Washington-Dulles to Narita in ANA First Class

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.

Quote:
Kaiseki Course 
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.

Zensai
Broiled rock lobster, sake-steamed red snapper and honeyed fava beans

Nimonowan
Tofu cr醇Spe-wrapped icefish and seasonal garnish in hot seafood stock

Oshinogi
Our selection of sushi

Kobachi
Tender egg pudding with rich shark’s fin broth

Shusai
Simmered Chinese cabbage-wrapped cod and tofu in special seafood broth [ 159 kcal ]

Sunomono
Quick-grilled rare beef tenderloin with sesame-flavored citrus soy sauce

Steamed rice, miso soup and assorted pickles

Dessert (your choice of one of the following)
Premium vanilla and mocha chip ice cream duo
Mocha latte mousse with strawberry sauce
Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream

Selection of fresh seasonal fruit

Wagashi
Toraya “Shin midori” yokan (white adzuki bean and green tea jelly)

A la Carte 
Light, easy, uncomplicated dining. Choose the dishes that catch your imagination and each will be plated on board, producing a freshness and taste not unlike a fine restaurant dining experience. Naturally, we also offer a tempting range of fine wine and sake for your consideration.

Caviar with traditional garnish
Galantine of foie gras and chicken thigh with aromatic saffron mayonnaise
Fried soft-shell crab with citron vinegared soy sauce

Fresh garden salad with Japanese dressing
Lobster and avocado salad exotic with balsamic vinaigrette

Pan-fried beef tenderloin with mustard soy butter [ 422 kcal ]
Pan-fried prawn and pan-roasted Chilean sea bass with saffron sauce [ 406 kcal ]
Ossobuco Piedmontese with saffron risotto [ 567 kcal ]
Braised barley and vegetables with garlic wrapped up in lettuce and tomato coulis [ 111 kcal ]

Selection of breads with a choice of
Isigny butter or extra-virgin olive oil

Premium vanilla and mocha chip ice cream duo
Mocha latte mousse with strawberry sauce
Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream
Selection of fresh seasonal fruit

Delights 

Sake accompaniment
Caramelized sand eel and walnuts
Cured mackerel in salt and rice bran
Homemade soybean milk jelly with special light soy sauce
Oden (hot pot with fishcakes and vegetables)
Assorted Japanese pickles

With wine
Camembert
Gorgonzola
Comte

Light dishes
Bowl of hot Japanese udon noodles with wild mountain vegetables and green seaweed
Marinated batonnet tuna and grated yam with fruity soy sauce, served over steamed rice
Japanese tea poured over rice, garnished with grilled freshwater eel
Cantonese-style congee
Chicken tikka masala with steamed rice
Cantonese-style stir-fried beef with ginger-oyster sauce
Salmon lasagna Florentine with creamy tomato sauce
Toasted pork cutlet sandwich
Smoked turkey breast and tuna mayonnaise light sandwich

Sweet treats
Premium vanilla ice cream

Post-nap comfort
Fresh garden salad
Cornflakes with milk
Selection of fresh seasonal fruit

Petite Japanese course

Stir-fried yam jelly cakes with piquant soy sauce
Salt-grilled Spanish mackerel garnished with spring vegetables
Steamed rice or creamy rice porridge
Natto (fermented soybeans) and dried seaweed
Miso soup and assorted pickles

Petite International course

Morel mushroom and spring cabbage potage
Bread roll
Fresh seasonal fruit

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…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Quick question: I’m flying NRT to TYO in first on ANA NH01 on Feb 2. I’ve seen some random reports of ANA bringing in the 77W on some weekends … but the seat map on ANA shows the old configuration. Any chance I’ll get lucky and get to try the Square product? Also, any advice on row 1 vs. 2?

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