Edited by: Chris Dong
& Keri Stooksbury
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Airline: All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Flight #: NH872
Route: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta (CGK) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND)
Date: October 10, 2023
Duration: 7 hours, 10 minutes
Cabin and Layout: ANA business class; 42 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration
Seat: 7D (aisle)
Cost: $1,104 (including an onward flight to Los Angeles in United Airlines Polaris business class)
This was the third time my wife and I have flown ANA, and each has been in a different cabin. After our initial flight in ANA was unimpressive in first class, and our second was a disaster in premium economy, we weren’t looking forward to this flight. We looked for options to change our flights twice, hoping to fly anyone but ANA to get home (as our ANA premium economy debacle had been during the previous week). The cost and logistics of changing were prohibitive, and I’m actually glad we took this flight. We had our first positive experience with ANA.
The seat and cabin layout wasn’t the most modern, and other airlines have better business class products — heck, so does ANA on some planes. However, we had an overall good experience with the flight, the crew, and the food.
Here are the positives and negatives during our flight from Jakarta to Tokyo when flying ANA’s B787-8 business class.
Shortly before our trip to Singapore and Bali, I found a screaming deal and canceled our flights home to book this paid itinerary. We paid $1,104 per passenger to fly business class from Jakarta (CGK) to Tokyo (HND) with ANA and then connected to United Airlines for a flight to Los Angeles (LAX) in Polaris business class. Typically, business class on just the Jakarta to Tokyo route costs ~$2,000 per person — though it can skyrocket to nearly $3,000 on some dates, such as those around the holidays.
Paying $1,104 seemed like a great deal. Considering the cheapest business class award I could find was 78,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points, providing a redemption value of less than 1.4 cents per point after taxes and fees (pretty low for international business class), I was happy to find this deal and save my points for another time.
As this was a purchased ticket, I also had 2 sets of earnings. By paying with The Platinum Card® from American Express, I earned 5x points per $1 spent, yielding 11,040 American Express Membership Rewards points after paying for our 2 tickets.
Check out our ultimate guide on where to credit your airline miles to maximize your earnings!
There was no one in the dedicated check-in line for business-class passengers when we arrived. Thus, the process was fast. After scanning our passports and tagging our suitcase, we had our tickets within 3 minutes. The agent was friendly and efficient, and we were on our way with a smile and well wishes for a safe flight.
ANA’s elites and premium passengers had access to the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge in CGK’s Terminal 3. Coincidentally, the lounge was near gate 6 — the same gate our flight was departing from.
This spacious lounge was quite empty when we arrived before 6 a.m. for our 7:15 a.m. departure. Seating was abundant and seemed equipped to handle crowds during busy periods.
The small tables between chairs could hold drinks and plates, and each had both universal outlets and USB-A ports for charging.
On the wall near the hot food bar, there was a menu indicating breakfast options. Choices included eggs, French toast, and Asian local dishes. There was also an omelet station, where you could choose your favorites before a cook would make your customized dish.
Further down, a large refrigerator built into the wall had fresh fruits and ingredients for making your own salad. At both ends of the lounge, there were drink stations. These had apple juice, orange juice, and a coffee machine.
While the bar, seating, and food were to the right of the entrance, to the left we found a children’s playroom.
And a hallway past the children’s playroom led to large, bright, clean bathrooms.
We departed from gate 6 in Terminal 3’s international departure area. As the lounge was across from the gate, we stayed in the lounge until boarding was announced. When we arrived at the gate, there was a long line of economy passengers to the left. However, the line on the right side for business class passengers and ANA’s elites was very short.
Boarding began on time; with only 3 passengers in front of us in line, we were on the jet bridge quickly. The gate agents were friendly and efficient, greeting each passenger with a smile along the way.
We boarded through the galley between the 2 business class cabins on the plane. Flight attendants greeted passengers with a smile at the door and indicated which aisle to use to find their seats.
From the entrance, we turned right to the rear business cabin. This plane had a galley sub-dividing the business cabin between a front cabin (rows 1 to 4) and a rear cabin (rows 5 to 7).
Each row had a 2-2-2 layout for 6 seats across.
We had 2 seats in the middle section of the last row of business class: seats 7D and 7G.
There was a quarter circle-shaped divider between seats; this could be nice if you don’t know the person in the seat next to you, but it’s nowhere near the size of dividers offered with Qatar’s Qsuite or United’s Polaris business class.
By the windows, seats were also grouped in a pair. Thus, not every passenger in business class had direct aisle access.
On arrival, I found a pillow and a plastic-wrapped blanket on my seat.
At hip level, in the divider between the seats, I had a USB-A charging port, universal outlet, headphone jack, and a button for lumbar support. While it was nice to have all these outlets, the placement left something to be desired.
As the outlets were next to our knees and legs, my wife and I kept knocking our phone chargers out.
Below these outlets, there was a space that was perfect for storing my laptop and phone during the flight.
This divider between the seats had a small surface for holding drinks and buttons for controlling the seat — either reclining or lying flat.
Next to the divider, there was also a moveable arm with a reading light at the end.
In a pocket on the seat in front of me, there was a safety information card, slippers, and headset. I also found extra plastic wrap here, likely trash left over from the previous passenger.
The slippers also came with a shoe horn and a cloth carrying bag.
Next to the entertainment screen on the molding of the seat in front of me, I found a fold-out coat hook.
The tray table was located inside the outer armrest, along the aisle. Flipping open the padded armrest revealed the table.
The tray table’s size was generous. It engulfed my 13-inch laptop. The table opened into a folded position but easily unfolded. Pulling it out of the armrest and putting it back was easy and smooth.
Choosing a seat in this cabin has some peculiarities to consider.
If you’re traveling alone in business class with a 1-2-1 layout, you’ll choose a window seat. In this cabin, however, you should probably choose one of the middle seats.
If you choose a seat by the window, you might have to wake a stranger to go to the bathroom. Conversely, if you choose an aisle seat along the side of the plane, you might have a stranger climbing over you during the flight when you’re trying to recline your seat.
Thus, I recommend a middle seat for solo passengers here — and one not immediately next to the galleys, which can have a lot of noise.
For passengers traveling together, it depends on your preferences for aisle access and/or climbing over your companion to get to the aisle.
Our food and beverage experience started with a welcome drink before takeoff. Options were Champagne or orange juice. Each passenger also received a bottle of water.
After we’d reached cruising altitude, flight attendants distributed menus and wet wipes.
The menu had sections in English, Japanese, and Indonesian. It listed light dishes, which were available any time during the flight, as well as breakfast options for the main meal.
Another section listed drinks, which included coffee, juice, tea, wine, and sake.
My wife and I re-confirmed our vegan meal requests probably a dozen times. Unlike our previous flight, we received our special meals as promised. The meal was decent but wasn’t anything special.
It included a bread roll, fruit cup, juice box, and a hot plate. The plate included a grilled tomato, potatoes, onions, and a mix of veggies in a tomato sauce atop a hollowed-out zucchini. It also had soggy collard greens.
The best food I had on the flight was the Ippudo “Pla-ton” ramen from the anytime menu. It was delicious. If I hadn’t eaten the main plate, I would’ve had room for seconds of this, which I would’ve eaten gladly. The ramen also came with a bread roll with a curry paste.
The galley in the middle of business class had “help yourself” snacks and refreshments available during the flight. Because the cabin lights were off throughout the flight, making this area quite dark, it was difficult to discern the labels on the snacks, unfortunately.
Each seat had a small entertainment screen for watching movies and TV shows, following the flight map, or playing games.
The control for the entertainment system was found at hip level, snapped into a holder in the plastic molding between seats.
The control was released with a small button, and the attached cord was long enough to use the remote control comfortably. While one side had buttons for adjusting the channel and volume plus calling for the flight attendant, the reverse side had a QWERTY keyboard and buttons for controlling the video games.
The film selections weren’t extensive but included a fair list of classics and new movies, with something for every genre. The audio section, on the other hand, left something to be desired. For any album or playlist you selected, there were only 4 or 5 songs.
Onboard Wi-Fi was available during the flight. It wasn’t cheap, though. A 30-minute plan cost $6.95. The cost for a 3-hour plan was $16.95. I paid $21.95 for a full flight pass.
The upload speed was a consistent “nope” during the flight, meaning sending any documents or images was impossible. And while the download speed was just under 10 Mbps, it worked well enough to get what I needed to do for work during the flight.
Business passengers on this flight didn’t receive an amenity kit. However, flight attendants did pass through the aisle before takeoff offering individually-wrapped items. These included toothbrushes, face masks, ear plugs, hand lotion, and more.
Business class passengers had access to 2 lavatories during the flight. These were located in the middle galley, with 1 on each side of the plane. The lavatories weren’t large and looked like what you’d find in economy class.
However, the toilets did have a Japanese bidet, controlled from a panel under the sink.
There was a baby changing table that could fold out from the wall.
What set these lavatories apart from economy class were the toiletry options. These individually-wrapped items included mouthwash, wet wipes, and a toothbrush plus toothpaste pack.
Service was exactly what I would expect in business class. I don’t like flight attendants who hover obsessively, but I want them to be available if I need something. They also should be friendly and efficient. The staff covered all of these bases, and we thought they did a good job throughout the flight.
At boarding and deplaning, staff were present and smiling. They helped passengers find their seats efficiently and stow their items in the overhead bins.
Staff also passed through the business cabin before takeoff to greet passengers by name, serve welcome drinks, and ask if passengers had any questions. As soon as we boarded, a flight attendant came straight to my seat to confirm that we’d requested special meals — and that these were on board, waiting for us.
During meal service, the flight attendants were efficient and friendly. And when I rang the bell to order ramen, a flight attendant appeared promptly. She let me know it would take a few minutes to prepare the ramen, and then she returned with my large bowl of deliciousness as promised.
While there weren’t any standout moments, there also weren’t any problems or letdowns. I consider that a success.
After landing, we taxied for a few minutes before parking. I was quite surprised to see that we were deplaning via stairs and taking a bus to the terminal. Passengers from the aisle on the right side went to the front exit; passengers from the left-side aisle deplaned via the middle galley.
Another surprise came when we waited until our bus was full before departing for the terminal.
Whenever I’ve taken a bus to the terminal with other airlines, there was a separate bus for business class passengers, which departed once they were all on board. With this flight, we waited until no one else could cram inside before heading off.
After 3 flights with ANA, we finally had a positive experience. Staff was consistent and friendly, and the ramen on board was fantastic. Our main meal wasn’t anything to write home about, but at least the airline got our special meals right.
There are better business cabins on the market, but the seat was decent. I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly this product intentionally, but ANA did a good job on this flight and made its way off my “to-be-avoided list.” And even considering everything objectively, without my prior negative experiences, this was a good flight.
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Ryan has been on a quest to visit every country in the world and plans to hit his final country in 2023. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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