02. United Club San Diego
03. United Airlines first class San Diego to San Francisco
04. United Club San Francisco
05. ANA business class San Francisco to Tokyo
06. ANA arrivals lounge Tokyo
07. ANA economy class Tokyo to Hiroshima
08. ANA economy class Hiroshima to Tokyo
09. ANA business lounge Tokyo Narita
10. ANA business class Tokyo to San Francisco
11. United Airlines first class San Francisco to San Diego
Tokyo, Japan (NRT) – San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Friday September 27 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300/ER
Seat: 10G (Business)
We went down to the gate about 10 minutes prior to boarding and found a place to sit and get ourselves organized for the long flight. More specifically, my wife was the one getting organized – consolidating bags, getting rid of things she didn’t need to bring aboard, etc. She’s a very organized person and this is one of her rituals before getting on a long flight. Perhaps I could learn a thing or two from her…
Boarding was right on schedule, and business class was called immediately after first class. We quickly made our way onboard and found our seats at 10 F and G. As I mentioned in my report about the SFO-NRT segment one week prior, there are no two seats directly together in this new ANA business class staggered layout. So even though we had seats F and G, there was a large storage unit for my seat (10G) between us and her. No matter though, as it was easy enough to lean forward a bit to say something to each other.
Prior to pushback, I noticed that the flight summary that was being displayed on the video screen showed a flight time of 8:01. That’s probably the shortest trans-Pacific flight time I’ve ever experienced, and my wife and I were both slightly disappointed because we wanted to enjoy as much of the legendary ANA in-flight service as possible. That says a lot considering my wife has absolutely zero interest in airplanes or air travel.
Once in the air, service began quickly. I suspect it was because this was technically an overnight flight (compared to going the other direction), and the crew assumed that most would like to sleep for as long as possible.
Once again, the food was phenomenal (by airplane standards, anyway). I chose the Japanese style meal, while my wife chose the western option. She chose champaign to drink, but I had Sake – which was so good that my wife had to get a glass of it for herself.
Immediately after dinner, I put my seat in the lie-flat position and got a few hours of sleep. It’s interesting to note that ANA provides a thick futon-style mat to be placed on top of the seat while in the fully flat position, which makes it feel more like a bed rather than a seat that just converted to flat. I hadn’t realized the purpose of the mat on the SFO-NRT flight, but my wife showed me how it worked and I’ve got to say it was much better with it than without!
Morning came all too early, and I awoke immediately after the crew turned on the cabin lights in preparation for the breakfast service. A flight attendant immediately came by and asked me if I’d like to eat – I said yes, and ordered the Japanese style meal once again. She went away to start preparing it, coming out of the galley several times to check on some other passengers who were awake. I was still quite sleepy myself, and with over 1:30 of flight time still remaining, I stopped her as she walked by to ask if she could delay my meal by 20 minutes or so, giving me a bit more time to wake up. In true Japanese form, she agreed without hesitation, but I could see the stress in her face with having to go put my meal on hold while dealing with everyone else’s meal. I genuinely felt sorry for asking at that point, but I really appreciated her handling it with kind professionalism – something I’m not sure would have happened on a western airline.
This was yet another great flight in ANA business class. The crew, service, and meals were top-notch, and my wife and I both got off of that flight at SFO thinking that it was far too short. This was – without a doubt – something we would do again.