Best In Business: ANA The Room Vs. Qatar Qsuites

Filed Under: ANA, Qatar

Over the past several months we’ve seen some fantastic new business class products introduced, including from All Nippon Airways, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic.

Of those, I was particularly impressed by All Nippon Airways’ new 777-300ER business class, known as “The Room.” As of now this is only available on a very limited number of routes — currently you can find it to London and New York, and soon it will be available to Frankfurt.

Previously I’ve always said that Qatar Airways Qsuites is the world’s best business class, so how do the two products compare? I figured I’d take an in-depth look at that in this post.

All Nippon Airways The Room Vs. Qatar Airways Qsuites

To start, as a point of reference, you can check out these trip reports, in both cases of long haul flights operated by the best aircraft featuring these new seats:

I won’t get too much into all the attributes of the experiences, so I suggest checking out the above for all the details.

I’ll compare the products across a variety of factors, roughly in the order in which they matter to me:

Seats

Qatar Airways business class has staggered seats, which I used to consider the best business class seats in the world. Each seat has a door, the finishes are well designed and luxurious, and I love the overall feel of the seats.

On the surface All Nippon Airways has a similar layout, with staggered seats that alternate between being forward facing and rear facing. While the seats might not look as elegant, these seats feel significantly more spacious.

Given the extent to which space comes at a premium in business class, the value of that can’t be understated. In Qsuites I often find myself hitting my elbows and knees on various parts of the seat, while that wasn’t the case on ANA.

I really can’t emphasize enough how these feel like first class suites to me, rather than business class seats. While All Nippon Airways business class seats might not look as elegant, the seats have significantly more personal space.

Winner: All Nippon Airways, by a pretty significant margin.

Food & Drinks

Qatar Airways offers an exceptional business class soft product, with top notch alcohol, a dine on demand menu, and incredible detail in terms of dining presentation, down to a faux-candlelit meal. You can enjoy what you want when you want.

While the quality of ANA’s business class food as such is good (both the Western and Japanese cuisine), ANA can’t compete with the selection and flexibility offered by Qatar Airways. ANA has a rigid meal schedule, and the meal service takes quite long.

Similarly, you’ll find that you get a lot more drink refills on Qatar Airways — you get pre-departure drinks of choice, you’ll get your first drink after takeoff without waiting very long, etc.

Winner: Qatar Airways, by a small margin when it comes to the quality and variety of food, and by a larger margin when it comes to the way it’s presented (which I’ll talk more about below).

Wifi

Qatar Airways has “super wifi,” as they call it, on most of their Qsuites planes. Wifi for the entire flight costs just $10 with no data caps, and is high speed.

All Nippon Airways has also greatly improved wifi on their planes with new cabins. A full flight plan costs $21.95 with no data caps, and speeds are great.

I’d say wifi quality is comparable on both airlines, and while Qatar has lower pricing, I’m delighted by the pricing on both airlines, given the lack of data caps.

Winner: Both airlines have excellent wifi, though Qatar Airways wins for lower pricing, though this is an area where both airlines are industry leading.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, Qatar Airways has a 22″ TV with a massive selection of TV shows and movies.

By comparison, ANA has a fairly limited selection of movies and TV shows, though has a 24″ 4K TV. They do have an HDMI capability, so you could play your own entertainment on the screens (this was broken on my flight, though).

Winner: ANA has great hardware, though the lackluster selection of movies & TV shows is disappointing, so Qatar Airways wins in this category.

Service

This is a tricky category. There’s the friendliness of the cabin crew as such, and there’s the extent to which the service protocol allows employees to provide great service.

Qatar Airways crews can be hit or miss, though there’s no denying that service is incredibly customized — you eat what you want when you want, and you never feel like you’re part of an “assembly line,” because there is no flow to the service when everyone can eat and drink whenever they want.

By comparison, ANA has consistently friendly crews, though their service procedure is simply not good. Meal services are extremely drawn out, and there’s no customization whatsoever. You’re just a part of their “assembly line,” and that’s it.

Winner: While ANA has more consistently friendly crews, the service procedure is much better on Qatar Airways.

Amenities

In business class Qatar Airways offers excellent amenity kits, slippers, pajamas, bedding, and turndown service.

ANA has amenity kits, slippers, and bedding, but doesn’t have pajamas, and as far as I could tell, doesn’t offer proactive turndown service.

Winner: Qatar Airways, for the pajamas and turndown service.

Cabin Ambiance

This might almost sound silly, but it’s an area that makes such a bit difference, and which seems like an easily missed opportunity for one airline.

Qatar Airways is great at maintaining lovely cabin ambiance, with mood lighting that really contributes positively towards the experience.

Meanwhile for reasons I can’t figure out, ANA just keeps their lights turned all the way up during takeoff (even at night), and for the entire, extended meal service. I don’t get why they can’t at least dim the lights just a little bit. Especially in the window seats you feel like you’re in an interrogation room.

Winner: Qatar Airways, hands down.

Bottom Line

As far as I’m concerned, ANA and Qatar have the world’s two best business class products. To sum it up, ANA has the best hard product, while Qatar has the best soft product. ANA wins in the single most important category, while Qatar wins in all the other categories.

Both experiences are fantastic, and you won’t be disappointed flying either airline. Ultimately these airlines don’t actually compete on any direct routes.

So I guess the better question is which airline would I prefer to fly? I know it’s a BS answer, but I truly feel like “it depends.”

On a daytime flight where I care more about service and having fun, I’d probably choose Qatar Airways. On an overnight flight where sleep is the priority, I’d probably choose ANA.

There’s also the element of novelty to it. I’ve flown Qsuites several times now, while I’ve only flown ANA The Room once. So I might be tempted to fly the latter again first.

I do feel like ANA has some significant opportunities to truly up their game with their new product, to introduce a new service concept that matches the new seat.

I’m curious to hear how you guys feel about All Nippon Airways vs. Qatar Airways when it comes to business class!

Comments
  1. Ben, I agree with everything you wrote except of the seat. I found the ANA bed to be so hard that, as someone who sleeps on his side, it was a painful experience. For me, Qatar is easily the overall winner.

  2. The reason for the amenities difference is probably because ANA still has first class on these planes while Qatar doesn’t. ANA introduced a business class seat that looks on-par with their new first class seat so they needed something to differentiate the two products.

  3. What is important for me, is the network. I live in South Africa, so my only choice in Suites in business class is Qatar (I can go where ever I want to). I don’t even consider Emirates) ANA is Japan centric, and they don’t even fly to South Africa (or Africa as a fact). So in my opinion: Qatar = 10, and ANA = 1.5 (to be nice)

  4. Ben,

    While I enjoy your ANA “The Room” flight review, I can’t help notice two huge difference between your experience and Sam Chui’s. Sam was offered a pre-departure drink and he also received a PJ (one with a cardigan no less!). Wonder if ANA “The Room” amenities and service flow differs when starting in Japan (Sam’s experience) or outstation post such as JFK (your experience)?

  5. is ANA not stocking pajamas on The Room flights? while it’s listed as a rental per their website, ANA does offer pajamas

  6. How is the new ANA seat different from the old and proven SQ seat that I used to love? It looks virtually identical.

  7. I find it funny that when you compare A and B, even if B wins in almost all the categories, you say that it was a fair match between the two. Another example is in this post, where EVA beats China Airlines in almost every category (much like Qatar beats ANA here), yet the seat and comfort itself is enough to prevent you from declaring an outright winner (no offence intended, since NH, CI, BR and QR are all among the finest airlines in the world, and are any day more pleasurable to fly than, say, American or Lufthansa).

    https://onemileatatime.com/eva-air-vs-china-airlines/

    It’s true that ANA has the significantly better seat, but when it comes to dine-on-demand, personalised service and extensive entertainment, QR is a long way ahead. Nevertheless, you cannot fault the Japanese airline for putting up a valiant fight with the mighty Middle Eastern carrier, and both airlines come out looking good in the process.

    NOTE: In my opinion, though (and this is not to be taken seriously; it holds very little merit for everyone else), there is one area where QR beats every other airline: brand image. QR effortlessly conjures up the image of a palace in the sky, such is its brand positioning (EK and EY can’t do it so effectively any more). And it is incredibly consistent in its typography (crazy as it sounds); no Helvetica/Arial or suchlike anywhere. This a Japanese or Chinese airline can never achieve.

  8. @ Flieger — On the surface it looks similar, though the ANA seat is much better. For one, you don’t have to flip it over to turn it into a bed. Furthermore, the seat has a much deeper footwell. With the Singapore seat you have to sleep sideways, while that’s not the case on ANA.

  9. @ Cei — I believe ANA has only ever offered cardigans in business class. Did I miss something, because I don’t recall them ever having pajamas?

  10. @ Ron — It’s definitely possible that there are some differences depends on where you originate. Beyond that, though, I think it’s important to note that Sam gets a very different flight experience than most of us. That’s not to say it’s his fault, because the logistics of filming are complicated, but his experience on airlines often doesn’t reflect my experience.

  11. Edit: Qatar Airways’ font is called Jotia. As much as the product and service are the key factors when reviewing a product, the little details that the airline puts in its service, from the faux candle to the pillows to the dine-on-demand (QR is perhaps the only airline to do it incredibly well) to the infallibly consistent usage of Jotia, from the IFE to menus, are enough for QR to walk away with the award. At least the typography part cannot be emulated by northeast Asian airlines, but the rest sure can.

  12. When I was little I always thought if Business Class being a mini-room of sorts and first class as having your own living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Thinking back, I could have predicted the Etihad Residence and ANA’s “the room”. I was meant to come into this hobby 😉

  13. @Ben, I’ve used the pajamas on Business Staggered flights but they are definitely something the attendants will collect at the end of the flight. they also don’t proactively offer (unlike First where it’s brought to your seat if not already there) but pajamas are listed under the inflight amenities on the ANA website

  14. I have not tried the ANA seat, so I would not dare to make any comprehensive comment. The ANA suite looks far more spacious, but I wonder where to store one’s stuff, something I am very happy with the Qsuites as they have loads of storage compartment and when I want to sleep I don’t have to worry about tossing things around when I move around. But what disturbs me the most is that you are complaining about hitting yourself all the time in the Qsuite, in that sense, I wonder how you must be hitting your elbows and knees in other seats. I am the size of a rugby player (wide and bulky) and I have never had any issues in the Qsuites, and believe me, I tend to move a lot when I sleep.

  15. mighty odd write-up but true to your style Ben when you were sucking up to United. You compare Qatar and ANA. Qatar wins all categories, except one. Yet your overall assessment is 50/50.

  16. Ben and Jay: exactly what I have said above re: BR and CI. CI has the better seat, while BR is better in every other department, and yet they are equally highly recommended.

  17. @Ben, is there any more space in the window QSuites on 777 (the way United Polaris window seats are a bit wider on 777 compared to 787)? Your comparison is based on A350, which is narrower than 777.

  18. There should be some value as well for availability. From what I counted, 47 routes have Q-Suites while 2 have “The Room.” Whether ANA expands the room faster is to be seen, but given the rarity of being able to fly the premium product, that bodes more in favor of QSuites.

  19. @ VT-CIE — It’s quite simple. I believe that business class is largely about the seat, so that should be weighted a lot more than all other factors.

  20. Ben– “interrogation room”. Perfect description.

    While I agree ANA could easily revamp their soft offering, until then, I would not fly ANA again until they change the awful, headache inducing, blaring, blasting, BRIGHT white lighting from, boarding, for at least another 4 hours. (my flight was 5).

    I think a daytime flight would be better actually. Sam Chui Review chased the sun, and it probably makes a world of difference.

    I rather fly CX, or EVA. It cannot be overstated just how obnoxious and truly shocking how bright the cabin is.

    One thing you didn’t mention is ANA very hard, and super flat bed. Cushion is almost non-existent, and the seat is abnormally low to the ground. I am 6’2 and very uncomfortable.

    Full disclosure, I have not flown QR, so cannot compare, and would be curious how is the seat when lounging?

  21. Hey Ben, reconsider IFE. I know you said your HDMI was broken but imagine it wasn’t and you had pre downloaded hours of tv shows and movies you PERSONALLY enjoy. Would that not best Qsuites IFE. This coming from someone about to fly Qsuites.

    Also, doesn’t most Qsuites planes have tail cams cause their A350s…. +2 for Qsuites lol.

  22. I think one thing for sure is, BA F is now world third business class.
    Okay maybe not since BR J is also there (something I’m trying soon.)

    Also, William have you really take a Qsuite? HDMI port is pretty prominent.

  23. Ethan, it is an injustice to continue ranking BA F among the world’s best business class products. You are spoilt for choice in J on airlines like QR, NH, BR, CI, SQ, TK or even up-and-coming ones like Aeroflot. BA F does not offer quite as much as those, though the A350 Club Suite may.

  24. Thank you for this post; it’s very informative!

    One thing confuses me, however: you write several times that the ANA seats ‘might not look as elegant’. Um, what?

    The design clearly fuses the best elements from Japanese and Scandinavian design, without question the two most admired functional design traditions. I do realize design taste is a personal matter, but come on: the ANA seat is leaps and bounds more aesthetically pleasing than the QSuite – and it’s not even close.

    I hope ANA’s team reads this. It could be such a game changing product if they get the soft product right. For some reason, the lights really bother me, as I feel it shows such a lack of understanding of customer needs. But hey, they have a whole couch, so who would I be to complain 🙂

  25. @VT-CIE:

    If you think the absence of sans serif fonts projects luxury, I have a whole decade that wants its perception of ‘luxury’ back. The 80s say hi!

  26. The ANA seat looks fantastic for those traveling with lap infants, as the baby can essentially sleep next to the parent. Sleeping was always a challenge when we used to fly w/ our child when she was under 2.

  27. The ANA room looks amazing – particularly the extra width. Very well done indeed! I really, really hope the IAH-NRT flight has them when I fly to Tokyo this fall.

    That said I’d still rate the Q suite ahead of this for the very simple reason that it’s available on more modern, better aircraft. As much as I like the 77W the A35K QR flies to most places I go to is a much quieter aircraft that has a lower cabin altitude and a more spacious interior. Only the A380 is better for passenger comfort.

  28. People who complain about hard seats: not everyone wants soft beds, and not everyone wants a cold cabin. Many Asians prefer firmer beds and warmer cabin temp, and Asian airlines will obviously cater towards Asians more.

  29. ANA is my main airline, since I live in Tokyo, and I fly them in business almost every month. They *do* have pyjamas on long hauls like this (all flights to the US except Hawai’i). You just have to request them explicitly in business class. They’re offered proactively in first. I flew the JFK route Ben took in early January, and I did it in pyjamas the whole way. 🙂

  30. Does ANA have the ability to make a double bed? When flying with your partner that is a major plus for Qatar.

  31. Ben: I’m wondering why my experience with ANA soft product is so different than yours? I have not flown the new seats but, several times flying NRT-MEX on the 789, I found that the menu has a HUGE selection of “any time” options, many of which are hot and all beautifully served and presented when I ordered them outside of the main meal service, which I mostly skipped.

    So, maybe not customized service as a stated philosophy, but pretty much the same de-facto.

  32. QSuites seat length is a whopping 81″ vs ANA’s 71″ – that’s a big difference for taller passengers.

  33. I have just returned from a roundtrip between Australia and Europe in QSuites. In my personal opinion, there are some problems with the product. First, the layout of the cabin (high ceilings, no dividers) means that noise travels. We were in row 5, and there was a family in the row 9/10 “Family Suite”, with all the dividers open. The young children spoke in loud voices across the suite and could be clearly heard in our row (even with both our Bose headsets and earplugs in). We could also hear other passengers’ snoring and coughing through the night. The second issue is the “dine on demand” concept, which means the crew are constantly passing up and down the aisles (causing movement in the floor joints, which leads to “seat bounce”) and there is always the noise and smells of someone eating somewhere in the cabin. Finally, the endless ads on the inflight map are really irritating. While not a “QSuite” problem, they also ran out of popular food options very early in the flight. All in all, a good product (especially compared with the other options ex-Australia), but not as good as the PR people would have you believe.

  34. Lucky,

    Have you tried all of the Singapore business class products?
    Also the new updated Qantas business and first Class on the a380?

  35. ANA has the washout toilets in First and Business Class, and for me, that makes all the difference when it comes to staying fresh on a 14 hour flight.

  36. Re: QSuites – a little extra perk… you get to keep the small pillow! There are 3 or 4 different designs. I particularly like “LOVE WORK travel REPEAT!”

  37. I agree the Japanese carriers aren’t the best at in-flight AV entertainment, but I also find the large selection of ridiculously OVERCENSORED entertainment on the ME2.5 carriers to be a huge waste. Duck that!

  38. I far prefer an adequate hard product with fabulous service, food, and beverages than a fabulous hard product with so-so service, food, and beverages. There is no substitute for the human touch and the comforts of food.

  39. I think the reason ANA seems so spacious is because their seat is straight across the whole width of the seat. Where in the photos you can see that on QSuites both seat backs actually eat into each others space creating more of an S. It might be minimal but makes a difference perspectively.

  40. You seem absolutely apologetic for when Qatar wins a category. Reading this review made me think that you really wanted ANA to win but couldn’t yet justify it. Usually for me the soft product is what determines my enjoyment of a flight. There are exceptions of course, like the time my Air France business seat felt like there was a metal bar running through the seat cushion.

  41. @Ben

    The HDMI is not broken, it is intentionally disabled, as it has not been certified by FAA and JAA yet.

    ANA does offer pyjamas in J. They have done so for quite a while. They used to be collected, laundered and reused. In the latest service refresh they don’t collect them any longer. So yes, you missed something 🙂

  42. @David, regarding hard seats and warm cabin temps. I understand that Asian pax may prefer those, but why wouldn’t the Asian airlines try to appeal to all pax? I think the simple solution to the temp issue is to keep it on the cool side and then if someone wants to be warmer, oh I don’t know, maybe USE THE BALNKET that’s provided. I was so hot on a recent JAL flight and had no way to cool down other than perhaps stripping naked and then spraying myself with water.

    Same for the bed. I’m fine with it being on the hard side, but then just provide a softer mattress to lay on top if a passenger prefers that. JAL offers these and I think they do the job just fine.

  43. I agree with Mike Victor..meal on demand is a curse – non stop noice and and smell of food, in first class it works as there are usually few passengers but not in business and yes, popular food options very quickly run out..also Qatar changes aircrafts very often – so there is absolutely no guarantee of Q Suite – instead you might travel in a very old 777 and its no fun at all; worth to remember the lounge in Doha in peak time is not useable – difficult to find a seat, queue to have a shower up to 1,5 hr, impossible to use restaurant and impossible to relax

  44. lol this whole article is like you getting mad and refusing to admit Qatar wins in every category since you want ANA to be the overall winner so bad

    also, QSuites are never guaranteed and thats the biggest flaw of Qatar imho. so annoying.

  45. @ Rob — “also Qatar changes aircrafts very often – so there is absolutely no guarantee of Q Suite – instead you might travel in a very old 777 and its no fun at all”

    I am not sure what you’re talking about! I have traveled 27 times in Qsuites in the last 2-3 years, and not for once they’ve changed flights. The only ones that don’t have Qsuites is 777-200 and 350-900, and those will be phased out in the US by the 777-300ER and 350-1000 in the next one year.

    “worth to remember the lounge in Doha in peak time is not useable – difficult to find a seat, queue to have a shower up to 1,5 hr, impossible to use restaurant and impossible to relax”

    Did you just made that up? Or is it based on your opinion? Because never it has happened that I wasn’t able to get into the business class lounge or not able to relax! Shower wait time for me was 40 min max! And I have been to heir business class lounge in Doha during prime times so many times!

  46. Qatar airways is the best in services for people who travel in business class. Everything is good services staff etc etc.

    British airways is worst in the world in services they are not worth. Do not travel with them that only i can say.

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