Flight Route: Tokyo (Haneda) to Sydney | Flight Number: NH879 | Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 | Class: Business | Seat: 10K | Flight time: 9 hrs 55 mins | Reviewed by: Kate Symons
This is my first time flying with ANA (All Nippon Airways), and my expectations are high: the carrier has been awarded SKYTRAX’s five-star rating every year since 2013 and has been named ‘Airline of the Year’ by Air Transport World three times in the past 10 years, including 2018.
Given I have arrived for a 10:30pm flight, I am surprised by the amount of activity at Haneda Airport. This doesn’t impact check-in, mind you, which is efficient and friendly. Off to the lounge, where a sleek and quiet space awaits. I have a light snack of sushi before I spot the saké tasting station – don’t mind if I do. The kitchen is busily preparing noodles to order, including ramen, and kitsune or curry udon, and while it all looks tasty, I am not hungry enough to indulge.
Staff kindly come to my rescue with an Australian adaptor, which allowed me to square away a couple of tasks at one of the lounge’s marble-accented work stations. Note to self: replace lost adaptor.
The ANA Business Class cabin has a staggered 1-2-1 layout, which means all passengers enjoy aisle access and plenty of space.
10K is a genuine window seat, which is always my preference in the 1-2-1 configuration. Not only do I get to cosy up next to the window (perfect for staring lovingly at spectacular bird’s-eyeviews), but the console placement between you and the aisle offers added privacy.
Speaking of the console, it provided plenty of space for my bits and pieces and the headphone holder was a handy addition that I never knew I always wanted. The Nishikawa Air Cyclone bed pad offered an added level of comfort, particularly welcome on an overnight flight.
As you would expect from a Japanese airline, the service was impeccable. Drinks and a hot towel are offered immediately and food orders are taken before departure, allowing for prompt service and maximum sleep time.
Rarely one to forgo the meal service in favour of sleep, I am certainly glad to have stuck with tradition on this occasion. I opted for the beef fillet with demi-glaze onion sauce and it was fantastic. The melt-in-your-mouth steak would be right at home in a finedining restaurant while the entrée – a salad of prosciutto, scallops and grilled peach – would have held its own as the main course.
The comprehensive drinks selection included saké, shochu and plum wine, of course, but I pair the Acústic Negre with my steak. I am also a sucker for bubbles on arrival when flying and the Champagne Castelnau hit the spot.
Although it might have been wise to spend the overnight flight with my eyes closed, I had to finish watching Rocketman, the movie I got part-way through on my way from Sydney to Tokyo. I thought the 18-inch touch screen TV did Elton John’s flamboyance justice and the noise-cancelling headphones allowed me to get lost in the brilliant score. Unless I was missing a trick (which is entirely possible), navigating the system was slightly laborious. The catalogue is not arranged into pages so you need to scroll through each option one by one in the category you have chosen.
The considered service and restaurant-quality food. Lows If pushed, I would point out the awkward deployment of the tray table. It was a little stiff, but entirely manageable.