ANA 787 Business Class Review Introduction
When I booked my trip to Shanghai I knew I wanted to try different business class products across the Pacific to see how they compared. I flew United Airlines on their brand new Boeing 777 featuring the new Polaris seating on my outbound flight and really enjoyed the new configuration. Unfortunately, the service was typical of most North American carriers, which is to say it wasn’t that great. I was having a difficult time finding great return flights from Shanghai, until I realized there was another airport in addition to Pudong, the smaller Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. Lucky for me, All Nippon Airways has flights from Shanghai Hongqiao to Tokyo (Haneda) which allowed for a one-stop option to Vancouver. Best of all, I would get to review the ANA 787 Business Class cabin with two different configurations, which would complete my review of all premium cabins the airline offers, as I recently flew ANA business class on their Boeing 767 and had the opportunity to fly their first class last summer on their Boeing 777 from San Francisco to Tokyo.
I arrived at the airport 2 hours prior to my departure, and made my way through security and customs without much of a wait. Unfortunately, the lounge offerings at this mainly domestic airport are terrible, and were really overcrowded. Instead I spent some time doing some plane spotting from one of the observation decks.
I made my way to the gate about 10 minutes prior to our scheduled boarding, and found it a lot less chaotic than my flight from Tokyo to Shanghai at the beginning of my trip.
Boarding began right on time, and started with a few very important looking Japanese men being escorted by various airport staff, followed by business class passengers.
ANA 787 Business Class Flight
All Nippon Airways 970
Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) – Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Aircraft: Boeing 787-800
Seat: 6A (Business Class)
I was welcomed on board by one of the friendly cabin crew and directed to my seat in the rear business class cabin. The cabin was almost full by the time I boarded, so taking pictures was a bit difficult.
Boarding was efficient, as is the norm with Japanese carriers (or any carrier outside of North America really), and similar to my flight from Tokyo to Shanghai, no pre-departure beverage was offered. This business class configuration is one of three offered by ANA, and feature the ‘cradle’ type seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. While certainly not competitive with long-haul products, it was perfectly comfortable for the short 3 hour flight.
I selected seat 6A, a window seat in the rear of the two cabins. The seat itself is 21.5 inches wide and provides 59 inches of pitch.
Legroom was good, and because of the shell design, reclining seats don’t impose on personal space.
There was a small privacy shield between each pair of seats, which did help a little bit. Thankfully I had a really great seat mate who slept most of the flight.
Waiting at the seat were slippers (nice touch on a short flight), the same Panasonic headphones from my flight on the outdated 767, and a small blanket.
Seat storage was decent, with a small table between the two seats for beverages, a small cubby beside the seat and literature storage up front.
The part I love most about the 787 are the large windows at each seat! I also like that they dim, rather than having window shades, as someone who likes to gaze out the window during flight.
We pushed back right on time and made our short taxi to the runway. The plane spotting wasn’t that great, but I did get to see a small Air Macau jet!
We had a smooth climb out of Shanghai, with some great views of the more rural areas outside of the city.
We reached our cruising altitude about 20 minutes into the flight at which point the seatbelt sign was turned off. I took the opportunity to visit the lavatory before meal service started, and found a very basic but clean washroom. I was happy to see the built in bidet, which was sadly missing on the 767 flight.
Orders were being taken just as I returned to my seat, and like any other ANA flight I’ve taken, I was impressed by the selection of food and beverages offered on such a short flight!
After my exotic Japanese dinner on the 767 flight, I opted for the western option of sautéed pork with red wine sauce. The meal service started with packaged snacks and a glass of champagne (such a great combination…) and a warm scented towel.
Next came the appetizer, main, and dessert all served up on one tray. While everything was good, nothing was especially memorable.
The meal service concluded with a glass of water and some yummy mints (the same ones offered in the business class lounge).
After lunch I decided to recline the seat and watch a movie. This cradle seat is a bit weird in that it can’t actually be adjusted all that much. Basically you have two options – reclined or not. The seat controls are shockingly straight forward…
The in-flight entertainment featured a selection of movies and television programs, though the options were fairly limited. At least the screen was better than the 767, and I was actually able to watch part of a movie.
The remote for the entertainment was located just near the storage cubby, right beside the power source.
I spent most of the time looking out the window, as I usually do when the cabin crew doesn’t force the window shades to be closed.
Our decent into Tokyo was bumpy, and we landed right on time at 5:27 (well, two minutes late I guess).
ANA 787 Business Class Bottom Line
There was nothing bad about this flight, from the decent food to the average seat, everything was just fine for the short 3 hour flight from Shanghai to Tokyo. While not really competitive with other international business class products, the entire experience was still far superior to what many North American carriers offer on such short flights.
While I’m glad to have experienced this configuration, I would probably not actively seek it out in the future, unless of course the other option was the older 767 with unusable in-flight entertainment (though the other seats were just as comfortable). Up next is my flight from Tokyo to Vancouver, again on a 787 Dreamliner, but this time with the international full-flat staggered configuration!
Have you flown the ANA 787 business class cradle configuration before? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!