We pick this one up airside at Narita, having just cleared transit security upon arrival from Seattle.
Having been sitting for much of the last ten hours, I decide it's not time to take a seat in the lounge right away. I'm also feeling remarkably fresh for such a long flight on which I didn't really have a long sleep, and considering by my body clock it's either past midnight (at home) or getting late in the night (in Seattle.) Perhaps it's the 787 factor?
Anyways, I wander the terminal for about an hour, browsing very lightly a few of the seemingly millions of duty free shops at Narita. Things are busy but not over-the-top busy, so it's a pleasant stroll through the airport.
Eventually, I decide it's time to check out one of the ANA lounges. As I'm down in the 50 gates when the mood strikes, I head for the lounge there, perched above the busy concourse. Up an elevator, and I'm presented with the entrance of the lounge, which has a "normal" side for Business and Star Alliance Gold passengers, as well as a First class side. Needless to say, I'm in the former category.
My boarding pass is quickly scanned and I'm welcomed in.
This is a large lounge, and fairly well-occupied. Here's the "main room."
And a hallway over to the a second area, almost as large again, but lacking the airside views.
Speaking of the airside views, at least in the main part of the lounge, they're very good, providing a good watch on the hustle and bustle of this ANA-dominated part of the apron.
Reading materials and the ANA concierge who's busy helping passengers who need changes made to their flight schedules.
There are identical in content, if not in layout, buffets both on this main side and the second side. Offerings are pretty good, and include a couple of hot items.
Other offerings include various sandwiches and salads.
And various bakery goods.
There's also a pretty good self-service bar, which I didn't get a picture of, except for these draught beer machines.
Ultimately I settle on a small sampling of the fried chicken and "French fries" (which are actually more potato wedges) along with a Pocori Sweat. Despite its odd (and perhaps disgusting) name, I kinda fell in love with this little drink on my first trip to Japan, so I'm excited to have it again. The wedges are pretty good, and the "fried chicken" (which is boneless chunks) is surprisingly good, with a nice bit of a black pepper flavor to it.
There are also various noodle bowl options to be had, although I don't opt for one this time around, as I'm not exactly starving.
The WiFi in the lounge is good, although it makes me a little suspicious that it requires an e-mail address to connect. I hope it's not being used for resale purposes. The generic Narita free WiFi, by comparison, does not require any such personal information.
After a while, it's about fifteen minutes before scheduled boarding, so I pack up my kit and make my way out of the comfort of the lounge, and towards my gate. Signage is good, and while it's a bit of a hike from where I am, I'm there quickly enough. When I get close enough, I find out that gates 28A through G are down this escalator. So we all know what that means, right? Yep. Bus gate!
Downstairs, in the 28F area, things are pretty quite. I'm guessing this plane is not 100 per cone full. Either that, or there are a lot of people showing up last minute.
People start showing up, and eventually even start lining up, so I join the line for business class, and about three minutes behind scheduled boarding (gasp!) they announce pre-boarding. No bowing routine this time around.
Flight: NH835 From: Tokyo Narita (NRT) To: Jakarta (CGK) Date: 2/10/2016 Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Registration: JA815A Seat: 4A ATD (STD): 18:48 (18:15) ATA (STA): 00:17+1 (23:55)
I'm quickly scanned through, and onto the bus for the short drive around the terminal towards our awaiting 787. It looks pretty much like the one that brought me over here from Seattle, with the standard ANA livery, but the big 787 titles.
Having grabbed a couple of pictures of our ride, I join the throng climbing the airstairs up to our chariot. I’m shown to 4A, the port window seat in the final row of the first business class cabin on this particular ANA 787. It’s a very different product than the staggered I had on SEA-NRT, this is a 2-2-2 seat which ANA calls the Business Cradle. It reclines pretty substantially into a nice lounge chair position, but is not really flat — angle or otherwise.
The seat comes equipped with a pillow and a light but silky blanket.
Legroom, as expected, is very good.
Seatback has basically the same interface as my previous 787, and is turned on at the gate. I take a look through the offerings — which are different than on my previous flight — and ultimately select Our Brand is Chaos to start things off.
Ports — USB, power, and headphone, are located along the front part of the central console, with the wired remote behind it, in the mouth of a little storage cubby.
These may be the simplest seat controls in the world. Not much guesswork here.
Out the window, boarding continues, using door 1L.
In the little storage space below the monitor are a few goodies. First, ANA slippers — the same pack complete with shoehorn and takeaway bag as had on the previous flight.
And second, pretty lackluster headphones. I’ll pass over using them in favour of my own Bose set.
Service begins with a choice of orange juice or sparkling wine. I go with the sparkling wine. Odd that NH serves in a plastic cup on the ground.
While water bottles are often distributed on many airlines after the first meal, they’re offered on the ground here, just about a minute after the pre-departure beverage.
Next to us, this pretty China Airlines Cargo 747 is getting loaded up.
On-the-ground service continues with oshibori — the first of many. Again, piping hot, and with a very nice ginger-like scent.
Menus are next. Here’s a look at the wine and drinks list.
And then the dinner menu.
Boarding is completed, and the cabin is pretty full. But not completely full. I’ve got an empty seat next to me. An excellent turn of events.
We push back in the dark, and taxi for a bit, and off we go. Not much to see, unfortunately. Once the seatbelt signs are released, drinks are offered. I go with champagne. By the time it’s brought around, tables are set. The crew isn’t wasting any time trying to get dinner underway. I like that.
About this time, my seating situation takes a turn for the worse. There seems to be some sort of argument between the woman in the window seat in front of me, and the man sitting on the aisle seat next to him, but I don’t pay much attention to it, since I’m watching a movie, and writing a report, and generally spread pretty thin. But shortly enough, the man gets up, and starts putting his stuff in the pocket of the seat next to me. Surely enough, he moves in there. Not a big deal, but it’s disappointing when you take off with an empty seat next to you.
Dinner orders are taken. I go with the beef stew because it interests me. A couple of minutes later, the flight attendant comes by and very sheepishly explains that they’ve had too many people order the Western menu on this flight, and she’s looking for volunteers to be served the Japanese appetizers along with their selected main. This is fine by me. She’s very thankful for my co-operation, and must apologize about seven more times throughout the dinner process for this inconvenience.
Out comes the amuse bouche. Everything is pretty good, but the olives with cheese and sun dried tomato are the stars here Just delicious.
In short order, the tray with Japanese appetizers is presented. Again, everything was pretty good, although I do wonder about serving prawns covered in sauce with the shells still on. Kinda found out about that the hard way. The fish cake and the sashimi were highlights.
The main was served next, and it’s not exactly what I expected for a dish described as a stew. It’s tasty enough, but the beef is a little bit on the fatty side — that’s a mixed blessing, of course. It’s a pretty good main, although nothing special.
The desserts were served as a combo rather than a choice, and didn’t seem to match the description on the menu, but they were quite enjoyable, and accompanied by a bit of green tea.
With the movie over, I put on Pan, a reimagining of the origins of Peter Pan. It’s a little odd, and doesn’t really click with me. The guy next to me pulls out the eye mask and gets himself comfy, so I’m not really going anywhere for a while. I put the seat in as much of a reclined position as the cradle goes, and within about half an hour, I drift off to sleep.
I wake up about two hours out of Jakarta, having napped for the better part of two hours, and with just enough time to put on another moive. Extraction it is, a half-decent action flick with Bruce Willis. Somewhere in there I have another helping of Suntory whisky ANA offers. This time, it’s just presented in a glass, without the cool little glass bottle. Oh well. Still delicious.
Closer to arrival, there’s a bit more service — first an oshibori, then a flight attendant with juices, and then chocolate for those who want them. What can I say, I can’t resist.
As the movie comes to an end, we’re clearly well on our way into Jakarta. Nothing left to do but pack up my gear, settle in, and watch the dark sky as we come in for a landing.
After a short taxi, we pulled into hot and muggy Jakarta, with our windows almost completely steamed up. We’re wished our goodbyes, and let loose into CGK, which provides a couple of experiences worth mentioning.
First, there’s the lonely visa-on-demand guy. There’s no lineup in front of him when I arrive, so I show my passport, and ask if I need to buy one. He says I do. I ask if he takes Visa. He does not, and motions to cash machines across the hall. So I head over there, and take out a whack of money, yay for high-volume currencies. I head back to him and there’s a lineup forming now. After a couple of minutes wit, I end up back at the same guy. “Business or tourist,” he asks this time. “Tourist, just here for a day,” he says. “Go, then,” he says. Okay. Well, I needed to take out money anyway, but this could have been handled more efficiently, no?
And then there’s the rather long lineup for passport control. There seem to be two options — diplomats and crew, and Indonesian passports. The crowd has figured out for itself that “Indonesian passports” is for everybody, so I join that queue.
And hey, remember the woman who essentially kicked her seatmate out of the aisle seat ahead of me? She reappears here, and quite literally walks right through cordons to the front of the line for Indonesian customs, ignoring the rest of the line. I don’t think that was an option for premium pax, but nothing seem to be made of it, despite her literally knocking over a couple of cordons to do so, and a security guard making a really big deal of embarassing a dude in line behind me who accidentally knocked over one of those same cordons by clipping it with his luggage on the way by. Go figure.
Eventually I get to the front of the line, and I’m let through without any trouble. I grab a cab, and head off to the Park Lane Jakarta, quite ready for some sleep despite having napped quite frequently throughout this long day.
We’ll pick it up back at CGK for the flight home. Thanks for reading!
Cabin crew 8.5
All Nippon Airways ANA Lounge, Satellite 5
Tokyo - NRT
Jakarta - CGK
NH’s regional business class configuration isn’t anywhere near as nice as its longhaul configuration - the cradle is merely okay, whereas I thought the staggered setup was outstanding. I guess the fact that I did get some sleep on this flight suggests it’s not the worst setup, although it may be more a testament to my lack of long periods of sleep over the preceding 24 hours or more.
Still, catering was decent and the service was solid NH, about what one would expect.
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