For our anniversary, we went for another round trip in first class again. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the ANA First Class Product. It has always piqued my interest.
My first First-Class experience flying was with Singapore Airlines (the Emirates First Class flight happened a few months after this ANA flight, it just took me more time to refine this review)
This will be a two-part review detailing our anniversary trip. This will include two legs. ANA First Class from Haneda to Frankfurt and back, and my trip to Japan and back to Manila with Philippine Airlines.
I honestly believe that experiencing ANA in First Class is better than Emirates. It may not be as luxurious as theirs, but it is definitely what I would call a world class flight further elevated by flawless service.
Pros: Interesting design concept for the First Class Cabin. Amazing Service, and very comfortable seats with a pillow and blanket.
Cons: IFE screen is quite far away. Slow Wi-Fi
I booked the ANA First Class Haneda to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Haneda flights using miles. I redeemed 67,500 miles for a one-way first class ticket. This is one of the best ways to redeem ANA flights is through the use of Mabuhay Miles.
Consider this: A normal Manila to London flight in business class can be redeemed with 58,000 Mabuhay Miles. Just add 9,500 miles and you can now redeem first class! In other words, this is a rare opportunity to experience something extraordinary!
However, it’s important to know that you can only redeem ANA flights on routes which PAL does not serve.
That is to say it was not easy for me to book these first class flights. It took me months of calling Mabuhay Miles to check availability.
In the end, I was able to book just one ticket 8 months prior and another ticket around a day before our flight. ANA released their award availability on partner airlines months before, and the rest a few days before the flight. If I weren’t persistent enough, I wouldn’t have been able to book 2 award first class tickets.
For my business class flights to Japan and to Manila, I was able to find two business class tickets on sale for just $900. Unlike first class redemption, these are easier to find and are more accessible to people.
Since we were flying first class, we were entitled to go through the ANA suite check-in. They basically gave us a golden ticket that acted like our priority pass.
The staff at the service counter were very courteous and respectful. They were very warm with how they processed our booking.
Check-in was fast and orderly. Once we were done, the staff directed us to the ANA Suite lounge.
The lounge itself was located a bit far from the check-in counter.
The primary design of the lounge makes it feel very boxy. With mostly squares and 90 degree angles all around.
Interestingly enough, the design concept works here, as the boxes and angles make it feel very organized and spacious. The lounge itself was large and had a variety of amenities.
They had private pods dedicated to people who wanted some privacy for a call or for simply answering a call. As a result, it really feels like ANA values the privacy of their customers.
There’s also this segment which was composed of small pods where people can enjoy their private time.
They also had massage chairs in some areas.
The ANA lounge is famous for their curry rice so I got to try it out for myself! it was a rather small serving, and it didn’t look that appealing, but it was good enough nonetheless.
You can say that the ANA Suite lounge is their version of a first class lounge. But in my opinion, it’s not that much better than their business class lounge.
They had some nice good food served buffet style. They even had a noodle bar, but it was too crowded for me to get a good picture of it at the time.
In conclusion, the ANA suite lounge and the ANA Business lounge have barely any difference. The most obvious upgrade that the suite lounge has is their improved service. The staff have more initiative in taking care of their customers.
During boarding, there were two lines for passengers. One for economy class, and another for First class, Business class, Star Alliance members, and PWDs.
When boarding started, first class passengers were let in first. Further in, there was another junction that separated the First class passengers from the Business and Economy class passengers.
Cabin Seats and Amenities
There were 8 seats in the first class cabin. Each of them had a seat width of 33 inches and a seat pitch of 76 inches. They were open suites. At first glance, I didn’t see anything special about the first class cabin of ANA.
Although there were a few seats, there weren’t any gimmicks and I appreciate that. I liked the simplicity of the cabin.
Each seat was very comfortable. I can say that these seats were the most comfortable ones I’ve sat on so far. Even the pillow and the blanket provided were nice and further heightened my experience overall.
The boxy design that ANA is known for can be further seen here. Each seat is boxed in, making it feel like a suite. Even though it’s open, it’s incredibly private. This makes it one of the best seats for people who are travelling alone.
That being said, it made traveling as a couple rather difficult at times. I had the window seat, and my wife had the middle seat next to me. The walls made it harder to see each other, but that was a given because there was an aisle between us.
The real problem was even if we sat next to each other in the middle seats, the partition can only be lowered so much that it still felt like we were travelling alone.
For us, this wasn’t that much of a problem, but it might take other couples traveling together off guard.
The suite is equipped with a 23-inch touch screen IFE screen. It’s quite far from the seat, meaning you’ll have to lean forward to make use of it though.
Underneath it is where the table is hidden, and you’ll find Pajamas and the amenity kit hidden by the foot cubby. Underneath all of it is extra space for storage or more legroom.
The seat console is hidden on the wall of the seat. There you’ll find two storage compartments that are easily spotted thanks to the push signs. Here, you’ll also find audio jacks, USB charging ports and a universal outlet.
The remote control for the IFE is hidden in the black compartment. It’s rather old school.
On the lower right corner, there was a small touchscreen control panel that can be used to adjust the seat into several configurations.
They provided a number of amenities to us passengers.
The first notable ones were the pajamas that were soft to the touch.
Next, they provided us with an interesting amenity kit which looked like a small luggage suitcase and their noise-cancelling headset.
The amenity kit included a wet towel, an eye mask, tooth brush and tooth paste, earplugs, some cleansing foam, lotion, and moisturizer—all of which are Ginza.
When laid flat, the seat is very wide and spacious. The bedding that they added makes it a lot more comfortable and when matched with the blanket and the pillows, makes for a really cozy seat.
To start things off, I have to admit that this was arguably the best first class service I’ve ever had. The flight attendants warmly greeted us as soon as we entered the aircraft.
They kindly assisted us while we settled into our seats. I was impressed. It never felt as if they were overbearing. The flight attendants seemed as if they were always there when you needed them.
Onwards with the service.
I was surprised with the first drink that they offered. It was Krug 2004, which was a fairly pricey champagne (market price around PHP14,000).
Of course I liked it a lot and so I just enjoyed it as is.
The food service was on demand, so once I got a bit hungry, I decided to get the Kaiseki Menu. I also requested for their caviar service even though it’s usually a part of the international menu. They gave me a can of caviar, and that was enough for me.
Zensai, a collection of morsels
Owan, a clear soup with produce
Mushimono, a medley of steamed delicacies with the requested can of caviar
Otsukuri, a selection of sashimi
The whole Kaiseki menu tasted fantastic. All of the dishes were flavorful and were unique in their own way. The whole food service lasted around 2 hours, and I’ll say that it was very much worth it.
I want to point out that I never once looked for a flight attendant during the flight, even during the course of lunch service. They were always there exactly when I needed them.
It was impressive beyond words.
After our meal, the crew surprised us with an anniversary cake!
It was a small gesture that we really appreciated. It made our flight just that much fun.
It’s interesting how the ANA flight crew continually surprises and impresses during this flight.
After the whole lunch service, I decided to head to the restroom to get ready for bed. This was where I got my next surprise of the flight.
Their restrooms had a bidet. And in all of the years that I’ve been flying, this was the first time I saw a restroom on an airplane that had a bidet. Although it’s not as big as I made it out to be, it was still a convenience that a lot of people might appreciate.
After my time in the comfort room, I came back to my seat already in a laid flat position. They did a good job with their turn down service. I liked the fact that they were fast and efficient enough to do so while I was in the bathroom.
With incredibly attentive attendants, simple and efficient procedures, and a surprisingly comfortable seat that is very private, I can say that ANA First Class is my pick for the best First Class product right now.
Although I’ve recently experienced the very luxurious Emirates First Class Product, I would still say that this is the better of the two. ANA loses out on luxury and many amenities, but is better off by leaps and bounds when it comes to the service that they provide.
For the whole trip, flight attendants were always fast and efficient. The language barrier wasn’t a problem at all, either. Everything that they did was done excellently.
The best thing about the flight attendants was that even though they were literally always there to help, you can see that they also respect your personal space, so they never felt bothersome.
I can honestly say that they offered a first class experience, but what I received was a world class service.
Frankfurt to Haneda
The first ANA First Class flight showed me how an Airline can provide world-class service. My trip back showed me how consistent they can be as well.
Just like before, the trip was rather flawless and incredibly comfortable. It was very nice to experience it again.
The difference was found in the lounges found in the Frankfurt airport.
ANA used the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. Anyone who is a gold member of the Star Alliance or are flying in First Class in any star alliance airline can have access here.
The lounge itself is big and has very diverse designs that all seem to meld well with each other.
There were a lot of people staying in it, buy because it’s rather big, there were still a few spots free for us to use.
What I liked best about this lounge is that it has a homey ambiance and a very good view of the tarmac.
When compared to the ANA Suite Lounge, this is a lot better. They’re rather equal when it comes to design because they have their own unique points—but what sets the Lufthansa Senator Lounge apart is the amazing food.
The Flight Back
Apart from the great service, it was the liquor selection that differentiated the two flights.
Again, they started off with a 2004 Krug.
Secondly, I got the King George V. blended scotch whiskey (market price at PHP21,000).
Next up, I got this 21 year old Hibiki Suntory Whisky (market price at PHP65,000).
Fourth, I also tried this Graham’s 30-year-old Tawny Port (market price PHP3,000).
Lastly, this Leoville Barton 2012 (market price at PHP5,000).
You could say that I made the most out of the flight that I paid with just miles.
ANA’s First Class is my pick for the best first-class experience there is, particularly for solo travelers. Their seats may have been designed to be open suites, but it was the quality of service that showcased just how important privacy and comfort is to them.
Above all, I didn’t expect the ANA First Class experience to be this good. I flew Emirates First Class a few months ago, and that was great, too. But it’s the quality of service, and the amazing proficiency of the flight attendants that really cemented ANA as a provider of world class service.
In short, I would highly recommend people to fly ANA in first class. It’s definitely an experience that you will not regret.