ANA A380 First Class Trip Report
I am very excited to fly the new ANA’s A380. Although it would be nice to fly the inaugural flight, it was near impossible to buy a ticket. The website, as expected, was basically overwhelmed, so in the end, I just decided to wait a bit and see if I could fly both JA381A “Lani” and JA382A “Kai” in July (well I failed, as I got Lani for both flights). I took advantage of the $3500 discounted first-class fare. Despite flying ANA first class decade ago, I rarely have the chance to redeem an ANA first class ticket, so I am fairly excited to revisit ANA first class using a good fare, and see how it compares to JAL, which I flew more frequently. I have to say that I still prefer JAL first class, in terms of catering, lounge, and on-board service to ANA Hawaiian first class. The only thing that ANA scores better is the exclusive check-in “lounge” at Area Z, and an exclusive security checkpoint. The gate situation at Narita is less than ideal and they are still unsure about how to board an A380 especially with 520 passengers. The line for business class/elite/Star Alliance Gold was basically unbelievably long and I had a picture to show you later. The on-board service was also bit strange, and for a short seven hours overnight flight, they spent two and a half hours in the first service, and instead of a continental breakfast service that could be served an hour prior to landing, they decided to wake everyone up two hours prior to arrival for a more detailed on demand service with not really breakfast items, especially they did not serve a full meal on any cabin classes on its midnight flight between Haneda and Los Angeles, which has a much longer flying time. They also wanted everyone to change back to their street clothes an hour prior to landing. The same service made more sense for the daytime return segment, but for the short overnight segment, they need to change. The suites are very nice but the seat padding was on the hard side for non-Japanese passengers. The service was attentive and the senior F/As were well-trained. The branding, Flying Honu, is excellent, and I notice that there are many passengers, who choose this flight because of the A380s. While I feel that the A380s should use on longer segments, I understand what ANA is trying to accomplish with a small A380 fleet. From what I observe, it is a branding success, but will this “flying honu” scheme turn into fuller flights with passengers willing to pay more? EVA Air’s Hello Kitty flights are a major success and ANA hopes that their “Flying Honu” will also mean the same. Before moving on to the details, the below is the full photo album for those who want to look at all the details, but be warned that there are 500 plus photos in the album.
Photo Album: http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/Carfi ... 80%20First
July 2, 2019
NH 182 NRT-HNL Lv2130 Arr1005 Airbus A380-800 JA381A “Lani”
As I said earlier, ANA has an exclusive check-in area called “ANA Suite Check-in” for first class customers and their own top elite members – Diamond members at Area Z. I believe Swiss and United first-class customers can also use this suite check in and security checkpoint.
Nothing is complete without a hot towel.
The friendly agent issued my boarding pass and checked my bag to HNL. It was a very efficient process. When I told her that I needed to do some shopping before going through security, she kindly reminded me to come back here for the exclusive security check point.
I spent a bit of times at the observation deck and bought a few things, before going through the security checkpoint, which had zero wait. Immigration was not overly busy, so I was able to go through the formalities within fifteen minutes.
ANA has two lounge complexes – one at each of the satellites in Terminal One that ANA operates from. For the A380s, they use gate 45 and 46, so the agent has already given me a map to the ANA Suite lounge near gate 47 and at the 4th floor. Please note most of the pictures were taken on my return flight from NRT to SIN two days later because the lounge was quieter and I was able to take more pictures.
Once I entered the lounge, an attendant asked me to pick a seat, which was of course by the window for me, and she then served me a beverage of my choice, accompanied by a hot towel.
Compared to the new JAL First class lounge, the ANA Suite Lounge is really lackluster, except the giant windows with excellent apron view. The catering was really uninspiring with a random cold buffet with various small dishes, tapas, salads, and small desserts, along with some basic rice balls and sushi. Then after 4pm, there was an additional hot food buffet, which featurd two kinds of soups, along with some Western hot dishes. Similar to business class, they had a slightly expanded menu of noodles and rice dishes. The buffet was really bland, so I tried a few made-to-order dishes, like the seafood rice (basically a cheap version of sashimi over rice), and a “healthy” spinach-made Udon topped with chicken, lotus root, and seaweed. I really like the healthy Udon, and had it again on my return too.
Healthy Chicken Udon
My favorite part of the lounge – business area and individual stations with an apron view.
Of course, the view was spectacular and there was a small uproar when Lani was towed into gate 46. Many customers rushed to take the picture of the plane.
Gate 46 was already like a zoo, when I arrived. There were literally lines and people everywhere.
Yes, this was the business/Star Alliance Gold boarding line, which went all the way to the duty-free shop. I think they need to separate real business class from elite passengers.
Today was also the first day when there were two A380 flights operating in the same evening, so there was a celebratory slogan at the gate.
Family boarding began at 8:53pm, and it took ten minutes before first class/diamond members began to board.
ANA places all the premium cabins – first class, business class and premium economy class in the upper deck. Here is the entrance to the upper deck. You could feel the excitement was already building when I and many other passengers saw the door to the upper deck. There were plenty of F/As greeting passengers.
For this segment, I got 2K, which was pretty much the last window seat left when I booked the flight. I apologized for the lack of cabin shot because first class cabin was full. But the seat was fabulous with all the gadgets that are expected in first class these days, and I will point out the features in the return segment, when there was daylight.
A few things were already placed in my seat – a personal note, a “Lani” baggage tag, a postcard featuring all three A380s, and also a special sticker to celebrate the new increase to ten flights a week on A380 to Honolulu, as well as the Globetrotter’s amenity kit, slippers, pajamas, and cardigan, which was the same for both first and business class.
Special “inaugural” sticker
Then the first-class F/A serving our aisle introduced herself and welcomed me to the flight.
Here is what the pajama looks like, and I need XL (LL in Japanese) size. The pajama is very comfortable and is way better than British Airways, Emirates, or Singapore Airlines, although CX still has the best PJ.
I opened the amenity kit later when I was in the hotel, and here were the contents. The highlight was the cosmetic set by “the Ginza,” a high end Japanese cosmetic brand.
ANA safety card – I have a feeling that each A380 will get their own safety card, but can’t confirm because I flew the same A380 on our way back.
Seat Guide for the first-class suites
Yes, tail camera and “bird eye” view… I personally think that it is a mistake that BA and SQ never installed that tail camera through their PTV system
Pre-takeoff beverage was offered now – there was a choice of orange juice or champagne, but it was definitely not Krug for this round. I recommend you sticking with juice and save your champagne for the Krug after takeoff.
The purser then did her greeting and also passed out the WIFI cards. First class passengers got a free WIFI “Full Flight” Plan. I have also taken a screenshot of the price plans for WIFI too. While I did not run a speed test, the WIFI worked mostly great during the flight. I got track my own flight at flight radar, checked email, and did a few things. However, the speed was a bit slower on the return because there were possibly more passengers using it. Compared to the Singapore Airlines’ ridiculously slow WIFI on Boeing 777-300ER, ANA’s WIFI is light year ahead, which I am willing to pay money for.
Despite a late start, ANA closed the door early at 9:26pm. We pushed back at 9:34pm and began our slow taxi towards R/W34L. For these late evening hours, most flights are either heading to Hawaii, Middle East, or cargo flights. Following a Japan Airlines’ Boeing 767-300ER JA606J to Honolulu and an ANA Boeing 777 Freighter JA771F to Okinawa/Naha, we took off at 10:01pm for our short seven hours flight to Honolulu. The routing was pretty straight forward cross towards Honolulu. We first climbed to 39,000 feet, and then further up to 41,000 feet.
Due to some turbulence, which was fairly typical for this route all year long, flight attendants were asked to stay seated for the first twenty minutes of the flight. However, things weren’t too bad and we were basically getting away from the rains affecting Japan. At 10:22pm, seat belt sign was turned off.
Hot towel was first offered.
Then the F/As passed out the menu and wine list. The menu featured meals on both outbound and inbound flights. However, you were able to keep them if you wanted to. They loaded ten copies (because I saw the counts on the galley in one of the drawers).
Shortly after, beverage and menu orders were taken.
Here is the full beverage list:
Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute “Junmai Daiginjo Murokagenshu,” Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute Inc. (Ishikawa)
Ichinokura Junmai Daiginjo Shoko, Ichinokura (Miyagi)
Denshu Junmai Daiginjo, Nishida Shuzoten (Aomori) <May to June Only>
Nabeshima Junmai Daiginjo Yamada Nishiki 35%, Fukuchiyo Brewery (Saga) <July to August Only>
Shochu & Plum Wine
Murao/Sweet Potato Shochu, Murao Shuzo (Kagoshima)
Satoh Mugi/Barley Shochu, Satosh Shuzo (Kagoshima)
Hinoryu Asahi/Brown Sugar Shochu, Asahi Shuzo (Kagoshima)
Kakutama Plum Wine, Satasouji Shouten (Kagoshima)
Champagne Krug Grande Cuvée, Champagne, France
Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus, Champagne, France
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2015, Santa Barbara, California, USA
Chablis 1er Cru Chantrerie Domaine Laroche 2014, Chablis, Burgundy, France
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Martinborough, New Zealand
White Wine Limited-time offer <June to July 2019>
Amigne de Vétroz 2016, Valais, Switzerland
White Wine Limited-time offer <August 2019>
Puklus Pincészet Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2008, Tokaj, Hungary
Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain, Red Mountain, Washington USA
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Morgeot” Maison Louis Latour 2015, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Pétalos del Bierzo 2016, Bierzo, Castilla y León, Spain
Groot Constantia Shiraz, Constantia, Western Cape, South Africa
Graham’s 30 Years Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Aperitifs & Cocktails
Exclusively served on our Honolulu route – Blue Hawaii
Brandy & Liqueur
Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
Suntory Whiskies Hibiki 21 Years Old (New York, Frankfurt and London Routes)
Suntory Whiskies Hibiki 17 Years Old (Routes excluding the above)
John Walker & Sons King George V
Talisker 18 Years Old
Asahi Super Dry
Kirin Ichiban Shibori
Sapporo Kuro Label
Suntory – The Premium Malt’s
ANA’s Original Drink Aromatic Kabosu (Citrus) *Includes Honey
Exclusively Served on our Honolulu route – Pineapple Juice
Sprite or 7Up
Iced Green Tea
Still Mineral Water
Sparkling Mineral Water
Mapple Juice Chardonnay
A luxurious Chardonnay juice made only from grapes grown from winemaking in Takayama, Nagano Prefecture. Lively aromas of lychee and green apple with a white floral bouquet. Refreshing, clear acidity and honey-like sweetness give a refined and noble impression. The combination of sweetness, sourness, bitterness, body, and aroma pairs well with many dishes, adding culinary depth and elegance.
Sencha, Matcha, Hojicha <Low in Caffeine>
Darjeeling, Flavored Tea, Earl Grey
Herbal Teas <Theine-free>
ANA’s Original Blend, mitoco (Rose, Jasmine Flower, Peppermint)
ANA’s Specialty Coffee Selection
Decaffeinated coffee is also available
At 10:55pm, beverage was served along with a really nice plate of canapés.
I had a glass of Krug to start the flight.
Here is the description of the amuse:
Nut chili pie stick
Marinated seabass and miso flavored egg yolk with kabosu citrus flavor
Marinated oyster and Cajun taste tuna brochette
Duck rillettes port wine flavor
They were delicious and I really liked the chili nut bread sticks.
Twenty minutes later, linen was placed at each table and F/A individually set up your table with no tray used for this simplified supper service.
Here is the full menu with the corresponding pictures. I chose the International menu.
Japanese Cuisine ~Washoku~
Sakizuke Starter: a taste of what’s to come
Uncured swordfish ham and vegetables with egg yolk sauce
Zensai A selection of morsels
Foie-Gras with orange puree in ground cherry
Grilled saikyo miso-marinated wagyu beef
Dressed dried white gourd melon with salt-fermented sweetfish
Marinated tiger prawn in soy-based sauce
Grilled tofu pulp rolled with sillago
Simmered burdock root stuffed with cream cheese
Edamame (salt-boiled green soybeans)
Takiawase Simmered treats
Simmered duck and wheat gluten in soy-based sauce
Koabchi Tasty tidbits
Steamed horned turban and water shield with jelly noodles
Shusai Main Course
Grilled cuttlefish with potato dough [153 kcal]
Steamed rice, miso soup and Japanese pickles
Agar and brown syrup with matcha ice cream
Steamed abalone, scallop and zucchini mousse with caviar
Grilled fillet of Kuroge Wagyu beef with light raifort sauce [485 kcal]
Roasted European homard blue with Nagano Shiojiri Merlot Wine Sauce [262 kcal]
Selection of Breads
Oil extracted from raw seeds of “EGOMA” focaccia
Japanese sake castella
If You Prefer
The following selections are also available.
[For the Japanese course, those two courses will be included if you want the full Japanese meal. For the International cuisine, there are just additional choices and I was not sure why had to separate them, but these options are available for the pre=arrival service too.]
Japanese Cuisine ~Washoku~
Owan A clear soup with produce
Winter melon wrapped with shrimp fishcake
Otskuri A selection of sashimi
Seared Pacific bluefin tuna
Seared striped jack
Mikawayamabuki quail and foie-gras terrine with beet and orange sauce
Vegetable mille-feuille herb sauce with king crab meat
Rack of lamb persillade with Gifu endive and Gorgonzola Piccante salad [477 kcal]
Tofu Steak with Daishi basil sauce and vegetable salad [307 kcal]
Rice flour and passion fruit parfait
While the food was nice, I just felt a bit underwhelmed after reading all the rave reviews about ANA first class food. The best course was the starter plate and the caviar service were very generous. The Wagyu fillet main course was only average and I was expecting a better cut. However, they did not overcook the meat, which I always appreciated.
I of course never turned down a plate of petit fours, especially from a Japanese airline.
Dinner service was completed at 12:25am with another hot towel and more bottled waters. The F/As came around asking if we wanted to be woken up for the pre-arrival “breakfast” service. If you want something to eat, you have to order at the two hours prior to arrival mark. Of course, it was quickly followed by setting up beds for passengers.
While they are not huge toilets used by Emirates and LH, ANA has a relatively large bathrooms with plenty of room for changing.
Japanese style of course
Pre-set recline position
Full flat position
Plenty of room by the feet
Bed set up – bed sheet and light mattress
Fully set up
Suites with the door closed
The mattress was on the hard side for most non-Japanese passengers, and I really missed JAL having the options for soft or hard mattress. Nonetheless, the blanket was very nice. I got a nice two hours nap.
At 3:15am/8:15am, the F/As turned on the flights. So, if you chose to sleep through “breakfast,” please remember to wear your eye-mask.
Morning over the Pacific Ocean
Hot towel and orange juice to start the morning
Here is the menu:
Light Dishes Anytime
We invite you to enjoy light dishes whenever you wish.
You’ll find these dishes are a delicious follow-up to alcoholic beverages.
Seared kombu kelp-cured common octopus with sake jelly
Three kinds of Kagoshima deep-fried fishcake
Deep fried Niigata Koshinotori chicken
Ippudo “SORATON” (pork broth) ramen
Japanese Udon noodles garnished with mixed vegetables and shrimp tempura
Tofu Steak with Daishi basil sauce and vegetable salad
Compression of confit vegetables, smoked red tuna, goat cheese, Gribiche sauce and toasted brioche
[From Esquisse, Tokyo]
Awaodori chicken and mushroom curry with steamed rice
Simmered Wagyu beef and eggs over steamed rice
Simmered pike conger in soy-based ginger sauce over steamed rice in soup stock and Japanese green tea
Served with a choice of dressings: Carrot and iyokan dressing Or Non-Oil tomato dressing
Picta Fleur, Verdalpe Piccante, Tome D’Auvergne, Lou Bren
Plain yogurt with plentiful summer tangerine jam
Cereal with Milk
Honestly, it is a very extensive menu, but is it necessary? The downside of offering a full menu is that the F/As need to wake up passengers earlier because it takes them time to prepare all these dishes, and everyone might order differentt things. For the return daytime flight, it makes sense because passengers eat more during daytime and most passengers stayed awake or just took a short nap. It seems to make sense to offer a light one-tray breakfast. For Western choice, they can easily do a fruit plate with yogurt parfait and warmed bread basket. For Japanese choice, they can do a basic cold breakfast with choice of steamed rice or congee/porridge. They can easily wait till 75 minutes prior to arrival before serving breakfast.
Anyway, I chose to have a bowl of shrimp tempura Udon, as well as the fried chicken. The Udon was wonderful, but the chicken, while smelled good, tasted soggy. It was not a good idea to serve fried food at 37,000ft, and I should know better.
Really cute chili pepper shaker
Then I got a fruit plate, which was interesting with an exotic selection of fruits. The Japanese airlines are very good in making their fruit plates interesting.
About an hour prior to arrival, the F/A began inviting passengers to change back to their street clothes.
At 9:30am, we began our descent towards Honolulu!
We landed on R/W4R at 10:00am, and basically used up the whole runway.
A few interesting sights, as we taxied to C9, which was the second A380 gate here in Honolulu, and all the way towards the end of terminal.
Kai at C4
If you are flying NH 182, C9 will be your gate because 184 is still occupying C4 when you arrive.
It was really the weakest experience during the whole trip. C9 was the furthest gate from the immigration area. While you no longer needed to take a shuttle to the immigration area, the new secured corridor was long. More passengers were joining the queue, as we passed by more gates. It seems like every airline seems to schedule their Hawaii flights to arrive at this 10 to 11am slot. There were all Japanese passengers. The air-conditioning was barely working and thankfully they had some industrial fans around.
The immigration hall was busy, but with Global Entry, it was easy.
ANA staffs were already retrieving bags from the baggage claim. I like how orderly they were. My first class tagged bag was already waiting for me. Unfortunately, I was stopped by the custom staff for a full secondary check before reaching the Global Entry exit. Despite she went through all the bags, it was a quick process because I only had one backpack and one small carry-on suitcase.
At 11am, I was waiting for Uber to bring me to the Hilton Garden Inn at the Waikiki Beach.