Monday, April 13
Washington, DC (IAD) to Tokyo, Japan (NRT)
All Nippon Airways Flight 1
First Class Seats 1D, 1G
Departure: 12:20pm, Scheduled Duration: 14h 5m
Boeing 777 6,752 miles
We arrived at Dulles around 10:45 a.m. and walked up to the check-in counter. First and business were more or less being taken care of together, and we waited for the first available agent. Boarding passes issued, bags tagged to Hong Kong. Lounge passes issued for Dulles, which strikes me odd as at this time of day it’s a dedicated lounge for ANA, no lounge pass printed for Tokyo which also seemed odd because passes are much more common in Asia.
Headed down the underground walkway and up to Terminal B, the ANA lounge is opposite gate B46.
During the late morning it’s an ANA lounge, and then becomes the Air France lounge for their departures. There’s a business class side and a first class side, and the signage clearly indicates such. Still, it appears that only the first class side was being used. Ultimately first was filled only 5/8, and the rest of the crowd was certainly not qualified as ANA Diamond.
The two sides of the lounge share a restroom in the middle, and you can cross between business and first unchecked by walking through the shared restroom facilities. So after visiting the loo I walked into the business class side and found it completely deserted.
The lounge was crowded, fortunately we found ourselves the last two seats by the window, by boarding time there wasn’t an open seat outside of the ‘reserved’ closed off area where two passengers were seated. I don’t know their particular special designation, but they were two of the three other people in first class.
Snacks and drinks are modest, furnishings comfortable, and only one special thing of note about the lounge is that you board the jetway through a doorway in the lounge itself rather than heading back outside into the terminal. You’re boarded close to departure time, after most of coach is already onboard, which is nice because ANA (and more generally, Japanese carriers) doesn’t serve pre-departure beverages.
Once onboard the most important thing is the seat. It’s lovely and wide, a nice big screen TV, perfectly comfortable and goes fully flat. The tray table is large, but bounces a bit in turbulence. The only complaint is that there’s really no storage space at all.
Here’s the menu for the flight.
Savor the refinement of classical Japanese cuisine. Our master chef selects nature’s finest, freshest ingredients to create a menu that evokes the essence of the season. A choice of hand-crafted sake perfectly complements this special dining experience.
Steamed rice, miso soup and assorted pickles
Dessert (your choice of one of the following)
Selection of fresh seasonal fruit
A la Carte
Caviar with traditional garnish
Fresh garden salad with Japanese dressing
Pan-fried beef tenderloin with mustard soy butter [ 422 kcal ]
Selection of breads with a choice of
Premium vanilla and mocha chip ice cream duo
Petite Japanese course
Stir-fried yam jelly cakes with piquant soy sauce
Petite International course
Morel mushroom and spring cabbage potage
Shortly after takeoff, drink of choice was offered and I naturally chose Krug. Then it was time for the amuse bouche:
Then it was time to order my meal. I began with the caviar (and more Krug…)
And followed with the galantine of foie gras and chicken thigh
I thought about ordering the Lobster and avocado salad and it looked outstanding on the tray of the woman sitting by the window to my right. But there was no way that I was going to be able to eat everything I had my mind set on, so I then switched to the Japanese menu:
I was full, and yet somehow my flight attendant managed to convince me I should have two desserts
After a full meal, I thought it might be bedtime. I was already dressed comfortably for the flight in black sweat pants and a black polo shirt. I’m not that keen on ANA’s pajamas which aren’t yours to keep, so I didn’t change. But I immediately took up the offer of the FA to make my bed.
While this was being set up I stood behind my seat (rather than the customary time spent in the lav changing into PJs).
Behind my seat is where the basket of amenities had been placed, perhaps because the seat behind mine was unoccupied. (The couple from the ‘reserved’ area of the lounge was onboard together, but seated in a window / middle configuration rather than sharing the two middle seats. I really do understand the impulse. mrs. gleff and I shared the two seats in the middle of row one, and the privacy screen is immobile and really did separate us, I think I’d just have us separated in the future by the aisle instead of that screen – don’t ask me why that screen doesn’t stow as it does on Asiana, or at least I never figured out how to stow it.
In any case, I stocked up on additional amenities while I waited for my bed to be made. ANA hands out a nice zipper bag for amenities, and then offers a basket from which you may take what you wish. I wasn’t shy the first go, but I stocked up on the hand cream and lip balm. Of course I could only take so much, I was transiting and Narita and feared the liquid baggie police.
Once my bed was ready I settled in, and the flight attendance put a fragrance card down at my side, ostensibly to aid in restful sleep.
Sadly as comfortable as the seat was for sleeping (though the pillow could have been better for my tastes), I really just wasn’t tired. That’s the trouble for me with early afternoon departures, I much prefer my transpacs to start late in the evening. So I stayed up and watched [i]Slumdog Millionaire[/b] and scanned the rest of the AVOD.
I do have to say that ANA has much improved its’ variety of choice, but there really just wasn’t anything else I was interested in watching and I finally managed to doze for about an hour. I got up and ordered a midflight drink and snack:
Afterward I did manage to get back to sleep for a couple of hours, and wait out the remainder of the flight. Sadly I wasn’t hungry again, though had I been I would have been disappointed because the one dish I really wanted was the Super Cheeseburger but apparently (according to a FA) they only load it ex-NRT. And it certainly wasn’t on the menu.
Landing was a bit bumpy, we taxied around much of Narita before finding our gate, and then it was off through transit security…