Prior to this trip, I had never flown internationally from SJC before, so I was really excited to fly out from San Jose, and to experience the Boeing 787 for the first time! ANA was the first airline to introduce the 787 in 2011, and they currently have the largest fleet of 787’s in the world.
- An “Around-The-World-Travel-Hacking” Extravaganza!
- ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Business Class (SJC-NRT)
- Thai Royal First Lounge + Royal Orchid Spa (Bangkok)
- Thai Airbus A380 – 1st Class (BKK-FRA)
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
- Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i – 1st Class (FRA-IAD)
Airline: ANA (All Nippon Airways)
Route: San Jose (SJC) – Tokyo (NRT)
Date: Sunday August 3rd, 2014
Depart: 1:05 pm
Arrive: 4:10pm +1 Day
Duration: 11hr 5min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner
The ANA 787 has a total of 46 business class seats, which makes it really easy to find award space when using United miles. This is only a two cabin aircraft, so no 1st Class on this flight.
Every seat has aisle access and the entire cabin is staggered, consisting of alternating rows of 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 seat configurations. Also, the business class seats are really private, and I couldn’t see my neighbor at all when seated. However, the business class seats aren’t ideal for couples, because there is a divider in the middle seats which gets in the way.
The width of the business class seats measures 19.4″ across, and I choose to sit in seat 1K. I typically prefer to sit in the 1st row, because this is where the bulkhead seats are, which are usually a bit roomier, and it also guarantees that I’m not sitting behind someone who will recline!
The 787 is a fairly new plane so everything felt clean and new. I also liked how the overhead bins were fairly high, and when closed, made the cabin feel very spacious.
Once seated you will find:
- One pillow (Nishikawa Sangyo)
- Pair of slippers
- Amenity kit (L’OCCITANE)
- Noise cancelling earphones
- Comforter (Teijin)
- Bed pad (Nishikawa Sangyo’s Air Cyclone)
The bed pad is really neat because it has a slip resistant coating on one side. This prevents the bed pad from moving all over the place when I’m tossing and turning. The pillow is a little too firm for my liking, but the comforter is very soft and breathable. Finally, ladies will be happy to hear that the amenity kit contains lotion and lip balm from L’OCCITANE =)
On my left side were the TV and seat controls, and with a simple press of a button, my seat could transform into a completely flat bed!
The entertainment system is centered around a large 17″ monitor. In the picture below, you can see the bed pad on the foot rest, and under the monitor is the tray table. During meal service, the tray table can be extended all the way to your seat.
Is your laptop or smartphone running low on power? No problem, the 787 has enough power outlets for all of them! You can truly have an office in the sky.
Another neat feature on the 787 are the electronic sunshades. By simply pressing the buttons, you can either darken or lighten the cabin instantly. No longer do you have to manually move the plastic sunshade up and down to let in the desired amount of light. It’s really fun to play with and I must have wasted 10 minutes of my life playing with these buttons!
The lavatories are fairly big and spacious compared to the ones in Economy. But what I loved about them the most is that everything has sensors, and therefore, I don’t have to touch anything!
The toilet is even better! There is a sensor where you can waive your hand, and then the toilet will automatically flush, and the lid will come down. Amazing!
And last but not least, since this is a Japanese airline, there needs to be a bidet! And NO, I did not try it……ummmm maybe next time.
Now for the best part, the Food! You have a choice of either a western menu or a Japanese menu. Whenever there is a choice like this, I always opt for the local airlines menu. Why? Because it gives me a chance to sample the local cuisine before arriving. It’s a great way to experience the local culture, and the food is usually 10x better than the western menu.
A signature drink on ANA is the Aromatic Kabosu. It’s a non-alcoholic drink, but it’s oh so refreshing! Kabosu is the name of the citrus lemon from the Oita Prefecture, Kyushu, in the south of Japan. It looks a bit cloudy and taste like a mild sour lime, but it’s so refreshing!
As for the meal service, the amuse bouche consisted of:
- Pate de campagne
- Sauteed eryngii mushroom Parmesan cheese flavor
- Assortment of olive, cheese, and dried tomato marinade
My favorite had to be the mushrooms! Who knew cheese and mushroom could work so well together?!?
Next the starters were brought out:
- Vinegared rice rolled with salmon and lotus root
- Grilled beef fillet with honey and grilled corn
- Deep fried vegetables soaked in seafood stock
- Marinated freshwater eel and cucumber in bonito-vinegared sauce
The eel was by far the best out of all the starters. It was cooked to perfection, and the cucumber complimented the eel perfectly. I could probably eat this meal everyday.
Finally for the main course:
- Seaweed salt-grilled yellowtail with black pepper
- Steamed rice, miso soup, and assorted Japanese pickles
The main was OK……definitely not as good as the eel or the Parmesan mushroom I had earlier. The fish was a bit bland, but the Japanese pickles helped to add a bit of taste. Overall, I wish they just gave me more eel.
For dessert I choose the pear tart, and it was an excellent end to the 2-hour meal service!
The second meal service was for breakfast, and I choose the seafood rice plate. Overall, nothing special, but the bread was really good.
Well, after stuffing my face silly, it was time to take a nap. I asked the flight attendant if she could make my bed while I went to the lavatory to freshen up. Upon my return, my seat turned into a bed, and I was ready to get some Zzzzz’s.
Since the width is only 19.4″ across, it was hard for me to sleep on my back. My arms wanted to stretch out, but there was simply no room for that! Sleeping on my side was best, and I would alternate between each side. All in all, I got around 3 hours of straight sleep. I probably tossed and turned for another good 2 hours. The comforter was really light and warm, but my pillow was too firm for my liking. But I really can’t complain, because this was leaps and bounds better than sitting in Economy!
In general, the inflight service on Asian airlines is far superior to the domestic service we get on American Airlines, Delta, and United! All the ANA flight attendants were friendly and had a warm smile. Even when boarding, the FA bowed and welcomed me aboard. Try getting this kind of greeting on United! And, as with Japanese culture, they will always say “Sorry” for just about everything!
“I’m so sorry Sir, but can I please set your table”
“I’m so sorry Sir, but can I make your bed”
“I’m so sorry Sir, but would you like some more water”
No need to be sorry! I’m the one who should be “Sorry” for not paying full price for this ticket!
Overall, everything went perfectly with the flight, and I couldn’t have asked for more. My Aromatic Kabosu was always refilled, the lavatories were clean, my seat turned into a flat bed, and the food was amazing! This was a really great flight to take from San Jose to Tokyo, and made the 11+ hour flight so much more pleasant than in Economy.
Finally, the 787 is still relatively new, which means the seats, lavatories, carpet, and cabin, are all free of scuff marks from thousands of passengers. So don’t waste any time, book a flight, and enjoy the ANA experience!