Review: ANA Boeing 787-9 business class (Sydney - Haneda, Tokyo)

Overall Rating

By James Fordham, May 20 2019
ANA Boeing 787-9 business class (Sydney - Haneda, Tokyo)
Route

Sydney - Tokyo (Haneda)

Aircraft Type

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Airline

All Nippon Airways

Flight

NH880

Cabin Class

Business Class

Seat

10C

Notes
The Good
  • Great timings for business travellers
  • High-quality Japanese meals
  • Comfortable fully-flat bed
The Bad
  • No pre-departure drinks or pyjamas
X-Factor
  • Attentive Japanese service
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

Flying into Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is our preferred option when jetting to Japan, and ANA’s flight schedule makes this a particularly attractive choice when heading out from Sydney.

With NH880 departing daily around 9pm and arriving at 5:30am in Tokyo, you can get a full days work in before jetting out. And when you land you're left with the full day for meetings and catching up with clients after sleeping on the roughly 10 hour flight. 

Join us as we sample the offerings on ANA’s NH880 in Business Class.

Check-in

  • Frequent Flyer Program: You can credit your miles to ANA’s Mileage Club frequent flyer program, or to any Star Alliance partner airline. Additionally, you can also credit miles earned to the frequent flyer programs of Etihad, Garuda, Vietnam Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. For booking flights with ANA using points, it may be best to convert your points to the frequent flyer programs of Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways.
  • Checked Baggage Allowance: Business class passengers on ANA are entitled to 2 pieces of checked baggage, weighing up to 32kg each. Star Alliance Gold members receive an extra piece (also up to 32kg in weight) as part of their baggage allowance, as do ANA Mileage Club members with a Bronze or higher status.
  • Carry-On Baggage Allowance: Carry-on baggage is limited to one piece per person, but this doesn’t include personal belongings like handbags, cameras or other small items. Passengers can bring a maximum of 10kg on-board, including personal belongings. Your carry-on baggage must be no more than 115cm in total linear dimensions, with a length of each side not exceeding 55 cm x 40 cm x 25 cm.
  • Priority Airport Services: Business class passengers have access to priority check-in lanes at Sydney Airport, as well as access to Express Path security (although this is currently closed until at least the end of August 2019 due to construction)

Lounge

ANA doesn’t have its own lounge facility at Sydney airport – instead guests are directed to the Air New Zealand international lounge.

Keep in mind that as a business class passenger of ANA or a Star Alliance Gold member, you are also entitled to use the Singapore Airlines lounge at Sydney airport.

You can read our comparison of the two lounges, as well as our individual reviews of both the Air New Zealand lounge and the Singapore Airlines lounge.

Flight

As operator of the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 787s, ANA unsurprisingly flies a 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on the NH880 route.

For those that have meetings in Tokyo and want to minimise time away from work, NH880s schedule is fantastic – it’s easy to leave the office, head to the lounge to unwind or do some more work for an hour or two, and then sleep in the air on your way to an early morning start in Tokyo. It’s also helpful that you don’t have to make the trek from Narita to the CBD, as NH880 flies direct to Haneda airport.

NH880 operates daily, and the daily return leg is completed on NH879, which leaves Tokyo around 10:30PM and deposits you in back Sydney at around 9AM.

Amenity kits are provided to passengers, however pyjamas are not.

Seat

ANA’s 787-9 Dreamliner has 215 seats split between business class, premium economy and economy cabins. 

The 48 business class seats are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 layout so that each passenger enjoys privacy as well as direct aisle access, with all business class seats converting into a fully-flat bed. 

Our pick of the bunch if travelling solo is one of the single seats by the windows, preferably the seats directly adjacent to the window for an extra bit of privacy and easier access to your drinks and personal items. That’s any row from 1 to 6 with either A or K as the designated seat letter, as the latter rows are closer to the bathrooms.

The seat itself is spacious, with an ottoman directly in front of you if you want to stretch your legs out.

There’s also storage space underneath this ottoman for a small bag.

In the departure seating position there's plenty of seat pitch and width. 

The side shelf is ample, and great for keeping drinks out of the way or any work items you may need on hand.

The large main table easily slides in and out, but isn’t height adjustable. It's still very sturdy if you need to use it as a workspace though. 

The wall of the side shelf houses the entertainment system controller, a USB port, and a power point, as well as a headphone socket. ANA provides noise-cancelling headphones, or you can bring your own.

Seat controls are also on-hand to adjust the pitch and recline of your seat to suit your preferred position.

When it’s time to get some shut-eye, the seat extends into a fully-flat bed, with a bed pad, comforter and pillow provided. 

Unlike some business class products we’ve experience in the past, the footwell isn’t so narrow that you feel cramped when you’re fully outstretched. ANA also provides a mattress topper, similar to quite a few other quality airlines, which smoothes out bumps in the seat. As a side-sleeper, I was able to get comfortable and adjust positions quite easily, resulting in around 5 hours of continuous sleep.

The lights in the cabin are only turned on about an hour before landing, so that you can maximise your sleeping time.

There’s also a ‘do not disturb’ button that you can activate, if you prefer not to be woken up for meal or beverage services.

Meal

Meals on-board NH880 were fresh and tasty – our only gripe was that there were no pre-departure drinks offered, which would have been a great touch. Food service starts off with a cloth towel and is delivered efficiently within two hours of take off, allowing plenty of time to sleep. 

Meal service starts off with drinks and this is where ANA not only offers the standard range of a Champagne, two whites, and two reds, but also a wine from their "Premium selection." Tonight's wine is the Yealands Estate Land Made Pinot Gris 2016, which I opt for.

ANA recently revamped their advance meal selection choices, allowing all business class passengers to choose from a wider range of options before their flight (previously this was just a small selection available to ANA Mileage Club members).

The Japanese main meal offered for pre-selection is ‘grilled butterfish with miso paste and steamed rice’, while the Western offering is ‘grilled chicken with curry and caper sauce, and saffron rice’.

Opting for the Japanese selection, the grilled butterfish was served with a selection of small Japanese dishes, or Zenshai. This included an Okinawan spinach and yuba bean curd with a soy-based sauce, a sea bream and burdock root roll with prawn and celery on a skewer, simmered scarlet runner beans in syrup and a Japanese savory omelette with dried nori seaweed flakes.

Traditional saké is also offered on-board, as well as a range of wine, spirits and beers. I opt for the Tenzan Junmai Gingo sake to accompany my meal.

To finish off, I asked the crew for the dessert from the "International cuisine" menu, one made by Parisian company Pierre Hermé  consisting of coconuts dacquoise, coconut cream, pineapple and seasoned with fresh lime.

If you get peckish during the flight, snacks and light meals are available on-demand, including sandwiches, takoyaki (Japanese octopus balls), cheese plates, desserts and nibbles.

ANA serves two premium whiskies in business class, Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Suntory Hibiki, which the crew were happy to pour for an impromptu tasting. 

I tried a cheese plate...

...and a sandwich in the morning, an hour before landing. No formal meal service is offered in the morning, however you can order the sandwich set, fruits, various juices and snacks and make your own meal. I preferred this to the cabin being woken up two hours before landing to serve a full meal. 

Entertainment & Service

Service on the flight is attentive and thoughtful, and we couldn’t fault the flight attendants – there’s a fine line between being too attentive and not attentive enough, and they seemed to do a great job balancing that for each passenger’s preferences.

Entertainment-wise, business class passengers on ANA’s NH880 flight get an 18-inch screen, with a limited selection of entertainment – on my flight, this included around 25 new release Hollywood films, and around 50 films in total. There’s also a selection of television and music available. 

I watched the recently released Bad Times at the El Royale before turning in for the night, but there’s plenty of other good options available if you’re not interested in sleeping.

If you need to burn the midnight oil and get some work done or check emails, ANA also offers an in-flight Internet service priced at USD$6.95 for 30 minutes, $16.95 for 3 hours or $21.95 for a 24-hour pass.

Overall

ANA’s NH880 flight is a great option when heading to Tokyo or beyond, and the arrival into Haneda makes it especially good for business travellers that have meetings during the day.

The seats, meals, service and quality of amenities offered are all of a high standard, and make for a restful and refreshing trip to Japan from Sydney.

The writer travelled as a guest of ANA.

james_fordham

James has been interested in aviation ever since his first flight. When he’s not travelling, he’s still on the road indulging his motoring hobby, or trying a new whisky.

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 26

I found the food almost inedible on this flight in November 2018. Very disappointing. Hopefully it has improved since then.

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 74

Never had a bad meal on ANA, this was the last one in October 2018, beautiful

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 706

Interesting advice here:


"For booking flights with ANA using points, it may be best to convert your points to the frequent flyer programs of Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways."

For comparison I've used transfers from amex points for a oneway business class redemption...

Air NZ requires 1235 APD = 247,000 Amex Points
Singapore requires 94.5k miles = 189,000 Amex Points
Thai requires 75k miles* = 150,000 Amex Points

Other airlines provide much better value...

Etihad requires 54k miles = 108,000 Amex Points
Virgin Atlantic 45k miles* = 90,000 Amex Points

* Virgin and Thai require awards on ANA to be booked as a round trip but I've shown a oneway price.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 349

Just pray there is not a last minute swap to a 787-8 with 2-2-2 slant beds have had this happen several times with NH also to/from NRT-SIN

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

My wife and I flew this flight in March and we both got pyjamas

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 74

thats new, I've flown that route a few times and never got PJs...

Etihad - Etihad Guest

22 May 2019

Total posts 1

Our experience in March was not as good. The business seats are smallish and there is virtually no secure stowage place for bottles of water, phones, anything. On the way to Japan our cabin was oppressively hot. Impossible to sleep properly. The return trip was more tolerable temperature wise.


A 9.30 pm takeoff and feeding a big meal at 11pm doesn't work for everyone, especially if one has eaten in the business lounge at a more usual hour. Breakfast was really poor. All we were offered is a dried out sandwich so, at the very least, it seems food service on different flights is variable.

PJ's are offered but you are supposed to hand them back.

Cabin crew were great

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2017

Total posts 8

The seat /control layout, side table & dual height foot area resemble EK business minus the bling & questionable mini-bar (which may be preferable to some). Are they from the same supplier?

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 64

Agree - 787, service levels and Haneda are massive positives. However, based on my several trips in this cabin, I am amazed the ANA business class ranks so highly in the various ratings (eg Skytrax). Hate to sound like a prat critiquing Business class, but for such a well rated J class product...food ordinary, bedding is really below par, I find the seat fine for sleeping, uncomfortable for sitting. As mentioned, I only make these points because it ranks so highly, when so many other J class products, that rank lower, really are superior.

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

Overnight and into Haneda would be a distinct plus for business travel. My experience (albeit in the reverse direction) was very disappointing, far short of the comfort and service on my last trip to/from Japan, on JAL in PE but that does mean Narita and the loss of a day each way, which suited me.

As to the hard product I concur with the assessment to aim for a seat by the window, I was in 4K IIRC but found the seats/bed incredibly narrow and measured them at 20". The Qantas A380 seats in Economy are that width! It showed when trying to sleep I kept rolling off the mattress and into the gap next to the cabin wall. I eventually tightened the belt considerably to hold me on.

The soft product was very disappointing especially in view of the ANA boast about being a 5* airline. The gist was that after takeoff at 10:30PM they seemed to wait for an interminable length of time before serving the one and only meal, keeping the lights full on all that time in the rather antiseptic bluish white cabin. Economy passengers suffered the same fate. When it did eventually come yes the food was good but not exceptional however by that time I was over-tide and could not appreciate the food, just wanting the g**d**n lights turned off. Then that was it. When I realised there would be no breakfast I called for something and was given a soggy bread roll with some salmon in it. I wonder do they delay the dinner until about 1:30AM so as to have it stretch out until mid-way through the flight, and thus obviate the need for breakfast.

Qantas do a late evening departure from NRT much better: On the assumption people will have already had dinner well before boarding what they do soon after takeoff is to serve a supper and then turn promptly down the lights for a decent stretch of hours for sleep before doing a reasonable breakfast a couple of hours out from arrival.

I refer the JAL 787 J seats instead, spacious, comfortable and have much privacy with the window seats. The only layout I found that give a couple the option to seat together, next to the windows AND direct access.


Food are great and beautifly presented (Japanese option), inflight ramen is wonderful for snacks. We actually refer this product over Emirates F when travelling to Europe.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on ANA Boeing 787-9 business class (Sydney - Haneda, Tokyo)