Munich-Tokyo Haneda on ANA in business class: a really good experience

On this business class flight between Munich and Tokyo, Haneda ANA shows that it deserves to be consistently ranked in the top 3 of the world’s best airlines, with a performance that is virtually irreproachable in every respect.

When I booked this vacation, my first objective was to find a good price to go back to Australia, and ideally to try out a new airline, and ideally ANA (Air India could have been an option, but we’re not that masochistic, especially over such long distances). Luck was on my side, as I found the best prices on ANA, which I didn’t expect at all because, like Singapore Airlines, it’s an airline that knows how to make you pay for the quality of its product. Of course, this was at the cost of some convoluted routing, but that’s often the rule when you’re looking for a bargain.

Here is a review of this discovery flight.

For the record, the air routing for this trip.

You’ll find a summary of articles about this trip to Australia at the bottom of the page.

Ground experience

I leave the Lufthansa Senator lounge a little before my flight’s boarding time to walk around the terminal.

I end up going to the boarding gate…where we’re told we’ll be delayed by 25 minutes in order to finish preparing the cabin. Strange because the plane arrived on time this morning and I even saw it at its parking spot two hours earlier when I arrived from Gothenburg.

So I resume my stroll around the gate to see a post-apocalyptic setting: the seats and floor are littered with blankets and food wrappers, which the staff are gradually beginning to pick up.

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It’s no better in the rest areas.

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The explanation is simple: as I explained in the review of my flight from Gothenburg to Munich, traffic was severely disrupted by snow in the last few days, and the airport was even closed for 24 hours. In fact, some passengers were trapped in the terminal for over 48 hours, rather like castaways from the sky.

Boarding

Boarding time approaches and queues form. Staff make sure that everyone is in their own lane, and that no intruders venture where they are not allowed. This was particularly the case in business class, where some economy passengers had lost their way.

Boarding starts with strict observance of priorities i.e. first class passengers (but there is no first cabin on this aircraft) and passengers with the highest status with ANA, then business class passengers and passengers with star alliance gold status, and finally economy passengers.

As for ANA’s high-status passengers, they will be greeted by two airline agents, one Japanese and the other German, who will speak Japanese to Japanese passengers.

At last it’s my turn to get on board

The cabin

I discover the business class cabin on ANA’s B787s. Connoisseurs will regret that it’s not a 777 with their superb seat called “the room“, which speaks for itself.

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We have a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, as shown on this cabin map.

I had managed to book a window seat isolated from the aisle by the console and not directly exposed to the aisle.

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Not the most impressive seat on the market, but it does the job.

But let’s take a closer look.

Legroom is good, but the screen size is average.

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The table is a good size.

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The remote control looks a bit dated. Next to it are the reading light, a power socket, a USB port and a headphone socket.

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And finally, the seat controls.

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Let’s move on to the fittings in place when I take my seat.

First a blanket and a mattress topper.

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Noise-cancelling headphones.

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A pillow and slippers of average quality, not as good as those of Turkish Airlines, but it’s rare in business class so I’ll be satisfied.

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And finally, the comfort kit.

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The content is comprehensive and of the highest quality, featuring L’Occitane en Provence products.

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The IFE will be of good quality, with a good choice of films but a slightly dated interface. As usual, I’ll only be using it to follow the plane’s route, preferring my iPad with my own selection of films and series to keep me entertained.

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A quality product, but not impressive.

To its credit, I’d like to point out the comfort, the large side shelf, the cleanliness and the fact that I had two windows and to its detriment, the fact that it already looks a little dated, the size of the screen, decent but no more than the competition, and the white tones that look too “hospital” (even if it’s less glaring than at Air France), the total lack of storage space and the faux wood covering on the shelf, which I’m not a fan of.

One last look at the cabin before moving to the flight.

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The flight and the service

During boarding, the flight attendant in charge of my part of the cabin will politely introduce herself.

A welcome drink is offered: sparkling wine or orange juice. The sparkling wine will be good, but the plastic glass in which it’s served looks a bit cheap.

While ANA is not one of the few airlines to offer pyjamas in business class, we are offered a cardigan, which must be returned at the end of the flight.

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Better than nothing.

The IFE shows me the route we’re going to take, but it’s only a theoretical one. Because of the war in Ukraine and the ban on flying over Russia, we’ll be taking a much more southerly route and heading back up through China, but more on that later.

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It’s almost midday and the scenery outside is even more indescribable than when I arrived in the morning. We don’t know if it’s daylight, everything seems calm and silent, the sounds muffled… a bit like being the survivors of a nuclear disaster surveying the damage.

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Not scary, but definitely a weird feeling.

As we taxi towards the runway, I spot an aircraft from an airline I’d never heard of before: SalamAir! It’s an Omani low-cost airline, and I’d be surprised if many of you know it.

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We line up at the start of the runway and set off out of the Munich gloom.

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The menus are then brought to us. One of ANA’s hallmarks is that it offers two menus on its long-haul flights: a Western menu and a Japanese menu. I decided to try the Western menu on this flight and the Japanese on my next flight out of Tokyo.

First of all, the extensive drinks menu.

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Then the two menus, Western and Japanese.

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For the arrival service, here a breakfast, there also a choice between Western and Japanese.

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And last but not least, a choice of snacks available anytime.

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First of all, and quite obviously, it’s a very rich menu that’s on offer, but with very few options. You can choose European or Western (which is real diversity), but on the menu you can only choose between two dishes – everything else is imposed.

The wine list is extensive and of the highest quality.

We’re then brought a disposable wipe in a plastic wrapper, I’d much prefer a warm oshibori, which I find more premium.

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The wipe will, however, be thick and of excellent quality for a product of this type.

The tables are set and the first drinks are served on the trolley, along with the appetizers.

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It’s a foie gras canapé with a Niçoise salad.

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The wine will be excellent.

The salad is good, but I’m not sure if cuttlefish was used in the original recipe for salade niçoise. The slightly lemony sauce is fresh and very tasty.

The foie gras mousse is good, but the tartlet is a little dry.

When it comes to appetizers, we’ve seen much less sophisticated stuff elsewhere.

The flight attendant takes my lunch order. Throughout the flight, she’ll call me by name.

Appetizers are cleared with a tray before lunch service. Appetizers are served by trolley.

We have one set of cutlery for each dish.

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Salmon and quinoa salad with avocado sauce.

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The presentation is truly superb, and the starter is accompanied by two warm breads and olive oil.

A truly beautiful starter.

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The salmon is delicious and firm, and the combination with the quinoa is perfect.

Plates are cleared, one by one, as passengers finish their appetizers, and our main courses are brought to us, this time individually.

Sautéed sea bass and barley risotto with white wine sauce.

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The presentation is beautiful and the scent very appealing.

The fish is perfectly cooked, the flesh exquisite and the texture excellent.

The risotto is delicious and the white wine sauce a real treat.

Perhaps one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in business class, and even on the ground I’ve rarely eaten such good fish dishes. In fact, I think it rivals even some of the dishes served in First Class.

The plates are cleared and the cheese is brought to us.

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A beautiful plate with quality products.

For dessert, I’ll have the chocolate mousse, which turns out to be airy and melt-in-the-mouth: a real treat.

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I’ll accompany all this with a Hojicha tea as a souvenir of my dinner at Saga in Gothenburg and an excellent port wine, unfortunately served in a mignonette.

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The flight attendant was pleasant, smiling and even funny throughout the service. For an Asian airline, it’s much more relaxed than Singapore Airlines or even Thai, but at least as professional.

We’re brought a bottle of water and wipes. We left Munich approx. 3 hours ago.

The cabin is quiet and everyone is gradually getting ready for the long cruise.

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I order some more tea and cognac and settle down to watch a few series…

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We’re above Turkey.

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After a while I get up to test and inspect the toilet.

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All clear. It’s clean, but with no special attention paid to business class. On the other hand, I really like toilets with windows!

Fans of Japanese toilets won’t be disappointed.

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I return to my seat and it’s time to sleep.

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I set up the mattress topper, the blanket and I’m ready to sleep.

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Unsurprisingly, the ban on overflying Ukraine and Russia means that, like all flights to Asia for some time now, we have to take a very southerly route, but you’ll be even more surprised by the return flight.

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Bedtime!

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After a few hours’ sleep I wake up and decide to try out the snack menu. The flight attendant is extremely responsive as soon as I press the call button.

To be honest, there aren’t many dishes I’d really like, so I’ll go for the rice bowl with sautéed beef and grated peppers.

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The quantity is right, it’s good but I’d like a little more flavour with spices or soy sauce for example….

An ice cream to finish…the presentation could be better.

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We’re just over Beijing and heading into our final stretch to Tokyo.

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I find it really hot in the cabin and unfortunately we don’t have individual nozzles.

The cabin is relit 2h30 before arrival for breakfast service. The staff are very present in the cabin, scrutinizing passengers’ every need.

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Breakfast service begins.

I start with tea and sparkling water as usual.

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Then the tray arrives: fruit, croissant, bread and a vegetable and cheddar frittata.

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The bread and croissants are pretty average, not dry but almost. The fruits are ripe and sweet.

Now the frittata….

The spinach and mushrooms are very good and the combination with the bacon is perfect. The frittata, on the other hand, is light and good, but lacks a little taste and would benefit from a little spiciness.

I’m offered an ice cream to finish…

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A bit… icy! It will take a while before it melts a little and becomes eatable.

All in all, a good breakfast, saved a little by the main course, but we’ve already seen better and it’s clearly a notch below the main service.

A quick glance at the route we’ve taken and the cabin is ready for landing.

The crew

Really excellent, as you’d expect from an Asian airline, let alone a Japanese one.

A very professional crew, present, responsive and really pleasant and friendly, sometimes almost joking and always smiling and laughing in interactions.

I really liked

Landing and arrival

Before the descent begins, the flight attendant comes to see me to give me information about my next flight to Sydney. It’s scheduled to leave on time from the same terminal, so I’ll have a very simple connection.

We land and taxi along a terminal that is clearly Japan Airlines territory.

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A little further on, the liveries are blue and white and we arrive at ANA Land….

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We deplane in the early hours of the morning in a quiet, empty airport, and I follow the connecting route to the lounge before catching my connecting flight.

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One last look to bid farewell to our B787 and I’m on my way.

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Bottom line

Overall, an excellent level of service, even if I would have liked to have had the seat that equips ANA’s B777s.

As already mentioned, the service on board was really impeccable.

As for the food, it was one of my best in-flight meals, with a few remarks however. I like the richness of the menu, even though there’s very little choice once you’ve chosen your type of menu. If the main service was top-notch, the second was clearly a notch or two below.

A few surprising things too, such as the welcome drink served in a plastic glass, the presentation of the ice creams which could have been more flattering, the absence of oshiboris in favor of wipes…

Most of the rankings put ANA just below Qatar Airways and Sinapore Airlines, and that’s actually quite consistent with my experience.

The articles about this trip to Australia

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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