Tried & Tested

Flight review: All Nippon Airways B787-9 business class

27 Nov 2022 by Hannah Brandler
ANA B777-300ER New Livery 2

Background

All Nippon Airways flies from Tokyo Narita to Singapore Changi airport, with a flight time of approximately 6 hours and 20 minutes.

The service is operated by a B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft configured with 246 seats across three cabins: business, premium economy and economy. ANA also flies a 215-seat B787 aircraft.

To travel to Singapore you need to complete an electronic SG Arrival Card up to three days before entry, which requires you to upload your vaccination certificates and travel details.

Check-in

I travelled to the airport from Tokyo Station using the very well-run Narita Express, which takes 53 minutes. I arrived at 1600 for the 1820 departure.

All Nippon Airways operates from Narita’s Terminal 1, with check-in for business class passengers in the international departures room at Section C (many escalators up from the Narita Express arrival).

There were lots of manned desks on one side, with a self bag drop on the other side. I didn’t trust myself to check-in my own luggage so went to one of the desks. All of this was quick and trouble-free, followed by an equally speedy priority security (located right next to check-in).

ANA planes at Tokyo Narita

Lounge

The ANA Lounge is located upstairs from gates 56-57 and open from 7am until the last departure of an ANA-scheduled flight. It is open to those travelling in business and first class, members of the Diamond Service or Million Miler Program, or passengers on Star Alliance-operated flights.

The lounge was very crowded upon my arrival, with a sign at the entrance informing those with Priority Pass or Lounge Key membership that they would not be able to use it due to congestion.

It was quite chaotic, with people coming and going constantly. The benefit here is that there were always seats available, but you had to dodge or weave in and out of people to find one.

There are two small buffet areas – one by the entrance and another at the other end of the lounge – but both of these were teeming with people and rather basic, with some stale pastries, salads, soups and hot food such as fried chicken and potato wedges.

Drinks included a dedicated counter for Japanese beverages such as sake and shochu, teas and coffees as well as machines for soft drinks.

The large lounge begins with a rectangular dining area, with counter seating (including privacy screens), tarmac-facing tables and armchairs. As you walk down the corridor there are seats on either side and then you come to a wider area with more seating (and the other food buffet).

Wifi is free and you can scan a QR code to order hot food, though there’s not a huge amount of choice. There are toilets in the lounge as well as shower rooms, though I can’t imagine the latter were available during this busy period. Staff were cleaning areas regularly and were very polite.

ANA Lounge Tokyo Narita

Boarding

I made my way to gate 56 at 1750 and joined the business class queue, which was fairly long as members of Star Alliance could also use this. It went very quickly and I had boarded the plane by 1800. An air stewardess introduced herself and used my name, which was a nice personalised welcome.

The flight was delayed once we had boarded due to the late arrival of an Air Canada connecting flight and baggage loading – this was a codeshare flight. Small glasses of sparkling wine or orange juice were presented at 1805, and we took off an hour later.

ANA B787 Business Class

The seat

Business class is fitted with 40 fully-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and split across two cabins. Rows 1-8 are at the front of the aircraft and then it continues after a galley (which includes two washrooms) with rows 9-11 – there’s then a curtain separating these rows from premium economy.

The design feels a little outdated in comparison to some of its competitors, but it was not worn-out and everything felt very clean. All seats have direct aisle access, though I found that I had to squeeze myself through the small section between the table and the front of the shell to reach the seat.

There is a wall hiding your face from the neighbouring passenger and a large side table between seats allows for additional privacy while also providing ample surface area for belongings. That said, there’s not much storage space – it’s limited to the space beneath the ottoman, though you can fit quite a large item here.

Seats also include a tray table, which you lift up and pull out from the side table and this slides back and forth.

ANA B787 Business Class

There’s a reading light above the side table, a remote for the 18-inch touchscreen LCD monitor by your headrest as well as a USB port and universal PC power outlet.

The mechanisms to control the recline of the seat are located just above the hidden tray table and include a button to illuminate a ‘do not disturb’ light which is located on the top of the shell in front.

ANA B787 Business Class

At the seat are noise-cancelling Panasonic headphones, a firm pillow as well as slippers, a blanket and a mattress topper packaged in plastic. The airline is not offering amenity kits, which might be disappointing to some but probably preferable in terms of waste. Instead, the cabin crew bring along a basket of goods such as toothbrush/toothpaste, ear plugs, eye masks and face masks for you to choose from.

Unfortunately my seat was faulty and did not recline fully-flat but I was able to use an empty seat at the back of the cabin when I wanted to rest. It felt quite narrow and the mattress was not that comfortable.

ANA B787 Business Class

Best seat

Rows 1 and 9 have just two window seats on either side of the aircraft (A and H) and are therefore more private, though they are closer to the galley.

Rows 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 (C, E, G, K) have tables on the right (when sitting down), while the remaining rows (A, D, F, H) have tables on the left.

I prefer seats with tables closest to the aisle so that you are less disturbed by any movement and feel more private.

ANA B787 Business Class fully-flat seat

The flight

The flight is not really long enough for a sleep, especially if you want to enjoy the meal service, so I decided to do some work and watch a film instead.

There is a good selection of films in the IFE, including 116 from Hollywood/UK, and the screen is large so makes for better viewing. The Panasonic headphones were good in terms of sound quality but quite uncomfortable as the headband is not cushioned and rather hard on the top of your head.

Wifi is available on this flight for a fee, with 30 minutes costing USD$6.95, three hours USD$16.95 and USD21.95 for the full flight – I did not bother buying this.

ANA B787 Business Class IFE

Food and drink

Business class passengers get a choice between a Japanese or international menu for the dinner service, and then there’s also light dishes available ‘anytime’ after the first meal service. These are designed by the airline’s The Connoisseurs programme. Passengers can also pre-order meals.

Passengers that had not pre-ordered their menu could do so at 1950 along with drinks. An appetiser and drink were served at 2005, which we could enjoy on the spacious side table. Our swivel tables were then set with a placemat.

ANA B787 Business Class dining starter

The dinner service was spectacular and the highlight of my flight, with each course resembling a high-end restaurant on land.

The only downside is that if you opt for the fish menu (I’m largely a pescatarian), the starter contains meat. The starter was grilled chicken and duck rillettes with aubergine sauce and a seafood mousse. This was beautifully presented and I enjoyed the scallop mousse with a lobster sauce.

Mains included a choice between sautéed beef with shitake mushroom duxelle sauce or sautéed Greenland halibut with parmesan cheese and yuzu risotto. The latter was excellent and piping hot (which is always a plus on planes – I’ve been served many a tepid meal).

The halibut was flaky and perfectly cooked and the creamy barley-style risotto was delicious, with the yuzu sauce adding a citrusy flavour to the dish.

ANA B787 Business Class dining main course

Both are accompanied by baguette and kale focaccia, along with butter, a mini bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper. The tasty kale focaccia is made using soft kale grown with compost recycled from inflight meal residues, and part of the carrier’s focus on sustainability.

All Nippon Airlines to offer kale and bamboo environmentally-friendly inflight meals

Crew then offered passengers the option between a chestnut cream and milk chocolate mousse, a cheese plate or fruit for dessert. I opted for the most indulgent and it was, again, delicious. The meal service was finished by 2140.

Drinks on offer included:

  • Champagne Castelnau – Cuvée Brut Réserve (France)
  • Three red wines: Trapiche Medalla Red Blend Mendoza 2017 (Argentina); Valcanto Garnacha Tintorera 2013 (Spain) and Pierre Amadieu – Les Hautes Rives 2017 (France)
  • Three white wines: Vol d’Anima de Raimat Blanco 2018 (Spain); Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand); Scuttlebutt Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2018 (Australia). The latter won Gold in the Cellars in the Sky Business Class White Wine award in 2019.
  • Various sakes, shochu, aperitifs and cocktails, as well as a variety of alcohol-free beer and non-alcoholic drinks
Jewel Changi at night

Arrival

We arrived at 0040 local time, with a smooth landing.

It was a long walk to immigration followed by a fairly long queue for non-residents. This, however, meant that I could pick up my baggage at the carousel as soon as I entered the hall.

Jewel is connected to the Arrival Hall (level 1) of Terminal 1, which is very convenient for those wanting to do a bit of shopping, explore the impressive Rain Vortex or (in my case) get a few hours’ sleep at Yotelair Changi.

As I made my way to the hotel, I got a glimpse of the Shiseido Forest Valley and Rain Vortex which looked magnificent even without the waterfall running at this hour (it was well past 1am at this point).

Yotelair is a fantastic and very functional hotel for business travellers – see our review from 2019:

Hotel review: Yotelair Changi Airport

Verdict

This flight felt quick, with very well-trained staff and an excellent dining experience that rivals other business class cabins.

The seat is private and ideal for working, with the large side table a bonus, but it lacks enough storage space and the seat was not hugely comfortable for sleeping – especially as mine would not lie fully flat.

Fact box

Flight duration

6 hours 20 minutes

Configuration

1-2-1

Seat width

21 inches

Seat pitch

62 inches

Price

Internet rates in December for a one-way Tokyo Narita-Singapore flight start at £1,741

Contact

ana.co.jp

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

Business Traveller December 2022 / January 2023 edition
Business Traveller December 2022 / January 2023 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls