Review: ANA B787 Business Class Tokyo Narita to Singapore

ANA's B787 business class product delivers once again.

The Milelion’s RTW Trip 2018: Trip Planning
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ANA B787 Business Class NRT-SIN

I didn’t really fancy the food served on my Polaris flight from SFO, so I was pretty hungry when I landed in Narita. I’d done my research though, and wanted to head for Sushi Koyotatsu, supposedly the best airport sushi.

Sushi Kyotatsu isn’t that hard to find– it’s opposite Gate 33 in the No. 3 satellite of Terminal 1. A brightly-lit sign reminds you that a few hours of airplane food await you shortly.

Sushi Kyotatsu

It’s a small joint with perhaps 15-20 seats at most, but the majority of passengers will take their sushi to go anyway.

Sushi Kyotatsu Narita Airport

Sushi Kyotatsu Narita Airport

There are several sets available, and here’s the menu courtesy of Tripadvisor. I went for the Tokujou Nigiri which was JPY 4,800, or S$60, with an additional order of semi fatty tuna nigiri.

Image result for sushi kyotatsu narita menu

My nigiri set was excellent, with the fatty tuna the particular stand out. And yes, they serve real wasabi. Once you’ve had real wasabi, you’ll never go back to the playdoh stuff.

Nirgiri set- JPY 4,800

I popped into the ANA lounge for a few minutes, just for ambiance. I’ve reviewed it numerous times, so you can refer to any of those reports if you want to know what it was like. It’s a good thing I left early because gate 58B is very, very far from the main terminal.

Aircraft spotting at NRT

The best thing about not flying out of US airports? People don’t crowd the departure lines well in advance of takeoff. After a long time in the States, it was surreal to see completely empty lines at the boarding gate. In the photo below it’s 4.28pm, two minutes before boarding starts (and it’s almost always on time in Japan, I mean this is place where the train company apologies for a train leaving 20 seconds earlier), and there’s no one rushing the gate. 

Boarding gate 58B

Boarding started on the dot, with ANA Diamond cardholders boarding first, followed by passengers in business class and Star Gold members.

ANA’s 787s don’t have a first class cabin, but they do have ANA’s latest business class seats which are 1-2-1 full-flat. Alarmingly there is a version of the 787-8 that has angled flat business cradle seats, but fortunately I think that’s kept for domestic route deployment.

ANA B787 Business Class cabin

I’ve reviewed the 787 product several times before, but the key difference is this time round the cabin was virtually empty. This allowed me to take much better photos. I’ve never felt so unrushed to snap things in my life.

The layout of this aircraft is such that every alternate middle row you have a throne seat.

ANA B787 Business Class cabin layout

ANA B787 Business Class cabin layout

These are great because you have double the storage space, plus twice the attention (since you can effectively flag down any crew member in either aisle). You also have twice the privacy if you so want thanks to the fact that you’re shielded on both sides.

ANA B787 Business Class Throne Seat

Here it is in all its throney goodness.

ANA B787 Business Class Throne Seat

If you don’t snag a throne seat but get the row in front, it’s not that bad- the seat is so private you will hardly ever see the person next to you (this’ll be a problem for couples traveling together though). Check out that privacy divider, which is not retractable.

ANA B787 Business Class center row

ANA B787 Business Class center row

ANA B787 Business Class center row privacy divider

For seats at the side, you alternate with one seat closer to the aisle and one seat further away. Previous observations on ANA flights are that the throne seats disappear first, followed by the single seats away from the aisle, followed by the single seats closer to the aisle, and finally the two seats in the middle.

ANA B787 Business Class Side Seat

The bulkhead seats in the cabin are probably the best if raw storage space is what you want, thanks to the addition of this nook to the left of the IFE screen.

ANA B787 business class bulkhead seat

ANA aircraft are still using the last gen IFE controllers, but at least they’ve been maintained pretty well. There are a lot of gnarly controllers out there were the buttons have been eroded by oil, so much so that the ENTER button is just a discolored translucent patch.

ANA B787 IFE controller

The seat controls are easy to use and there’s a Do Not Disturb option too. Pressing the side light table engulfs the area in a subtle, Tron-ish blue glow.

ANA B787 business class seat control

By the side of your head is an easy full flat/full upright button for when you want to sleep or get up.

Flanked by not one but two coat hooks is the IFE screen.

ANA B787 business class IFE screen

In the small panel at the base of the IFE screen you can find the USB, iPod and Empower outlets.

ANA B787 business class charging and connectivity options

The tray table slides out from beneath the IFE screen with a red latch to secure it in place. I was able to slip in and out of the seat quite easily even with the tray table fully extended. Someone of more considerable girth might find this a challenge.

ANA B787 business class tray table

Slippers are pretty much mandatory on flights to and from Japan, much less flights on a Japanese carrier. ANA has very comfortable slippers in its traditional blue, plus a shoehorn (presumably not for the slippers). Panasonic noise cancelling headsets are also on offer.

ANA business class slippers and headphones

There was also a light blanket and a sleeping mat. I don’t believe my last SIN-NRT flight had a sleeping mat, so i was good to see it on offer this time round.

ANA business class blanket and sleep mat

Pre-departure drinks of water or sparkling wine (not champagne, ANA saves that for the air) were served. ANA and United have a pretty close partnership, but unfortunately it seems ANA has picked up one bad habit from United- pre-departure beverages in plastic cups. Come on, guys…

ANA business class predeparture drinks

The crew also distributed bottles of water.

ANA bottled water

The business cabin ultimately went out with barely four people, which was a surprisingly light load given the volume of business traffic you’d imagine goes between Singapore and Tokyo.

After take off the crew came by with menus.

ANA Business Class menu

ANA Business Class menu

ANA Business Class menu

ANA Business Class menu

The post takeoff drinks were served together with pre-packaged rice crackers and something intriguingly called “fried pasta snack”. This turned out to be something like tomato flavored twisties. I always thought it strange that ANA doesn’t offer nuts at all, but I’m guessing these are more traditional Japanese snacks.

ANA business class post takeoff drinks and snacks

For the main I went with the Japanese option. The zensai starter dish consisted of: fried wrapped lily bulb filled with minced chicken, jellied cod roe, kombu kep with herring roe, salmon rolled with daikon radish in vinegar sauce, simmered black beans in syrup on skewer. This was accompanied with snow crab meat and garland chrysanthemum with bonito-based ginger sauce, and fry simmered millet wheat gluten and simmered omi konjac in soy-based sauce.

This is probably as authentic as Japanese dining in the air gets, but my Japanese palate is probably too basic to appreciate it.

ANA Business Class starter

The main was disappointing. I mean, the rice was fantastic, Japanese rice always is and always will be, even when up in the air. But the cod was…bad. It was lazily smothered in what seemed like mayonnaise, but was later revealed to be butter flavored soymilk sauce.

ANA Business Class main

I had healthy fruit for dessert. Go me.

ANA Business Class dessert

ANA’s IFE system is called Sky Channel, and the entertainment selection is fairly comprehensive.

ANA SkyChannel IFE

There are a lot of recent movies available.

ANA SkyChannel IFE

ANA SkyChannel IFE

ANA SkyChannel IFE

ANA SkyChannel IFE

I tried to finish watching Blade Runner 2049. This being Japan, all the naughty bits were covered with righteous pixels, be they real life…

ANA SkyChannel IFE

Or in statue form.

ANA SkyChannel IFE

Sadly the Japanese airlines have not brought the country’s proud gaming heritage to the skies. How far away do you figure we are from modern gaming console quality graphics in IFE systems?

ANA SkyChannel IFE

I paid the bathrooms a visit before taking a nap. Let’s get one thing out of the way- the B787 has the best toilets in the world. Where else can you take a whiz while staring at the clouds beneath you?

ANA B787 toilet window

And no, you don’t even need to turn your head. The window is directly above the toilet. I suppose if you’re the type who sits down to pee you can’t really enjoy the view. Ah, manhood. If you’re the squeamish sort and worry that a flock of passing birds might see your ding a ling (I’d be more worried about them getting sucked into the engines actually) you can always press the button to darken the window.

ANA B787 toilet

I always snap a shot of this when I fly on a Japanese carrier- the good ol’ buttsprayer. Say what you will about the Japanese, but a society which believes in good butt hygiene can’t be all bad.

ANA B787 toilet bidet

The sink is automatic, and ANA doesn’t really stock any fancy amenities in its bathrooms.

ANA B787 toilet

ANA B787 toilet

I returned to my seat, put the bed flat down and laid out the sleeping pad. ANA has quite a nice setup for sleeping- I didn’t get the PJs (I didn’t even know ANA gave out PJs in business class, could they have accidentally shown the PJs from First here?) but I had the blanket, pillow and the Nishikawa Sangyo Air Cyclone bedpad.

Image result for ana mattress pad airline

Just then, a passing stewardess helpfully informed me that I’d been putting the sleeping pad the wrong way up for every single ANA flight I’ve been on. How embarrassing.

ANA B787 business class sleeping setup

ANA B787 business class sleeping setup

After a short nap, I just had to try something from the snack menu. ANA offers the following dishes on the NRT-SIN route

  • Pastrami pork and cheddar cheese hot panini
  • ANA original curry and steamed rice
  • Kayanoya vegetable dashi soup
  • IPPUDO Soraton ramen

No prizes for guessing what I got. On Jakarta and KL flights, ANA serves a non-pork based broth for obvious reasons, but to Singapore you still get porky goodness. I thought the noodles could be firmer, but it’s always important to remember the constraints of serving anything at 30,000 feet.

ANA Ippudo snack

The rest of the flight was uneventful. Before landing, the crew came around with sweets and postcards. I got one of the BB-8 plane.

ANA postcards

Conclusion

Disappointing catering on this flight aside, ANA has a great business class product and one that you shouldn’t think twice about flying. Considering that flights to Japan cost exactly the same whether your redeem your Krisflyer miles for SQ or ANA award seats (43K miles one way J), you might fancy trying this product out the next time you head over.

And that brings the 2018 RTW trip to its conclusion! I hope the collection of new trip reports on SWISS, United Polaris and Air Canada, among others, have been useful, and if you fancy planning a RTW award trip of your own, be sure to come down for the Miles Masterclass on the 7th where we’ll cover the steps in detail.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Phil

Nice review. I flew this route a few weeks ago and had the same experience though the cabin was full.

Sampling the sake is surely mandatory though? It is quite good.

I can also confirm PJs are provided on request trans-Pacific. Unfortunately for me they only had Japanese medium and I am a healthy 192cm, but I wore them anyway for giggles. The crew were mortified. Photos are not available.

SK

I have the same height too, are you asian as well?

Al.

What would be your ranking of J class for this route among these airlines: SQ, JAL, ANA and Delta?

Al.

Thanks – I will be trying JAL J through the Mileage Plan intra-Asia stopover tip, as JAL is the most value-for-miles and availability is better than SQ on this popular route.

Aaron Wong

Jal will be awesome, you won’t regret

JW

Hi Aaron, side note on Mileage Plan redemptions for JAL. It’s seems eversince JL switch to the Amadeus booking system, redemption has almost been impossible through mileageplan. All the tickets I wanted to book turned up with error 1620 which was confirmed by Alaska agents that the seats weren’t phantom, instead it was JL not allowing Alaska to ticket it. Any news on that?

Louis Tan

I watched Blade Runner 2049 on my recent SQ flight and it was pixelated too – think it’s not Japan-specific! (Actually, are in-flight movies generally censored? I don’t really recall seeing lots of onscreen naughty bits in the air.)

JT

Hmm, why are they using what looks like SQ typeface for their boarding signs at the boarding gate?

SH

That colour sheme — looks like a dental clinic.

Sambal Sotong

Do you get the butt bells and whistles in economy also?

Rlee

Hey Aaron, how did you redeem for this flight?

Marcus

I love the ANA J class product too (I flew with them from Sydney to Tokyo Haneda) The only thing i found disappointing was how cramp their toilets were for J class (The same toilets as Y class)

QJ Wong

>Alarmingly there is a version of the 787-8 that has angled flat business cradle seats, but fortunately I think that’s kept for domestic route deployment.

I mostly fly ANA out of KUL and their NRT service is on the 787-8 with cradle seats since launch. 🙁

Thankfully they switched their KUL-HND service to the 787-9 not too long ago.

[…] flown on ANA’s 787s numerous times before, but I don’t think I’ve actually done Business Class on a 77W (I’ve […]

[…] flight from NRT to SIN would be operated by a B787, an aircraft I’d flown several times before. I expected the Business Class product to be exactly the same as the 777 I’d just stepped […]

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