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.

An All Nippon Airways plane being being loaded with baggage while parked at an airport.
All Nippon AirwaysHit1912/Shutterstock

Source: ANA

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.

An orange and white All Nippon Airways Airbus A380 being directed into a hangar building.
An All Nippon Airways Airbus A380.Airbus

Source: ANA

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.

ANA's The Room business class.
"The Room" business class. Koji Shibata, the CEO of ANA Holdings, told Insider that the new cabins are available on nine of its 13 Boeing 777-300ER international aircraft, but said that there are no plans to add the cabins to its Boeing 787s.All Nippon Airways

Source: ANA

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.

Japan National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Olympic Games
Japan National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Olympic Games.CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / Getty Images

Source: ANA

"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.

An open "The Room" business class seat with TV in view.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: ANA

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.

A selfie of the author in the seat wearing a green fleece sweater.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A sign in JFK Airport with a big blue arrow pointing to the right, towards the ANA check-in counter.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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 author's luggage placed on a set of scales at baggage check in.
This was the first time that I've checked luggage on an international flight in years, and it fortunately didn't go missing.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author holding her passport and boarding pass.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author stepping inside of an airport lounge at JFK airport.
My business class ticket on ANA got me access to the lounge.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A large blue sign at Gate 6 for ANA boarding.
Not all of ANA's Boeing 777-300ERs are configured with the new seats.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author's rear-facing seat with a TV and a window to outside the plane.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author holding a cross-chest seatbelt.
Taylor Rains/Insider

After boarding, the flight attendants came around with sparkling wine and orange juice as I settled into my seat.

Two small, plastic glasses on a table, one filled with orange juice and one with sparkling wine.
Taylor Rains/Insider

ANA's business cabin is in a 1x2x1 layout, meaning all 64 seats have direct-aisle access …

The interior of ANA's business class cabin.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… and the middle section does have a privacy divider.

A cabin with its privacy divider raised.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Exploring "The Room," I was immediately impressed by the size of the seat.

The couch-like seat in the author's cabin.
The forward-facing seat behind me.Taylor Rains/Insider

It was so wide it felt more like a couch, so I had plenty of space to spread out.

A view of the author's cabin expansive cabin.
Taylor Rains/Insider

But that was just the start. The product also came with a giant 24-inch 4K touchscreen TV …

The interior of the author's cabin with a giant TV with a green field scene on the screen.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… a large tray table, which pulled out from under the TV and was out of the way of the bed …

The wood-like table folded in half.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… two USB ports and a universal outlet …

A white plug in the bottom of the cubby in the author's cabin.
One USB port and the power outlet could be accessed by flipping the bottom of the cubby door up. The second USB was on the armrest next to the window.Taylor Rains/Insider

… and plenty of storage. This includes under the footrest …

The author's white duffle and black backpack by her feet.
This area has to be clear during takeoff and landing, including the space under the footrest.Taylor Rains/Insider

… a cubby next to the TV with pockets and a mirror ...

The cubby open with the author's passport in the pocket.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… and a small shelf under the screen.

An empty shelf in the author's cabin.
Taylor Rains/Insider

There was also a handheld remote …

The remote stored in the side table in the author's cabin.
The remote could be stored when not in use. I could pair my phone to the TV to use as a remote as well.Taylor Rains/Insider

… plush linens, slippers, an amenity kit, and headphones …

The amenities stacked in a chair in the author's cabin, including linens, a blue amenity kit, blue slippers, and black headphones.
The headphones had good sound quality, but I wish the ears were bigger. I've seen better headphones on other carriers.Taylor Rains/Insider

… soft, long-sleeve pajamas …

The blue and grey heathered pajamas stacked in a chair in the author's cabin.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… an adjustable window shade …

The window shade closed.
The window shade had three settings: fully open, one shade down to let in some light, and two shades down to black out the sun.Taylor Rains/Insider

… and lighting throughout the space, including one on either side of the seat and a dining light by the TV.

The dining light next to the seat in the author's cabin.
Taylor Rains/Insider

But, "The Room" wouldn't live up to its name without the coveted privacy door — which was my favorite part of the entire seat.

The door fully enclosed.
The door fully enclosed.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author closing half of the door to her cabin by pressing a button.
Taylor Rains/Insider

My cabin space honestly felt like a mini hotel room, complete with food and entertainment on the 14-hour flight to Japan.

A view the author's cabin with the middle section closed for privacy.
The closed doors created a cocoon-like space for travelers.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author holding up a menu of the two cuisines, a list of Japanese and international menu items.
Travelers could choose either Japanese or international cuisine.Taylor Rains/Insider

I opted for the Japanese cuisine, which came with edamame and a mushroom salad to start …

An edamame and mushroom salad with red and yellow cherry tomatoes.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… followed by a second course of seafood, ahi tuna, and green pea tofu.

Three dishes with seafood on a tray with silverware wrapped in a napkin.
Taylor Rains/Insider

I ordered red wine, which came with a selection of cheese, as well as hot green tea to go with my meal.

Wine and cheese on my tray table.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A tray containing the author's meal, including salmon, miso soup, and rice.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author using chopsticks to pick up green pea tofu from a square, white dish.
Taylor Rains/Insider

For dessert, we were served vanilla ice cream and fruit. It was simple, but satisfied my sweet tooth.

The author's dessert, a tub of vanilla ice cream and a bowl of fruit, including watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi.
The fruit was watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi.Taylor Rains/Insider

But, I definitely preferred Singapore's 'floating island', which is probably the best dessert I've ever had on a plane.

The "floating island" egg white dome with almonds and vanilla custard.
Singapore's "floating island" egg-white dome with almonds and vanilla custard.Taylor Rains/Inside

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.

A view from the dark cabin with Ready Player One playing on the TV screen.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The control panel on the seat.
The seat can be lowered or raised, moved forward or backward, reclined, or lay flat.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author standing above the bed which has been folded out into lie-flat position.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The bed in lie-flat position with the author's purse, pillows, and blanket on top.
The bed was so big that I could fit me, two pillows, my purse, and my water bottle on it.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author sitting at an angle on the bed with her legs extended out.
Sitting at an angle with my legs extended out.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

The author's enclosed business class seat with a blue bag on the side table.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

Two bread rolls on a plate with butter and oil on the side next to a butter knife.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Halfway into the 14-hour trek, I headed to the lavatory, which featured a full-body mirror and toiletries …

A shelf in the lavatory that is stocked with toiletries.
Toiletries included a toothbrush and toothpaste set, and mouthwash.Taylor Rains/Insider

… and it even had a bidet. This makes sense considering ANA is a Japanese carrier, but I was still shocked to see it.

A control panel with buttons to operate the aircraft's bidet in Japanese and English.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A black plastic bowl of filled with ramen noodles.
Taylor Rains/Insider

But, ANA does have another set of Japanese and international dishes available, including beef and spinach lasagna, and simmered mackerel.

A picture of the second meal service menu with both Japanese and international cuisine options.
The menu for the second meal service.Taylor Rains/Inside

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.

A view outside the plane window with clouds in distance.
Immigration was insanely busy, so budget time if you have plans once you arrive in Japan.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A view across the author's seat and out of a window on the side of the aircraft.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A view facing the TV and cubby in the cabin, with the writer's feet on the footrest.
Other competitors like Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have nice business class products, but the beds are narrower.Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A tray of airline food, including a small bowl of miso soup.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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.

A white ANA Boeing 777-300ER being loaded with baggage at the gate at Tokyo's Haneda airport.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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