Tokyo-Sydney business class on ANA: excellent service, catering a little disappointing

Another excellent experience on ANA with this flight from Tokyo Haneda to Sydney in business class, even if the discovery of the in-flight Japanese menu left me a little disappointed.

After a short detour via Sweden and a few cold sweats to get to Munich due to the airport closure caused by the weather, it’s finally the home stretch to Australia. As much as I love flying and am a fan of those very long flights that take me to the other side of the planet, there are times when I end up eager to get to the destination.

Here’s a reminder of the air routing for this long trip.

You’ll find a summary of all the articles about this vacation in Australia at the bottom of the page.

Ground experience

I arrived from Munich in the early hours of the morning with just over two hours of connecting time to kill. The terminal is virtually empty, and the connection journey will be unrivalled in terms of speed.

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An empty corridor, a staircase to climb, I go through the security checks again (I’ll be the only passenger when I pass through) and in less than 10 minutes I’m back on the departures side. A quick stop at the ANA lounge and I’m on my way to my boarding gate fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.

All in all, a very simple, fluid connection in a rather pleasant terminal.

Boarding

Our 787 Dreamliner is here and there are only a few minutes left before boarding begins.

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Staff are busy behind the counters and queues are already clearly marked.

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Boarding at last begins, with strict respect for priorities: first the passengers with the highest ANA status (there is no first class on this flight), then business class and star alliance gold, then the rest.

I’m one of the first to enter the jetway, and after a few meters I’ll branch off to my left, as a specific jetway is dedicated to business class.

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The cabin

It is, of course, a carbon copy of the one on my flight from Munich to Tokyo.

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We have a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, with business class spread over two cabins.

I had reserved a seat isolated from the aisle, the best in this type of configuration.

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The console on the side is a good size, but there’s hardly any storage space apart from the luggage compartments.

The table tray is a good size too.

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Power and USB sockets are available, while the remote control looks a little dated.

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Simple, easy-to-use seat controls. Note the “do not disturb” button which illuminates a red light above the seat.

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The screen is a decent size, but nothing more than the market standard.

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The seat’s amenities include a noise-reduction helmet.

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A mattress topper, a rarity in business class.

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A blanket.

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Slippers, also rare in business class, but as good as those supplied by Turkish Airlines.

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And finally, the comfort kit.

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It is comprehensive, and includes l’Occitane en Provence products.

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Not the most attractive business cabin on the market, and I also regret not having been able to test the one on their 777 called “The room“, which says a lot about the product, but a product that I would describe as solid.

The flight

No sooner had I settled in than a flight attendant came up to me. In the end, all the flight attendants working in business class will introduce themselves one by one.

A welcome drink is offered and I take sparkling wine, unfortunately served in a plastic glass. The champagne and glassware will wait until we’re airborne.

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We set off on time and, after a bend in the road, headed due south for Australia.

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Menus are brought to us quickly.

The range of beverages is extensive and good quality.

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As is the norm at ANA, two menus are proposed: one Japanese and one international.

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Lots of different dishes, but very little choice: once you’ve chosen your menu, there’s only the main course to choose from, and even then there are only two possible options.

There’s also a snack menu that can be ordered at any time.

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I’ll start as I should with a glass of excellent champagne.

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As I had tried the international menu on my previous flight, I decided this time to try the Japanese menu.Comme j’avais testé le menu international sur mon vol précédent j’ai décidé cette fois ci d’essayer le menu japonais.

The appetizers arrive quickly after the champagne: ANA Signature stick, pastrami chicken, olives and cheese.

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The stick will be surprisingly tasty but dry, the chicken fresh and very tasty too.

Then the appetizer: Zensai (a selection of bites): grilled squid, sea bream sushi rolled in kelp, simmered carrot in Japanese plum vinegar, grilled chicken pate with poppy seeds.

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It’s fresh, tasty and goes very well together.

Kobachi (Savory Bites): Chrysanthemums and vegetables marinated in apple cider vinegar with surf clams, vegetables and braised pork with sesame cream

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Some are very good, others not to my taste at all, a little heavy-handed and lacking in finesse.

All of this accompanies the main course: grilled lotus root tofu and Wagyu beef simmered in a soy-based sauce, grilled Alfonsino with miso sauce, accompanied by rice and miso soup.

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I’m not a fan of this tofu at all, and the rest is okay but not very exciting. However, I accompanied this meal with delicious glasses of sake, taking advantage of the lessons given by Jeremy, the friendly waiter at Kuruya in Gothenburg.

I won’t have dessert and will decide to sleep right away.

Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed, because the taste wasn’t exceptional and I had difficulty eating some of the dishes. I wouldn’t say it was bad, rather that it wasn’t to my taste, but when I compare it to the international menu of the previous flight, it’s a bit like night and day.

The cabin is quickly darkened.

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I set up my bed with the mattress topper and blanket: it’s my third flight and second long-haul flight of the day, and my eyelids are starting to get heavy.

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As little sleep as I’d had between Munich and Tokyo because it was daytime for me, I soon dozed off and slept for most of the flight. Not necessarily a good idea, as I’ll be arriving in Sydney in great shape at the start of the evening, a mistake I already made a year ago for my first journey to Australia but I can’t force myself to sleep between Europe and Asia when my biological clock tells me it’s daytime, so I sleep between Asia and Australia, with the result you can guess.

When I wake up, the staff is handing out customs forms and taking orders for the second meal: Glazed chicken and mushroom risotto, bread, seaweed bread Raisin Levain, fruit

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The rice will be creamy, the chicken good but lacking a little pep. A decent but not very exciting meal either.

The staff and the service

Little interaction outside meals as I spent my time sleeping but very efficient, smiling and friendly.

Arrival and immigration

We hit the runway pretty fast and hard and a little crooked, so much so that I thought we were going to end up in the grass at best or in the water at worst but the pilot will bring the aircraft into line at the cost of a manoeuvre that will throw a number of telephones placed on the console or on their owner’s lap into the aisle.

A single jetway will be installed for disembarking, but the crew will block access to economy passengers to facilitate the exit of business class passengers.

I hurry through the long corridors to get to immigration.

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A word about immigration, by the way, which I find remarkably well organized, and which many countries should learn from.

Prior to my trip, I had requested a free online e-visa, which was granted to me in a matter of seconds.

Once you arrive at your destination, you have two options: either queue up at immigration or qualify for e-passport. In the second case (which is mine), all you have to do is stop in front of one of the many kiosks available in the airport, scan your passport, answer a few questions on the screen and you’ll be issued a paper with a bar code.

Then all you have to do is go to the dedicated gates, scan the paper, the gate opens and you’re on Australian territory without having queued or spoken to a human being.

My suitcase will already be on the conveyor belt when I arrive and all I have to do is go through customs. An agent collects my customs declaration and I don’t even have to go through the biosecurity check as I did last time.

From the time I got off the plane to the time I got into the cab, it was barely 20 minutes. Remarkable.

Outside, a scene we’ve seen many times before at this time of year: it’s 30°C and a large Christmas tree stands in front of the airport. Yesterday I was in Gothenburg and it was -10°.

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Bottom line

Another good flight with a good crew, even if the food left me hungry, but I just had to make another choice. Special praise for the quality of the Australian immigration process.

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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