Introduction: ANA Business Class, Tokyo – Vancouver
When booking my trip to Shanghai, I intentionally decided to get home as efficiently as possible. While I usually prefer to take the longest, most convoluted route possible, and sometimes even travel for the sake of flying (see my 11-day trip around the world where I was in a new country almost everyday), this was more of a personal trip and I planned to spend a lot of time sightseeing in Shanghai, and knew I would be tired by the time I was leaving. I was lucky to find a one-stop option using 75,000 Aeroplan points with both segments ANA business class. I’ve flown ANA first class before and had a great trip, quite possibly one of my favourite flights ever, so I booked this with confidence. Also, I was flying one of their older configurations on my inbound so this would give a good opportunity to review all of their different business class products on one trip!
My flight from Shanghai arrived just ahead of schedule, which meant I had roughly 4 hours to wait until my flight to Vancouver. No problem, I thought, especially considering how much I enjoyed my time in the ANA business class lounge at Narita Airport. Well, to say this lounge was busy would be an understatement. Similar to the lounge at Narita, this space was enormous, but unlike the other airport, this lounge was packed. As in packed. It took me a few minutes to find a seat, and the only one open was between people and across from people, which was hardly private or enjoyable. I wasn’t able to get any pictures as I couldn’t get a decent shot of anywhere without at least a few people, so I threw on my headphones and watched movies until around 9:00pm, at which point I headed to the gate.
Unfortunately, the gate area wasn’t much better, with crowds of people anxiously waiting to board. As luck would have it, this flight was delayed (2 out of 3 of my ANA business class flights on this trip were delayed), though not terribly long, and I decided to just hang out there rather than walking back to the crowded lounge. On a positive note, the gate agents couldn’t have been friendlier and, of course, apologetic.
The Flight: ANA Business Class Tokyo – Vancouver
All Nippon Airways 116
Tokyo Haneda (HND) – Vancouver (YVR)
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Arrive: 3:31pm (same day)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-900
Seat: 9H (Business Class)
Boarding was a bit chaotic, with the cabin crew doing a good job and getting everyone settled quickly to make up for the delayed departure.
I had selected seat 9H, a ‘window’ seat in the rear of the two business class cabins. The reason I say ‘window’, is because similar to the new Polaris business class on united, the seats are staggered, with some seats closer to the aisle, and some (more private seats) closer to the window.
The seat itself is a huge improvement over the other two ANA business class configurations I flew, with each fully-flat seat featuring direct aisle access. Also, the seats are staggered in such a way that you get quite a bit of privacy from neighbours. My seat, 9H, was one with the side table between the seat and window, and I much would have preferred one of the more private window seats with the table between the aisle and seat, but none were available when I booked.
At 21 inches wide with 62 inches of pitch, it’s not the most spacious business class seat available. However, I found it to be completely comfortable and really appreciated all of the space surrounding the seat for storage, working, eating, etc.
Waiting at the seat was a bunch of swag, including a small kit featuring Neal’s Yard amenities, slippers, headphones (better than the Panasonic ones offered on my last two ANA business class flights), small blanket, large blanket, and pillow.
Seat controls were located on the armrest and really easy to use. There was also a ‘do not disturb’ button for privacy.
The seat had a basic remote for the in-flight entertainment, a reading lamp, and full connectivity. Unfortunately there were no individual air vents, unlike the other 787 I flew, though the cabin was kept at a comfortable temperature throughout the flight.
Despite the expedited boarding process, the cabin crew still came around and handed out menus and offered pre-departure beverages and magazines. I opted for a bottle of water, a Time magazine, and considered my options for dinner.
Like my other ANA business class flights, the menu was substantial, and featured one of the more extensive beverage options I’ve seen in business class.
Our taxi to the runway was short once we finally pushed back and we were in the air before I knew it. The seatbelt sign was kept on for about 15 minutes, with a few bumps on the climb out of Tokyo. I decided to check out the lavatory before getting comfortable for dinner and a movie. The washroom on this 787 was small but clean, and contained all of the amenities found on other ANA planes, including the built-in bidet.
I returned to seat and checked out some of the entertainment options. The in-flight entertainment screen is touch screen and 18 inches wide, which is pretty darn good for business class. The options were decent, though not great, and I ended up settling on Forest Gump, which is such a great airplane movie, in my opinion.
Meal service started with a richly scented warm towel.
The meal service was quick – which was much appreciated on this late departure flight. Furthermore, the eastbound journey over the Pacific isn’t actually that long, so spending too much time on dinner really cuts into sleep time. The tray table is stowed beside the side and pulls out easily.
The meal started with an amuse of chicken and mushroom pâté, breadsticks, and some olives. It was good, though I don’t really like the texture of pâté.
Next came an appetizer with more pâté (pork and duck), figs, salmon, and trout. I ate everything except the pâté this time, and it was all really tasty!
Next up was bread and corn soup, which was good but not really memorable (and I don’t really care for corn anything).
After the appetizer came the main course – sea bass and chorizo in a nice basil and apple vinaigrette. It was one of the better business class meals I’ve had!
At this point it was just after midnight (meal service took just over an hour) and I was literally starting to fall asleep, so I deiced to skip dessert. The cabin crew insisted on doing turndown, which was a nice touch in business class.
This is the last thing I remember before falling asleep….
I guess I had turned the ‘do not disturb’ light on, as I slept right through breakfast (seems to happen a lot for me) and woke up just as we were approaching the coastline.
The cabin crew came around and collected all the bedding and I hardly had time to wake-up before we started our decent into Vancouver! I always love the views coming home and really appreciate the natural beauty after being out of the country for more than a few days.
We touched down just after 3pm and made our short taxi to the gate.
Thankfully I didn’t have any checked bags, as the baggage area was a complete mess (they must have had an outage), and within 15 minutes from arriving at the gate I was in my car (I really love Vancouver Airport).
ANA Business Class Bottom Line
This was a really enjoyable flight, and much better than the other configurations ANA offers on shorter business class flights. It’s too bad I slept for most of it, since ANA is known for consistently good service from cabin crew, which I hardly had the chance to experience on this delayed flight from Tokyo to Vancouver.
Using 75,000 Aeroplan miles for a one-way flight from North America to Asia in business class is a good deal in my books, but keep in mind ANA does impose some surcharges on flights depending on origin and destination (minimal if Tokyo is your destination). Right now American Express is offering 75,000 Membership Reward points on the Business Platinum card as a welcome bonus, which would be enough to experience this flight for yourself. Unfortunately ANA has recently downgraded this route to their 787 with cradle seats, and is not worth the points with so much competition on the same routes. For a great flight to Asia from Vancouver, I would consider EVA business class on their 777, which is almost as good as first class on many airlines, or Air Canada business class, with good award availability and a fantastic business class product on many routes across the Pacific.
Have you flown this ANA business class configuration? What’s your favourite product across the Pacific?