After an extremely early morning bus ride from the Hyatt Regency Tokyo out to Narita, I proceeded to the very exclusive feeling ANA Suite Check-in facility. Here, I was quickly checked in and whisked away to a private security line before I went on to clear immigration. I relaxed for about an hour in the ANA Suite Lounge (review forthcoming) before making the short trip over to gate 42 to board my flight back home to Washington. After about five minutes, a slew of gate agents finished swarming about and welcomed aboard First Class passengers.
An Around the World Trip — Oktoberfest and Asia
- United Global First Class Chicago to Munich
- Oktoberfest… and Six Other Highlights of Munich
- Le Meridien Munich
- THAI Royal First Class Munich to Bangkok
- THAI Royal First Lounge and Royal Orchid Spa
- A Layover in Bangkok
- THAI Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Shanghai
- Two Days in Shanghai
- Park Hyatt Shanghai
- China Eastern Economy Class Shanghai to Hong Kong (to Shanghai)
- A Weekend in Hong Kong – Ten Highlights
- Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Grand Hyatt Shanghai
- Air China First Class Lounge – Shanghai-Pudong
- Air China Forbidden Pavilion First Class Shanghai to Tokyo-Narita
- A Twenty-Two Hour Layover in Tokyo and the Hyatt Regency Tokyo
- ANA Suite Lounge – Tokyo-Narita
- ANA First Class Square Tokyo-Narita to Washington-Dulles
ANA (NH) 2
Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Washington-Dulles (IAD)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 2A (First Class Square)
Wednesday, October 15
11:05AM – 10:40AM
As I entered the cabin through door 1L, I was immediately greeted by two flight attendants who escorted me to my seat. At that point, I was given my awesome Rimowa amenity kit and pajamas. I settled into the seat briefly before the flight attendant suggested that I go change into my pajamas… sure, why not?
The ANA pajamas were plenty big and were very soft and comfortable. I returned to my seat and was immediately offered a glass of Krug champagne.
Yup, Krug… the good stuff.
As I enjoyed my champagne, I acquainted myself with the ANA Square suite. It has an incredible amount of space for one human being, and I really did appreciate it. The ANA Square has a very boxy feeling, but the finishes are all top-notch. It features a massive, 23-once LCD IFE screen with a decent selection of content, just tons of leg room, and of course all the lights and plug sockets and controls one would want. The only drawback was that the boxiness of the suite actually blocked the view from one of my windows. No big deal… I survived.
The new First Square product provided a TON of very private space. Though there was not a door, the dividers of the square were high, and I could not see into any other suite at any time.
The suite was also equipped with some very nice, band new Sony noise-cancelling headphones. I actually used these during the flight instead of my Bose headphones, and really enjoyed them.
The flight attendant was extremely attentive from the get-go. She asked how my flight was from Shanghai (since I technically connected from there, with a 22-hour layover in Tokyo), and asked if I’d flown with ANA before. I replied that I had not, but had flown first class on a number of other carriers. At that point, she was pretty intent on ensuring that I’d leave the flight with the best impression of ANA possible.
Let’s just say she succeed tremendously.
There were only three of us occupying the eight first class seats in the cabin (there were Japanese businessmen in seats 1A and 1K), and I was informed that I was the only passenger who was drinking Krug, so needless to say, the refills kept coming.
Boarding was complete relatively quickly, and we taxied to the runway for our long flight to Washington.
Shortly after takeoff, the dinner menu was delivered along with a fresh new bottle of Krug. I also asked for a glass of Suntory Hibiki 21-year Japanese whiskey — simply a treat at any time, let alone on a flight.
Though the flight attendant highly recommended the Japanese menu, I just did not feel that adventurous and instead ordered from the modern European menu.
Upon completing my order, my drinks were refreshed and a beautifully presented plate of canapés were delivered. I can honestly say that I have no idea what it was, but it was very Japanese. It tasted interesting, but just had a striking presentation.
Once I finished the canapés, my table was set with meticulous precision, as each piece of silver wear was gently laid on my table top and adjusted straight.
I opted to begin with the caviar service. Instead of it being served from a tin with traditional garnishes, the caviar was presented impeccably atop scallops with a flake of gold. Though different from I was expecting, it was simply delicious — easily the best tasting caviar dish that I’ve had.
Next, I was offered an assortment of breads. All the selections were very fresh and warm. They went along great with the butter and olive oil.
The appetizer featured a duck ham with mesclun, persimmon and a carrot vinaigrette dressing. It was… interesting, but tasty.
The salad course was delivered next. I ordered the garden salad with the Kochu yuzu pepper dressing. Again, it was delicious.
For my entrée, I selected a tenderloin of grilled Oita Bungo beef.
To say that I enjoyed my steak is an understatement.
This was not only the best steak I’ve ever had on an airplane — it was one of the top five steaks I’ve eaten anywhere.
I know…. that sounds like hyperbole, but I swear, it was that good. It was cooked to perfection, and was simply melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
I declined the cheese plate in favor of a dessert that featured a wildly creative take on ice cream. It was described as “Marron ice cream, milk ice cream and green tea-flavored biscuit harmony.” Yeah, I don’t even know what that means, but it was outstanding. I enjoyed a pot of tea along with desert, and that was nice.
A trio of petit fours were delivered after desert, including a macaroon, a delicious mini cheesecake, and a chocolate truffle.
Service throughout the meal was impeccable – I have never experienced better service on a plane.
I was exhausted due to a late night out in Shinjuku the night before, so I requested that my bed be turned down immediately after dinner. The bed was turned down nicely and was extremely comfortable. I started watching a movie, but fell asleep pretty quickly.
After about eight hours of deep sleep, I awoke somewhere over Wisconsin. I slept incredibly well, as the bed featured plenty of rooms with extremely comfortable linens and duvet. The air conditioning was quite cool, which helped me sleep really well.
As soon as I awoke, the flight attendant offered me some coffee or tea, but I declined in favor of a Diet Coke. With that, breakfast service commenced.
Once again, my table was set impeccably, but this time included an assortment of jellies and jams.
I started with a plate of fresh fruit.
A bowl of cereal followed.
For my breakfast entree, I ordered the deconstructed eggs benedict with smoked salmon. Now, I’m not usually a fan of salmon, but it just worked really well with this dish, and was exceptional.
As breakfast concluded, we started our descent into Washington. I changed back into my clothes and came back to my seat where I found the flight attendant with a fresh glass of Diet Coke for me. She wanted to know how ANA compared to the other airlines I’d flown. Specifically, she wanted to know how it compared to United since she noticed I had status with them. That made me giggle a little… you can’t even compare ANA First Class with United Global First. It’s not fair to ANA to lump them in the same conversation.
So, I told her the truth: it was the best I’ve experience in first class that I’ve had to this point. Better than Lufthansa. Better than Asiana. Better than Korean. Better than THAI. Not even in the same stratosphere of the US carriers.
The cabin was prepared for arrival, and our long (but not nearly long enough) flight across the Pacific was over, as was my two-week trip around the World.
How would I describe the experience in a word?
The 12+ hour flight on this new, ANA B777-300ER will surely serve as the benchmark to which I compare any future flight. The whole experience was outstanding, from start to finish.
How I Booked It…
As previously mentioned, this flight was one of the segments on a US Airways First Class award ticket from North America to North Asia, with a stopover in Europe.