Review: ANA First Class 777 Tokyo To Chicago

Filed Under: ANA

Update: In the meantime ANA has introduced an all new first class suite — see here for a full review of that.

It’s time to finish up this Japan trip report, because I’m doing an insane amount of flying this week that I want to start writing about.

I’m going to do something very different for this trip report installment — I’m going to make it very brief. I wrote a ~2,800 word review of our outbound flight from Chicago to Tokyo, so I’m just going to be covering the very basics of the return, about what made it different.

ANA is incredibly consistent, so let’s see just how short I can keep this report.

All Nippon Airways 12
Tokyo (NRT) – Chicago (ORD)
Friday, June 7
Depart: 5:10PM
Arrive: 2:55PM
Duration: 11hr45min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 2D (First Class)

My cubicle… I mean, seat, for this 11h30min flight to Chicago. There were a total of just three people in the cabin.

As was the case on the outbound, the crew was excellent. They even put sleepers right on my feet, Garuda Indonesia style!

ANA first class seat

ANA first class seat

Amenity kits were different than on the outbound — the other flight had Samsonite amenity kits, while this one had different ones.

ANA first class amenity kit

ANA first class amenities

The menu for this flight read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

We had dinner after takeoff — while they served 2004 Krug in May, in June they switched back to the standard Krug Grande Cuvee. The injustice of it all!

ANA first class champagne

Next up was the amuse bouche, consisting of nut chili pie sticks, marinated seabass and miso flavored egg yolk, marinated oyster and tuna, and duck rillettes

ANA first class amuse bouche & champagne

ANA first class amuse bouche & champagne

For the appetizer I had the steamed abalone, scallop, and zucchini mousse with caviar. The way ANA serves caviar is unusual — they seem to always serve it with some unrelated appetizer, and without the standard accompaniments.

ANA first class appetizer & caviar

ANA first class appetizer

ANA first class caviar

Next up was a salad.

ANA first class salad

Ford had the corn soup.

ANA first class soup

For the main course I had the tofu steak with dashi basil sauce and vegetable salad.

ANA first class main course

Ford had the curry from the snack menu as his main course.

ANA first class main course

For dessert I had the Japanese sake castella, which was phenomenal.

ANA first class dessert

During the meal I watched “Just Getting Started,” which was cute enough.

ANA first class entertainment

ANA’s entertainment selection is pretty limited, so I then watched SponeBob SquarePants.

ANA first class entertainment

While I haven’t seen SpongeBob in well over 15 years, I’m happy to report that drinking Krug and watching SpongeBob is pure euphoria. 10/10 would recommend.

ANA first class entertainment

The meal service was done just over two hours into the flight.

ANA map to Chicago

ANA map to Chicago

ANA map to Chicago

So it was bedtime!

ANA first class bed

I slept for nearly seven hours, and woke up about nine hours into the flight, with under three hours remaining.

ANA map to Chicago

ANA map to Chicago

ANA map to Chicago

I ordered a cup of coffee.

ANA first class coffee

The breakfast menu was fairly limited, but I had some granola and fruit to start.

ANA first class breakfast

There was a bit of a mix-up, so I ended up being served chicken thigh and fettuccine with poached egg, which was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever eaten (or tried to eat — I had one bite and sent it back).

ANA first class breakfast

So then I just had a cheese plate.

ANA first class cheese plate

Moving map approaching Chicago

We ended up landing in Chicago at 3:40PM, a bit behind schedule due to our delayed departure.

ANA first class bottom line

This was another excellent flight in ANA first class, wrapping up what was an exceptional award redemption. ANA first class is very good, though isn’t my favorite in the world. I can’t wait to try ANA’s new first class seats.

  1. How does a flight where you were served “one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever eaten” and limited IFE options end up “excellent”? 7 hours of sleep?

    I get the impulse to do a short report, but there is missing context.

  2. Hey Ben, didn’t get an answer from you on the ORD-NRT post so asking again:

    Would you recommend row 1 or row 2? Is row 1 loud or bright? We’re flying that route next May (ORD-NRT and HND-JFK on the way back) and are currently in the 2nd row middle, though I am really hoping to get the new cabin by then.

  3. @ eponymous coward — Because what I didn’t mention is all of the stuff that was very good and is consistent, like the exceptional service, great drink selection, good bedding, and more. As I concluded, this isn’t one of my favorite first class products in the world, but it’s still very good, and is an unbeatable use of miles.

  4. SponeBob and sleepers?

    And always wondered – you say you are a germpahobe but you have hit drinks on flights and the water is coming from the tanks which are just gross.

  5. Any update on the new first class product to/from JFK? Flying Nov/Dec; hoping to snag the new seats!

  6. What was the flight attendant’s reaction when they served you the wrong dish and when you sent it back? Curious how they tried to rectify that error.

    Also, well done on the flurry of trip reports in the past few days!

  7. I just flew NRT-HNL on the ANA A380 in F and they served the same exact caviar with abalone dish. I did wonder whether they’d serve the caviar with the usual garnishes but they didn’t (which was fine with me.)
    I saw photos of the new first class seat on the 777 and they look very similar to the ones ANA uses on its A380. Anyways, great trip report as always. Not sure if you have flown the Flying Honu yet but I loved the experience!

  8. @ Justin — It was a miscommunication. I had ordered the frittata from the menu, not realizing that’s only available on the Haneda to Chicago flight, and not the Narita to Chicago flight. However, she acknowledged I had ordered that, but then brought me the dish that I received. She apologized profusely and offered to get me something else, and at that point I just wanted a cheese plate.

  9. I’ve been awaiting the trip report which included your visit to Beirut and Dubai, but it seems like this got skipped over. This was the Air France 787 from DTW-CDG, Middle East Airlines A330 CDG-BEY, and the Etihad apartments AUH-JFK. You had initial impressions posts, but I couldn’t find the full reviews.

  10. I’m a fan of your reports but of all the Japanese delicacies on the menu you ordered a tofu steak and Ford had a curry snack for main course? What’s wrong with you two? LOL

  11. @ MikeyInOregon — Frankly after 10 days of almost eating exclusively Japanese food, we were excited to have something else again.

  12. @Uri if you’re like me and drink like a fish in ANA first you’ll want to take seat 2D so that you don’t need to cut through the galley to reach the lavatories.

  13. I don’t think it’s fair to call how ANA (and JAL, for that matter) serve caviar “unusual.”

    My guess is much of this audience only consumes caviar when it’s mileage subsidized. 🙂

    I appreciate the inventiveness in how the Japanese carriers do real caviar dishes as opposed to just throwing out some toasts, hard-boiled egg, and creme fraiche.

    There’s a whole world of caviar dishes that don’t have “the traditional garnishes” (as LH would call it). Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz have some pretty mind-blowing inventions, as do several other top tier chefs.

    As well, the typical intent is to spoon some of the caviar pearls on top of the “unrelated appetizer.”

  14. Did anyone notice Hibiki 21 and Hibiki 17 on the menu? Just one look at their retail prices would make the Krug appear like distilled water. They’re absolute delights.

  15. @Marcus – dude, wake the fuck up. The only thing that is rushed is your reading of the first paragraph which clearly provided the context for the condensed format.

  16. Curious of the hatred of chicken thighs. Seems to be a running theme among at least another travel blog too. It’s got far more flavour than the breast (which more often than not relies on seasoning) and doesn’t dry out as easily. Things like karaage are also best done with thigh meat too!

    Also, any plans for a trip to review the new ANA 77W J and F products?

  17. Ben: i posted this reply/question on your introduction post a little late so it may have slipped through the cracks, so reposting here. About to plan a booking there as I have a little over 100K+ Singapore Kris Flyer miles about to expire and need to book 3 tix, probably Business not First since one of the passengers is a young child. Will transfer over my Chase Ultimate Rewards to fulfill the remaining miles needed. Was curious what would be the best option:

    A) Get all 3 tix on Singapore using Kris Miles?
    B) Book 1 on ANA using Kris Miles (as a Star Alliance Partner) and 2 on ANA via Virgin Atlantic like you did?
    C) Book 1 on Singapore using Kris Miles and 2 on Singapore via United Mileage Plus (probably doesn’t make sense as far as cost and availability)?
    D) Something else that I’m missing?

    Departure city is San Francisco. Thanks for the feedback.

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