I flew in business class on Japan's biggest airline for 14 hours and the seat felt more like a hotel room
All Nippon Airways, Japan's largest airline, was rated 5 stars by Skytrax, an aviation ranking site.
ANA unveiled new business and first class cabins in 2019, including "The Room" and "The Suite."
I flew in "The Room" business class from New York to Tokyo and loved the privacy.
All Nippon Airways, or ANA, is the largest airline in Japan, beating out the country's flag carrier, Japan Airlines.
ANA has been consistently named a 5-star airline by aviation ranking company Skytrax. In fact, it has earned the title every year since 2013.
The carrier is known for its two premium products — "The Suite" in first class and "The Room" in business class, which were introduced in 2019 and are fitted onto Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The cabins were created by Acumen, a British design company, in collaboration with Kengo Kuma, a Japanese architect who designed Japan's National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics.
"Our work focused on transforming the cabin experience by fusing the rich history and culture of Japan with modern design principles and technologies," Acumen's CEO, Ian Dryburgh, said.
I had been eager to try out the two products and was lucky to fly in "The Room" on a recent trip to Tokyo. Here's what it was like.
My trip started at Terminal 7 in New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The departures lobby is small and I easily found ANA's check-in counter at the far right of the building.
Thanks to my business class ticket, I was able to bypass the long line of economy passengers and I checked my bag in quickly.
The agent was extremely personable, giving a great first impression of ANA. She checked my passport and travel documents and I was on my way.
Once I cleared security, I headed to the Club Lounge to kill time before my 2:05 p.m. flight. I thought the lounge, which is used by a handful of carriers, had great food and drink options, though the showers weren't open.
After some curry chicken and a Brooklyn Lager, I headed to Gate 6. I was in the second group to board the Boeing 777-300ER behind first class travelers and diamond loyalty members.
I made my way to seat 13A — a rear-facing window seat. I've flown in a lot of business classes, but this was the first time I've flown facing backward.
I was a little nervous at first, but it ended up being perfectly fine and I didn't experience any nausea. I did have to wear a cross-chest seatbelt for takeoff and landing though.
After boarding, the flight attendants came around with sparkling wine and orange juice as I settled into my seat.
ANA's business cabin is in a 1x2x1 layout, meaning all 64 seats have direct-aisle access …
… and the middle section does have a privacy divider.
Exploring "The Room," I was immediately impressed by the size of the seat.
It was so wide it felt more like a couch, so I had plenty of space to spread out.
But that was just the start. The product also came with a giant 24-inch 4K touchscreen TV …
… a large tray table, which pulled out from under the TV and was out of the way of the bed …
… two USB ports and a universal outlet …
… and plenty of storage. This includes under the footrest …
… a cubby next to the TV with pockets and a mirror ...
… and a small shelf under the screen.
There was also a handheld remote …
… plush linens, slippers, an amenity kit, and headphones …
… soft, long-sleeve pajamas …
… an adjustable window shade …
… and lighting throughout the space, including one on either side of the seat and a dining light by the TV.
But, "The Room" wouldn't live up to its name without the coveted privacy door — which was my favorite part of the entire seat.
I could open and close the door at the push of a button, and there was also an option to close off just half of the entry.
My cabin space honestly felt like a mini hotel room, complete with food and entertainment on the 14-hour flight to Japan.
Shortly after takeoff, the cabin crew started the first meal service. ANA has a diverse menu with Japanese and international food, including sashimi, miso soup, beef fillet, and roasted halibut.
I opted for the Japanese cuisine, which came with edamame and a mushroom salad to start …
… followed by a second course of seafood, ahi tuna, and green pea tofu.
I ordered red wine, which came with a selection of cheese, as well as hot green tea to go with my meal.
The main course came next, which was grilled fish, rice, and miso soup. As expected, the food was amazing and easily on par with Singapore Airlines and ANA's other competitors.
Granted, I love Japanese food, but the tofu and seafood may not be for everyone — I'd opt for the international option if you don't like fish.
For dessert, we were served vanilla ice cream and fruit. It was simple, but satisfied my sweet tooth.
But, I definitely preferred Singapore's 'floating island', which is probably the best dessert I've ever had on a plane.
After the first meal, I closed the privacy door, turned on Ready Player One — one of the dozens of movies available — and got ready for a nap.
As I adjusted the seat into lay-flat position, I noticed all of the different modes it can be set to thanks to a little dial and buttons.
I got the bed set up and was happy to see it was much larger than the typical single bed seen on many western carriers.
I flew on the world's only all-business class airline from Paris to New Jersey and it felt more like flying on a private jet across the Atlantic
I had an insane amount of room to spread out, meaning I could lay on my back, side, or stomach. And it was so private, I honestly forgot I was on a plane.
My only complaint is that I wish there was more foot space. At only 5'3", I had enough room to extend my legs fully, but taller travelers made need to sleep at an angle.
After sleeping, I worked for a few hours, though I was disappointed to find out that business class didn't come with free WiFi — I had to pay $22 for WiFi access.
I also ordered some bread and butter from the à-la-carte menu — a perk I appreciated. Food could be ordered anytime after the first meal service.
Halfway into the 14-hour trek, I headed to the lavatory, which featured a full-body mirror and toiletries …
… and it even had a bidet. This makes sense considering ANA is a Japanese carrier, but I was still shocked to see it.
The second meal service started two hours before landing. I wasn't too hungry, so I opted for a small bowl of ramen noodles from the à-la-carte menu.
But, ANA does have another set of Japanese and international dishes available, including beef and spinach lasagna, and simmered mackerel.
We were on the ground in Tokyo about an hour and a half later, landing at 5:30 p.m. local time the following day. Customs took about an hour and 15 minutes to clear.
Despite flipping my body clock, I felt good getting off the plane. I only napped for about five hours, so I was able to sleep through my first night in Japan and get over the jet lag quickly.
Overall, I loved "The Room" and think in many ways it beats Singapore's Airbus A350 business class product — particularly for privacy as Singapore's cabin doesn't have a sliding door.
I flew on the world's longest flight in business class and thought the 18-hour trip from Singapore to New York was nearly flawless
Moreover, the service was impeccable — the flight attendants made sure that I was never hungry and that my tea cup was always filled.
While Insider paid a media rate, I think the upgrade to "The Room" is worth the money for those that can afford it — especially when trekking halfway across the world.
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