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
San Francisco, CA (SFO) – Tokyo, Japan (NRT)
Saturday September 21 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300/ER
Seat: 10K (Business)
As we sat in the gate area waiting for boarding to be called for NH007, I was getting excited. Not only because I really enjoy flying international business class on great airlines, but mostly because this was going to be my wife’s first time up front. I was really looking forward to seeing her expressions and reactions to the sort of service she’s never before experienced on an airplane.
Long story short, her expression upon entering the business cabin was pretty much “WOW”. Our flight today was in the newly-redesigned staggered layout, with my seat (10K) against the window. My wife was directly behind me, which meant that her seat was offset from mine and positioned away from the window.
Each lie-flat seat has a large shelf and storage area directly next to it, which is great for privacy and creating a very cozy place for you and your things. It should be noted, however, that this layout doesn’t allow two people traveling together to sit directly next to each other – the storage units act as natural partitions between seats. This wasn’t a big deal for my wife and I, however, as we were both looking forward to the privacy of these mini-suites.
As we settled in, the Purser came by to introduce herself, welcome us onboard, and offered a pre-departure beverage (which I declined). I read for a bit as we pushed back and rolled out to runway 28R. I should note that as the pilot was positioning us onto 28R, it felt eerie to be at the exact place of the Asiana 777-200 accident which happened just two months prior. There didn’t seem to be any trace of the accident left behind, other than some stray spotlights along the perimeter of the field. Even the seawall where the aircraft hit looked to be in great shape with no sign of damage.
Once in flight, service was phenonimal as expected. Noise canceling headphones, hot towels, and menus were distributed (in that order), and then the flight attendants came by to take lunch orders and offer drinks.
I actually thought the meal was over at that point, but the food kept coming:
Once the lunch service was complete, I got comfortable and watched a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother before putting the seat in the completely flat position and taking a nap. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t very tired so it was difficult to sleep. For the most part, I just napped on and off for a few hours before giving up and watching more video.
Pre-arrival meal orders were taken about 1:30 before arriving in NRT, and although I was still full from the lunch they served earlier in the flight, I couldn’t resist eating again. Sorry – no pics this time.
In summary, my first impression of ANA business class was really (really) good. The service, food, and hard product were all top-notch and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from a business class experience. One interesting thing to note is that while I did find the ANA lie-flat seats to be really good, I think that the British Airways Club World seats were slightly more comfortable even though they were slightly narrower. But in terms of layout and overall privacy, the ANA staggered layout wins.