ANA Suite Class – Flight from Tokyo to San Francisco

2017 Apr 10

  • Price: 110000 miles (or about USD 9000)
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300 ER
  • Seat: Window/Aisle
  • Time: 9 hours and 25 minutes

 

 

Boarding & Seat

There was a separate line at the gate and a separate entrance to the aircraft.

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There were only 8 seats in the first class (or suite class) section. Each seat was huge with tons of storage space. The space under the foot stool fit my full carry-on sized backpack with room to spare. The seat (or suite) did not look pretty but it was very practical and private.

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The seat even had a dedicated guide!

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I later received the “turn down service” and the flight attendant arranged the seat into the bed while I changed into pajamas in the restroom. The mattress pad was very comfortable, and the blanket was also great. The “bed” felt really spacious.

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Food

Soon after taking my seat the flight attendants came by and offered a glass of champagne and opened all the plastic packaging (slippers, pajamas, etc.) for me. It was honestly quite overwhelming to have someone unwrap things for me while I was sitting down.

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Dinner

Meal service started about 20 minutes after take off. Of course, it started with hot towels.

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I was given a restaurant-quality menu.

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I asked for the Japanese cuisine and a glass of KRUG, a very expensive champagne which I would never buy myself. It did taste great.

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Amuse bouche soon arrived and it looked beautiful.

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Going clockwise from the left:

  • Crab meat and shrimp salad rolled with smoked cuttlefish – I usually don’t like cuttlefish but this one tasted pretty fresh and high quality.
  • Sea bass brandade – Very refreshing and slightly citrusy.
  • Mixed parmesan cheese and dried sour cherries rolled with soft-dried beef – The cheese was good. It tasted very rich.
  • Loquat-like jellied foie-gras mousse

 

Then I got a glass of sake. Ichinokura junmai daiginjo kura no hana was the full name and it was amazing! One of the best I had had. It tasted very clean and slightly sweet. I could definitely taste the “alcohol” but it didn’t have the typical chemical smell of flavour. It tasted slightly nutty as well.

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The flight attendant noticed my empty glass later and filled it twice more.

 

A white cloth was spread on the table and the main meal service started.

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  • Fried Japanese glass shrimp – It was very umami! It was on the soft side and a little crispy.
  • Marinated field mustard in kombu kelp-based sauce (greens on the bottom) – Refreshing. It tasted similarly to Korean namul.
  • Lotus root in sweet vinegar sauce – The texture was nice.
  • Asparagus with beef
  • Some tofu dish
  • Salt-grilled young sweetfish – Terrifying! I was confused and didn’t know how to eat it. I had couple bites around the back. It tasted umami but I didn’t really eat that much.

 

Owan; steamd greenling, simmered bamboo shoot and mugwort fishcake – The broth was good, rich yet clean. The fish didn’t taste that fresh though.

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Otsukuri; seared bonito – The smell was unique. Maybe slightly fermented. The ponzu sauce was refreshing.

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The chief flight attendant noticed my empty glass (again) and asked if I wanted to try a different one. I asked for Miyakanbai junami ginjo. I was actually going to ask so I was surprised that she almost read my mind! She even left the bottle on my table for photos.

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This one tasted fruity and light. It was more refreshing and slightly spicy.

 

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  • Nimono; simmered bamboo shoot and sea bream roe in soy-based sauce (top right) – The bamboo shoots tasted very nutty! The roe was sweet and umami and tasted a bit like meatballs.
  • Kobachi; Dressed firefly squid and clam with sansho miso sauce (top left) – Very fresh, better than the one I had in ryokan.
  • Shusai; Grilled tile fish with botargo – Umami, flaky, and fresh. It was so soft thought it was steamed.

 

Sakura dessert – Ice cream tasted like cotton candy!

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Sencha – It was very umami, but not as much as gyokuro. Still tasted great.

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I also got yuzu tea in the middle of the flight and it was delicious. It was mostly mild green tea with subtle citrusy yuzu flavour.

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Breakfast

Breakfast was served about 90 minutes before landing. Salted kumbu kelp was very salty. Shrimp dish wasn’t fresh and the shrimp flavour was also very strong. Overall it felt like a fancy authentic breakfast, similar to the one I had in Kameoka.

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Amenities

At the seat when I boarded there was a pair of slippers, pajamas, and a light jacket.

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I’m 5′ 4″ so the pajamas were too large for me. The fabric also built static electricity easily.

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The flight attendant came by with a tray filled with amenities so I picked a few up. I actually kept them without using them I can’t really say anything about their quality.

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There were also more amenities inside the restroom.

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Of course there was an amenity kit. My friend who tried the moisturizer/toner said the quality was good. The amenity case from Samsonite actually was much more practical than the one from United and I think I will use it as a carrying case for electronics.

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Thoughts

The service I received during this flight was amazing. The flight attendants were personable, friendly, and I got the impression that they genuinely wanted my flight to be a great one. For service alone I would not hesitate to fly ANA agin.

The seat was amazing, the amenities were thoughtful, and the drinks were some of the best I had had. I didn’t enjoy the food as much but they tasted authentic.

Is all this worth the extra miles or money? To be honest I would rather fly more in business rather than fewer in first class. But I loved the experience! I read that many airlines are phasing out first class so I wanted to try at least once, and I’m glad I did.

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