Flight Report: Tokyo to London Heathrow on ANA
ANA Boeing 777 aircraft
Tokyo Haneda International terminal is a joy to use, well organised, not too crowded and nice facilities. The ANA check in took just a couple of minutes, the Fast Track security another 2 minutes, and instant service at a quite empty immigration counter. The ANA Suite lounge is a 2 minute walk from getting airside, and it transpired that the boarding gate was located opposite the lounge entrance – luck was on my side for this day and all very easy.
First class customers with ANA get to use their Suite Lounge at Haneda Airport, and this is a fabulous venue. It offers 2 restaurant areas, and a wide mixture of seating, including their individual pod seats which I headed for. Staff offer you a hot towel and drinks, and the selection of food is varied between cold buffet style together with the hot noodle counter cooking dishes to order. Spacious, well stocked shower rooms are available, and all parts of the lounge including toilets were clean and nicely presented. The boarding call was clearly given, and in less than 2 minutes I was taking my seat onboard the Boeing 777, a very efficient priority boarding applied.
AIRPLANE & CABIN FLOWN
Boeing 777-300ER, travelling in First Class. The cabin is configured 1x2x1 (total of 8 seats), and was 50% full.
ANA long haul First Class permits 2 x carry-on baggage, plus up to 3 x 32kg checked luggage
Seated at 2K, a window seat. These are private seat pods which offer a very wide and comfortable seat for both relaxing and in the bed position. The seat unit does wrap around so that you do not have an unimpeded view out of the window, and you need to lean forward to see out fully. Masses of storage space and compartments, large easy to use table. The privacy is good despite there not being any door. When ready to sleep, cabin staff lay a very comfortable foam mattress, pillows and duvet. One of the better first class beds for sleeping, and nice and wide.
CABIN & TOILETS
The cabin was impeccably clean and nicely presented. There is an oversize toilet for first class passengers, well stocked with amenities. It even has a fold down platform so you can change without having to stand on the floor (although the staff keep the toilets immaculate through the flight anyway).
The flight was delayed by 15 mins on departure from Haneda, but we parked at the London Heathrow terminal 10 minutes ahead of scheduled arrival time.
FOOD AND DRINK
Boarding drinks including quality Champagne offered. After take off, the aperitif is served with the ANA canapé dish, this of a great taste. The menu offers Japanese or International choices, with lunch and a light meal plus a wide choice of snacks. Having had a late breakfast, I passed on the appetiser course (which sounded great) and started with a green leaf salad with a nice dressing accompaniment. My chosen main course was beef in a mushroom sauce, very tender and flavoursome, finished off with a very nice apple tart ice cream for dessert. There was a cheese course also available, but again something I passed up on. Coffee and liqueurs are served with petits fours. Snacks are available on demand throughout the flight, and the menu includes a second light meal served at your requested time before arrival. Nicely presented, this light snack was of a good standard and followed by two wonderful double espresso coffees.
Green salad (HND to LHR)
Beef & mushroom entrée (HND to LHR)
Warm apple pie (HND to LHR)
These ANA first class suites have a 23 inch LCD monitor for inflight entertainment, and this provided a fabulous viewing experience. The choice of movies was extensive with a good selection of New Releases, Hollywood, Japanese and other world movies. There was a wide choice of TV programmes, features and games available, and a nice choice of audio programming. The supplied Sony noise cancelling headsets were comfortable and very effective.
First Class customers are provided a very nice Samsonite amenity kit with quality cosmetic products. Pyjamas are waiting at the seat on boarding, slippers, and for those that get chilly inflight (difficult because they keep the cabin cosy!) an additional cardigan is provided for use. Staff offer an interesting selection of additional amenities, face masks, scented sleep capsules etc, and the washroom is also well stocked. Hot, nicely scented towels are served whenever you want.
This is a real stand-out for ANA, with the cabin staff being very attentive, professional and nice. Their English language skills seemed to be good and they were keen to chat and interact during the service. In short, nothing was too much trouble for them, and the level of attention and detail they provided was exemplary. They are there to assist and serve you, but do so in a discreet manner. After a quick nip to the lavatory mid-flight, I came back to my seat to find the bed beautifully rearranged and made up.
Arrival into London Heathrow was 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Aircraft parked at quite a distant gate in Terminal 2, requiring a long walk up and down to reach Immigration. Luckily it was a quiet time and used the automated immigration scanner and was out of the terminal in 10 minutes (with no checked baggage to collect).
One expects First Class air travel to be good nowadays, and this was no exception with ANA delivering a very fine standard of product and service from checking in at Tokyo to deplaning in London. Staff service was impeccable, on the ground and onboard the flight. All of the product components (seat, catering, IFE, comfort) are of the highest world-class standard. This trip was extremely comfortable and arrived feeling relaxed and refreshed which is not easy on a 12 hour flight. First class doesn’t come cheap (unless you’re using award upgrades etc), but ANA certainly try to ensure that you get value for money with this exclusive form of travel. Will hopefully be back for more of this fabulous ANA first class treatment.