ANA first class “The Suite”: In-flight impressions


I’m writing this post from “The Suite” with only two hours left before we land in San Francisco.  I forced myself out of my comfy bed in the sky, and stepped across the aisle to my living room of sorts in order to try to publish this while flying.  I’m hoping to get this out quickly so that we can potentially answer reader questions while still in the air.  Unfortunately, the free wi-fi is so slow that every photo upload is a struggle.  If you read this with few photos, be sure to check back later when we add more.

As a reminder, this ANA first class flight from Tokyo to San Francisco was the foundation for this year’s team challenge, Party of 5 (please see this post for day by day challenge updates).
a group of people posing for a photo
On board ANA’s The Suite first class. Left to right: Stephen, Tim, Carrie, Greg, Nick

Upon boarding our flight, we discovered that we were the only passengers in first class. The Frequent Miler team, our Party of 5, made up the entire first-class manifest. This was awesome in itself, but especially because it meant that our on-board shenanigans wouldn’t disturb other passengers. We were free to record video, talk, and laugh with abandon. Each suite is plenty big enough for two to dine together. And, so, by lowering the partition between suites, we were able to fit four together with our fifth standing at the end of the table. This arrangement proved to be an awesome way to eat together, drink Krug together, and even do a whiskey tasting together (we compared the 3 whiskies on-board and we all loved the Hibiki).

a group of people sitting at a table in a plane

Carrie in ANA Suite
This suite could fit two Carries side by side
two men eating at a table in an airplane
Greg and Nick dining together while also enjoying a whiskey tasting where we compared three top shelf whisky options: Johnnie Walker Blue Label (meh), Talisker 18 Years Old (better), and Suntory Whisky Hibiki 17 Years Old (awesome)

After dinner, the flight attendants offered to make up our beds. I asked to have mine made up in the empty suite across the aisle from me. That way I’d have a separate bedroom suite from the “living room” suite that I was in until ready to sleep. And, when I awoke, I simply crossed the aisle from my bedroom back to my living room so that I could continue writing this post (which I had started before going to bed).

a tv on the side of a plane
A top down view of my “living room”
a man sleeping in a bed
Nick also had a separate suite made up as his bed.  With anyone else, I wouldn’t have intruded by reaching my phone over the privacy door to take a candid photo, but I know Nick well enough to know that he won’t mind.  My iPhone 13 Pro did a great job of taking this photo in the dark while he slept (really, Nick was sound asleep and it really was quite dark!).  Note that even though eye shades and ear plugs were available, they weren’t needed.  The cabin was dark and quiet when we slept.
a large screen with a person standing in front of it
Here’s a view of the center two suites in the first row.  The entire first class cabin has two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Quick observations

In order to get this post out quickly, here are my first-impression notes…

Before boarding…

  • Surprised there were no special first class ground services.  In past international first class experiences, I’ve been escorted through private security lanes, escorted to the plane (once in a Mercedes), and more.  Nothing like that happened in Tokyo.
  • First class lounge was fine, but more like a good business class lounge.

On board…

  • Beautiful cabin!
  • Suites are very large: plenty of room for two people to dine together, or for a giant like Tim to stretch out very comfortably.
  • Service was excellent
  • Food catering was disappointing.  Only “light dishes anytime” were offered on this particular flight.
  • Drink options were excellent: Krug 2004; Hibiki Suntory Whisky 17 Years Old (fantastic)
  • In flight entertainment screen is huge and beautiful
  • Flight attendants proactively offered to make up our beds with padding and blankets.
  • The bed was awesome (mostly).  The only downside was that even with the extra padding the bed was harder than I’d prefer.  Otherwise, there was endless room for stretching out.  And I loved that the cabin was plenty dark enough and quiet enough to sleep without eye shades or earplugs!
  • Wi-fi was free, but awfully slow.  When I last flew across the pacific in the other direction on a United flight from San Francisco to Tokyo, the internet was blazing fast and so I know that it’s possible to have fast wi-fi on this route.  That was a huge bummer because I was hoping that the team could do a live stream from the flight.

Bottom Line

ANA’s The Suit first class offers a great hard product: spacious suites with doors, comfortable beds, and amazing in-flight entertainment screens.  Service is very good too.  The food catering and ground services, though, do not compare favorably with other top end options like Emirates first class or Lufthansa first class.  And the suites, while terrific, aren’t in the same league with regards to spaciousness and privacy found in suite products like Singapore Suites, Emirates new suites, or Etihad First Apartments.


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Stefan Krasowski (@rapidtravelchai)

Here’s the page for what flights are moving to Terminal 2 and when.

Stefan Krasowski (@rapidtravelchai)

@Greg – I flew ANA international business class for the the first time last month and too was struck by the lack of ground services at HND Terminal 3. Only one staffed check-in counter for Business (so we used the kiosks). No expedited security. No feel of anything that ANA had put into it beyond the very standard lounge with some good noodles and excellent chicken karaage and curry rice.

Then came the ANA email 5/26 announcing international flights partial return to Terminal 2 starting July 19, here’s the notice for JFK. I’ve flown ANA domestic out of Terminal 2 since they re-opened for foreign tourism and that terminal has much more ANA instructure so perhaps it will be a much better ground experience there. With the difficulties Japan immigration has had staffing up to process arrivals, it is a fair assumption that this delayed re-opening is driven by that rather than airline choice.


Hi Stefan! Ditto recently flew the old ANA product and was struck by how poor the premium experience is on the ground. The biz lounge was an absolute zoo and imo very basic food offerings that wouldn’t even meet the most basic fast food restaurant in Japan. Perhaps this is the standard because the domestic lounges also have poor offerings with often no food choices and just a few soft drinks/beers on offer. Definitely struck by how substandard their ground product is when their soft is much higher.


Did you guys check in on the Virgin Atlantic app or the ANA app or at the airport?


Thank u Greg! I also have the seats selected through ANA. U guys had an amazing trip!!


How many days before your departure date did you book the F for ANA? I mean, when does ANA open F tickets for booking?


I’m guessing you guys departed from HND airport, because when I checked in for my flight from NRT, there was a separate First Class check in room and security screening. As for the inflight meal, non-midnight flight’s offering was excellent!


Thanks for brief but nice roundup guys! But so disappointing the catering offering was below par as this flight originates from ANA’s main hub!!! Could this be due to the pandemic (slowly recovering post pandemic)?


It’s more due to the timing of the flight (departs HND at 11pm) so most people go to sleep right away. The earlier evening NRT flight has full catering

Tim Steinke Fan Club President

Nick should be in charge of picking the hats

Julie Garrison

I second this!


Did you get 5 first class ANA award tickets on the same flight? Can you please share how?

A frequent visitor to frequent miler

ANA released tons of First Class seats originating and flying to SFO on 2 separate days in Jan I believe. There were as many as 5 seats available at a time. The first day was April-July the second day they released August-Oct… they picked up a flight and announced it on the website. The availability was gone within hours.


How many months before the travel date does ANA release First class seats ??


This was a one time thing to/from SFO… usually if you find First Class its a few days before the flight.

Curious David

As someone who is still yet to fly 1st or business (though business is coming very soon!) What would you say is normally the difference between First Class lounge and business class. What was ANA missing? (in there home turf at that!)


Some examples of things other airline first class lounges have that business class lounges don’t have:

Private bathrooms with tubs vs shower stalls or smaller shower rooms
Short complimentary spa services
Menu ordering restaurant style vs. buffet and better quality catering
Better drink/alcohol selection/quality
Generally better service (staff to passenger ratio better)

Alf Storri

Those seats look similar to one of the types found in JAL 787-9 business class. Truly excellent.

Bill n DC

Brilliant finish for the Away team! What an amazing experience!
And timely for me Thanks. because I haven’t yet flown the new First and second I’m flying JAL JFK HND on Saturday seat 2K
Looking forward to the Home team’s offer 🙂


When the award space opened up a few months back, I too focused on getting the newer product, which meant SFO-HND and vice versa, but the late hour leaving (from both SFO and HND) meant that you’d only get the limited service. If you had booked the NRT route, it would have had the old planes, and the timing meant that you’d get full meal service.

Did you all try the on demand food items?


Would certainly appreciate a roundup later of all the first class options available for miles and your relative opinion on them, with or without miles value attached to them.

Hope you got enough rest. With the upcoming leg being planned by Mr. Reyes, who knows how many hours of sleep you’ll get.


Hi Greg! As I’ll be traveling ANA first SFO-HND-SFO on the redeye, could you please share the food reviews of the light items? Thanks!

Al C

What time was the flight that they didn’t have a full meal service?


Departs HND at 10:55pm

Al C

Full meal at the end of the flight?


Is it worth going out of your way to fly first over business on this route?


Hmmmm. Have I elevated my expectations too high? I fly ANA 1st both ways from SFO in three months. Did ANA know who you are??? I don’t see any disguises worn by anyone. I assume the staff wanted selfies with all of you….


Am I joking? LOL….are you joking??? LOL. And here I was going to drive to SFO to be there with the throngs to greet you all as you exited customs… Make sure you get some Sees candies and sourdough bread whilst in San FranCISCO!!!! (Don’t say San Fran…..)


Are you cavedweller’s alter ego?


How is this compared to JAL first from Tokyo to NA?
I’m assuming you’ll get no extra ground services as well? (Which is a bit surprising given Japanese service reputation)

Hard product maybe better on new ANA, all you can drink Salon champagne on JAL, maybe better lounge for JAL?


JL only loads 1 bottle of Salon for entire flight no matter the number of passengers so it isn’t unlimited. No ground service for either airline in First. Both lounges are about equivalent.


Then personally I would pick the ANA, since the hard product seems way better and newer


Yes, my personal ranking is new ANA Suite>JL F>Old ANA F. Both airlines offer PJ’s in First


Do ANA first class and business class give PJs? Last time was in biz class and no PJ


I think this may be the most important question ever asked.


I love my PJs 😉

Last edited 10 months ago by Josh

First class has PJs. None in business class. Both offers a cardigan to use onboard.