Review: ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita

Filed Under: ANA, Awards

Upon arrival at Narita I headed towards transit security, where there was no queue, so I was through in a matter of minutes.

The security checkpoint lets out right in front of the ANA First Class Suite Lounge, which I used during my 3.5 hours. At the entrance I was welcomed by a friendly associate, who spent about two seconds looking at my boarding pass and then said “thank you for waiting,” and then pointed me right towards the lounge.

As a reminder, there are several other options available in Tokyo if you have a credit card with lounge access, and aren’t traveling in a premium cabin.

ANA Lounge Entrance

I’m not sure what it is with the phrase “thank you for waiting” and Japan, but I’m pretty sure whoever’s responsible for teaching English in Japan is lying to everyone, because it seems to be used much in the same way as we would use a pause like “ummm.” It actually makes a great drinking game for a layover at Narita. Take a shot every time someone says “thank you for waiting” to you, and I guarantee you’ll be denied boarding for your connection.

I always find the service in the ANA first class lounge at Narita to be a bit odd. Once you sit down, a server comes by and offers you a cold towel and a drink, though that’s the last you see of them. I know others report getting refills, but in my dozen or so visits to the lounge I’ve not once been offered a refill. Not that that’s an issue, but given how highly they seem to staff the lounge, it just seems a bit odd.

 Since I just got off a longhaul flight I decided to sit down in a cubicle to catch up on some work, which I did for about two hours. The Wi-Fi speed in the lounge is fairly good, which for me is one of the most important features of a lounge.

Work area



About an hour after getting to the lounge a representative approached me and said “Are you Mr. Lucky traveling to Bangkok?” “Yes,” I said. “Thank you for waiting, I’m very sorry to say that there has been a change to your flight.” “Oh, how much is my flight delayed?” “Unfortunately your flight has been changed from departing from gate 45 to now departing from gate 46. I am very sorry for the inconvenience.” Only in Japan!

The lounge itself is on the small side, though rarely crowded given how few first class passengers ANA seems to have.

ANA Suite Lounge

Lounge seating

There’s a modest buffet with mostly cold options, and then a noodle bar, which is pretty awesome.

Dining area


Beverage machines




Noodle Bar


Noodle bar

My one complaint about the first class lounge is that it has no massage chair, while the business class lounge does. It’s a bit of a tradeoff since the first class lounge has nicer cubicles, while the business class lounge has massage chairs.

I actually wasn’t positive at the beginning that the lounge didn’t have massage chairs, so I asked one of the associates at the desk. She confirmed there weren’t, apologized profusely, and thanked me for waiting, and I thought that was the end of it. I headed back to my cubicle, and about 10 minutes later three associates showed up and said “thank you for waiting, we are here to escort you to the massage chairs in the business class lounge.” Three people, really?!?

At around 4PM I decided to shower. The shower facilities are located across the way from the main lounge, and at the entrance you hand them your boarding pass and they direct you to a shower room.

Shower room


On the plus side the first class lounge now seems to have individual bottles of Shiseido toiletries, vs. the old system where they had tiny packets of shampoo and soap.

Bath amenities

The water pressure in the showers is abso-friggin-lutely fantastic, almost painfully so.

By the time I was done with my shower it was about 4:30PM, and shortly thereafter I decided to head to my departure gate, which was just a short walk away.

ANA 777

Tarmac views

Tarmac views

Air New Zealand 777

Where’s my plane?

Upon arrival at the gate I noticed that the A380 hadn’t even arrived, and given that we were scheduled to depart in just 45 minutes, we were obviously delayed. I went up to the counter and asked about the new flight departure time, and they said the flight is scheduled to be on-time.

I pointed to the gate and said “but the plane isn’t here yet,” and they acted as if they had no clue. They made a few phone calls, and after that said “thank you for waiting, flight delayed, but we don’t know how much.”

Okay, so I decided to head back to the first class lounge.

Gate 46 is actually visible directly from the lounge, so at around 5PM I saw the plane pull in. Shortly thereafter an army of cleaning crews got onboard the aircraft, and I decided to head to the gate after about 20 trash bags were thrown into the dumpster by the cleaning crew, at around 5:30PM.

There it is!

Thai A380

This is how you clean an A380

Loading catering

Gate area

Gate area

Sure enough within a few minutes boarding was announced. There was a first and business class lane, though while checking passports I was brought to the side of the queue, where apparently first class can line up.

Boarding gate

  1. What an awesome view of the Thai A380 from the ANA first class lounge!!! Pretty cool you got to see it arrive and get ready for your departure.

  2. A few points:

    It’s “Suite Lounge”, not “Suites Lounge”.

    In Japanese, “thank you for waiting” (お待たせ致しました) is a fairly standard way to apologize for making a customer wait, regardless of the duration. (In Japan, the customer is at a higher level than than the one serving said customer.)

    I’m surprised you didn’t try the chicken curry!

  3. i miss the donuts they once had in the past. I know you sometimes take issue with them, but i really like the ANA lounges in NRT, i guess because i love the noodle bar, the soup, and they are just so damn friendly.

  4. you need to understand the JApanese culture before you emphasize the “sorry” and thank you for waiting! It’s the culture that you don’t understand and not appreciate!
    It’s what they say in Japanese as well, so it’s all direct translation.
    would you rather they say “GO”?
    Time is very precious in Japan, to the second.
    so when Shinkansen is delayed by a minute, everyone at the station and on the train for apologize. you don’t understand this, but as you may have seen, everything runs precisely with a time schedule, so to miss by a minute might cause other things to be delayed or missed. So please stop criticizing these things over and over again in your post. I enjoy and appreciate reading your posts and writing, but lately there are so much negative words and thoughts.
    But thank you.

  5. Not bad, it is an improvement from the last time that I’ve used few years back. The food selection was close to nothing.

  6. I think the reason the ANA F lounge is so crowded is that UA F pax in the know — know where to go!

  7. I was greeted with “Thank you for waiting” this weekend when I walked up to a register at the 7-11 down in Izu… it’s totally a throwaway phrase, but found it particularly amusing given your posts about it this trip.

  8. Thanks for the report Ben. I fly ANA all the time, but have never managed to get into the F lounge. Weird to see that apart from being less crowded it doesn’t seem to be any better than the normal lounge…

    Also, the ‘thank you for waiting’ thing is particular to ANA. I presume it’s in their staff manual or something. As yet another Ben mentions above, it’s a mistranslation of お待たせ致しました that doesn’t work in English. Still, it’s a cute quirk, right?

  9. love your posts. the Japanese are an interesting culture. Having been born there, educated and then uneducated in the US college system, its kinda weird. then again, so are most cultures right? they will say things to be polite like.. Thanks to you. (okage sama de). and I will be like..wait..should i say that back to you even if you had nothing to do with it? polite yes, proper? hhmmnn.. dont need flames so I will let sociologists deal with that one. I asked my GF (who is a Chief purser for NH) and about language in the manual and she said.. Baka.. you dont need it to be in the manual. no wonder you look japanese but think western..sheesh. (roll the eyes)

  10. Every time I read comments about this aspect of Japanese culture, it makes me very curious to experience it myself because I thought that Americans are sometimes viewed by other cultures as being overly apologetic/nice (mostly in a sincere way but sometimes not).

    Perhaps, it’s because I’ve mostly lived in the south of the US, but people are generally very polite and throw around “I’m sorry” and “Excuse me” way too much, even when a situation doesn’t call for it or it’s not their fault. And I think many foreigners probably find a typical greeting (“How are you?”) weird because it’s kind of a rhetorical question that, generally, can be answered by a single phrase (“Fine…and you?”).

    P.S. Aforementioned politeness is balanced out by interactions with some bureaucratic establishments like DPS 😉

  11. One of my favorite parts of flying ANA was after pushback, the ground crew lined up, and waves goodbye to the flight.

    Is this something they do on every flight?

  12. I was a bit disappointed when I had my first opportunity to use this lounge instead of the one downstairs I use when flying ex-NRT, even on UA because of the noodle bar and the massage chairs behind the black scrum. (If you really miss these chairs, do what I did and buy one for your den! One of the best $3K — regularly $5K but on sale — I’ve ever spent!! My friends seem to agree…to the extent that two have already bought their own!!!) But I digress. The bar offerings were hardly premium (benchmarks being an XO cognac and at least JW Blue, both absent).

    I had an opportunity on my return through NRT to use the JL First lounge(s) and there was little comparison. The upper level lounge was spacious and well provisioned, though I found the lower level one, which has the showers and massage facilities, very crowded. (And yes, there are massage chairs in the upper lounge, but having real masseuses is a tough thing to beat…)

    So I found the OZ First lounge rather disappointing, with few of the amenities one would expect of a home base facility.

  13. I’m trying to connect NH5 to TG677, but they’re saying it’s not legal. Is 65 minutes long enough to connect in your experience with any F escort?

  14. So I was always curious about the shower rooms in lounges… Does a married couple normally share a room or does each person get their own room to themselves?

  15. @ Ken — Given that the shower rooms are fairly small and that they usually have plenty, people usually get their own. Not sure if it’s prohibited to share one or not, though.

  16. Hey Ben! I flew out of Tokyo a couple of months ago on Alitalia and was in the delta lounge that they have there. I found it to be one of the most pleasant and rather large, and was wondering if you’ve visited it, and what your thoughts were if you had. Happy new year!

  17. Hi Lucky,
    I’m a US frequent flyer and transited frequently through Narita for the past 10+ years flying from North America to Asia. Whenever I get Premier Gold status or upgraded to Business Class, I only knew to go to the crowded United Club lounge (which has hundreds of passengers at any one time), but I’m happy I recently discovered I can use ANA Suite lounge (Star Alliance). It is smaller, but far less crowded. Even though some complain the food selection is bad, I think food selection is better than the UA lounge if you like Japanese food and you don’t have to line up or wait for food to be replenished like in United’s lounge. And there’s always 3 or more sake to try if you like sake. Internet connection are far faster due to low bandwidth in the ANA lounge vs United. Shower facilities are decent (shorter wait time versus United), although I think the shower gel/shampoo could be better.

  18. It’s funny that they allow many UA customers in yet denying their own arriving F customers connecting with other airlines.

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