We were excited to finally get this trip started to Cambodia! This post is a quick review of our ANA flight from San Francisco to Tokyo-Narita on a Boeing 777, where we would have an 18-hour layover, before jumping on another flight to Phnom Penh. I was looking forward to my first time flying with ANA since I heard about the excellent service onboard!

November 2016
All Nippon Airways (ANA) – NH7
San Francisco (HKG) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
Boarding time: 10:35am
Departure time: 11:00pm scheduled / 11:05pm actual
Arrival time: 3:15pm scheduled / 3:25pm actual
Boeing 777-300ER

We arrived at San Francisco International Airport at about 9am and proceeded to ANA’s check-in counter in aisle 3 of International Terminal G. There was no line at all, so we quickly received our boarding passes. The ground staff wondered what was going on in Cambodia, as they came across a bunch of people heading to Phnom Penh over the last few days. Unsurprising, I told them, that people had taken advantage of the $426 ANA flight deal!

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After a quick breakfast at the AMEX Centurion Lounge, we got to the gate at 10:20, when people started to line up for boarding. Economy class is divided into two lines based on seat numbers, while premium class / Star Alliance Gold members have separate priority lanes. Boarding promptly started at 10:40am. 

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This ANA 777-300ER has a 3-4-3 seat configuration in economy class. Our seats 33D and 33E were a couple of rows behind the galley in the middle section of the last cabin. Since this was an 11-hour flight, it was a no brainer for me to pick either D and E or F and G seats for direct aisle access. 

As we were getting seated, a few flight attendants passed out the custom forms for entering into Japan; others helped passengers get their luggage into the overhead compartment, something you certainly wouldn’t see on a domestic US flight. 

I notified a flight attendant that my screen didn’t work. She immediately said that they would reset the system, which worked about 15 minutes later. I appreciated that she even came back to check that everything was working properly. 

The cabin door was closed at 11:05am and we began to push back. The pilot announced that we were expecting to arrive at 3:35pm local time in Japan, which is 17 hours ahead of California. 

Although Seatguru quoted a 31-inch pitch on this aircraft, it felt like there was slightly more legroom than domestic coach seats on United / American Airlines.

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Each seat has a touch screen in-flight entertainment system, which featured a few new movie releases, along with a variety of Asian and Western shows. Movie selection was overall poor when compared to most other airlines. The best movies I could find were Taken and Jason Bourne, while the rest of the catalog was uninteresting. I wish there would be more Hollywood classics, at least.

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There is a plug for standard 3.5mm audio jack for normal headphones and a USB charger port. The background light illuminates based on a motion sensor, which is helpful when the cabin is completely dark. Universal power outlets are located in between seats.

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Once we were airborne, the flight attendants passed around bottled water, rice cracker and sanitizing towel. We noticed that the napkins are made of recycled green tea leaves, which we thought was pretty thoughtful.

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Rice cracker and green tea 

At this point, the cabin crew started beverage service. The drinks menu is fairly standard, with a variety of soft drinks, juice, coffee, milk, hot/cold green tea and a few alcoholic options. Beers available include Asahi, Sapporo Draft and Suntory malt beer, all of which are solid Japanese options.

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The menu also suggests that toothbrushes, eye masks, postcards and pens are available on demand.

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Meal service began about 2 hours into the flight. I liked that the cabin crew first passed around a laminated menu showing the Japanese entree and Western entree options for the day, so you would have some time to read and decide, rather than having to make a split-decision on what you want to eat. 

Each meal came with appetizers and a mouthful of soba noodle. The Japanese entree option was miso-grilled mackerel, which was a bit dry, but the seasoned vegetables were delicious. The Western option was meat ball with tater tot, which was decent. 

I also ordered a glass of Sapporo Draft to go with my meal, which was refreshing. In the end, Haagen-Dazs vanilla-flavored ice-cream was served to wrap up the meal.

The usable space on tray table was fairly limited, as there was a 1-inch ridge towards the end. Once the entire meal was presented, there was barely any space to put a cup anywhere. I almost knocked over my beer and spilled.

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Overall, the service was organized and responsive, as you would expect from a Japanese airline. All cabin crew had a great smile, and always appeared ready to help. When a nearby passenger spilled on his shirt, a couple of flight attendants came immediately to assist, clean the seat and offer an ANA sweater for him to change (supposedly for business class passengers) so they can hang and dry his shirt.

Cabin lights were dimmed shortly after meal service, as we were passing by Alaska. In between watching a movie and getting some work done, I visited the galley, where some self-served drinks and snacks were available.

In the galley, a flight attendant was preparing a special dessert for two passengers with ice cream, chocolate and syrup. I also saw an ANA toy model plane that says “Happy wedding from ANA!” I was impressed that the crew went out of the way to do this even for passengers in economy class. 

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Snacks in galley

Half way through the flight, I decided to take a nap. Even though I still carry inflatable neck pillow with me on international flights, I don’t really use it anymore since the adjustable neck rest pretty much does the trick.

The cabin was a bit cold, so I was glad to have a thin jacket and the blanket available at each seat, which was sufficient to keep myself warm.

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I woke up about 2 hours away Japan, as the cabin crew began to serve breakfast, which includes a fruit salad, a Chobani yogurt and one of the two entree options. I picked the seafood pasta with marinara sauce, which was average.

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We then prepared for descend and landed in Tokyo Narita International Airport about 3:30 pm local time the next day.

Conclusion 

My first flight with ANA met expectations. All cabin crew had a positive attitude and provided excellent service. Food and drink options were decent for economy class: I loved the beer options (get the Sapporo draft!) and ice-cream for dessert. In-flight entertainment was weak with limited options. Seats were average, so people with longer legs might struggle a bit. Overall I do recommend ANA if you see decent prices going to Tokyo or other parts of Asia.

Have you flown with ANA before? How was your experience? 

Author

Travel blogger @ travelblob.com. While working full-time as a consultant, I'm constantly planning for my next trip and taking advantage of my weekends and time off to see the world. I have managed to visit more 100+ cities in over 25 countries, and am looking forward to visiting another 25 countries by 2020! I hope the travel tips, reviews and guides on this site will spark travel ideas and help you plan for the next trip!

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