Review: ANA 787-9 Business Class


From Tokyo to Bangkok, I flew an ANA 787-9 in business class operated by Air Japan. For this flight, I chose to embrace the Japanese menu in its entirety and once again enjoyed a delicious ANA flight with excellent service on board.

ANA 787-9 Business Class Exam

This trip was booked as part of my epic trip from Los Angeles to Bangkok using Aeroplan Miles. Air Japan was once the charter division of ANA, but now operates a number of scheduled flights for ANA with a fleet of 80 Boeings. On board, I didn’t notice any difference between Air Japan and “classic” ANA.

After a night in the terminal and several hours in the ANA lounge, I was happy to board my flight to Bangkok.

ANA 847
Tokyo (HND) – Bangkok (BKK)
Friday 5 November
Departure: 11h00
Arrival: 4:15 p.m.
Duration: 7h, 15min
Distance: 2,852 miles
Airplane: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 3A (Business Class)

On board, I was greeted and directed to my seat. Charges were very low… there were 35 people traveling in Bangkok, of which only five were in business class. Anyone could have been upgraded to business class and there would always have been vacancies …

Seat

ANA uses a staggered business class product for its Boeing 787-9, with 40 seats distributed in a main cabin (rows 1 to 8) and a mini cabin (rows 9 to 11). I chose seat 4A in the larger cabin. The seat spacing is 62 inches and the seats are 21 inches wide. In reclining mode, the beds are six feet long (72 inches).

It’s just before take off. Very few seats were occupied.

Lumbar support and tilt can be adjusted using a push button on the side console and a ‘do not disturb’ panel can also be illuminated. Next to the passenger service unit (IFE remote control) is a USB-A port, a universal power port and a headphone jack.

A pillow, duvet and mattress cover were provided. I tried to take a nap, but I couldn’t sleep (apparently I slept too well on the airport bench…).

The aft cabin of the business class remained empty:

Food + Drink

Over the years, I’ve been told that I miss a lot by ordering only western menus when flying on East Asian airlines. So for this trip on ANA, I decided to try the Japanese menu, especially on a flight from Tokyo.

Pre-departure drinks included a choice of orange juice or sparkling wine. A wet towel (wrapped) was also provided.

It was the menu for my flight:

I pre-booked a Japanese meal.

Japanese cuisine 〜Washoku〜

Zensai (A selection of songs)

  • Kelp with herring roe, red konjac simmered in soy sauce, cucumber
  • Roasted chestnuts simmered in syrup
    Simmered shrimps in soy sauce
    Roast duck in salt
  • Carrot fried ginkgo nuts
  • Bulbil of fried sweet potatoes and vegetable tofu

Reisai (A selection of chilled pieces)

  • Seared sea bream with sesame soy sauce

Kobachi (Tasty treats)

  • Marinated crab meat and chrysanthemum in sesame sauce

Shusai (main course)

  • Braised beef sukiyaki and grilled sea tile with salted rice malt [293 kcal]

Steamed rice

  • Steamed rice, miso soup and Japanese pickles
  • Served with Sainokizuna (KINMEMAI rice) produced in Saitama

The flight attendant seemed surprised, but in a good way I had pre-ordered the Japanese meal. I realize that ANA offers a western meal on most flights, even in Asia, for a reason, but I assumed most travelers would prefer a Japanese meal. But the two Americans sitting around me ordered from the Western menu, so I was certainly not the only one in my previous practice.

Each passenger received the same amuse bouche, a sesame and walnut breadsticks as well as a turkey ham and sweet potato pastrami with chili. All food was delivered covered in plastic or aluminum foil.

The entrees arrived and I must have marveled at the beauty of the presentation. Everything has been carefully arranged with attention to the smallest details, like eating in a fancy restaurant.

The grilled chestnut was tasty, but the highlight of the first course was the seared sea bream, which was so fresh and delicious.

Before the meal, I resolved to eat whatever was placed in front of me, and I did.

With lunch I enjoyed Japanese sake the first time I tried it.

The main course included both braised beef sukiyaki and grilled tuile fish. Both were tasty. I was too full to finish the miso soup.

The dessert included cheese, fruit and a nice “Emotion Mont-Blanc Ispahan” by Pierre Hermé (raspberry and lychee jelly, meringue, rose mascarpone cream, chestnut vermicelli with rose and sprinkled with crispy raspberries)… I accompanied it with a glass of Japanese malt whiskey.

The flight attendants distributed bottled water after the meal service.

Before landing, a snack was offered from a à la carte menu. Sticking to the Japanese theme, I ordered “ANA original curry and steamed rice”. The portion was huge! I ate half of it… and I understand why many consider this Japanese comfort food. It was very tasty.

The FA also offered snacks like mixed nuts and fried pasta.

I concluded the meal with a Häagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert.

Service

The flight attendants on board were lovely, although very respectful of the books. For the pre-arrival meal, I asked if Greenland Herb Encrusted Halibut was available. I was greeted with a totally blank stare and told I can only order the snack side of the menu. I clarified, asking if there was any leftovers that would be thrown away and again was told I can only order from the right side of the menu (my question was never answered).

I wonder if there were any left and if so were they just thrown away. No big deal, as it allowed me to try the curry, but my double meal game is not working on ANA!

Attentive throughout the flights, the flight attendants offered each passenger a bag of candy and a handwritten note just before landing:

Wi-Fi + IFE

The system on this 787-9 seemed a bit older and slower than on my 777-300ER flight from London to Tokyo, but included the same content from:

  • Movies – around 50 choices, so not as many as on the other major carriers
  • TV shows – also a more limited library
  • Live
  • News – recent news broadcasts in Japanese and BBC
  • Games
  • Electronic books
  • Duty free
  • Flight map in motion

Noise-canceling headphones from Panasonic were waiting at every seat.

Wireless Internet was available for purchase at three price points:

  • 30 minutes – $ 6.95
  • 3 hours – $ 16.95
  • full flight – 21.95USD

Perhaps the biggest IFE was the view out the window. It was a beautiful day to fly. Take a look at the army of Thai planes parked on the ground at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Services

No amenity kit was offered, although a flight attendant came around the cabin with a basket, offering amenities including:

  • eye mask
  • earplugs
  • toothbrush + toothpaste

Slippers and a shoehorn were also provided.

Bathroom

The toilets were immaculate before departure and immaculate before landing both times I used them. I wouldn’t expect anything less from ANA. The toilet had a bidet.

CONCLUSION

It was a great flight on one of my favorite carriers. The service and food on board was second to none and the trip from Tokyo to Bangkok took off. While I much prefer the 777-300ER to the 787-9, for a “regional” flight, the reclining business class seats were comfortable and I look forward to flying with ANA again soon.


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