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Al Nippon Airways ANA Business Class Review B787-900 Vancouver Canada YVR to Tokyo Haneda HND

August 5, 2023
Osman Dadi
Introduction I have wanted to compare ANA Business Class and first class to my experience on JAL, especially after my amazing recent experience on JAL first class from Tokyo to Chicago. Finally, earlier this summer, I got to try ANA business class and JAL business class on a recent trip to Japan. And I must […]

From
Vancouver Canada YVR
To
Tokyo Haneda HND Japan
Duration
9h 46m
Via
Al Nippon Airways (ANA)
Seat(s)
1A
Points Used
60,000 Aeroplan Points
Cash Spent
CAD $260

Introduction

I have wanted to compare ANA Business Class and first class to my experience on JAL, especially after my amazing recent experience on JAL first class from Tokyo to Chicago. Finally, earlier this summer, I got to try ANA business class and JAL business class on a recent trip to Japan. And I must say that ANA business class lived up to the hype!

Booking an ANA Business Class Ticket

I booked this about two weeks in advance of my trip. This was very rare –it’s tough to find award availability in general in May and June.

I was looking at the Aeroplan site and found availability on several Air Canada flights from San Fransico SFO that connected the same day to a single ANA seat available on the daily YVR-HND run, ANA115. This flight came once earlier in the week and then went away. The second time I saw it, I didn’t hesitate and booked immediately.

I decided the best schedule would be to fly to San Francisco via Delta in the morning, then connect to one of three Air Canada flights to Vancouver. Although I wanted to choose the B737 Air Canada flight that left around 1 pm, this would not allow me to review the Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR. So instead, I chose the Air Canada Jazz CRJ900 route.

Meanwhile, the ANA flight was the real target of this trip – I would be trying the ANA B789 on the outbound and making a direct comparison to the JAL B789 Business Class product on the inbound.

I finally booked and chose an Aisle seat in the back of the second Business Class cabin.

ANA Business Class Check-In & the Ground Experience

Serendipity struck when I was checking in. I checked in online, through Air Canada, 24 hours before the first flight leg.

Al Nippon Airways Flight Check in details
Al Nippon Airways Flight Check in details

However, when doing so, I noticed several new Seat availabilities on the second flight – and got super lucky as Seat 1A was available.

Al Nippon Airways ANA business class Flight Check in details
Al Nippon Airways Flight Check in details

This conceptually looked like an excellent seat, and it’s usually reserved for preferred or premium passengers or available for an extra fee. It just happened to be available when I checked in – I grabbed it immediately and was so lucky I did. I ended up getting the best seat on the whole plane.

Al Nippon Airways Check in Counter. Only one counter was assigned though it is not crowded.
Al Nippon Airways Check in Counter. Only one counter was assigned though it is not crowded.

The Ground Experience

As I was arriving in Vancouver, there was not much to report in terms of the experience at the airport.  I came off my previous Air Canada Jazz CRJ900 flight from SFO to YVR. I transited Canadian customs before making my way to the Maple Leaf Lounge. Moving through YVR was pleasantly seamless this time around.

The Maple Leaf Lounge and Boarding

I will be fully reviewing the Maple Lounge in a later post, suffice to say it lived up to expectations.

ANA Business Class Boarding

One of the standout features of Vancouver YVR, whether by design or accident, is its very airy feel. This translated into a boarding experience that was smooth and stressless!

Views inside Vancouver airport.
Views inside Vancouver airport.
Images of the beautiful Vancouver (YVR) airport on my way to boarding.
Images of the beautiful Vancouver (YVR) airport on my way to boarding.

Although boarding was slightly delayed, it still went off without a hitch in a timely manner. First, the crew spent about ten- or fifteen minutes loading passengers needing extra assistance. The flight had many elderly and families with children on board.

gates can be a  significant walk at Vancouver airport.
gates can be a significant walk at Vancouver airport.
Travelator on route to gate
Travelator on route to gate
Vancouver (YVR) airport is quite big and I just followed the directions to my assigned gate.
Vancouver (YVR) airport is quite big and I just followed the directions to my assigned gate.
Al Nippon Airways Aircraft B789
Al Nippon Airways Aircraft B789

Following that, the crew went through a very brief Zone 1 and then to Zone 2 for Business Class. I was one of the first to board and got time to check out the Business Class cabin on the plane.

A warm greeting upon entry into the aircraft.
A warm greeting upon entry into the aircraft.  

The ANA Business Class Cabin and Seats

Since I was one of the first in the cabin, I got to take some full shots of the cabin before it became too busy. Even though the hard product is older at a glance, it felt pretty new and maintained well.

ANA Business Class cabin Interior
ANA Business Class cabin Interior

The cabin featured an attractive grey décor, and remarkably everything seemed spotlessly clean.  

ANA Business Class cabin Interior
ANA Business Class cabin Interior

I also spent about 5 minutes chatting to the flight attendants and had an excellent conversation with one.

ANA Business Class cabin Interior
ANA Business Class cabin Interior

One of the things I really appreciate about ANA is that they also ask whether you want to be served in English or Japanese.

ANA Business Class cabin Interior
ANA Business Class cabin Interior

The décor was understated and classy featuring:

  • ANA Blue lighting during the night time.
  • LED lights changed between orange and blue
  • B787 auto-dimming window shades, very balanced
  • Auto-dimming
  • No blue light on the seat edge.

ANA Business Class: Seat 1A

Seat 1A is the front bulkhead seat in business class and one of the most private on the aircraft. While I could spend ages describing it, a picture speaks a thousand words more often than not.

Al Nippon Airways B789 ANA Business Class Seat 1A
Al Nippon Airways B789 ANA Business Class Seat 1A
Al Nippon Airways B789 ANA Business Class Seat 1A
ANA Business Class Seat 1A

Al Nippon Airways B789 Business Class Seat 1A. I Loved this seat! Very private feel at the very front of the plane, probably this seat and it’s counterpart in the second cabin (1A, 9A) are the most private seats on the plane.

Al Nippon Airways B789 ANA Business Class Seat 1A
ANA Business Class Seat 1A
Al Nippon Airways B789 ANA Business Class Seat 1A
Al Nippon Airways B789 ANA Business Class Seat 1A
There is no blue light along the edge banding of the side table. ANA Business Class
There is no blue light along the edge banding of the side table.
ANA Business Class
ANA business class two and a half windows
ANA business class two and a half windows

Two and a half full windows. It’s a bit annoying that the last window is also shared with the rear neighbor – in this case he wanted the windows dark on his side, and I wasn’t able to get better views of the engine during the flight.

There is a remote to control the TV, which comes out with a button.One power outlet, one USB port, and one headphones socket. ANA Business Class
There is a remote to control the TV, which comes out with a button.One power outlet, one USB port, and one headphones socket.
ANA Business Class Small jut-out for papers and contents.
Small jut-out for papers and contents.
Noise cancelling headphones, isolate the rest of the plane sound. I didn’t like that these aren’t “Over the Ear” headphones, as those tend to be more comfortable than this “On Ear” type. ANA Business Class
Noise cancelling headphones, isolate the rest of the plane sound. I didn’t like that these aren’t “Over the Ear” headphones, as those tend to be more comfortable than this “On Ear” type.
One reading light, turns on from the remote.
ANA business class seat is normal height (unlike The Room which is much lower).One coat hook on the front part, right side of this seat.
ANA business class seat is normal height (unlike The Room which is much lower).One coat hook on the front part, right side of this seat.
ANA Business class seat table
seat 1A table

Tray table comes out the side of the side table. You have to physically pull it out, and it slides in a 90 degree manner to the side.Tray table also didn’t feel that sturdy, supported only on one corner and thus the left

ANA Business class seat table deployed
ANA Business class seat table deployed
Leg room is comfortable and spacious in this seat type - It may be less comfortable if on the wide side.
Leg room is comfortable and spacious in this seat type – It may be less comfortable if on the wide side.
Storage is spacious though it is encroached in your leg room. A pillow and blanket set is provided.
Storage is spacious though it is encroached in your leg room. A pillow and blanket set is provided.
storage space
storage space

Seat Controls

The Controls are just below the main seat surface and feature five separate functions.

  • Seat firmness
  • Do Not Disturb button
  • Back and Forth
  • Sleep Mode
  • Landing and Take-Off Mode

The ANA Business Class Amenity Kit

I would not be raving about the ANA business class amenity kit. The kit comes with an array of Shiro products. One thing that caught my attention is that it seems ANA gives out two different amenity kits these days.

Al Nippon Airways ANA Business class Amenity Kit
Al Nippon Airways ANA Business class Amenity Kit

The amenity kits are this light Blue product on westbound flights coming from North America. However, this is changed to a completely different, green-style amenity kit on the eastbound flight. Comically both kits contain the same products, so why have a change for the sake of change?

Amenity Kit Contents

  • Toothbrush
  • Eye Mask
  • Face Mist
  • Lip Balm
  • Ear Plugs

The Inflight Entertainment & Wifi

The IFE onboard was excellent. The touch screen is bright and massive, making navigation a breeze.

ANA business class IFE screen
ANA business class IFE screen

In terms of picture quality, I found it to be very high quality, with sharp images that were not grainy.

View to the IFE screen - Push the button and it pops out for viewing.
View to the IFE screen – Push the button and it pops out for viewing.

I also found that the touch screen is very responsive, and the system as a whole was very fast.

Wi-Fi

While the aircraft does feature Wi-Fi, I had to ask the FA to scan a QR Code. I was disappointed that there is no Free WiFi Code for Business Class. Instead, you have three paid options to choose from:

  • $6.95 for 30 min
  • $16.95 for 3 hours
  • $21.95 for Full Flight

I choose the full flight option. However, the connection was nothing to write home about. It was particularly choppy and slow, especially over the Pacific.

The Flight

Once boarding was complete, we pushed back from the gate and were on our way. The take-off roll was incredibly smooth and quiet. I would say it was probably one of the most “boring” take-offs I have experienced.

. Water and orange juice (as well as Champagne) is offered as pre-departure drinks.
Water and orange juice pre-departure drinks options
Prior to departure, we were served a choice of either Champagne, or Orange Juice. I picked the OJ.
Prior to departure, we were served a choice of either Champagne, or Orange Juice. I picked the OJ.

Meal and snacks – more than one on long flights

Soon after we were airborne, the meal service began. Mixing things up a little as I tried Western cuisine on one of my Westbound flights, I now will try Japanese cuisine going INTO Japan.

ANA business class meal menu
ANA business class menu

In terms of dinner, I was in for a treat; this flight was departing at 4:45pm and chasing the sunset all the way to a 7 pm Arrival in Tokyo. Thus, it would be an entirely daytime flight, with two dinner services (one timed to Canada and one scheduled to Japanese time).

About twenty minutes after take-off – the FA came by with wet towels and the dinner menu. ANA reuses menus on its flights, and thus I got a fairly heavily used copy
About twenty minutes after take-off – the FA came by with wet towels and the dinner menu. ANA reuses menus on its flights, and thus I got a fairly heavily used copy

I was offered some Sake, which I tried, and the ANA signature drink, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.

ANA’s menus also include multiple different flight options and countries (to Japan, from Japan, To/From USA, to/from Canada) – you have to find the section that applies to you.
ANA’s menus also include multiple different flight options and countries (to Japan, from Japan, To/From USA, to/from Canada) – you have to find the section that applies to you.
More ANA business class meal options
More ANA business class menu options
I tried a Sake. I also tried the signature ANA drink, which I loved. Continued to have this throughout the flight
I tried a Sake. I also tried the signature ANA drink, which I loved. Continued to have this throughout the flight

 The first course consisted of two servings:

  • Mushroom Mousse Tarlet – a bit bland and tough to eat, felt very artificial, and not super fresh.
  • Apricot Wrapped in Coppa Ham – this was tasty and well done.
Mushroom Mousse Tarlet  and Apricot Wrapped in Coppa Ham
Mushroom Mousse Tarlet and Apricot Wrapped in Coppa Ham

After that came the Second Course – Appetizers

the second course
the second course
  • Zensai (Morsels)
    • King Crab Meat * Broad Beans – this tasted horrible, ugh. I don’t know why it was so bad, but it had a really rough, sewage-like aftertaste.
    • Surf Clam with Vinegar Miso Sauce
    • Lobster tasting start, tough midway, rough aftertaste. I wanted to get rid of the taste quickly.
Zensai (Morsels)
Zensai (Morsels)
Zensai (Morsels)
Zensai (Morsels)
  • Kobachi – Tasty Tidbits
    • Marinated Scallop in Soy-Based Sauce – this was okay, neither great nor bad. Tasted pretty good and a bit sharp-sweet.
Marinated Scallop in Soy Based Sauce
Marinated Scallop in Soy Based Sauce
  • Otsukuri – Selection of Sashimi
    • Seared Tuna – excellent, tasted amazing, very fresh.
    • Kelp cured Sea Bream – also tasted excellent and amazing, supremely fresh.
Otsukuri – Selection of Sashimi
Otsukuri – Selection of Sashimi

 The Main Course consisted of Miso soup, grilled trout and rice with Japanese pickles.

Whole mean course serving
Whole main course serving
a.	Miso Soup – best I’ve had, no joke. This miso soup rocked.
Miso Soup – best I’ve had, no joke. This miso soup rocked.
b.	Grilled Trout – Also superb, tasted quite fresh, was soft and well balanced in taste.
Grilled Trout – Also superb, tasted quite fresh, was soft and well balanced in taste.
c.	Japanese Pickles & Rice – very fresh, warm and tasty. Rice was piping hot.
Japanese Pickles & Rice – very fresh, warm and tasty. Rice was piping hot.

Dessert was fresh fruit and a selection of cheese.

Main Meal service dessert
Main Meal service dessert
I Chose fruit plate, very fresh with Oranges, and Kiwi
I Chose fruit plate, very fresh with Oranges, and Kiwi
I Chose a cheese plate paired with a glass of Merlot wine.
I Chose a cheese plate paired with a glass of Merlot wine.

Overall, the presentation was great, but the food I noticed was much fresher coming FROM Japan rather than from Canada. Is this a surprise? Not really.  Food tends to be better when it originates in the airline’s home country.

Later on, I was offered a snack. I chose to go with the Ippudo Ramen, something I’d tried on a previous flight. This comes with spicy paste and seaweed on the side, which I added into the mix. I was already pretty full, but this was delicious.

ANA Business Class Sleep Mode

I decided to have a nap midway through the flight. In the end I sleept like a baby for about four hours. I Woke up to the cabin being fully lit and prepped for the final meal service. Ironically, the cabin felt incredibly cold this time – usually, Japanese airlines keep it extremely warm. But I was honestly freezing when I woke up.

ANA business class seat in sleep mode
ANA business class seat in sleep mode

The experience was great and featured:

  • One firm mattress pad, which I thought was quite comfortable, and added a little extra padding to the seat.
  • Slim comforter. I think if the flight was kept warmer, this would have been sufficient. However because the flight was freezing, I felt this wasn’t enough – I definitely woke up in the end, because I felt cold.
  • One pillow, which was very comfortable.
ANA business class seat in sleep mode
ANA business class seat in sleep mode

Overall the Seat was firm and comfortable. I could touch the end of the seat well in lie-flat mode, but it wasn’t too short either. More seat space than room. But not as much as the old-style B777-300ER seats that ANA has on that plane.

leg room in sleep room
leg room in sleep room

I’ll note once again that Seat 1A (and its counter 8A 9A in the second cabin) is one of the most private and secluded on the aircraft, especially good if you need to sleep during the flight or get work done with few interruptions.

Preparing for my final meal before landing
Preparing for my final meal before landing

ANA Business Class Restrooms

I mainly checked out the smaller restroom to the front. It was relatively small and came equipped with a couple amenities including:

  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Facebody Sheet
full length mirror in the washroom
Full length mirror in the washroom
ANA business class washroom
ANA business class washroom
ANA business class washroom

Landing Meal Service

The landing meal service was not as elaborate as the main service. However, it was tasty and delicious; the meal included:

  • Simmered Pork Belly
  • Chinese Cabbage in Soy Based Sauce
  • Shusai (Main Course)
    • Salt-Grilled Mackerel – super delicious
    • Steamed Rice
The full Landing Service tray.
The full Landing Service tray.
Miso Soup
Miso Soup
Kobachi (Tasty Tidbits)  and Japanese Pickles
Kobachi (Tasty Tidbits) and Japanese Pickles
Tasty Tidbits
Tasty Tidbits
steamed rice and grilled Mackerel
Steamed rice and grilled Mackerel

Arrival at Tokyo Haneda

As we approached Tokyo, I noticed we took a very circuitous into Haneda. Without a doubt, this was one of the craziest landings I’ve experienced into Haneda, as we were circling around Tokyo for a while and came in curving over the bay. We came in from the SouthEast and curved into runway 23, which runs NE – SW.

IFE showing flight path
IFE showing flight path

The entry process in Japan was much more straightforward this time, with Immigration and, finally, Customs. Overall, it took about 10 minutes to go through the entire process.

Pulled into Gate 145 at Terminal 3. Next to an Air France B777
Pulled into Gate 145 at Terminal 3. Next to an Air France B777
As I was in Seat 1A, I was also the first one off the plane! Another convenience for this seat
As I was in Seat 1A, I was also the first one off the plane! Another convenience for this seat

This was helped by the fact that I didn’t have any checked baggage, so everything went smoothly and efficiently.

Tokyo Haneda Airport Arrivals
Tokyo Haneda Airport Arrivals

Final Thoughts

Overall, this flight was immensely enjoyable. I would not hesitate to recommend ANA business class to anyone, even though it lacked some finer touches that would have taken it from excellent to outstanding. It was still an incredible experience that I am looking forward to repeating sometime soon.

The Pros:

  • Excellent Seat – this was just as good as the old-style B777 seat I had on ANA earlier this year.
    • Extremely private.
    • Lots of storage space
    • Large TV
  • I actually like the ANA old-style seat more than I like The Room. Quite Ironic, as The Room is very celebrated, but there’s something very nice about the way ANA set up their older cabins.
  • Excellent, very attentive service. Had four different FAs serving at different times on the flight.

The Neutral:

  • Some parts of the food were underwhelming. I don’t think this is ANA, as much as it’s whatever catering company ANA is sourcing from abroad. Consistently, the food quality is much better
  • The headphones are decent – I think they could be a more comfortable “over the ear” type, rather than just on-ear.
  • Cabin was kept extremely cold mid-flight. I’m going to let this one go, though – it’s quite uncommon for Japanese airlines to keep the flight cold, it’s usually too warm.

The Cons:

  • None

RATING: 9.5/10