Airline: ANA | Aircraft: 787-900 | Class: Business | Flight: NH859 (HND-HKG)
After spending a week in Tokyo, I took a flight out of Haneda to Hong Kong for an extended personal trip. Since the flight (NH859) out of Haneda Airport was scheduled to depart at 8:55AM, I had to leave the amazing Conrad Tokyo at around 6:30AM in order to make it in time for my flight. The earliest airport limousine bus that connects the Conrad Tokyo to the Haneda Airport was not yet in service so I essentially had two options to get to the airport: a really expensive taxi ride or a direct train from a metro station nearby. I decided to go with the latter and I go to the Haneda Airport International Terminal within 30 minutes.
Upon arriving at the Haneda Airport International Terminal, I made a beeline for the Business Class check-in counter and the bags were promptly tagged with priority tags and I received my boarding pass shortly after. While I do have access to the ANA Lounge for being a Star Alliance Gold member, traveling on Business Class will give you the same privilege as well. Since I got to the ANA Lounge at approximately 7:30AM, breakfast was still being served - breakfast is usually the least impressive meal service in airport lounges and on-board premium cabins. I will cover the ANA Lounge in a separate post but since the lounge was located really close to the boarding gate, I got to enjoy it to the fullest extent.
The NH859 flight from Haneda to Hong Kong was operated on a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner which is famous for her improved humidity conditions and impressive cabin space. ANA generally operates a different 787 for domestic flights but the one that is used for international and long-haul flights have a 1-2-1 Business cabin configuration. This aircraft features 48 Business Class seats that can be converted into a fully-flat bed. All the seats on the Business Cabin are in a staggered formation and they all have direct aisle-access which means that you do not have to worry about disturbing (or getting disturbed by) another passenger.
If you travel on Singapore Airlines quite a bit, the first thing you will notice with ANA's Business Class product on the 787-900 is the much smaller seat width. On my latest flight report on the Singapore Airlines 777-300ER, the seat width was 34 but the seat width on this ANA flight was only 21 which is almost 40% narrower! In fact, the seat width reminds me more of a Premium Economy product than a Business Class one. With that being said, you do get a much-improved seat pitch on-board the 787-900 in Business. With a seat pitch of 62, you can be sure that the converted flatbed will give you the space you need for a good rest.
Each one of the seats in the Business Cabin features a really large table by the side (some of the middle seats offer two large tables!) where you can place your small personal belongings on. There is also a small storage space under the seat in front of you (or more specifically, under the ottoman) for your personal belongings - otherwise there is also the overhead compartment. You will also find a universal power port and usb port right next to your seat for all your power hungry devices should you require it.
Shortly after take-off, drinks were served with a meal trolley - I opted for the Champagne Canard Duchêne Cuvée Léonie Brut which is what ANA serves on-board the Business Cabin. A packet of nicely packaged rice crackers were also given during this period. It is worth nothing that on my flight from Singapore to Haneda on Singapore Airlines, passengers in the Business Cabin were all addressed by their last name (or first if you like!) but on-board the ANA, this was not the case.
Since the flight from Haneda to Hong Kong is relatively short (approximately 4 hours), there is only one full meal service on-board - there was the Japanese and Western option when I travelled on 10 November 2016. I opted for the Japanese Cuisine (Washoku) where all components are served at one go:
- Simmered Herring in Soy-based Sauce
- Marinated Spinach and Chrysanthemum in Soy-based Sauce
- Sockeye Salmon Sushi
- Simmered Sweet Potato in lemon Sauce
- Dressed Squid and Flying Fish Roe
- Salt-grilled Chicken with Dried Curry Japanese Style
- Steamed Rice
- Miso Soup
- Sayama Roasted Tea (Hojicha) Kudzu Mochi
While the food was presented all at once as opposed to being served in separate courses, it was visually appealing but what really stood out for me was that salted grilled chicken with dried Japanese-style curry. I love the flavours and how moist the chicken was - this is exceedingly difficult on-board a flight! It is also pretty amazing to have hot miso soup served to you on the flight - same deal with having a freshly-extracted espresso shot served to you on the flight. If you intend to try the famous Ippudo ramen that is served on-board ANA's Business Class, keep in mind that this is not available on the HND to HKG flights as they are too short - it is best to check with the airlines directly forthe full food and drink menu for your intended flight.
If you prefer to have the International Cuisine, your meal will also be served at the same time (in one go):
- Pork and Foie-gras Rilettes, Milano Salami, Smoked Sardine and Cereal Salad
- Roasted Chilean Seabass with Anchovy and Olive Sauce
- Soybean Flour and Hazelnuts Mousse
The entertainment on-board flight NH859 was pretty mediocre at best - perhaps I have been spoilt by Singapore Airlines' range of entertainment programs - I know some people actually complain about SQ's selection too but the choice on my ANA flight was seriously limited - perhaps because Donald Trump became the President of the United States and everything else on-board just paled in comparison in terms of entertainment value. The handset on ANA's 787-900 Business Cabin was also surprisingly dated - I remember these from the older SQ planes and I was a little shocked to see them on the Dreamliner.
The headset provided in Business Class was also pretty basic and they were just Stereo earphones instead of noise-cancelling ones. ANA does have a better Sony-branded noise-cancelling headphone on First Class and longer-haul flights in Business (and Premium Economy) but unfortunately the Haneda to Hong Kong route does not utilise that.
Since I got up pretty early in Tokyo to get to Haneda Airport on time, I decided to catch a wink on the flight. One of the things that I do appreciate on ANA's dreamliner is how easily you can go from a seat to a flatbed - you do not even require an aircrew to assist you with this transition (unlike the flatbeds on-board Singapore Airlines). There are also a number of seat control buttons (e.g. one that controls the position of the lower back of your seat) that will make your flight a little more comfortable. If you prefer not to be disturbed during your flight, you may also push the Do Not Disturb button and the aircrew will not bother you during meal service - you still need to put your seat upright prior to landing though!
The flatbed on-board ANA's Business Class was pretty impressive - as I have mentioned earlier, the longer pitch (62) allows for travellers to have more leg room and the ease of conversion encourages travellers to rest even on shorter flights. I managed to clock in an hour of solid rest (which is decent since the flight time is only around 4 hours) before I had to put my seat back to its original position in preparation for landing.
On the whole the ANA Business Class is a pretty solid product on the 787. I personally enjoy the staggered seats and the large table but the narrower seat width is not that great for me personally and i think it matters on longer-haul flights. The food that was served on-board was pretty good and the staff were all quite nice but I do think that the personal touches (one that Singapore Airlines excel in) are slightly lacking - I am not sure if it is due to a language barrier or just a general difference in service standards so I guess the only way to find out is to probably plan another trip back to Japan soon (and hopefully on a long-haul flight that serves Ippudo ramen as a snack between meal periods).