Review: ANA NRT First Class Suite Lounge and Check-in

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ANA NRT First Class Suite Lounge and Check-in review
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After a short stint in Tokyo a the Intercontinental the Strings, it was time to head home in first class, which I had booked for only 85k Citi ThankYou points roundtrip.  The Narita Express (NEX) runs between the Shingawa Station and Tokyo Narita International Airport, so I took the NEX and arrived into NRT in a little over an hour.  Due to the recent super typhoon, the airport was jam packed and the check-in lines were stretching literally across the entire international terminal.  Fortunately, ANA has a dedicated check-in room for first class and top-tier Diamond passengers.


ANA Suite Check-In



Upon entering the room, an agent takes your name and flight number then leads you to the sofas for seating.  The room has 12 fully staffed check-in counters as well as sofas for seating, but they called my name literally right before I could even take a seat.  Considering that ANA only features up to 8 seats in their first class cabins, the 12 counters were more than enough.





The service is good as your check-in agent gets your check-in bags for you.  But the best part is the zero wait, and the exit area leaves directly to priority security screening.


ANA Suite Lounge

After clearing security and immigration, which took only a few minutes, I headed to the ANA Suite Lounge, which was actually quite the hike from the immigration area.  The ANA Suite Lounge is ANA's first class lounge, and only international Star Alliance first class passengers and top-tier Diamond elite members have access.  The lounge is literally the only feature located on the 4th floor of Terminal 2, whereas the boarding gates are all on the 3rd floor and the business class ANA lounge on the 2nd floor.




The lounge was spacious with a general seating area, dining area, and personal room area.  Even with the extensive seating, the lounge did feel on the fuller side.  A Thai Airways A380 and several other ANA long-haul flights to Europe and North America were scheduled for take off soon, so there were likely a good number of first class passengers on those flights in the lounge.  Upon entering the lounge, an agent takes your drink order and provides you your drink when you sit down.  Unfortunately, that's pretty much the only personalized service that the lounge offered.





The personal rooms offered a good amount of privacy, and I was surprised to see that most of the suites were empty.




The dining area consisted of a buffet, drink counter, and ANA's famous noodle soup bar.





I ordered a sashimi donburi from the noodle soup bar, though I just wanted the protein.  The chef hands you a pager that notifies you when your order was ready, which only took a few minutes.








The rest of the food was all surprisingly "meh".  The cold options like appetizers and salad were fresh but average, and the hot food was what you would find at any int'l business class lounge.  Aside from some sashimi donburi, the lounge doesn't have any sashimi or real sushi options, which even the Japan Airlines Sakura business class lounges feature.  In other words, nothing is really worth the calories as food in the upcoming ANA first class flight would be exponentially superior.



After getting another sashimi donburi and only eating the protein, I headed for my gate, which was just downstairs of the lounge.


Bottom line

ANA's first class ground product is in serious need of an upgrade, especially when compared to the likes of the European and gulf carriers.  The Suite check-in room is nice but nothing particularly special, and the Suite Lounge is only marginally better than your average international business class lounge.  ANA could really use better gourmet food options, personalized service, and an a la carte dining area, which they do now have at their Haneda International Airport Suite Lounge during certain hours.  Nonetheless, ANA's overall first class ground product, particularly the Suite Lounge, leave much to be desired, especially for a 5-star carrier.  The lounge isn't worth going to the airport early for in my opinion, and I would rank some business class lounges like the United SFO Polaris Lounge as significantly better.





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