Review: ANA first class NRT-SFO

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ANA NRT-SFO first class review

After a somewhat disappointing experience at ANA's first class Suite Lounge (extreme first world problems?), I headed to the gate for boarding for the final segment of my NRT-SFO flight on ANA first class.  Since Japan was still reeling from the super typhoon, the two previous NRT-SFO flights were cancelled, so you can imagine how full my flight was as it was the first to fly back to SFO in the past 3 days.

All the boarding group lanes were filled to pretty much maximum capacity.  After pre-boarding, which is for the elderly and passengers traveling with small children, first class passengers board in Group 1 along with top-tier Diamond elite members.

The B777-300 had two jetbridges, and one was for first class only, while the other for business and economy class.  Talk about exclusivity for first class, but is it really worth having a second jetbridge just to accommodate at most 8 passengers??

As a first class passenger, you get your own dedicated overhead storage bin, which I didn't even need to use since the seat itself had so more storage space that was more than ample for my backpack carry on.  After getting seated, I was greeted with my last name by both the chief purser and one of the first class flight attendants.  Just like my SFO-NRT flight, ANA has two flight attendants in first class and a first class purser for a total of 3 attendants serving at most 8 passengers.  Shortly after take off, the flight attendant serving my side of the plane came around with drink orders, and I went with none other but $180-bottle Krug champagne.

Since I would have to drive after landing, I decided to down as much Krug as possible during the first half of the flight, but I didn't want to fall in the trap of feeling buzzed for much of the flight and losing out on the experience like last time.

The menu looked better than the SFO-NRT flight's, and I ordered the Japanese Cuisine for my main course.  But once again, I requested the caviar appetizer from the Western Course as well as the king crab meat and grouper paupiette.

King crab and grouper paupiette: the ultimate luxury protein dish

Grilled avacodo stuffed with seafood and grilled wagyu beef

Caviar with scallops, abalone, and king crab: protein at its best (or most expensive)

After the main course, I decided to get a couple of anytime side dishes, which were better than the SFO-NRT flight's selection.  In first class, the flight attendant actually actively and continually asks what I want to eat next after every dish, assuming that one dish is never enough for me!

Yes, I only ate the sashimi protein and not the carbs

After just a couple of more glasses of Krug, I took a nap since I realized that I would have a full day ahead of me upon landing in the morning San Francisco time.  Instead of passing out entirely due to drinking, I actually allowed the flight attendant to make my bed and futon for me which is the customary case in first class.

About two hours before landing, the flight attendant went around with breakfast orders.  I went for the Japanese Cuisine again, which was Pacific saury fish as the main dish.

After breakfast, I reclined and ordered a few more side items all the way until 20 minutes before landing, which I could tell really stressed out the flight attendant....  After landing, we deplaned through the business class section, which appeared to be pretty modest when compared to the first class product.

Bottom line

ANA's first class in-flight product is solid, from the seat to the service and the food.  There could be more privacy with doors, as their new and updated first class and even business class products both have.  The formidable service is literally nonstop from take off to landing, and never was there a point where I was left wanting.  But the "problem" at least for me with flying in first class is that you get jaded to the extent that even business class seems insufficient, which was evidence when I deplaned through the business class cabin and saw how "narrow" the seats were compared to mine in first class.  So I probably need a reality check and go back to business class to remind myself that any seat that can recline into lieflat mode is something to be grateful for.  In other words, not EVERY flight needs to be accompanied with Krug champagne, caviar, and a personalized flight attendant fulfilling every one of your needs.

Need to go back to sitting in these "narrow" business class seats for an important reality check; cry me a river?


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