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Trip Report: Crossing the Pacific in ANA’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class

ANA continues to live up to its reputation as a notable full-service carrier as featured in its trip across the Pacific.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Business Class cabin (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

On a recent trip to Asia, I had the opportunity to fly in Business Class on an All Nippon Airways (ANA) Dreamliner Boeing 787-9. I had not flown on a Japanese airline since the COVID-19 pandemic and was keen to try out the product.

When it comes to service and passenger experience, ANA is widely considered to be one of the top airlines in the world. Although my flight would not feature the airline’s newest Business Class seat – “The Room” – I was still keen to see what the airline had in store.

My flight would take me from Vancouver International Airport to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport with a flying time of close to eleven hours. ANA is the only carrier to fly between these two airports, but Air Canada, Japan Airlines and Zipair offer service from Vancouver to Tokyo Narita International Airport.

Check-In and Security

I arrived in Vancouver on a connecting flight and therefore did not need to visit the check-in desks. However, I went to take a look at what the experience would have been like. When I arrived, check-in had not started yet and there were a few dozen people waiting in the Economy Class check-in line. The Business Class line, however, was empty. Had I needed to check-in or drop my bags at the counter, I would have not had to wait once the counter opened.

ANA check-in area at Vancouver International Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Similarly, there were very few people at the international security checkpoint. There was a short line that moved very quickly, meaning that we got through security within a few minutes.

Entrance to the international security (D Gates) checkpoint at YVR (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

As a side note, it is possible to make an airside connection from a domestic flight to an international flight in Vancouver. However, we had a long layover and chose to leave the secure area and go into the city for lunch.

Two Lounge Options

ANA Business Class passengers have two lounge options in Vancouver: the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge and the Plaza Premium Lounge. Of course, I had to check out both.

Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge is located immediately past the international security checkpoint. There are three Maple Leaf Lounges at Vancouver International Airport, with the other two being located in the domestic terminal and the transborder terminal (for flights to the United States).

Entrance to the international Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

There were multiple different types of seating throughout the Maple Leaf Lounge, including high-top tables, lounge chairs and bar seating. The lounge also offered shower rooms, quiet rooms and fantastic views of the ramp. We were there in the early afternoon, and it was fairly empty at the time.

The food selection was not huge, but there were still a variety of options available. There was a small selection of self-serve hot food options, a salad bar and a selection of pastries and desserts. On the other side of the food area, there was a staffed counter that offered a few other prepared options like a butter chicken bowl and tacos. The lounge also had a full-service bar.

After a brief stay in the Maple Leaf Lounge, I went to check out the other lounge option. The international terminal Plaza Premium Lounge in Vancouver is currently being renovated, and the company has therefore set up a temporary location near Gate 68. The space is essentially a part of the terminal that cordoned off for use by lounge guests. The divider is a temporary half-wall so the lounge felt like much of the rest of the terminal, albeit with slightly better seating.

Seating in the YVR temporary international Plaza Premium Lounge (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

There was a fridge with salads, yogurt, fruit, desserts and drinks right beside the main entrance. On the other side of the lounge, there was a small selection of hot food options and bread.

Like the Maple Leaf Lounge, the Plaza Premium Lounge was sparsely populated. The space did not offer much beyond a few simple food options and a cordoned-off seating area. It did, however, have sweeping views of the north side of the terminal and the airport’s north runway.

Vancouver’s Gorgeous International Terminal

I am a big fan of Vancouver’s international terminal. The airport has a modern feel but also features warm design elements like a blue-green carpet that represents logs flowing down a river, as well wood paneling throughout the terminal. The indoor river and aquarium also wow me each time I go through the terminal.

Inside Vancouver International Airport’s international departures pier (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

This was also my first time seeing the new Pier D expansion. The addition to the international terminal added eight new gates and a new glassed-in open-air atrium. Unfortunately, the atrium was closed when I visited.

Aircraft and Boarding

My flight was operated by a three-year-old Boeing 787-9, registered as JA925A. The aircraft was delivered to ANA from Boeing’s Charleston, S.C. facility in April 2021 and has been with the airline ever since.

In true Japanese fashion, boarding began exactly as scheduled. Our flight left from Gate D70. The team of gate agents ensured that passengers were boarding by zone, and the process seemed to move very efficiently.

ANA Boeing 787-9 JA925A at Vancouver International Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class Seat

The airline has two configurations for its international Boeing 787-9s. Our aircraft had a total of 246 seats, with 40 in Business Class, 14 in Premium Economy Class and 192 in Economy Class. The other configuration has 215 seats in total, with a higher ratio of premium seats. ANA also has high-density 787-9s with 375 seats for use on domestic flights.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class seats (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Each Business Class passenger had a lie-flat seat with direct aisle access.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

There was a large table beside each seat, along with a literature pocket, a remote control, a reading light and a headphone jack. A power plug and USB-C charging port were also conveniently located beside the seat above the table. There was also a “do not disturb” button that would turn on a light that was visible to flight attendants passing by.

Literature pocket, reading light, charging ports, headphone jack and remote control on ANA’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Immediately below the large table area was another table that swung out in front of the seat, as well as controls for the seat. These are the seats that were introduced when ANA first introduced Boeing 787-9s on international routes in 2015, and certain seat elements like the seat control buttons and the design of the remote control show the product’s age. Although it appeared to be a bit outdated compared to what is on offer with some competitors, the seat appeared to be in good condition and offered the space and recline that passengers would expect in a long-haul business class product.

Seat controls and table storage in ANA’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

The seats were laid out in a staggered configuration. This meant that the window seats alternated between “true” window seats and seats that were closer to the aisle. I was seated in Seat 3A, a “true” window seat that gave me better window access and more privacy than the even-numbered seats on the left side of the aircraft. On the right side of the aircraft, the even-numbered seats are the “true” window seats.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class window seats (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Departure from Vancouver

A flight attendant came around with pre-departure beverages, offering a choice between orange juice and sparkling wine.

ANA Business Class pre-departure drink (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

We pushed back as scheduled for an on-time departure and taxied out to Runway 08R for an eastbound departure from Vancouver.

An afternoon departure from YVR on board an ANA Boeing 787-9 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Dinner Service

The main meal service began around 45 minutes after departure. Flight attendants came around with pre-packaged wet towels. Given the prevalence of hot towels in Japan, I was surprised that ANA had not brought these back yet.

ANA Business Class menu and moist towelette (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

There were two meal options available: a “Japanese Cuisine” option and an “International Cuisine” option. Within the international menu, there were two main courses on offer: braised beef short ribs and sauteed Chilean sea bass. I went with the Japanese selection.

Dinner began with a beverage service, and I went with ANA’s original “aromatic kabosu” non-alcoholic drink. Kabosu is a citrus fruit closely related to yuzu and I found the drink to be sweet with a light citrusy flavor.

ANA’s original “aromatic kabosu” citrus drink (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

The beverage service was followed by the amuse-bouche, which was the same for both the Japanese and international menus: smoked salmon with cauliflower and a duck and cheese canape.

Amuse-bouche: duck and cheese canape & smoked salmon with cauliflower (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Then came a tray consisting of the next three items on the menu. There were a variety of Japanese dishes, ranging from sashimi slices to simmered abalone. Overall, I quite enjoyed the selection. The sashimi and kelp were particularly nice, but the deep-fried scallops were soggy and the lobster was very tough.

ANA Business Class Japanese appetizers (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Next was the main course, which was a poached pork dish served with rice, miso soup and pickled vegetables. This course was very tasty.

Main course of poached pork, served with rice, pickled vegetables and miso soup (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Finally, the flight attendants came around with dessert. Although there were three options listed on the menu (fruit, cheese and cake), they only offered the mango cake.

ANA Business Class mango cake (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Inflight Entertainment

Business class seats ANA’s Boeing 787-9s have 18-inch touch screens. The screen can also be controlled with the wired remote control beside the seat. There were around 150 movies and a selection of shows and games, as well as a moving map. While the system was responsive and generally worked well, the interface and overall appearance felt a bit outdated.

18-inch touch screen in ANA’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class window seats (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

WiFi was also available for a fee. ANA’s Boeing 787-9s have the airline’s second-generation WiFi, provided by Panasonic Avionics. Three different plans based on usage time were available.

ANA Boeing 787-9 WiFi Pricing (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

I had no need for WiFi on this flight and therefore did not have the chance to test the speeds and reliability.

Amenities: Slippers, Headphones and Amenity Kit

Each passenger got a pair of slippers, headphones and an amenity kit. The slippers came with a mini shoehorn, which was a nice touch. The headphones had active noise reduction but otherwise felt fairly cheap.

ANA Business Class slippers, headphones, amenity kit, blanket and mattress pad ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class window seats (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

The amenity kit itself was from luxury luggage provider Globe Trotters. Inside the kit, I found an eye mask, ear plugs, a toothbrush with toothpaste, and L’Occitane en Provence body milk and lip balm.

ANA Business Class amenity kit contents (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Lavatories

There were three lavatories available to Business Class passengers: one at the front of the aircraft and two between the two Business Class cabins. Additional toiletries were on offer in the lavatories, including mouthwash and cleaning wipes. The toilets also had bidets – a unique feature only seen on Japanese airlines. The lavatories were kept very clean throughout the flight.

Between the two main cabins, there was a small table where the flight attendants set up a basket with toiletries and some chocolates.

Toiletries and chocolates on a table mid-flight (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Lie-Flat Seat Bed Transformation

After finishing a movie, I figured that it was time to get a bit of rest. Since the flight arrived in the evening, I did not want to get too much sleep, but I was still fairly tired from an early wakeup that morning.

Along with the slippers, headphones and amenity kit, I found a mattress pad, blanket and pillow on my seat during boarding. I stored the mattress pad and blanket in the overhead bin until it was time for bed.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class lie-flat bed (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

The setup was fairly comfortable and I was easily able to get a few hours of sleep. I am not a particularly large person but I think some people might find the footwell to be a bit narrow.

Pre-Arrival Meal Service

Approximately two hours before landing, the second meal service began. This consisted of a light meal, once again with “Japanese Cuisine” and “International Cuisine” choices. I picked the Japanese option again, which featured grilled salmon served with vegetables and rice. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal as well.

ANA Business Class pre-arrival meal (Japanese option) (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Service

As expected with a Japanese airline, the service on this flight was fantastic. The flight attendants were consistently friendly and polite, staying true to the famous Japanese service culture. They were attentive throughout the flight and made regular passes through the cabin to check on passengers.

Arrival

We descended through the dark Pacific skies before landing on Haneda Airport’s Runway 23. Most international flights at Haneda arrive at Terminal 3, formerly known as the International Terminal, but ANA began operating some international flights out of a newly renovated part of Terminal 2 in March 2020. After only two weeks, those operations ceased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the international area of Terminal 2 did not reopen to flights until the summer of 2023. The international wing therefore felt brand-new.

Haneda Airport Terminal 2 international area (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

After exiting the renovated international part of the terminal, the fact that the building was two decades old became more apparent.

Landside at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Final Thoughts

I had a fantastic flight on ANA’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class. While some parts of the seat seem a bit outdated, it still had everything I would expect from a long-haul business class product. Meanwhile, the airline provided solid catering and amenities, and the cabin crew delivered stellar service. I had an excellent experience overall and am glad to see ANA continuing to live up to its reputation as one of the top full-service carriers in the world.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin after arriving in at Haneda Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Andrew Chen

Author

  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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