As I posted a week ago, I ended up spending six months of 2020 in Japan and decided to repatriate back to Europe on ANA F. Here’s a review of my Haneda – London flight NH211 on September 2.
I had booked this award ticket using Virgin Atlantic miles (read more here) that I had earned more than a decade ago, and ended up changing it quite a few times when ANA opened up the F inventory (usually two weeks out).
Readers have requested me to write up (I don’t usually do reports of the flights that I take) how the ANA First Class experience was during these pandemic times when most airlines have severely downgraded their services. Some airlines are throwing plastic snack bags not only to the Economy but to Business and First Class passengers too.
I can report that First Class is still First Class you fly on ANA, however.
NH211 Tokyo Haneda – London Heathrow
I try to use public transportation in Japan, but getting from the new Hyatt Regency in Yokohama to Haneda can be a drag because the bus company has slashed the frequency of services. The taxi, however, only takes 20 or so minutes and costs $80 (taxis in Japan are never cheap).
The check-in was a breeze at the first class counter, and the lady checked IATA Timatic to ensure that I am admissible to the UK.
ANA unveiled three new lounges back in March at Terminal 2, but currently, all international flights (only a handful per day) leave from Terminal 3.
It has been a while since I last time flew out in the first class with ANA out from Tokyo, and even then, it was from Narita. I don’t recall ANA’s First Class lounge being anything special ala First Class terminal in Frankfurt or even the Private Room in Changi.
Now, ANA has combined the Business and First Class lounges for the few flights they operate. The First Class section didn’t have a proper table to type away with a laptop, so I moved to the Business Class side where all the cubicles intended for working were reserved for people camping out and sleeping.
Sad to see how few flights ANA had leaving Haneda.
I got to the gate when the flight was supposedly closing, but according to the agent, the First Class hadn’t been called yet. They would call by rows to minimize the contact between passengers.
Well. I was the only passenger in First, and they had a separate jet bridge to the First Class passenger(s). How would boarding me LAST would minimize my contact with other passengers? This made no sense at all, and I was allowed to board.
It is always a nice touch when the ground crew waves for departing passengers in Japan.
There are quite a few planes parked at the Haneda.
Seat & Cabin
The aircraft was with the new ANA Suite (eight in the cabin) that came with the door and biggest screen I have yet to see.
ANA had printed out the instructions from the UK Government’s website regarding coronavirus related entry requirements.
The suite was spacious enough to properly have a laptop out with beverages on the side.
The flight attendant prepared a bed for me in the next suite.
I had a walk through the plane and was surprised to see how big the screen was in the economy.
The Internet worked well throughout the flight. I shared the WiFi connection on my Google Pixel with other devices, including a laptop
My favorite in-flight entertainment is to glance at the moving map periodically.
Noise Canceling Headphones
These Sony ones were so good that I may buy one pair for myself despite having two other brands.
First Class Toilet
I love that ANA has a proper Japanese toilet.
I received a simple amenity kit, and could then choose from his basket whatever I might need.
Food and Beverage
ANA has their menus on its website, and you can find them here in PDF format:
Preplated food came wrapped and with a cover that you removed.
I don’t usually eat steak (to try and avoid red meat) and hadn’t had one for a year or two. The one prepared by ANA was close to perfect. Not overcooked!
Cold Brew Tea
The cold brew tea that ANA served in First Class was excellent.
I have to say that it was a pleasant flight and a great way to expatriate oneself from Japan back to Europe.
The service was excellent, and no language issues this time. I remember that once when I flew with ANA in F and asked for Krug, they brought me Coke!
The Business Class seats looked quite lovely and perfectly adequate for a long flight like this, but then I better use my decade-plus old Virgin Bankcruptic miles.
The flight had 110 or so passengers traveling to London, but only 50 or so on the return segment. Everyone can leave Japan, but only the Japanese can freely return.
I have the return sector booked for March (Virgin only allows return awards). Still, I doubt that Japan will be open yet for incoming foreign travelers at that time beyond specific business travelers from select Asian countries based on reciprocity.