June 10, 2017
Flight Review: ANA First Class 777-300 Chicago to Tokyo
When it came time to booking a flight to Tokyo, I knew I wanted to fly first class, and I knew I wanted to fly on a Japanese airline. I ended up booking a free first class flight on an ANA Boeing 777-300 from Chicago (ORD)-Tokyo (HND).
When it comes to booking ANA awards, there’s a few different frequent flyer programs you can use. You can check out my full guide on how to book ANA First Class for free here. I booked this trip using 110,000 United miles. While United isn’t the best way to book ANA First Class awards (that honor goes to Virgin Atlantic), you still get good value by booking with United.
The retail price of this one-way ticket was selling for an astronomical $13,000 at the time. By redeeming 110,000 United miles, I got 11.8 cents in value per point-pretty darn good!
After enjoying lunch and a few drinks at the new United Polaris lounge in Chicago, I headed to the gate about 10 minutes before boarding. It turned out the flight was delayed for about 25 minutes because the plane arrived late from Tokyo, no big deal. When the gate agent actually told me the flight was delayed, she kept apologizing profusely and repeatedly told me it was their fault. This type of reaction was a bit of a surprise given the level of service I’ve grown to expect from airlines like United and American, who seem to want to throw you off a plane for looking at them funny.
The seats were arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration and the cabin consisted of a total of 6 seats (2 rows). Each seat looks sort of like a cubicle and is pretty private, although there’s no sliding door like some other airlines offer. The middle two seats come with an optional divider which you can slide if you don’t want to see your seatmate.
Each seat comes with a pillow, blanket, slippers, pajamas, sweater, Sony headphones, and a Samsonite amenity kit.
The Samsonite amenity kit contains Ginza lotions (fancy), tooth brush, eye mask, socks, and a ‘leg refreshing sheet’. Apparently you apply these to the back of your legs to help stimulate blood circulation while you’re during a 13 hour flight.
Storage wise, there were several small compartments on either side of the seat. These were border line useless as they’re too small to store much besides a pair of earphones or glasses.
There was also a pullout drawer under the foot rest which was thick enough to hold a laptop or tablet. Moderately practical but not the best. Lufthansa First Class offers a huge trunk which can hold just about anything.
Food and Drinks
There was a VERY extensive Japanese and Western multi-course meal to choose from for dinner. In addition to the dinner portion of the flight, ANA offers a wide selection of ‘Light Dish’ options which you can order at any time. I wanted to sample as much food as I could so I ended up eating the most food I’ve ever consumed in mid-air during this flight. Here’s some of what I had:
If you’d like to see additional photos of what I ate on board, you can find them on my Instagram post dated June 6th.
There are two bathrooms available in the First Class cabin, though they aren’t particularly large. The bathrooms are adorned with fresh orchids and offer hand towels, lotions, mouthwash, tooth paste, and a face cleaner.
The seat fully reclines into a full size bed. Since the back of the seat is curved, you sort of feel like you’re in a cacoon. When you’re ready to sleep, the flight attendants will make the bed for you. They lay an additional mattress pad over the reclined seat and top it off with a comforter and a memory foam pillow.
The WiFi wasn’t working for the first two hours of the flight-which was frustrating but it was eventually fixed. WiFi on ANA was also expensive. The largest package was $19.95 for 100 MB of data. There’s several airlines which charge about the same for the full duration of the flight with no data caps. The only consolation is that you can pause your data usage and resume it later on.
Overall this was a great flight. I had the most food I’ve ever eaten in the air. The flight crew was also amazing. They were helpful, polite, and attentive to everything. They’d also crack up every time I wanted to photograph something, which made the flight more fun overall 😉
I mentioned I liked Star War and the crew prepared a special Star Wars amenity kit for me as a gift-complete with Star Wars playing cards and stickers! They also gave me a blow-up model ANA airplane after they learned of my interest in aircraft.
In conclusion, the seats were perfectly comfortable, but they’re starting to get dated compared to other First Class products. ANA’s storage space is just bad, the cabin was starting to look worn out, and the bathrooms were small compared to other First Class products. That being said, ANA really shined by providing excellent and abundant food along with amazing service. I’d have no problem recommending ANA First Class. The issues with the flight were minor in the grand scheme of things.