Review of ANA flight Tokyo Chicago in Economy

Airline ANA
Flight NH 12
Class Economy
Seat 27G
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 11:40
Take-off 27 Sep 15, 10:45
Arrival at 28 Sep 15, 08:25
NH   #30 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 232 reviews
By SILVER 6923
Published on 10th October 2015

This series will cover a quickie to Chicago aboard All Nippon Airways (NH) or ??? as it is colloquially called here.

Part 1 – NGO-NRT [NH 338, Boeing B737-700, Economy] –
Part 2 – NRT-ORD [NH 12, Boeing B777-300ER, Economy] – You are here
Part 3 – ORD-NRT [NH 11, Boeing B777-300ER, Economy] –
Part 4 – NRT-NGO [NH 337, Boeing B737-500, Economy] –

This report will cover the slightly shorter eastbound flight from Narita to O’Hare. There are 5 flights per day non-stop between these two airports (AA x1, JL x1, NH x2, and UA x1). NH also operates an afternoon flight that leaves the same time as the UA plane, but I had to be in Chicago by noon so this was the only flight that worked with my schedule.


When I hit transfer security and immigration, there was no line even though I was dawdling to get off my first flight. However, as soon as I got in line, a rush of people came in behind me. I quickly cleared immigration and was dumped into Satellite 5. I decided to just use the ANA Lounge at Satellite 5. It’s located up the escalators as you exit immigration.

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The NH agent took my EY Guest Gold card and boarding pass, entered me into the system and then gestured for me to use the ANA Lounge side. This time, the agent didn't even flinch when seeing the EY card. Entering, I was met with a zoo. It was jam packed at the front of the lounge with all of the NH TPACs getting ready to depart.

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I used my expertise to veer off down the side corridor to the wing of the lounge that is much quieter (although it lacks windows overlooking the tarmac).

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Having only 30 minutes until my boarding time, I wasn’t there to take in the tarmac views, but to fill my belly before the long trip in Y with unknown catering. The food offering in this wing area is identical to the food available in the main sitting area (minus the noodle bar, which was very crowded). It’s not an overly impressive lounge offering, but it will do.

The deserted seating area. Each seat has a power outlet.

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My first offering.

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My second offering.

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Just as I was starting my second plate, the agent came over the PA and announced that NH12 will start boarding in 5 minutes. I packed up my things and headed out towards my gate. The artwork in front of the lounge entrance.

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Off to Gate 42.

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Satellite 4.

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Our nextdoor neighbor is a beautiful OS B772.

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My bird today, a B77W, with a very appropriate registration “777.”

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All Nippon Airways, NH 12
Equipment: Boeing B777-300ER [JA777A, delivered October 2006]
Departure: 10:45 (ATD: 11:01)
Arrival: 08:25 (ATA: 07:54)
Flight time: 10:53

Boarding pass.

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I boarded with business class using my EY Gold status.

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Entering the beast.

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Fuselage shot.

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Boarding with business class, a very warm “konnichiwa” boarding. I walk through the galley getting a couple more bows before making my way all the way through the main J cabin and the Y+ cabin back to the first Y cabin. Here is my seat for this flight.

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The Y-cabin on this B77W is in the weird 2-4-3 configuration (really more like a 2-2-2-3 since there is a gap in the middle of the 4 seats). Some of the B77Ws that they use on other international routes like NRT-LAX are in the 3-4-3 configuration. The other key difference is that this cabin gets a 34” pitch, but the 3-4-3 cabin gets only 31”. So be careful when taking NH. Since the cabin hasn’t been filled yet, some more shots of the seats. I found these seats to be pretty hard; they lacked padding. My butt was already hurting during the taxi to the runway so I used the pillow from the seat next to me as a cushion.

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As I said, the 34” seat pitch is very comfortable. The two middle seats in my row remained empty, the flight was around 85% full in Y so I got lucky. The guy on the other end of my row was taller than me and he still had plenty of space.

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The footrest that folds down. I didn't use this since I’m not short.

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The IFE and remote. Below the screen is the USB plug.

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The tray table with foldout cup holder.

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Seatback pocket. There is a smaller storage pocket in the front for small personal items.

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The audio jack and recline button are both in the armrest. This armrest was made out of some of the hardest plastic I have ever felt. My elbows were actually sore from resting them on these armrests, very uncomfortable.

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Preplaced in the seats on boarding were a pillow and blanket. These are the same ones that you get in Premium class on domestic flights.

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Power outlet is located under your seat.

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Welcome screen as the IFE starts up.

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Our route today, it will be almost exactly 10,000km.

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I found the IFE to have a good selection, including some classic Bond movies.

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During boarding, the FAs also made a pass through the cabin offering newspapers and distributing the US Customs forms.

We pushed back right at our departure time. The taxi was fairly short and we were airborn with no wait. It was a bumpy rise out of Narita, which was expected given the bumpy landing at Narita in the last report.

A look at the seatback contents. The safety card for this B77W.

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NH offers WiFi on its flights. You can get 15 minutes for free. I used that to check some e-mails midflight and it was a little slow, but something is better than nothing.

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NH Sky Channel magazine.

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The NH headphones for Y.

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Shortly after leveling off, the meal service begins. Oshibori are distributed.

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This was followed by aperitif service. A Sapporo and otsumami for me.

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The menu card from the seatback pocket. Pretty generic for the meal listing, but they do have the full drink list.

The menu for this flight.

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I went for the chicken (the Japanese option). The tray as received.

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The tray revealed.

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The main wasn’t up to NH standards visually, but I thought the chicken was good.

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Soba noodles, tofu, and vegetables.

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Meal distribution was done with a drink service, so another Sapporo for me.

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The FA then gave me a cup of miso soup (only the Japanese meal gets miso soup).

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Real cutlery aboard NH, but I just used the chopsticks.

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After the meal service, trays were cleared and ice cream was offered. As anyone can guess, it is Haagen-Dazs. The real cutlery actually came in handy since I kept my spoon to make this a J dessert on CX :)

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As ice cream was distributed, the FAs also made passes offering coffee and tea.

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Meal service ended here (about 2 hours into the flight) and the cabin was plunged into darkness.

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About hourly, the FAs made passed through the cabin offering drinks from pitchers (they would alternate tea, coffee, and water). Samples of the offerings from various points in the flight.

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A trip to the lavatory. Plain and clean, but there is some lotion in there (the same that is offered in AA's J amenity kit!). Leaving the lavatory, the FA from my row was standing there. She seemed a little cold when I addressed her in Japanese during the meal and so I just used English with her. I tried talking to her again, but she couldn’t understand anything I was saying in Japanese. She eventually said in English, “I’m sorry, I’m Korean, I can’t speak Japanese well.” Oops. I apologized and ended up talking to her a bit because this was interesting. Turns out, NH puts their Chinese and Korean FAs that normally do ICN-NRT or PEK/PVG-NRT routes onto the NRT-America routes because their English abilities are usually better than the Japanese FA’s English abilities. Interesting factoid.

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I watched the IFE until the halfway point as we enter the US for the first time.

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I went to the galley in-between the two Y cabins. There were snacks and fruit laid out as well as ‘self-service’ drinks. I use ‘self-service’ loosely since every time I went back there to get some water, an FA would immediately ask me what I wanted and poured a glass for me. The crew on this flight was generally good for the front Y-cabin; they were all smiles and friendly. There was only one FA from the rear Y-cabin that was a ??? (Monique), I came out of the lavatory and saw her looking grumpy when some lady was standing in her way in the galley so I steered clear of her. My midflight snack.

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I tried my best to nap until the next meal service, which started near Saskatoon.

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Aperitif service of orange juice was offered. No other option.

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Our menu for breakfast.

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I went for the salmon, here is the tray as delivered. This tray is smaller in size and has a fruit cup and yogurt.

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The main. It was really good for a Y meal. Egg and salmon on top of rice.

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A cup of hot green tea with my meal.

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After the meal, coffee and tea were offered again.

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The last hour of the flight was spent just resting my eyes. We eventually began our final descent into ORD.

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We did a fly by in order to land from the east.

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Our zig zag arrival and the GPS seems to be off a little bit since our gate isn’t in the middle of the grass.

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The landing was smooth and the pilots announced we would be arriving at Terminal 5, but reminded passengers that the return flight will leave from Terminal 1. That was interesting that they assumed most people on board were Japanese residents returning on NH. Deplaning, the Y-cabin FAs gave warm goodbyes while the J-cabin FAs just mumbled bye as they were cleaning. Interesting to see the different perspectives of how they behave in front of their cabin's passengers and other passengers, just a reminder of how the service can often be fake.

Off the jetbridge and into America.

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Immigration was deserted and I had no wait to use automated passport control. I was into the baggage claim in no time, but it was a 20-minute wait before the bags started circulating. I will leave off this series here as I was collected by my driver. Thanks for reading this report and please stop by for the rest of this series!
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Cabin crew9.0

ANA Suite Lounge Satellite No. 5


Tokyo - NRT


Chicago - ORD



A strong performance by NH on this TPAC. The seats aren’t as comfortable as other carriers, but a 34” pitch is rare in Y these days. Good catering and crews. Great on-time performance landing 30 minutes early. When compared to what the US carriers offer on these routes, there really is little comparison. For *A people, NH beats UA any day of the week if you can deal with the language problems.

Cabin comfort: Luckily got a B77W in the 2-4-3 configuration with a 34” seat pitch. Seat comfort isn’t the greatest, very hard. The armrest is also very hard and uncomfortable and that’s not something I normally notice. No seatmate, so plenty of space to stretch out.

Crew: The 4 FAs that were in my cabin all looked like they were in good moods and interacted with passengers (they always take special care of the elderly, and that’s something you don’t see on US carriers). Awkward moments initially with the Korean FA, but after we worked through that issue, she was very friendly. No major complaints.

Meal and catering: I thought the meal trays were full enough for the length of this flight. The quality and quantity are both superior to what UA offered on the KIX-SFO flight I just had. Drinks were offered almost hourly mid-flight by FAs in the aisles. The galley had a full selection of drinks and snacks.

Entertainment: Newspapers offered and standard seatback literature. The IFE is a little bit on the older side, but a good selection overall.

On-time performance: We left the gate right on time and landed about 30 minutes early.

Information on the route Tokyo (NRT) Chicago (ORD)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 9 avis concernant 3 compagnies sur la ligne Tokyo (NRT) → Chicago (ORD).


La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Japan Airlines avec 8.1/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 11 heures et 38 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 150579 by
    757Fan 632 Comments
    A great report on ANA. The food looked to be really good, and better than any domestic US airline would be able to provide in Economy Class.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Comment 328565 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Yes, the Asian carriers are in a different league when it comes to in-flight service standards. I still stand by my claim that I'd take CA over UA any day of the week, even in Y.
  • Comment 150581 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6814 Comments
    Another TPAC in Y--you courageous soul! Seriously though, as far as Y service goes, this is really good, even exceptionally so. 34 pitch in Y is amazing, very few airlines have 34 these days (only B6 and EK come to mind). The 2-4-3 configuration actually sounds good. The 2 side is perfect for couples--normally, 777s are in 3-3-3 or the dreaded 3-4-3, so there's never an ideal place for couples. I also really like that the 2 middle seats in the block of 4 have separation between them. This must really add to a feeling of personal space instead of being squished between 2 people. It's almost like an aisle seat with all that space on the side. The catering looks really good to me and I find it well presented for Y meals.
    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 328611 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6814 Comments
      I have the 50k miles, but only one leg on AA, lol
      - Hmmm, Those are actual EQMs and not just Redeemable miles? I know there is a big promo for premium class travel, but that seems like a heck of a lot for one TPAC leg...or does this include the return flight on that Japanese oneworld carrier? I'm thinking that makes more sense.
    • Comment 328567 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Forgot to mention that JL's 4-class B77Ws have 34 pitch in Y too. The B787s don't get that perk.
    • Comment 328564 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thanks for commiserating with me Kevin!

      Another TPAC in Y--you courageous soul!
      Building up those calluses on my butt, lol. Christmas trip home might have to be Y in order to secure my AA Platinum status, I have the 50k miles, but only one leg on AA, lol.

      Of the long-haul Y-trips I took this past month, I would rate them NH >> SK > UA. And that also accounts for the fact that UA was EconomyPlus. There will be B6 trans-con coming up in the AA/JL series, great domestic Y product.

      That's the thing, NH has the 3-4-3 B77Ws too, but only deploys them on the shorter routes (LAX/SFO). The 2-2-2-3 is revolutionary. Each person in the middle of the 4-seater has their own armrest. NH knows their clientele and caters to that market without having to move away from the 9-abreast configuration. The 2-4-3 makes so much more sense than AA's 2-5-2...

      I like NH catering, but I'm also not impartial ;)
  • Comment 150584 by
    Bo 15 Comments
    These Y meals look better than UA's J meal. LOL
  • Comment 150585 by
    eminere™ 271 Comments
    Great report! Catering continues to be a strength for ANA.

    The 2-4-3 configuration is fascinating and if you think about it really makes sense. Does any other airline have this same configuration?
    • Comment 328562 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thank you for your comments!

      I have never seen or heard of this cabin arrangement outside of NH. Really a novel idea. The 2-2-2-3 makes perfect sense since most Japanese always travel as couples/pairs.
  • Comment 150590 by
    Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10459 Comments
    but to fill my belly before the long trip in Y with unknown catering. -> Catering served on all NH routes can be visualized in advance on the airline website. ;)

    I noticed that weird Y cabin configuration on the flight from FRA to HND last August.

    I found the IFE to have a good selection, including some classic Bond movies. -> Maybe this changes on the routes flown ? Because the selection I've got onboard was very poor...

    Both meals served on this flight look good.

    Can't you make any difference between a Korean and a Japanese girl just looking at her ?? lol

    Is it possible to collect miles on your EY FFP as well ?

    Thanks for sharing.
    • Comment 328561 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Merci Clement!

      Catering served on all NH routes can be visualized in advance on the airline website. ;)
      - But that takes away the suspense! I haven't commented yet, but it looked very similar to the catering you had HND-FRA.

      It is weird, but logical. It means there is only one cramped seat per row of 9 seats. Most of the 3-seaters had the middle seat empty on this leg.

      Maybe this changes on the routes flown ? Because the selection I've got onboard was very poor...
      - Hmm, compared to other carriers (like JL, UA, SK, and AA), I thought it was better. Not as good as EY or CX, but I found the selection acceptable as an American viewer (maybe they don't gear the content for European market?)

      Can't you make any difference between a Korean and a Japanese girl just looking at her ?? lol
      - Can you tell a Swiss girl from a Danish girl when both are in LX uniforms? Given the strict NH dress codes, it's not as easy as you think. There are certain characteristics that help distinguish the two, but it wasn't obvious in this case so I assumed Japanese. Her name tag would have been a dead give away if I bothered reading it...

      Is it possible to collect miles on your EY FFP as well ?
      - Yes, since this was economy (type E), I got 100% mileage with EY (but you don't get the bonus tier miles). It would have been the same earning with UA, but the EY miles are more valuable right now for me. All flights operated by NH (or domestic equivalents) are eligible for mileage earning. The NH/EY benefits are really quite nice for non-alliance relationships.
    • Comment 328579 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
    • Comment 328577 by
      Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10459 Comments
      Can you tell a Swiss girl from a Danish girl when both are in LX uniforms? -> Sure, because she's blond. lol
  • Comment 150606 by
    KL651 TEAM 4535 Comments
    Thanks for this FR.

    The close up on the seats really show how close the fabric design is to the CO/UA one.

    Nice seating arrangement and great pitch, too bad the seats were hard, otherwise it would equal Y+ in terms of comfort.

    The catering is indeed really good, but it usually always is on japanese airlines.
    • Comment 328614 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Merci pour tous vos commentaires!

      The close up on the seats really show how close the fabric design is to the CO/UA one.
      - This cabin is 10 years old, so it probably is the same as UA's most up-to-date cabin, lol. The age of this cabin also is probably why the seats aren't as comfortable. They aren't great, but I didn't have any back pain or other discomfort, it was mainly a lack of padding on the seat bottom.

      The catering is indeed really good, but it usually always is on japanese airlines.
      - Valid point, JL catering is just as good.
  • Comment 150612 by
    aussenrist 225 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this flight report with nice pictures!

    The 2-4-3 configuration is special but good. Although the seat looks a little bit old and hard but good seat pitch can compensate it.

    Compared with your previous UA flight, the NH crew and catering services are much much better. At least the food looks pretty and is attractive for passengers to eat. IMO food presentation are always one of the advantages for the Japanese airlines.

    Looking forward to your next report!
    • Comment 328616 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thank you for all your comments!

      It's not the most visually compelling product. It is old and I think NH could do with some cabin updates (J is all new, but Y was left untouched). For me, seat pitch is better than aesthetics. When someone reclines into your face with a 31 seat pitch, you have no space.

      You can't even compare NH and UA service standards. One is veering towards LCC territory. You eat with your eyes first, a little care in presentation goes a long way.
  • Comment 150653 by
    Chibcha SILVER 574 Comments
    Great photos.

    It's a shame the seat wasn't so comfortable, as the configuration seems great!
    That episode with the Korean FA was really awkward indeed...guess that's what you get for being too friendly, thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 328626 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Gracias Chibcha!

      This cabin needs to be refurbished, but without touching the seating configuration. I have a feeling if they strip the seats, they'll change it to 3-4-3 like the other B77Ws in their fleet.

      It was awkward for both of us! I would think that you should be able to speak the language of the country that your airline is based out of (okay, maybe with the ME3, you can't expect that), but with NH I do. That would be like flying UA from IAD to FRA and getting an FA that can't speak English... I made the obvious assumption and failed.
  • Comment 150685 by
    Rl 777 802 Comments
    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    The lounge looks clean and seems to be pretty decent.

    Entering, I was met with a zoo. - Haha, that would have been the most organised place if it was in Bangladesh, our world is so different.

    Really love the 777, such a stunning machine. I'm a big fan of the 2-4-3 layout (in 777s), seat pitch at 34 inches is obviously fantastic. Unfortunately the material choices for the seats don't look very comfortable for a long flight.

    It's quite handy to have pictures of the meals, it gives you an idea of what to expect. Presentation looks good IMO.

    See you on the next one!

    • Comment 328687 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thanks for commenting!

      The ANA Lounge is a lot nicer when it is empty. It's not as bad as the EY Lounge in AUH was, but for Japan standards it was a zoo.

      The seat pitch makes up for a lot since those extra inches make a BIG difference when the person reclines into your face. These cabins should be refurbished, but I feel like if they did refurbish these cabins they'll switch them to 3-4-3 like the other B77Ws in the fleet.

      I think they do the menu cards for language issues. It is easier for someone to point at a picture to order than to verbally order something. On the return flight, we didn't have the menu cards and the Filipino guy next to me had a hard time ordering so I had to translate for him.
  • Comment 150691 by
    lagentsecret 12184 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this FR

    This overcrowded lounge reminds me a SEN lounge or the TK lounge in IST :(

    I'm not a fan of the noisy 777 but the seating is great and the catering is decent

    See you soon for the inbound legs
    • Comment 328688 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Merci 007!

      Reminds me of the EY Lounge in AUH too :( On the next trip through NRT, the ANA Lounge was empty when I went so it really depends on the time of day.

      The drone of the B777 helps cover up a lot of the cabin noise from other passengers. I always try to sit as close to the engines as possible for this reason.

      For Y, the catering is very good. Maybe not as fancy as TK (never flown TK before to compare), but still one of the strongest on TPACs.
  • Comment 426417 by
    CAFlyer787 2 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this trip report! ANA seems to have a very nice product on their long-haul flights.

    The catering looks fantastic, it definitely is better than what UA offers on their TPAC flights.

    I never knew that ANA deploys Korean crew on non-Korea flights. I'll have to look out for that when fly TPAC on ANA.

    The 777 is a great aircraft, and the 2-4-3 seating configuration makes it feel less cramped than ANA's 3-4-3 configuration deployed on the other routes. However, did you feel a significant reduction in legroom when you reclined the seat? I've heard that these type seats don't "recline", but slide forward instead to avoid intrusion of personal space to the person sitting behind you.

    ANA's service is SUPERB! Definitely a step above the US carriers. I'd fly with ANA over United on any TPAC route any day.
    • Comment 426728 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 2002 Comments
      Thanks for reading my FRs!

      "it definitely is better than what UA offers on their TPAC flights."
      - You cannot even compare the two carriers when it comes to catering. Only SQ will have better catering to the US ex-NRT for *A carriers.

      "I never knew that ANA deploys Korean crew on non-Korea flights." ==> In Y, lots of non-Japanese FAs, In J/F, it will be mainly Japanese FAs

      "However, did you feel a significant reduction in legroom when you reclined the seat? I've heard that these type seats don't "recline", but slide forward instead to avoid intrusion of personal space to the person sitting behind you."
      - From what I can remember, these are not the seats that slide forward. I think JL has those seats in their B777s. With the 34" seat pitch, it is already 2-3" more than you would get on UA anyways so if it does slide, it'll be at worse on par with UA seat pitch.

      "I'd fly with ANA over United on any TPAC route any day." ==> They are all code-shared, so there is no price difference anyways^^

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