All Nippon Airways 843, HND – SIN

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NH 843

HND – SIN

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Economy Class, Seat 33A

 

Prologue

All Nippon Airways (ANA) easily ranks as one of the world’s top airlines, renowned globally for its excellent cabin products and attentive onboard service. Since our previous flight in 2016, it has fast become our airline of-choice for Japan flights and we were excited to fly with them again. Having confirmed a recent trip to Tokyo relatively close to departure, we were booked in Economy Class on flight NH 843, one of several daily flights from Tokyo (Haneda) to Singapore.

 

Check-In

 

Getting to Tokyo (Haneda) was a breeze using the convenient Airport Limousine Bus from our hotel in Shinjuku and we soon arrived at the International Terminal for overseas flights. Although ANA offers online check-in 24 hours before departure, we chose the old fashioned way of reporting at the counter where the entire process took a matter of minutes from the friendly agent greeting us to being welcomed into the ANA Lounge (including clearing security and immigration).

 

Lounge & Ground Service

 

With several hours to go before the flight departing after midnight, we headed to the ANA Lounge situated across from gate 110. Open to eligible passengers and Star Alliance Gold status holders, this was the airline’s flagship business lounge and we were warmly welcomed in by the lovely agents working the reception.

 

The space is arranged in a long, narrow rectangle, designed in a quintessentially Japanese minimalist style and framed by floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the tarmac below that let in an abundance of natural light in the day. ANA divided the large, interconnected space into different zones with varied seating options, ranging from cozy leather sofas in the darker relaxation zone, counter seating set along the windows for passengers looking to work and a dining room set-up for sit-down meals. We made ourselves comfortable in one of the corners as the lounge gradually filled up with passengers joining the evening bank of North American and Asian flights.

 

 

There are two buffet stations at both ends of the lounge, with one serving cold salads, sushi and finger sandwiches while the larger catered with hot dishes including yaki udon, teriyaki chicken, soups and the airline’s in-house Japanese curry rice. A made-to-order noodle bar offered a selection of popular Japanese noodles. We got ourselves a Tonkotsu Ramen, a serving of the flavourful curry rice and some assorted sushi, paired with a cold Asahi beer from the automated draft beer machines that never fail to amaze us. The self-service beverage bar also featured a decent selection of wines and spirits, while the sake station offered several brews from around the country.

 

 

After dinner, it was time for a shower to freshen up before the 7-hour flight ahead. There was just six shower rooms for a packed lounge and we got our turn after waiting nearly two hours after registering with the reception. That said, the individual shower rooms were spacious and spotless (cleaned after each use by the staff), stocked with a full range of bath amenities from Japanese brand Shiseido. We were able to get a refreshing hot shower, a change of clothes and even time to indulge in a pampering facial before boarding.

 

Other facilities at the lounge included the literature offering of local and international newspapers, dedicated phone booths and the airline’s concierge service for business travellers.

 

Boarding & Departure

 

Tonight’s flight was departing from Gate 108A just outside the lounge, where the ground agents were in the midst of final preparations before commencing boarding. There were separate lines for elite status holders/premium cabin passengers and Premium Economy/Economy Class passengers. Special assistance passengers were boarded first, followed by the rest of the passengers according to status in typical Japanese order as we rode the escalator one level down to our B787-9 Dreamliner waiting on the tarmac.

We were directed down the aisle by the friendly cabin attendant, past the small Premium Economy cabin, towards the rear of the aircraft where we were seated.

 

Seat

 

ANA’s Economy Class on the Dreamliner is configured in a standard 3-3-3 configuration for the type. The aisle is noticeably narrow, a consequence of the 9-abreast seating per row. Fortunately what the seat lacks in width, it makes up in comfort with supportive padding, a roomy 34-inch seat pitch and a generous recline combined with the large windows for a spacious feel, while the compact footrest was tucked into the seat ahead. Waiting on each seat was a small pillow and blanket.

 

There was also a small coat hook on the seat back and a pair of electrical outlets next to the life jackets shared between each 3-seat grouping.

 

 

A 9-inch LED touchscreen, audio jack, USB port and remote controller are also mounted into the seat back, with the two-fold tray table fitted immediately below.

 

Crew

The Japanese cabin crew were as always top notch, friendly and happy to be of service. As a non-Japanese speaker, we never found communication to be an issue with every cabin attendant we spoke with fluent in English. During the night, call bells were answered promptly and regular checks on passengers made, whilst also ensuring their movement around the cabin caused as little disruption as possible to the remaining passengers.

 

Meal

 

Meal service for the flight was optimised to allow passengers maximum sleeping time. Shortly after takeoff, the crew distributed a snack bag comprising a pack of biscuits, crackers and a bottle of water, followed by a beverage run of soft drinks, juices, beers, wines and spirits before lights-out. A self-serve snack counter with chocolates and crackers was set up in the galley for the few passengers still awake.

 

About two hours before arrival, passengers were woken for breakfast service, which would be the main meal on the flight. ANA offers a choice of Japanese or International meals in Economy Class, with the former being rice porridge with salmon flakes and assorted condiments while the latter was a wholesome pancakes with sausage and potatoes. Served with a bread roll, cut fruits, greens, shrimp salad and hot tea, this was our choice for a fulfilling and tasty post-slumber meal.

 

Entertainment

 

The inflight entertainment system was easy to navigate using the personal LED touchscreen, presenting a library of movies, live television, music, games and informational programming. Alongside international content, there were many Japanese media titles across films, short programmes and manga comics catering to the airline’s home market and Japanophiles alike. Onboard wifi was available for a fee, but despite a reasonable pricing takeup rates were understandably low for a red eye service. Every seat also had a copy of ANA’s “Wingspan” inflight magazine and the usual duty free catalogue.

 

Arrival & Deboarding

 

Six hours after we took off from Tokyo and no sooner had the crew cleared the meal trays, an announcement from the purser signalled the start of our descent into Singapore. It was a smooth and uneventful approach into Changi International Airport this morning as the first rays of daylight brightened the sky. Minutes later, we pulled into the gate to the sounds of ANA’s corporate theme song “Another Sky” and an updated, animated arrival credits reel bringing yet another excellent flight with ANA to a close.

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