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

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All Nippon Airways (ANA) is one of the lessor known carriers in the Star Alliance Network. What it makes up in its limited quantity, is an outstanding Japanese catering product that is unlike any other in the world. We tested out their class leading ANA Business Staggered product on nine hour a 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 of many future flights. We had intentionally flown and re-positioned to Seattle to fly this particular aircraft.

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, please see our earlier post there about checking into ANA Business Class.

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. 

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 stepping over anyone. It 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 as you have to maze your way into the private seat or suite assigned to you.

ANA Business Staggered – Cabin Overview

The seating experience is slightly different dependent on the seats with increased privacy with the windows seats, versus the aisle seats which offer more exposure to the cabin.

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 your devices.

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

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

The ANA Business Staggered space is not super spacious – you definitely trade up some spaciousness for greater privacy. The space is also not so great for carrying on a conversation with someone if you’re seated on the outside 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 like we were. Rate this configuration as not a plane for the sharing of experiences.

ANA B787-8 Seat Controls

Of note to the aviation geeks are the size and shadings of the windows. The windows extend well above the individual suites, making for a much brighter cabin. These photographs also show the electronically dimmed window shades.

Selective Window Shading on the B787

We were welcomed on board with 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 remote. The entertainment system also had a seat to seat messaging feature where you could annoy your spouse or other travelers. 

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 read cabin for a little look. A quick shot of the economy cabin at the rear of the plane. The internationally configured ANA 787 has a very small economy class cabin consisting of only 10 rows in a 3 – 3 – 3 configuration with a mini cabin of 3 rows for a total of 13 rows. In comparison the ANA Staggered Business configuration takes up 13 large rows, or the majority of the aircraft.

ANA B787 Economy Class with Individual Video Screens

A Pre-Departure Beverage:

Back up front in Business Staggered, we were further welcomed on board with a glass of white wine or orange juice in a plastic cup.

The Amenity Kit: L’Occitaine en Provence

An amenity kit, blanket, sleeping pad, slippers were on our seat on arrival. The amenity kit was a weak Occatine branded kit but it did the trick.

L’Occitaine en Provence

“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 pajama (supplied on request) and 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 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. 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 departing Seattle Tacoma today.

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.

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. During the service, wine bottles were presented for inspection prior to each pour. 

ANA Business Class Menus

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

ANA Business Class Japanese Menus
ANA Business International Menus

The wine lists offered the label info-graphic with the bottle diagrams.

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 First Class 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 this morning. I was asked by cabin staff what the breakfast order would be and if I wanted to be woken up? I tried to get into the movie American Hustle but only made it about 30 minutes before I lost interest over my personal movie “The Sandman”. 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 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 wake up, the second service was presented. Again, I went for 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.

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

MrsWT73 found the Ramen Noodles snack, which 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” with 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: “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 AC, UA, 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

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