At the end of February, my wife and I decided to escape on an adventure as she had some time free up in her work schedule. We have never done the classic beach resort getaway, and I figured it might be worth a shot, considering we only had six full days of free time.
I bet you’re wondering how this relates to an All Nippon Airways (ANA) business class review! Well, it turns out last-minute award flights to Mexico are hard to come by. However, the worst-kept secret in the Points and Miles community is that ANA availability 14 days out is almost always available.
Japan has been on our radar for a while now, and six days in the country was a short trip. It was more enjoyable with 24 hours spent in ANA’s new business class flagship product, “The Room.” Read all the details below!
Booking ANA’s “The Room” Business Class
We booked this trip ten days before departure, which felt crazy! But it meant we were spoiled for choice regarding which routes we wanted to fly. Because we had a shorter stay in the country, we prioritized flying into Haneda (HND) as it’s much closer to Tokyo than Narita (NRT). We settled on departing from Chicago (ORD) to HND, which meant 13 hours of flight time and access to a Polaris Lounge, which lived up to the hype.
For the way home, we found a flight from HND to LAX and then connected back to Denver on a cheap Delta economy booking. I did this strategically because the Delta Sky Club at LAX is one of the best lounges I’ve ever been to. It even beats the Denver Centurion lounge, in my opinion. We had access to this lounge thanks to our American Express Platinum card and a same-day Delta boarding pass.
We used 150,000 Aeroplan points and $196 CAD in taxes and fees per person to book round-trip tickets. Booking an Aeroplan partner award is very easy online, and we didn’t have to make any calls, just a couple of clicks on Air Canada’s website. Aeroplan is one of the best ways to book seats on ANA business class for Canadians who are interested in trying the product out.
Not to mention, one of the reasons why I love Aeroplan is that their partner awards are always at a fixed cost, unlike Alaska Miles, which can be dynamic for partners.
We earned the points for this flight thanks to one year of 5x spending on our American Express Cobalt card, and a great bonus I received for the Aeroplan Reserve Business card last summer. At the time, it was 95,000 Aeroplan points for $7,000 in spending, a great deal compared to the $24,000 spending requirement it has today.
On the Boeing 777-300ER ANA planes, there are two business class cabins: the main business class cabin, and a smaller business class cabin. For the flight to Tokyo, we decided to try the middle seats and sit in the “mini business class cabin” at the back of business class. This would mean extra privacy and choosing an odd-numbered row; the seats are right next to each other, which is best for couples.
We wanted to compare the experience to a window seat, so on the way home, we each chose even-numbered rows with a window seat as they provide extra privacy being closer to the window than the aisle.
We had picked out 17E and 17F, which gave us our own little cocoon, and extra privacy being in the mini cabin.
I have only flown two other long-haul business products in Air Canada Signature Class and Swiss Airlines A330, but this was noticeably different from the moment of stepping on the plane. Needless to say, this was the best business class seat I have experienced so far.
The fit and finish of the seats were excellent, and the size of the entertainment screens was impressive; exactly what you would expect from a new business class product.
The soft product was superb as well, within seconds of arriving at my seat, an attendant offered to hang my coat, then came back a few minutes later with a choice of champagne or orange juice as a welcome drink. We, of course, chose the champagne!
With the divider lowered, the seat got even more impressive and was a unique experience that will be tough to beat.
The tray table smartly slides out from underneath the entertainment screen and is sturdy in its design.
The seat and lighting controls are easy to reach, but to my surprise, there was no way to adjust the leg support and create a chaise lounge shape. The entire seat moves to create a massive sleeping surface, and I’m sure that limit’s the customization. However, I felt it was lacking compared to a traditional reverse herringbone design.
Just above the seat controls is a storage area that houses power ports. It was spacious enough for the small things you need to store and did its job as intended.
One of my highlights at the seat was seeing individual air vents! We take this for granted on North American carriers, and it was a welcome sight. They worked very well and blew the napkin off my tray table when I turned them up to full capacity.
One of the most notable parts of the ANA “The Room” business class seats is that each suite has a sliding door; these truly are business class suites. Once airborne, the doors release from their locking mechanism and create the most private business class seat I’ve ever experienced. This level of privacy could easily be mistaken for first class on most airlines.
There is a small gap in the door, but it’s not as noticeable as you would think, and the sheer amount of space between the two seats makes up for it.
The one thing my wife and I noticed right off the bat when we sat down is that the seats are FIRM. Business class passengers are offered mattress pads which we used as seat cushions even before changing the seat into lie-flat mode.
The mattress pad does make a big difference, but there was no turn-down service offered, as Josh experienced on his Qatar Airways flight to the W Maldives. All the bedding is provided in advance at your seat when you arrive, but the seat is so huge that it doesn’t get in the way.
The overall size of the seat was one of the best parts of sleeping on this flight. I’m a side sleeper and could tuck my knees without bumping into anything. Combine that with the added privacy of a full door; it felt like a sanctuary in our middle seats.
As we were landing in Tokyo around 10:00 pm, we didn’t want to sleep too much and set our alarms for a three-hour nap.
A final note on sleeping, the footwell also had plenty of room.
Surprisingly, the amenity kit was in different packaging when departing from North America vs leaving from Japan, even though the contents were the same.
While the amenity kits were a bare-bones offering, they did have some interesting things, such as the face mist and lip balm.
Slippers were also provided, a nice step up from the bright red socks we were offered on Swiss.
This was a highlight of the flight, without a doubt. The menu was extensive, and we tried most of the food available. Before dining service started, we were offered a hot towel, which was a nice touch.
There is only one menu for food and drink, and it’s organized with a main meal service at specific times, with the ability to order snacks at any time. Business class passengers can pick between a Japanese or international option for their meal.
Before meal service started, the flight attendant placed a tablecloth on our table tray, which elevated the service.
The first meal service was served in four courses, starting with an amuse-bouche of warm nuts and cheese with marinated vegetables. It was about what we expected for a cold bowl of veggies and cheese.
Next, we were served our appetizers and decided to split the menu between us to try everything.
My appetizer was shrimp and cured pork, which was an excellent start to the meal and did not disappoint.
Marta chose the Japanese meal and also enjoyed her Zensai, Kobachi, and Otsukuri, which were served together, and she said they were authentically Japanese.
This was quickly followed by our main dishes of halibut and beef; the winner here was the halibut. But the beef was nothing to turn down, and I also enjoyed it.
One thing to mention was how friendly the attendants were on this flight. They offered to take pictures with every serving and wanted us to check them to ensure we liked the photo before leaving! Here we are with our main dishes.
Once meal service wrapped up, we took our three-hour nap and woke up to try some snacks.
We both wanted to experience ramen on a plane, so we started with that, it’s a must-order on an ANA flight. The ramen had great flavors and it got us excited for the food to come once we landed in Tokyo. It was the tastiest dish on the menu.
Shortly after the ramen was taken away, the flight attendants surprised me with a birthday treat! My birthday wasn’t for a few days (on the 25th, the flight was on the 23rd), and I immediately turned to Marta, asking if she had said anything. She exuberantly said no and was just as surprised as I was.
It was a great touch and made the flight extra memorable. I assume this was a First Class dessert they brought back to me, as there was no blueberry cheesecake on our Business Class menu. It was delicious.
The last piece of the snack menu I tried was the ANA Signature Curry. It had a nice flavor and was served with Japanese pickles if more spice was desired.
We were served a second meal service before landing: a chicken penne dish and amberjack fish in miso sauce.
The chicken penne was a bit dry, but the sauce had a nice balance. The amberjack was expertly cooked, and the signature ANA steamed rice wrapped in paper was also great to experience.
The drink menu had everything available, both alcoholic and non. The champagne onboard is what we enjoyed the most; it was a Castelnau – Cuvee Brut Reserve.
First of all, a comprehensive shochu, champagne, spirit, and cocktail list was on offer.
Also available was a variety of red and white wine options.
Finally, there is also a list of Sake and non-alcoholic options available.
I also sampled the merlot from California with my beef entrée, but it had too much acidity for my taste, and I went back to champagne for the rest of the meal service.
With ramen, I ordered a Sapporo, which came in Japanese packaging, and that was cool. However, it was not the coldest. Still enjoyable!
I sampled the screwdriver cocktail and the Suntory whisky on the flight home. They were both good, but it seems ANA emphasizes its sake menu most, and I prefer wine and bubbles over sake.
The capabilities of the in-flight entertainment lived up to the impressive screen size. There was a good enough selection of new and old Hollywood movies, but it was not vast. This was however my first flight with an onboard camera!
Watching our descent into a lit-up Tokyo was something I will never forget and added even more of a cool factor to the flight.
Paired with the entertainment screen we were given ANA-branded headsets. They were comfortable and provided quality audio.
Another noteworthy feature of the IFE was the ability to watch live TV with Sky broadcasting. American sitcoms and dramas were missing from the selection of entertainment, which I found odd, but I didn’t miss them.
We enjoyed both of our flights on ANA’s signature Business Class product, “The Room” that we booked T-14 days out. We agree that while the middle seats are fun, we did it once and preferred the window seats on our flight home. The service and attention to detail were terrific and made for memorable experiences for our first trip to Japan.
The flight from home felt short, being an overnight flight, so if you can only book The Room one way, I would prioritize leaving from North America to soak in more time being awake while onboard.
For a reliable way to redeem Aeroplan points and fly business class on short notice, I can’t think of a better way to do it!