Hello and welcome to my first flight in 2017. This series also marks the first time that I will be flying with ANA, which has eluded me for so long until now. This series will include the following flights:
A few months ago I wanted to take advantage of the President's weekend holiday (on Feb. 20) and was looking for a destination abroad. I tentatively booked a hotel in LIM and almost bought a trip on AV when I noticed a USD 670 (EUR 634.40) on NH to CGK for about the same price. The miles and allure of flying NH proved to be too hard to ignore and I settled for CGK instead of LIM. With the use of a guidebook and some online research I created a tentative itinerary of the places that I wanted to see and was all set for my trip.
The day of the trip I woke up early and arrived at the airport by 07:30 for my 11:00 flight. The counters were not open yet (until 3 hrs. before dept.) but I printed my boarding pass online and stayed at the lounge.
My boarding pass.
I have TSA Pre-check, but NH is not a participating airline so I had to go through the regular line. Thankfully there were not that many people and I passed through security in less than 10 min.
As you can see on the boarding pass, I had "United Club" printed as Lounge Invitation. Since I am *A Gold through TK, I opted to use the SQ SilverKris lounge instead which was also opened for the 09:25 SQ flight to SIN.
SQ SilverKris lounge.
I walked up to reception and presented my credentials to the agent who quickly wrote my information and welcomed me inside.
To the left of reception there is a coat room and luggage storage area followed by a seating area.
To the right is another seating area and a self serve bar with beverages.
Right behind the reception desk is the buffet and in the morning it is provisioned with breakfast pastries, bagels with cream cheese, muffin sandwiches, quiche, cheese board with cold cuts, salad and cereals. All items were cold but eventually hot dishes like roasted potatoes, dumplings, stir fried noodles and chicken porridge appeared.
Unfortunately laksa was not one of the items featured for breakfast today.
Have you ever had a cold sausage muffin? One bite and I put it back on the plate. Bleh!
This was more comforting. ;)
There were 2 sets of WC's located at each side of the lounge and 1 shower if I remember correctly.
View from the lounge.
Attendants were efficient in clearing dirty dishes and glasses quickly. At 09:30 the lounge closed but I still had some time before my 11:00 flight so I went to the UA Club. I was warmly greeted by a nice agent and allowed inside.
UA Club Intl. Term.
Due to recent renovations, almost half of the club has been closed off resulting in a very crowded experience. The plan is for this club to be expanded with a Polaris section. Eventually the SQ and BR lounges will be phased out. At one point an announcement was made inside asking guests not to place belongings or clothing on the seats so that others can occupy them.
Catering was basic consisting of hot oatmeal, pastries, yogurt, fruits and cereals.
I found an empty chair with a table by the stairs and sat there for a while.
When I saw the same people walking by twice, that was my clue to get out and go to the gate. ;)
On my way to the gate, the sight of these carry on bags made me pause and ask whether I should buy a new one or not. Maybe not.
A few meters up front the "queen" of the skies greets me with her presence. How can I resist her allure and not take a shot of her majesty?
Upon reaching the gate, I was met with a semi open space. It didn't look like this flight was going to be full which I was praying for. A few days ago I checked the airplane map and every seat was taken. I had a panic moment and hoped that by the time the flight departed, the loads would be lighter. The gate next to us was a UA one bound for NRT that displayed its code share with NH, which made things a bit confusing for some people.
There must have been 5-6 gate agents helping out plus the station manager. Boarding was conducted with absolute precision with priorities observed diligently. There were two doors designated for J and *A Gold members and when I looked at both when making the queue, the station manager said that either one was fine with a smile without me uttering a word to ask.
Plane at the gate.
So the time came to board and experience NH - the only 5* airline in Japan according to Skytrax. A couple of smiling FA's were at the door directing people. As I walked to the back, FA's greeted me along the way with a good morning and a slight bow.
My seat in the last row. A pillow and wrapped blanket were in each seat.
Be warned that there is no overhead storage bin above the last row.
The view across.
Very decent pitch at 34" or 86.36 cm.
Pocket contents including a menu. By the way, the menu is also featured on the IFE and online up to 3 months ahead.
When the last pax boarded and the announcement was made that the door was closed, I had a sigh of relief when the seat next to me was empty. I guess my seatmate on the other side felt the same thing.
An announcement was made to welcome pax and at the end FA's bowed - a charming protocol that I experienced on all my flights with NH. Then the safety video was played. Do male FA's exist on NH? :P
We had a smooth and quick take off and service commenced with a wet unscented towel and a bottle of water. Good thing that NH takes allergic people into consideration.
Rice crackers and beverages followed. I had "kabosu" which is a NH signature citrus drink with a hint of honey according to its description. I guess it is the equivalent of JL's Skytime. By the way, the glass was not that small. There is a clever design on the tray table with a hole to place to one's drinks. i think having a hole saves space instead of installing a drink holder.
When the meal cart made its appearance through the aisle, one of the FA's distributed a visual menu and asked for everyone's choice. Even on the last row I had a choice which was remarkable. Choices were Spanish grilled mackerel OR beef/pork meatballs. I had the Japanese option. For those selecting the Western meal, bread is added, not so with the Japanese meals.
Pic. taken during the second meal service to show the menu in its entirety.
My Japanese meal. The tray was well presented and it had a lining that prevented the dishes from slipping. I thought that it was generous with so many different components.
Appetizer - prosciutto, slice of melon, potato salad, asparagus and olive with a side of ratatouille.
Soba noodles dressed up.
Cheese and crackers - I thought that having a cucumber and dill flavored cheese was odd. I do not object to dill but not everyone would appreciate this flavor.
After the meal ice cream was served. I had hot green tea which will also serve to warm the spoon but it was not necessary, the ice cream was soft.
WC's were kept spotlessly clean but this particular one in the back did not have a bidet function. There was a bottle of lotion from "Red Flower" which was the brand that AA used to have for its F/J cabins.
Galley was stocked with drinks and snacks.
I took a couple of snacks to my seat.
IFE was decent with a couple of interesting movies. I settled with some reading materials as I often do and after a couple of hours the second service started. Once again, the visual menu was provided to each pax and choices were Creamy seafood over saffron rice OR Chinese style bbq chicken. I had the creamy seafood over rice.
Before arrival, a basket of candy was passed around.
We arrived early at 14:26 instead of 15:15 giving me some extra time to enjoy the ANA Lounge in Satellite 5.
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge
San Francisco - SFO
Tokyo - NRT
It was great to be able to enjoy the SQ SilverKris lounge in SFO before my flight. The lounge was never crowded so it was very comfortable and the food selection was varied and enjoyable. However, the hot choices were not offered right away and were placed later on. It would have been better to serve the muffin sandwiches hot or not offer them at all. Attendants were efficient and kept the place tidy and clean.
The UA Club was not enjoyable at all due to space constraints. The staff did its best according to the situation. Personally I wouldn't spend time there if I can help it.
I'm glad that I finally was able to experience ANA. It's a great airline and service is top notch. I saw FA's proactively helping customers get settled and every interaction was conducted with a smile. I especially appreciate the visual menu being offered to each passenger before the meal service. It is very informative and cuts down on repetition.
The seat was comfortable with a 34" pitch, which is more than the U.S. competitors offer. I like the decent quality headphones but the blanket feels somewhat short.
Catering is great with good portions and tasty offerings. The only minor complaint is the distribution of bread only for Western meals, which in the big scheme of things is not a big deal, but it is not so "egalitarian".
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