Fortunately the walk from the lounge to the gate was a short one, and there were already tons of people lined up for boarding in the gate area. Turns out the flight was booked completely full in business and economy…but I was the only person in first!
This would be my third first class flight on ANA, and as usual they were super organized, even having a special signed boarding line for first despite me being the only passenger.
Awkward moment when the agent came to get me before boarding was even announced, and did a special pre-board. Yup, it was a flight to the US, as some guy loudly said “hey, we’re in business class, what happened to priority boarding?!” The agent just smiled and ignored him…
ANA All Nippon Airlines flight 106
Tokyo, Haneda (HND) to Los Angeles, California (LAX)
Depart 23:30, Arrive: 17:30 same day, flight time: 10:00
Boeing 777-300ER, Registration JA733A, Manufactured 2005, Seat 2K
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 138,205
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,830,793
Upon boarding, the seat was just as I remembered. I never understand why they have this cube design that blocks the windows…do I really need/want privacy from the outside? It’s pretty poor design, but quite a nice seat.
Overview of my private jet…I mean the first cabin..
Looking across through the other seats in my row. The lead flight attendant came to introduce herself, and offered that maybe since I was alone tonight she could make up the seat next to mine as my bed after takeoff? Then she joked: “or the other seven seats if you would prefer.” I liked her already.
Before departure, the safety video was screened. I have to say, this is one of the best safety videos ever. From the strange woman in the blue beekeper outfit to the instructions that seem to say “in case of emergency evacuation, please make sure to apply full geisha makeup,” to “never wear heels down the exit slide” this video had it all for high entertainment value!
So what’s to eat and drink tonight? Being a midnight departure it wasn’t a full meal service, but looked like there were plenty of light dishes I could put something together from!
Before eating, I was brought a WiFi card which if I remember right was good for 100 MB of data. Quite little compared to US airlines, but when I asked later for a second one I had absolutely no problem getting one. Not sure if this is policy, or just because the cabin wasn’t full….
A glass of Krug and some canapés to start? Don’t mind if I do! Interesting mixture of flavours and textures. I don’t think any cuisine pays as much attention to texture as Japanese does. Black sesame and nut bread stick, foie gras with teff, duck ham and mushroom thyme, and a smoked trout roll.
I asked what would be good for a small starter along with more champagne after takeoff, and the crew recommended the scallops as they were nice and light. They were also absolutely delicious.
For something “a little bigger” she recommended the pork tsumari sandwich with black truffle flavour. When it arrived, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was supposed to approach this. Take it out of the cardboard hot pocket like wrapper first?
After the cardboard was off, it was apparent the red stuff was also a wrapper that was meant to be removed. I assume this is some traditional japanese way of steaming things? The sandwich was, however, delicious!
I was still a bit hungry since both the scallops and sandwich were quite small, and the flight attendant insisted on bringing me the chicken and mushroom curry. It was outstanding…very unique flavour, but I loved it!
Of course, when there’s a cheese plate on offer, I have to take advantage of it! As expected with asian airlines, it was fair, but certainly nothing to write home about. I wouldn’t expect a US airline to do a fantastic Japanese dish, so no reason to expect ANA would do phenomenal with the cheese…tho it was probably still better than what most US airlines offer.
Ice cream for dessert sounded wonderful with some Hibiki (only the 17 on this flight….21 only goes to “premium” routes…which for some reason LA is not) and it’s amazing how something so simple can be so good. Quality over quantity!
I still wasn’t tired at this point, and asked for some more Hibiki, and some savoury crackers came with it. I love these little Japanese nibbles!
Finally tired, I retired to the seat across the aisle, clamped my USB fan to the side of the cubicle, and dozed off to 5+ hours of wonderful deep sleep. My body had no idea what time it was (if I was actually on DC time it would have been around 5pm) but was exhausted, so I was out like a light.
The flight attendant woke me 45 minutes before landing, and insisted on bringing me something small to eat. Fruit sounded refreshing, but the table had to be set…linens and all. The small details on this flight were outstanding.
Of course, she wouldn’t let me stop there, insisting I end my flight with something sweet.
Every little detail of this flight was perfect, and honestly the fact it wasn’t a meal flight was no big deal at all. If you want to eat, there’s more than enough different items on the menu to make a meal of, and if you’re on Tokyo time and just want to sleep…well, that’s an option too.
With that, the longhauls were done, and I was almost home…just about 12 hours left to go…because flying LA to DC via Toronto is totally a normal thing to do which I’m sure will cause absolutely no problems at all…