Review: ANA Business Class 787-9 (CGK-HND)

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ANA flight details

Airline : ANA – All Nippon Airways
Flight No : NH856
Departure City : Jakarta – Soekarno-Hatta (CGK)
Arrival City : Tokyo – Haneda (HND)
Equipment : Boeing 787-9 (JA921A)
Blocked Time : 7h25m
Seat No: 5A

ANA or All Nippon Airways is the main rival of Japan Airlines and arguably, the nation’s largest carrier. Operating a fleet of over 200 modern aircraft, the Star Alliance carrier is well-reputed internationally as one of the world’s best airlines. Just like Japan Airlines, ANA’s operations are centred around the carrier’s two hubs in Tokyo – Haneda and Narita. Whilst Haneda is chiefly a domestic base for the airline, it is also a premium hub for select high-revenue international flights for ANA. On this trip, I will be flying ANA from Jakarta to Manila, via Tokyo.

Booking ANA Business Class

If you paid attention, you might realise that the itinerary I am flying makes zero logical sense. Curiously, ANA actually files fares between Jakarta and Manila. For my travel dates, the airline was quoting an egregious sum of IDR 76,112,600 (~USD 4850, GBP 4000). As you would imagine this sum fits right in for this similarly egregious travel itinerary. For real now, who in the right mind would fly to Manila by overflying Manila first? Me! 😀 Don’t worry, though, I wasn’t stupid enough to pay nearly 5000 dollars for these flights.

The cost of my flights in cash

Whilst searching for a way to maximise the redemption of my expiring SAS Eurobonus points, I accidentally encountered this itinerary that books on ANA. Whilst the more conventional flights on Singapore Airlines were widely available, the same can’t be said for ANA. Although rare, my heart was set on flying ANA upon discovering the possibility of redeeming these flights, despite the wild detour. In the end, I redeemed 50,000 SAS Eurobonus points and paid JPY 12560 (~USD 85, GBP 70) for this incredible trip. Without a doubt, this redemption was an incredible value compared to the cash fare, despite making no logistical sense.


For this 21.25 ANA flight to Tokyo Haneda, I arrived at Soekarno-Hatta at 19.15, just over two hours before the scheduled departure time. I was dropped off at Door 1 of Terminal 3 since I knew ANA has a unique arrangement for its premium passengers and frequent flyers. Specifically, ANA is the only airline that I know of that contracts with the Priority Check-in area at the far end of the terminal. Apart from being close to departure security and immigration, the desks in this executive check-in area also feature chairs and sofas. This is quite special and reminds me a lot of the priority check-in wing in the old Terminal 2.

Priority Check In area at Soekarno-Hatta Airport

At the area’s reception, I confirmed with the staff on duty that I was flying Business Class on ANA. After explaining that I wasn’t checking in any baggage, I was directed to one of the counters in this empty check-in area. The agent assisting me did a double take when I told him I was flying to Manila. He then said, ‘Sir, may I confirm that you are flying ANA?’. Hah! His bewildered look did not go away, even after providing a copy of my e-ticket. After seeing that I did have such a reservation, he finally checked me in and issued my boarding passes.

With my boarding passes in hand, I decided to head to Island B, where ANA’s check-in counters are ordinarily located. To my surprise, the airline also has Diamond Service and Business Class priority counters in this area. Expectedly, the priority counters were deserted, whereas the Economy Class line snaked.


Much like the arrangement on my Japan Airlines flight a month back, ANA gives its elite and Business Class passengers a choice of using either of the two lounges in the international section of Soekarno-Hatta Airport Terminal 3. In the past, I’ve reviewed both the international Garuda Indonesia Lounge as well as the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge. In a previous installment, I also compared the offerings of the two lounges, which you can read here. Although neither of the two were objectively world-class lounges, I still appreciated the fact that ANA affords the option of using both for its customers.

Garuda Indonesia Lounge
Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge


After spending roughly an hour at the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge, I headed to Gate 2A, from which my ANA flight would depart. Although Gates 1 to 4 serves exclusively narrowbody flights, Soekarno-Hatta has in recent years started using the dedicated widebody stands on the left side of this wing. These gates are denoted by a letter suffix ranging from A to D (e.g. Gate 2D) and utilise one very long walkway attached to the jetbridges to board and deboard flights on the eight stands in this area. This also makes the letter-suffixed gates the least desirable in the airport, both in terms of location and accessibility.

Boarding Gate 2

At the gate, I found that separate lines were already set up for Diamond Service, Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy Class passengers, respectively. Although my boarding pass advised that boarding would commence at 20.55, there were signs at the gate saying that it was delayed by 10 minutes. Sure enough, boarding started at 21.05, commenced by an announcement in Japanese, English, and Bahasa Indonesia. Whilst I was amongst the first passengers queued in the Business Class line, there were quite a few Diamond Service passengers who had the right to board first. As such, I was sadly not able to board in time to get empty cabin pictures.

ANA Business Class Boarding Group 2

Since there were also arriving passengers using this walkway, there were passengers who unknowingly walked up to the gate instead of going down to the arrivals level. This caused a bit of a jam during boarding, as the airport personnel had to manually direct the arriving passengers to head downstairs. What a strange situation! Anyhoo, a member of the airport staff directed all the ANA passengers to the correct jetbridge, from which I boarded the aircraft through Door 2L.

ANA 787-9 Cabin

Our flight today is operated by ANA’s high-density Boeing 787-9, with 246 seats spread over three classes. However, to call this configuration high-density would be an overstatement; as a comparison, Vietnam Airlines’ lowest-density Boeing 787-9 features 274 seats! In Business Class, there are a total of 40 seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration spread between two cabins. Equipped is the ANA Staggered Business Class seat. Although it isn’t the airline’s flagship Business Class seat, this one is offered on the majority of long-haul ANA aircraft.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin

As you’d expect from a staggered configuration, the seats alternate between those closer to the aisle and those shielded from the aisle by the side table. Since the seats closer to the aisle do not feature any meaningful benefit, I would recommend selecting those away from the aisle. This way, you wouldn’t be disturbed as easily by the foot traffic from people passing by.

ANA Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin

In addition, ANA has also opted not to feature any ‘honeymoon seat’ in the centre section, which are two seats that are placed very close to each other. As such, the centre section seats are more or less identical to those on the side.

Seat details

As is common with staggered business class seats, there is a fixed ottoman right under the personal monitor. This makes up the foundation of the footwell in front of the seat. The space under the ottoman is hollow, which makes it an ideal place to store shoes inflight.

ANA Business Staggered seat back

On the side of the seat is a small table surface large enough to place a laptop. Next to that is a fixed literature pocket, alongside a hook for the provided headphones. The seat recline controls are located on the side of this table, slightly on top of the armrest. Thoughtfully, this was high enough to prevent one from accidentally pushing the buttons. Additionally, there is also a Do Not Disturb button, which lights up the Do Not Disturb sign on top of the seat.

ANA Staggered side table

Right under the seat controls is the tray table, which can be released by a small lever on the corner. The table is sturdy and large enough for one to work on with a laptop.

ANA Business Staggered tray table

In front of the seat is an 18-inch monitor, featuring the ANA SKY Channel entertainment system, which I’ll expand on in a bit. Next to it, there is also a coat hook embedded into the wall of the seat in front.

ANA Business Staggered monitor

This monitor is controlled either through the touch screen or by the remote control on the side of the seat. Located in the same area is also a personal reading light, in addition to a USB-A port, the headphone jack outlet, and a universal power outlet.

ANA Business Stagerred remote control and power outlets

Seat storage

Frustratingly, there isn’t really an enclosed storage space in the seat. This makes it difficult to store loose items during taxi, takeoff, and landing, during which time the side table has to be cleared. Furthermore, the many amenities offered at boarding were no help to the limited storage situation of the seat. For one, I would have at least expected a water bottle holder somewhere!


Already waiting on the seat during boarding was a packaged pair of slippers, headphones, a thick blanket, a large pillow, a small bottle of water, a wet towel, the inflight menu, and an amenity pouch. Much like the kits provided on Japan Airlines flights between Jakarta and Tokyo, ANA’s version is similarly nothing to get excited about.

Amenities in seat
Amenity kit, slippers, and headphones

Although visually appealing, the ANA amenity pouch features some very basic amenities suitable for a short overnight flight. Specifically, its contents include a toothbrush, ear plugs, a face mask, a shoe horn, and an eye mask. Do bear in mind that this pouch differs from the excellent Globe-Trotter branded amenity kits distributed by ANA on true long-haul flights.

Amenity kit content

Similarly, both the slippers and headphones were quite basic as far as they go compared to the same offerings in Business Class on a few other airlines. The collapsable Panasonic-branded headphones, for one, weren’t great and felt cheap and flimsy. I ended up using my own Bang and Olufsen noise-cancelling headphones for the rest of the flight. Despite that, I do appreciate that ANA’s slippers come with a small wrapping pouch to take home.

Departure from Jakarta

After being seated, a flight attendant greeted me and introduced herself. Afterwards, she offered to hang my jacket, which though expected, was still a nice touch. She then came back ask whether I’d like to be woken up for breakfast and consequentially, my breakfast meal order. During the boarding process, the purser went on the intercom to welcome us onboard this flight to Haneda. She also announced our flight time of six hours and fifty minutes, with an estimated arrival time of 06.55.

Traffic at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

The doors were closed at 21.25, 20 minutes after the boarding sequence was initiated. This was followed by the pushback five minutes later. As we taxied to the runway, the safety video was played. Although it is cute that they featured the various members of staff on ANA, the video isn’t quite as fun as the kabuki safety video from a few years back. The video is complemented by subtitles in Bahasa Indonesia, alongside a demonstration in sign language.

Safety video

Shortly before approaching the runway, the cabin lights were dimmed for takeoff. At 21.46, six minutes after our scheduled departure time, we took off from runway 25R, ascending to the skies to Tokyo!

Cabin before takeoff

Inflight Entertainment

After takeoff, I decided to briefly check out the ANA SKY Channel inflight entertainment system on the 18-inch monitor. In terms of movies, there was a choice of 110 films, 45 of which were recent releases. This was complemented by three live TV channels, which featured NHK, Sport 24, and CNN. A paid WiFi service was also available on this flight. Overall, I felt that the selection was definitely better than that offered by JAL’s Mooove entertainment system.

ANA SKY Channel Inflight Entertainment – recent releases
Live TV selection
NHK Live TV broadcasting

Post-departure drinks

Eight minutes after takeoff, the seatbelt signs were turned off and the crew announced that we were free to recline our seats. Five minutes later, the crew passed through the cabin to offer a brief, post-departure drink service. Theoretically, it was also possible to order from the Light Dishes menu at this time. However, since I was not particularly hungry, I decided to skip that and just opt for a glass of cold green tea instead.

Post-departure glass of cold green tea


Before heading to sleep, I decided to head to the lavatory to freshen up. ANA’s Boeing 787-9s are equipped with three lavatories in Business Class for a total of 40 passengers. As you’d similarly find on Japan Airlines, the toilet is thoughtfully equipped with a bidet.

ANA Boeing 787 Business Class lavatory

In addition to the ANA Original Aroma hand soap, on offer were also toothbrushes, packets of mouthwash, and a face and body sheet. The latter specifically is similar to a wet towel and acts to refresh the face and body in the absence of a shower. Definitely a thoughtful amenity to have if you don’t have access to a lounge on arrival!

ANA Boeing 787 Business Class lavatory

Bed mode

After freshening up, I decided to recline my seat into a bed to get some sleep. The seats are reclined with the intuitive buttons placed on the armrest. In bed mode, the seat slides forward and joins the ottoman in front. Additionally, as is the case with most flatbed Business Class seats, the seatback has a very slight angle when fully reclined.

ANA Business Class seat in flatbed mode

Compared to the typical reverse herringbone seat like you’d find on China Airlines or Cathay Pacific, the boxed-in footwell is a bit constrained. Although it was comfortable to sleep on your back in these seats, I couldn’t say the same when attempting to sleep on one’s side. Regardless, I managed to sleep for nearly three hours, which personally is pretty good for me!


At around 1 hour and 40 minutes before our estimated time of arrival, the cabin lights were turned on to a soft setting. At this time, the crew began to pass through the aisle for the breakfast service. As you’d expect from a Japanese airline, there was a choice between Japanese and Western for the breakfast meal. For reference, the following is the menu for this flight.

Inflight menu

Since I wasn’t interested in the prospect of the average airline omelette, I opted for the Japanese breakfast. To complement my meal, I requested a glass of roasted green tea (houjicha). In terms of other drinks, ANA offers a comprehensive beverage list on this flight. This curiously includes four choices of beer in addition to two choices each of sake and shoju. On this flight, ANA also served Castelnau Champagne, which was long the champagne on offer on Club Europe flights on British Airways. For reference, the following is the beverage list for the flight.

Inflight beverage list

Whilst waiting for the meal to be served, I decided to watch Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) on the inflight entertainment screen. In my opinion, it was not half bad.

Watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Japanese breakfast

About 10 minutes after ordering, my table was set up and a hot glass of roasted green tea was served, complemented by a wet towel.

Roasted green tea

The main meal soon followed five minutes later, which was served on a tray. The Japanese breakfast on my flight consists of a main course complemented by a small selection of starters, miso soup, and a side of pickles. Furthermore, a small serving of cut fruits was also provided with the meal.

Japanese breakfast

The selection of starters, or Zensai, consists of four elements: Grilled eel and cucumber with vinegar jelly, kombu seaweed-embedded Japanese rolled omelette, ginger-simmered prawn, and simmered apricots with a piece of konnyaku. These were topped with pieces of edamame or soybeans. Overall, the dish was simple and fresh, which made it pretty good.

Japanese breakfast starter

Following this was the main course of teriyaki-cooked chicken, served with a package of rice. I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of chicken, so this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Furthermore, the cut of meat for the chicken in the dish wasn’t exactly great. However, given my hunger combined with the steamed hot rice, the refreshing pickles, and the rich teriyaki flavours, the dish was surprisingly good and satisfying. The meal felt fully rounded with the miso soup and the side dish of cut fruits.

Japanese breakfast main course
Japanese breakfast accompaniments


Given the flight time and the overnight nature of this flight, I’ll note that my interactions with the crew were quite limited. Regardless, I did feel that the service on this flight was quite robotic. Whilst the flight attendants were polite, they did notably seem less warm and sociable compared to the crew on the Japan Airlines flight I took a month earlier. In such a sense, the service can be described to be more reactive than proactive, which I suppose is reasonable for a short overnight like this.

Arrival in Haneda

50 minutes before landing, the captain made his first announcement of the flight. After welcoming us onboard ANA, he announced the details of our descent and arrival. Specifically, we were expecting to land at 06.40, which is earlier than our initial expected time of arrival. By this time, I was finished with my meal and the tray was cleared from my table.

View on our final approach

About 20 minutes before landing, the seatbelt signs were finally lit. At this time, the crew did a final pass through the cabin for their safety checks. In addition, they also thoughtfully offered some hard candy and postcards, a pre-arrival service which you don’t see on many airlines!

Landing in Haneda

We landed at Tokyo Haneda International Airport at 06.33 local time, a full 17 minutes before our scheduled time of arrival. Despite the fine weather, the touchdown was curiously a bit rough. Regardless, I was happy that we arrived early, giving me a bit more time to check out the ANA Lounge at Haneda Airport. As we taxied to our gate, the purser thanked us for flying with ANA and welcomed us to Tokyo.

JA921A at Haneda Airport

Around five minutes later, we arrived at our final parking position, during which time the crew played ANA’s disembarkation video on the entertainment screens. The doors were opened a few minutes later, at which time I thanked the crew before exiting the plane from Door 1L. In the terminal, I finally caught my first glimpse of JA921A, the Boeing 787-9 that flew us to Tokyo.

JA921A at Haneda Airport


Between the excellent inflight entertainment and the good Japanese meal, I felt that ANA has a strong and competitive Business Class product. Despite that, I did leave the flight feeling a bit conflicted. For one, despite being fully flat, I found the seats to be very mediocre and definitely lacked storage. Combined with the mediocre service and the short flight time, the experience personally fell short compared to the same route on Japan Airlines. Although I wouldn’t hesitate to fly ANA again, based on this flight, I wouldn’t be compelled to say that they have the best product in Japan.

Read more from this trip!

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