December 11, 2016

Review: ANA First Class 777-300ER Tokyo (NRT) to San Francisco

Introduction Part Two
Planning & Booking
Sheraton JFK Airport
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge JFK
Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER New York (JFK) to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Arrivals Lounge
St. Regis Istanbul
Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-300 Istanbul to Male
Transfer from Male to Conrad Maldives
Conrad Maldives Part One
Conrad Maldives Part Two
Transfer from Conrad Maldives to Male
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-200ER Male to Singapore
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Singapore to Tokyo (HND)
Andaz Tokyo
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo (NRT)
ANA First Class 777-300ER Tokyo (NRT) to San Francisco

ANA All Nippon Airways NH 8
Tokyo (NRT) to San Francisco (SFO)
August 27, 2016
Aircraft:  777-300ER
Seats:  2D/2G

We were among the first in line at gate 52 and bounded down the jetway for our first flight on ANA.  We were warmly welcomed aboard by the crew and shown to our seats (2D/2G).  There would be two flight attendants serving the cabin that went out with 4/8 seats occupied.  The other two occupants were business travelers and went to sleep after takeoff.  That left the two flight attendants to give us their full attention.

ANA First Class cabin

I knew right away this was going to be a great flight.  The crew was warm and engaging.  They asked about our trip and where we lived.  They were both familiar with Denver.  We told them this was our first flight on ANA and they promised it to make it memorable.

Krug time
We kicked things off on the ground with several rounds of Krug and explored the seat.  As has been widely noted in other reviews, ANA's first class seat (square) feels a bit like a cubicle.

ANA 777-300ER First Class Seat 2K
You have to lean forward to talk to your flying companion in the center seats.  In the window seats, there is really only one window and you also have to lean forward to look at the window.  The color scheme is bland (I like the minimalism of it) with a blue seat and light wood paneling around.

ANA 777-300ER First Class seat 2D
The highlight had to be the storage.

More storage
It's amazing how often these seats are designed without proper storage for headphones, glasses, chapstick, etc...

There were standard power and USB outlets.

Power outlets
The television was good size and as you would expect, excellent quality.

Welcome to 2G
I should note that we tested the wifi (15 minutes free) and speeds were excellent.

$19.95 for 9 hours of wifi - not bad
There was plenty of room under the ottoman for my backpack.

Plenty of storage
Slippers, pajamas, a separate cardigan, and amenity kits were distributed.

Samsonite amenity kit
ANA used to provide Rimowa amenity kits but they've now switched to Samsonite.  They are cool but not as cool as the Rimowa kits.

We pushed back on-time and joined the  lengthy queue during Narita's rush hour.  Once we made our way to the runway, we quickly blasted off for San Francisco thanks to the massive GE90's.  There's nothing quite like the raw power of the 777 with these engines.

Once up in the air, more Krug.

Krug for 2
We were both impressed by the menu.  Here's the extensive wine and beverage list.

And the dinner menu.

I wanted to see ANA at their best so went with the Japanese option.  I wasn't disappointed.

There was an amuse-bouche.

An appetizer.

A clear soup.

Several other courses in between...

And an amazing eel main course.

Dessert to finish along with a shot of JWB and petit fours.

This is one of the best Japanese meals I've had anywhere.  That includes wine,  paired sake, and service.  It was really fantastic.

After dinner, both beds were turned down and we drifted off to sleep for about 5+ hours.  The bed was super comfortable.  There was a mattress pad, soft duvet, and multiple pillows.  I didn't feel claustrophobic in bed at all and the cabin temperature was actually a bit on the cold side - unusual for Asian airlines.

At ~9 hours, this is a relatively short flight.  Dinner took nearly three hours so if you're looking to maximize sleep, you may be better off going to bed first then eating breakfast prior to arrival.  We slept essentially up until it was time to change and prepare for departure.

We landed at SFO a bit early and I turned on my phone to find out that our flight to Denver had been cancelled.  Always a huge buzzkill coming off an excellent international first class flight.  We figured things out once in the terminal and were actually able to get on an earlier flight.  So all good.

Final thoughts:
We both loved flying on ANA.  So much of the international first class experience is about the crew and this one was excellent.  While the seat isn't the best, I found it to be more than adequate.  The amenities (Sony headphones, pajamas, slippers, cardigan, and amenity kit) are topnotch.  The serve Krug.  The food was fantastic.  In terms of Asian carriers, I would rank ANA on par with Cathay Pacific and a notch below Singapore Airlines and Asiana.  We both are excited about returning to Japan next year and hope to give ANA another shot!


  1. How many points did this redemption cost? Also, how did you redeem it?

  2. @Gene 110,000 United MileagePlus miles for one ticket and 105,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles for the other. Transferred points from Chase Ultimate Rewards (to United) and American Express Membership Rewards (Aeroplan). Taxes and fees were pretty minimal. You can checkout the full details in the Planning and Booking post.

    Thanks for reading!