Date: March 22, 2018
Flight No.: NH962
Route: Beijing Capital to Tokyo Haneda
Airline: ANA All Nippon Airways
Type: Boeing 777-300ER
After trying out Asiana Airlines and Thai Airways business class, and spotting in Phuket and Beijing, it was time to take the final flight of the spotting trip. The flight took me from Beijing to Tokyo Haneda, and it was operated by ANA’s Boeing 777-300ER.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Boarding Flight NH962 from Beijing to Tokyo
After a quick lunch at BGS Premier Lounge and an afternoon spotting session inside the terminal, I headed to the flight’s boarding gate around 2:45PM in order to get there on time for the 3PM scheduled boarding time.
When I got to the gate, boarding was already in progress. And, since I was flying in business class, I was able to get onboard almost right away.
ANA 777-300ER Business Class Cabin and Seat
Once I got onboard, I first passed through the first class cabin. Interestingly, ANA operates a four-class Boeing 777-300ER on this flight, however, it does not sell first class tickets. As such, the first class seats are available to some (full-fare paying and status-holding) business class passengers.
Then, I entered the business class cabin and settled in my bulkhead window seat, 7A.
Since the seats were staggered in a 1-2-1 layout, each of the seats offered direct aisle access. And, just like on my Asiana and Thai Airways flights, the outer seats were altering between being closer to the window and to the aisle, and the seats in the center section were altering between being right next to each other and being further apart from each other.
As for my seat, since it was one of the “real” window seats, it was right by the windows and was separated from the aisle by a big console that providing a fair amount of privacy.
On the top of the console was a counter that was large enough to hold a laptop. And, besides that, it also featured the reading material rack, a small enclosed storage space, a bottle holder and the audio output. Above the console, there was a reading light.
And, upon boarding, a noise-cancelling headset could be found on the console.
On the console’s wall, there were the seat controls, the side table light control, a do not disturb button which was connected to an indicator on the top of the seat, and a separate pair of buttons for controlling the seat when in recline mode. There was also the IFE remote control.
On the seat itself, there was a blanket waiting upon boarding. And, under the seat, there was a shoebox which included a pair of slippers.
In front of the seat itself, there was a large IFE screen and a coat hook to the left it. While it took me a bit of time to figure it out, under the screen, there was a little box with a power outlet and a USB port. And, under that, the fairly large and sturdy tray table could be found.
Finally, under the screen, there was the foot cubby which was quite deep, and decently wide and high. For some reason, there was a (blue) light in the foot cubby as well. Not sure what purpose it served, but I guess it’s better to have it than not to have it.
ANA Regional Business Class Pre-Departure Service
Going back to the flight, around 3:15PM, one of the cabin crew members came to ask me for the meal I wanted to have. Since I didn’t realize the menu was in the magazine rack on the console, I asked her to give me some more time to take a look at the menu.
Shortly after, she brought me an immigration form, and another couple of minutes later she came back to take the order. I opted for the Western choice and also asked for a cup of water since neither JAL nor ANA serve welcome drinks in business class.
Then at 3:20PM, one of the cabin crew members announced “cabin attendants, set slide bar,” and the aircraft doors were closed. Just three minutes later, at 3:23PM, we were pushed back. And, another couple of minutes later, one of the flight attendants came to take my empty cup in preparation for take-off.
Soon, we reached the end of runway 19, and after letting a United 777 land, we took off at exactly 4PM.
ANA Business Class Dinner
The seatbelt signs were switched off about five minutes after take off, and at that point, the crew could commence the dinner service.
First, a (luke)warm towel was brought, and that was followed by a single-use (quite cheap looking) table cloth, a drink (Coke in my case), and a pack of rice crackers. The rice crackers were served in a plastic package which wasn’t nearly as nice as when an airline serves nuts in actual glassware. However, at least there was a plastic tray inside the package which made it easy to eat the crackers.
About twenty minutes later, the main was served on a single tray together with a trio of appetizers and a bread roll. While the appetizers were nicely presented, the main came with an aluminum cover which made it look a bit like an economy class meal.
What was inside the cover, however, was a fairly nicely presented (and tasty) steak with sauce and some vegetables. It was well done, though, and so it might not have been to everyone’s liking.
Together with the meal, I was also served a cup of green tea.
Around the same time, we were cruising at 37,000 feet, and a welcome announcement was made by one of the pilots mentioning that it was 13 degrees and cloudy in Tokyo, and that we were expecting an on-time arrival.
After the meal, vanilla Hagen-Dazs ice cream was served. While I am a fan of Hagen-Dazs and I enjoyed the ice cream, it would have been nice if there was also a “real” dessert.
As by this time, I finished my tea, I asked crew for one more. And, it came in a slightly different – “more Japanese” cup this time.
Last Moments Before Descent
When I finished the ice cream, there was still about an hour and a half of flight time left, and so I decided to work a bit and back up some of the photos I took during the trip. I also checked the in-flight entertainment system a bit, but I won’t be writing about it in detail here since I already reviewed it here.
Besides the actual IFE, there was also in-flight wi-fi which was priced based on data usage (on domestic flights it’s free).
Landing at Tokyo Haneda Airport
We started descending shortly before 7:20PM Japan time. And, another ten minutes later, the seatbelt signs were switched on.
The landing gear was lowered yet another ten minutes later, and at 7:41PM, we touched down on Tokyo Haneda airport’s runway 34L. It took another seven minutes of taxiing before we reached our parking gate 108 at 7:48PM.
ANA 777-300ER Business Class Beijing – Tokyo Summary
The overall quality of the flight was certainly more than good enough for a sub-3-hour regional sector, and the hard product was excellent given that it was an aircraft configured for long-haul flights.
There were some areas of the flight where ANA disappointed me a bit, though. One of those was the presentation of the main meal. And another was the lack of a proper dessert.