Video: Behind The Scenes Of ANA Flight Attendant Training

Filed Under: ANA, Videos

Japanese hospitality is arguably the most distinctive in the world, and it’s hard not to fall in love with the people. Japan is one of the few countries where people consistently take pride in what they do, regardless of the level of work they’re performing.

When I think of Japanese customer service, perhaps the most amusing thing that comes to mind is the time I received an apology for receiving a free upgrade to first class on Japan Airlines. That wouldn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

Service on Japanese airlines is fantastic, whether it be on All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines.


Reader JasonSeattleĀ shared a fascinating documentary I hadn’t seen before, about flight attendant training for ANA. It’s from a TV show about various aspects of Japanese culture, and this particular episode revolves around a Spanish guy who is a service instructor for ANA.

The guy seems awesome, and I learned so much in this video. First of all, I had no clue that ANA had foreign flight attendant bases. I’ve only ever had female Japanese flight attendants on ANA, so I learned there areĀ 450 foreign flight attendants, and some of them are even male.

The guy who is the center of this documentary, Jorge, is from Spain, but has worked for ANA for 13 years. He speaks Japanese and seems like he has incredible attention to detail.

I’d highly recommend watching the documentary, as it’s fascinating. He covers first & business class service, the different expectations of Japanese and non-Japanese passengers, and there’s even footage of a service contest between ANA’s Japanese and foreign flight attendants (what other airline has a service contest which flight attendants would voluntarily participate in?!?).

Here’s the video, if you have the time to watch it:

What did you find most interesting about this behind the scenes look at ANA service?

  1. I saw this the other day on NHK World. While the contest was interesting, I couldn’t help but cringe seeing some of the female employees dress up among other things, as cheerleaders. As a Japanese I know stuff like this is common, but still…

  2. Wow, this video brought back a lot of very old memories. As someone who worked as an overseas crew for Asiana for just about a year, I have so much admiration for Jorge. As he pointed out the difference between Western & Eastern hospitality, when you work for Asian airlines – customer is always king. It takes a great deal of patience, composure and selfless attitude (among many others) to survive, let alone flourish in your career. And then there’s the culture of seniority among colleagues within the company, which in itself is an entirely different story.
    Jorge is an asset to ANA , I love how meticulous he is!

  3. Jorge would make a good wife – he’s the only one that prepares a fancy bento!

    ANA is actually one of the very top Japanese companies university graduates aspire to join (on the business side).

  4. Some years ago I had an emergency and urgently needed a flight from BKK to LAX. Ana business was the only one available.This was years ago and i’m since a loyal ANA customer.
    I’ve been impressed before when flying United LAX to Narita and then continuing from Narita to BKK with a Japanese flight crew on United (co-share)
    What a difference between the services,like night and day.
    I’m sure there are good reasons for this discrepancy but as a traveler I have the choice and my choice
    is not in question anymore.I fly ANA.

  5. of course it shows the only bright side of ANA but it is one of the toughest environment to survive as an CA because they have to be perfect. I have a few friends at ANA but many would leave because of the pressure. And the seniority thing is…

    But I agree with shoe thing. It is common in japan and ANA does it very well

    As per Jorge, he was born in 1977 and he looks like that? His skin tone…OMG, I wanna age like him…

  6. What a great video showcasing the ANA service. And Jorge is well poised, professional and good looking!

  7. The FAs on Japanese carriers perform circles around the bitter, disinterested crews on American and United. You feel like a guest in someone’s home on ANA or JAL. On AA/UA, you feel like an intruder who’s constantly getting in the way (in the way of what, I don’t know – I honestly think the senior crew on US carriers believe they should get paid to sit around talking for twelve hours.) When you do happen to get a service-oriented FA on a US carrier, it feels like a special treat. In Japan it’s the norm, and this video shows why.

    I’d suggest that American or United ought to invest in bringing Jorge over to lead training, but he’d probably wind up getting beaten to death by a gang of 70-year-old women angry at being pulled away from their needlepoint for something as foolish as customer service training. Maybe he ought to stay in Japan where his contributions are valued.

  8. Fat, old unionized cows don’t need any training in how to style their hair into ballerina buns that stay put without a hair ever getting out of place, or making sure their pantyhose is free of unsightly runs, or being nearly the same height (petite) and age (young) as the next FA in their crew.

  9. Is it unusual that I feel like a guest when out of the country on travels on foreign airlines (except perhaps for BA) yet I feel like an inconvenience or a nuisance to the cabin crews when traveling within the US (my home)?

  10. This was great. I’ve got the option soon to take United or ANA on a ticket from the east coast of the U.S. to Japan. The tickets are the exact same price, and both can be issued by United, which is important because I’m a MileagePlus member (from lack of options) and would get the same amount of PQM and PQD regardless of the ticket. Why on EARTH would I EVER choose United for that flight? The difference between United and ANA in terms of service (and in everything else, really) is night and day. So if I can earn the same amount of PQM and PQD with MileagePlus, but fly on ANA and not be treated like literal human feces for 14 hours like I am on United…well, the decision is obvious.

  11. It’s been my experience flying NH that the male crew members work Japan Europe as I’ve flown with them to LHR and CDG. I have never seen an NH male flight attendant working the Japan North America flights but I could be wrong.

  12. We had the great good fortune to fly ANA recently (for the second time) SEA-NRT-BKK. They are great and our recent experience made the video even more interesting. Thanks Lucky and JasonSeattle.

  13. this reminds me of a time when I visited ANA’s in flight meal factory near NRT. I found it interesting that the hot (cold) hand towel for the business class passengers are hand rolled by the workers, whereas the ones for Y class people are machine rolled. I guess the level of hospitality differs by class..

  14. No matter how good the hardware product is, those unionized, fat and old crew members of US airlines always make me think “well, let’s get this over with…”

  15. more than a few friends including an ex wife who won even go near ANA anymore after working there. All college graduates, hard working. It doesnt talk about how the managers are also their union reps. Doesnt talk about how they have asked for pants for years and the union says the skirts are fine. Doesnt talk about spending 2-3 hours after a paid duty day for briefings. Certainly didnt talk about any one of the suicides thats have occurred .. 2 in New York at the long island hotel and 1 in SEA. one even named the pressure of mgmt as reason… ANA is a Japanese airline that does everything to try and NOT be Japanese. what ashame..

  16. I have done the majority of my limited bizzo class travel on ANA (before the cabin redesign) and love the airline. I am fortunate to have had exposure to Japanese culture since age 12 due to my family being friends with Japanese trading company executive families posted to the West. I have noticed a difference in service quality and attitude to pax between London and Japan based crews; I prefer the latter.

    My favourite memory is boarding just as the heels on a pair of shoes decided to detach (I was travelling very light so no spares) and the attempts of the crew and ground staff to repair them on board with tape or find me a repair/replacement facility during a Narita stopover. In the end, a Nagoya concierge directed me to the shoe department of a giant store above the hotel where no fewer than six delightful young women sold me a replacement pair.

    I recall great, attentive on-board service and very good food (western menu) but outdated hard product that has now been updated. I think we now get 787s on the London rotations so look forward to another ANA trip one day.

  17. Wow well done Jorge. Great video, it was an honour to train alongside you all those years ago. You are a great asset to ANA. Keep up your excellent work. Fond memories watching this.

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