skies at SEA “S” Gates S11
Getting Ready to Board at Gate S11
Flight Display Monitors

In true Japanese efficiency, there was on time boarding exactly at the time announced ,with the aircraft door closed well ahead of schedule. 

All Nippon Airways
Business Class (ANA Staggered Business)
SEA-NRT (Sea Tac International, Seattle – Narita International Airport, Tokyo)
NH 1077 – Business Class (I)
1:15 PM – 3:40 PM
April 13, 2014
Booked: Boeing 787-800
Flown: Boeing 787-800

On board ANA Business Staggered Business Class:

This new flight on the Boeing 787 featured ANA’s “Staggered Business” configuration. The concept is that every seat has direct aisle access so there is no need to step over anyone to get out of your seat. The ANA Staggered Business Product is advertised with each seat having a side table, a full table, appropriate storage and power ports.

In our experience, the ANA Business Staggered Business class seats are great for personal space and privacy. Access to the seat involves some manoeuvring as you have to maze your way into the private seat or suite that is assigned to you.

ANA Business Staggered – Cabin Overview

The seating experience is slightly different, dependent on which seat you occupy. The seats with the most privacy are the windows seats. Whereas the aisle seats which offer more exposure to the cabin as they are directly exposed to the aisle without a privacy screen.

ANA Business Staggered – Seat 7A (Window)
ANA Business Staggered – Seat 7A
ANA Business Staggered – 6C (Aisle)
ANA Business Staggered – Seat 6C (an exposed aisle)
ANA Business Staggered – A forward facing view from Seat 6C (aisle)

The seats offer an array of power port and connectable ports for all your chargeable devices.

ANA Power Ports
The Side Table – Great for Personal Items (while working)

The seat itself had full functionality to it with 8 directions of adjustments, including a lumbar support.

The ANA Business Staggered space is not super spacious. As a traveller, you definitely trade up some spaciousness for greater privacy. The personal space is also not so great for carrying on a conversation with someone if you’re seated on the outside window orientated suites. I found it to be the most personally “private” business class cabin of a dozen carriers that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. During the flight, we discovered that it was pretty much impossible to have a conversation seated across aisle or behind one another. You can rate this seating configuration as an aircraft that not ideally suited for conversation, unless you happened to be seated in the middle pair of seats.

ANA B787-8 Seat Controls

Of interest to the aviation geeks are the size and electronic shadings of the windows. The Boeing 787 windows extend well above the individual suites, making for a much brighter cabin. These photographs also show the electronically dimmed window shades, which are controlled through electronic dimmers below the windows.

Selective Window Shading on the B787

We were welcomed on board with Japenese efficiency at its best.

A View Over the Wing to Rolls Royce Engines

The suite featured a large television sets with a touch screen function that made the entertainment system easier to operate than with the typical remote control usually found on other carriers. The entertainment system also had a seat to seat messaging feature where you could annoy your spouse or other travellers by sending direct messages from seat to seat.

Todays’ Flight Track
A Selection of Movies

The ANA Economy Class on a Boeing 787:

For those more interested in the economy class experience, I did venture back to the rear cabin for a quick look. The internationally configured ANA 787 has a very small economy class cabin that consisted of only 10 rows in a 3 – 3 – 3 configuration. The economy class cabin also has a mini cabin of 3 rows split between economy class and premium economy cabins for a total of 13 rows of economy class seating. In comparison the ANA Staggered Business configuration takes up 13 large rows, or the majority of the Boeing 787 aircraft.

ANA B787 Economy Class with Individual Video Screens

A Pre-Departure Beverage:

We settled back in to our seat. We were further welcomed on board with a glass of white wine or orange juice served in a plastic cup.

The Amenity Kit: L’Occitaine en Provence

An amenity kit, blanket, sleeping pad, slippers were left on our seat. The amenity kit was a weak L’Occitane En Provence branded kit, but it did the trick.

L’Occitaine en Provence

In Japanese style, slippers were also provided with the markings: “Please feel free to take these slippers home with you”. I’m sure that the used slipper market in Japan isn’t too popular (laughing).

Courtesy Slippers

I also asked for a pyjama, which was supplied on request. I was given a grey ANA “cardigan” top. They seemed to have lots of stock and I didn’t see anyone else ask for one. The cardigan was “one sized fits all” and was a little tight for my 6ft tall frame. They did not ask for it back at the end of the flight and I did not volunteer it. 

As we got underway, we had a nice send off from the ground staff. There was a little tear to my eye to be lucky enough to experience one of the finest business class cabins in the sky.  We had a gorgeous climb to altitude departing Seattle Tacoma International Airport.

Supportive ANA Ground Crew
Views of a Climb over Rolls Royce Engines

The Meal Service: Lunch

On board, the service continued to impress with attentiveness and discretion, starting with a towel service.

Once at altitude, the lunch menus were promptly dropped off. The menu size was a little large as it contained print for both the inbound NRT-SEA flight and the outbound SEA-NRT flight. MrsWT73 pronounced her dis-satisfaction of the Bogle red wines: “Are you kidding: That’s like a $10 bottle??” She was not overly impressed. I’d have to concur, the wine list was a little lacking. Despite the cheaper wines, during the service, wine bottles were presented for inspection prior to each wine pour. 

ANA Business Class Menus

The Menus are organized by being split into Japanese Cuisine or International Cuisine. Following their specialities, I went with their re-owned Japenese Cuisine for today’s flight.

ANA Business Class Japanese Menus
ANA Business International Menus

The wine lists offered a reproduction of the the label as an info-graphic to assist with selections.

ANA Business Class Wine List
Additional Beverages from the Drink List

I went with the Japanese “Set-O” and was not disappointed. I could personally eat food of this type every flight. I enjoyed every morsel. The service was topped up with regular, but not attentive refills of Champagne. 

The Japanese Set started with an amuse bouche of smoked salmon and scallop tarter in a pie cup, risotto wrapped in roasted beef with ponzo soy gellee and a marinated mushroom in sherry vinegar.

Meal Amuse Bouche with Champagne
smoked salmon and scallop tarter in a pie cup, risotto wrapped in roasted beef
with ponzo soy gellee and a marinated mushroom in sherry vinegar

The Zensai “selection of morsels” was a simmered ivory shell in a soy based sauce, with asparagus of smoked salmon vegetable rolled with grilled beef, served with a sunomono of assortment of regional pickles, with a deep fried salmon in marinated in piquant vinegared sauce. 

Zensai “selection of morsels”
ivory shell in a soy based sauce, with asparagus of smoked salmon vegetable rolled with grilled beef – among others

The Shusai main course was a grilled yellow tail with a soy based sauce, along with steamed rice, miso soup and assorted Japenese pickles.

grilled yellow tail with a soy based sauce, along with steamed rice, miso soup and assorted Japenese pickles

The dessert course included a chocolate mouse cake and a yuzu and lemon tart, served off the cart.

a chocolate mouse cake and a yuzu and lemon tart, silhouetted by B787 windows

After dinner, I was tired from the early 4:30 AM wake up. I was asked by cabin staff what the breakfast order would be and if I wanted to be woken up for breakfast. I tried to get into the movie American Hustle but only made it about 30 minutes before I lost interest over sleep. I self made up the bed with the mattress pad. A tatiami style mattress pad was provided along with a nice blanket. The seats are again compact for sleeping but I found the tatiami mat quite comfortable for a side sleeper like myself. The cabin went dark and I slept for a good portion of the flight. The ANA Suites offer Do Not Disturb lights which are also a neat touch.

ANA Business Staggered Suite – Do Not Disturb Signs

ANA has coloured ceilings on their flights which are best described as rainbow styled. It’s not too my liking but some may find it “Hello Kitty” tasteful.

ANA Rainbow Skies

The Second Service: A Light Dinner Snack

Shortly after waking up, the second meal service was presented. Again, I went with the Japanese Set. The Kuchidori- Mozuku seaweed in vinegar sauce with Japanese savoury omelet, presented with Shausai salt grilled mackerel, served with steamed rice, miso soup and assorted Japanese pickles.

The Second Service – Japanese Cuisine
The Japanese Set
The Kuchidori- Mozuku seaweed in vinegared sauce with Japanese savory omelet, presented with Shausai salt grilled mackerel, served with steamed rice, miso soup and assorted Japanese pickles

While I was sleeping, MrsWT73 found the Ramen Noodles snack. This was a first taste experience for her while onboard. She was fully converted to loving Ramen Noodles by the end of the flight.

Paying tribute to Bill Murray, I finished off the flight paying memory to the film Lost in Translation: “for relaxing times, make it Suntory times” . In the film’s honour, I enjoyed a glass of Suntory Whisky Hibiki 17 Years old. Indeed it was a super smooth whisky. It was served with a bit of overfill on the ice but I was probably dehydrated by now anyway. It was so good, I followed it up with a second one. 

Suntory Whisky Hibiki 17 Years old, over lots of rocks

My Boeing 787 First Flight impressions:

it’s always great to ride in a nice clean aircraft that hasn’t had the usual wear and tear that some others have had over the years. Does the air feel better in a 787? Maybe. If I was presented with the Pepsi Challenge and asked to compare the two, I doubt I would be able to tell the difference. MrsWT73, whom has spent a fair amount of time recently on the Boeing 737-800 commuting route felt that there wasn’t the usual recycled stale air smell. The plane was also well put together – the usual bumps and rattles from the older Boeing equipment was completely absent. The larger windows made for a more pleasant, brighter, cabin environment. Would I choose this plane over a tired Boeing 767 product on the same route? Absolutely. 

MrsWT73’s of course had her usual impressions, proclaiming: “Not my first choice for business.” I asked her about this, she called it the experience nothing to write home about. I took this opportunity to explain and highlight some of the intricate details of Japanese culture, the bow-ing, the social hierarchy, the respectful little touches that might go unnoticed by others. With some explaining, I finally got her to admit that there were some cultural service differences between ANA and other carriers. MrsWT73 preferred her experiences on South African Airways last year and found ANA to be better than Air Canada, United Airlines, Thai Airways and Swiss. 

The Bottom Line: Our ANA Business Staggered flight summarized

Overall, ANA provided a terrific flight experience. I’d be very happy to fly them again in a heartbeat. I felt like I was taken care of by attentive and actually interested staff. The service was on par with Asiana and was quite polished and attentive as with many other Asian carriers.  I found the service to be more enjoyable than it’s One World Competitor Japan Airlines International (JAL), not to mention those ANA Boeing 787 cowling fans on the ground at Narita are pretty cool. . .

ANA Boeing 787 at the Gate at Tokyo Narita
If you’ve flown All Nippon Airways over Japan Airlines in business class, did you find it a superior product?

2 Comments on “Review: All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class B787-8, Seattle – Tokyo Narita

  1. Thank you for trying, but it’s very hard to take a review seriously that has so many glaring spelling and grammar errors.

    Like

    • Thank you for reading and your comment.

      If there is something specific that you’d like to follow up, I’d be happy to hear about it through private message.

      Happy travels.

      Like

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