ANA First Class
ANA First Class "The Suite" Review

Backstory and How I Booked ANA First Class


During COVID, when we thought the whole thing would be over in a few months, I snagged a ticket on the then-brand new ANA First Class “The Suite” from New York to Tokyo and back to New York in the Business Class “The Room” seat.

The route ran to Narita at the time, and my total cost round trip was just 107,500 miles and $98 in tax. The flight was cancelled due to COVID and I was left with an open ticket. When taxes rose by several hundred dollars and then the cost of First Class went up (in points via Virgin) my open ticket would allow me to eventually book the same route at the old cost. Until, that is, they switched airports. Once the flight went to Haneda, I could no longer replicate the booking and so it was refunded. Alas.

But I finally got the flight, though a one way in First Class (The Suite) only – and I paid 87,000 Virgin Points and around $300 in tax for just the one way. Still, it is a screaming bargain compared to the approximately $11,000 the flight would cost in cash, and that is based on a $22,000 round trip – I’m not going to “goose” the CPP by searching for a one way fare as some do.


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The availability worked out perfectly as I’d snagged a flight on Starlux Business Class from Taipei to Los Angeles for 75,000 Alaska MileagePlan miles from an Alaska credit card and needed to get to Asia.

I don’t want to leave my wife and son for too long at a time, so however I got to Asia couldn’t be more that a week before the TPE-LAX flight. In the middle of the night I got an availability alert from PointsYeah for the First Class seat exactly 5 days before my Starlux flight and happened to wake up at 4am to see it. I immediately called Virgin to book and the rest is now history.

The Bizarre Start to the Flight – Check In, TSA, and the Lounge

The trip started out about as poorly as one could imagine. I got to the check-in counter a bit more than 3 hours before the flight as the ride to JFK was much quicker than anticipated. The desk was closed with lots of passengers queued for the other cabins. I walked over to the First Class line, closed with a Tensator barrier, and asked when they would begin boarding. An agent told me “exactly 3 hours prior” so I only had a few minutes to wait. No big deal. 

Then at 3 hours to departure on the dot, the same woman opened the barrier and told me to go ahead. I walked up to the desk where the agent behind the counter snapped “PLEASE STEP BACK!” OK…. I said I was told to step up and she replied “We are not open yet!” and I stepped back. One minute later she waves me back to her like nothing happened. OK. I mean hey, it’s only First Class on one of the premier Asian carriers known for their service, but OK. Did I mention she also yelled something about “bullsh*t” to her colleague while checking me in? Classy.

Then I head to security where there is no PreCheck (Terminal 7 – easily the oddest Terminal at JFK). I am waved through the metal detector and then a person I’d seen on my way in rushed through right behind me (it took me a minute after what I describe below to place the face). 

Someone yelled “BREACH” and I’m thinking “Good thing they noticed that woman follow me through.” Instead, the workers swarm me and demand I go back the other way while the woman that followed me through was casually walking up the stairs and away. 

It turned out that it was the supervisor who was conducting a drill and boy did her workers fail. ONE TSA AGENT realized what had happened and came to my defense while eventually the supervisor came down and asked everyone why they didn’t follow protocol and let me go. Well, after a secondary for Pepto Bismol Tablets. So that was cool…

Next, the eeriest lounge ever.

The ANA First Class Lounge at JFK

ANA contracts their First Class lounge to HORIZONS T7 LOUNGE – FIRST CLASS, which is just one wing of the Horizons lounge (turn right for business, left for First). 

The lounge was EMPTY. Literally I was the only person there until two Japanese businessmen came in. With their voice no louder than a whisper and no music, I could hear a pin drop. There was a very small buffet and selection of nothing-special alcohol (including a wine dispenser). The buffet across at the Business Class lounge was actually fresher due to the turnover.

There was no music, no ambiance. I just couldn’t wait for boarding time. Unless they get their own lounge (there are no other options as of now), absolutely do not leave extra time on purpose for this lounge … 

The JFK ANA F “Lounge”
The JFK ANA F “Lounge”
The JFK ANA F “Lounge”
The JFK ANA F “Lounge”


Finally, on to the good stuff. After 800 words of odd stuff, the rest of this article is nothing but good….

I was shown to my seat in 2K (there are two rows in the new First Class in a 1-2-1 configuration).

ANA First Class "The Suite" Seat
ANA First Class “The Suite” Seat

It turned out there was only one other F passenger that day, sitting directly in front of me. So the flight attendants would be plenty attentive! In hindsight I should have shuffled over to 2A for more privacy, but let’s be honest – I had plenty.


I was offered a nice glass of champagne on the ground (of course), a paper menu (still surprised that my EVA flights last year didn’t have them), an amenity kit, slippers, and pajamas.

There were also some pretty comfortable Sony headphones as well as a pillow and blanket.

Nice Sony headphones

One interesting thing was the cardigan. I wasn’t really prepared for a second thing I could change into besides the pajamas. Note that while you can (as I believe is always the case) keep your pajamas, the cardigan is actually not intended to go with you… 

ANA First Loaner Cardigan (NOT yours to keep!)
ANA First Pyjamas
ANA First Amenity Kit

As a complete side bar, we initially had an interloper in First!

Someone from Business Class just casually strolled up and took the seat next to me in the middle. They actually offered him a glass of champagne and started to take care of him – until they realized he wasn’t on the manifest in F!

I thought he was acting a bit odd – and actually a bit obnoxious – so I was relieved when he was not going to be there the rest of the flight 😉 They handled it all extremely graciously and without any sort of a scene. 

The ANA First Class Suite

The first thing that really grabs you is the size of the TV screen. Yes, the entire suite is pretty amazing, but wow…. a 42″ screen in the air is something to behold. And it’s very high quality as well which, I suppose, you’d expect if they are going to the trouble!

ANA First Class “The Suite” Seat
ANA First Class “The Suite” Seat

Even the screen on the brand new and somewhat strange First Class Suite on newish Taiwanese carrier Starlux is only 32″ by comparison.

The tray table was just my style. It pulls out from under the screen and the unfolds, giving you lots of ways to use it (dining, laptop, just a book or iPad, etc) comfortably. Even in First on other airlines, I have encountered odd tray table situations where I can basically use it for a meal and nothing else very easily.

I believe you could also have a companion sit on the ottoman for dining and position the tray table in the middle, but I was flying solo and didn’t test that theory. I definitely did that in a Cathay Pacific F seat which was an interesting way to share a meal!

(Here’s a video I took of the screen showing, well, the cabin I was already flying in 🙂 ). I thought it looked pretty cool.)

All of the seat controls were modern (of course, it’s all new!) and easy to use and there were outwardly accessible ports for HDMI, USB, and standard headphones. I guess these were done just before USB-C became a standard as the USB port was USB-A. I didn’t use the HDMI port but would imagine you could easily hook up your computer to view movies on the big screen if so inclined.

Ports at the side of the seat
Seat controls

I’ve now gotten used to the electronic blinds in modern premium cabins. I remember how wowed I was with this when I flew Qantas F – I even took a video of it 😉 But they are always a nice, upscale touch.

Wifi, which worked quite well, was complimentary. Note you’ll only get a voucher for one device (but I am not saying or not saying if I wrangled a second so I could use my phone and laptop during the long flight 😉 ). You cannot otherwise switch between devices on a single voucher.

The lavatory at the front of First Class was a bit bigger than usual and had a really interesting fold down stand to aid with changing.

The oversized forward lavatory

Maybe not wholly necessary but I did use it and it was somewhat helpful. There was also a bidet which is an extra nice touch on a plane but what else would you expect on an upscale Japanese airline?

To be extra clear, there were two lavs up there – one normal size to the right and the bigger one to the left. With only one other passenger, there was never a wait 😉 

Oh, and of course the new Suites have a closing door. These were super novel when they first started to appear but I think the wow factor has waned. In some cases, like Delta’s A330-900neo, the door even makes the suite feel small. Here, the suite was more than big enough to accommodate the door without it feeling like it took away any space, so of course it was nice to have the extra privacy, especially while sleeping.

Fron inside the suite, doors closed, lights down


Which leads me to….

The Bed

I’ve flown F before where there were extra seats and asked to have a second seat turned down as a bed. The request is nearly almost granted. But what was wonderful on this flight was that they made down 2G next to me and then informed me that it was mine for sleeping. I appreciated not even having to ask!

The bed, all made up

It wasn’t the softest / most comfy bed ever, but it more than did its job and I didn’t feel the slightest bit cramped.

I’ll note that when you get to my review of Starlux (on an A350-900), a very noticeable thing was the lack of a larger forward lavatory comfortable to change into pyjamas in. Then again, Starlux is really focused on Business Class and as you’ll read when I write my Starlux review, First Class there really seems like an afterthought and would probably be better named as Premium Business or something like that….

Entertainment and Wifi

The Wifi was pretty darn good. I so often get frustrated by poor quality Wifi on very long flights but this one did the trick nicely (not to mention the unlimited usage at no cost!).

Here’s a bandwidth speed measurement:

WiFi Speed Test

The entertainment choices could have been better, in my opinion, but there was still plenty to choose from. I only wound up watching one movie. I will say that when I do review flights, I easily spend half the time taking pictures and notes, so I don’t have nearly as much “sit and watch movies” time as I would hope you will! But it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to bring an iPad or something in case you run out of things of interest to you – or an HDMI cable to hook up a laptop or similar player to the screen.

Food and Drink

First, I need to get out of the way something that I had really looked forward to on this flight, which delivered in spades. See, while travel bloggers (of which I don’t technically consider myself to be – but yes, I understand that I do blog about travel!) are always all about the champagne, I’m not a huge champagne drinker!

Sorry – I know, that’s it. You’ve closed the page. I bow in shame.

But was I was obsessively looking forward to was some Hibiki 21, aged Suntory whisky that sells for over $1,000 a bottle!

$1,000 Hibiki 21
$1,000 Hibiki 21 Whisky

When I mentioned that it was the thing I was most excited for onboard, the flight attendant was more than happy to oblige. She brought me not just a glass, but an entire bottle and left it with me so I could enjoy as much as I wanted.

I also had, but not at the same time, a nice glass of iced green tea to stay awake a bit longer.

Iced Green Tea

And this is the kind of thing that sets high end international First Class apart from Business Class…..

The meal, as is standard for Japanese airlines, was a choice of a Japanese set or an International-style set. I really would have preferred ordering off a list of items as I’m a bit picky, but since that wasn’t an option I went for the International (really American) style as they was more that I would eat. It’s also worth noting that as I was on the overnight flight to Japan (which is the only one I’ll fly if I can help it – time your sleep right and you pretty much skip jetlag completely!) the meal service was a reduced service.

The steak, while good, was US-sourced steak and just couldn’t compete with what was in my mind as the (expensive Kobe or Wagyu) beef in Japan just crushes US beef – even when called American Wagyu.

In fact, while in Japan I happened to eat the rarest and most expensive steak in the world (Grade A5 Wagyu with a BMS – marbling score – of 12).

But I also remember many moons ago (2017), when flying JAL First back from Japan, having some amazing A4/5 Japanese Wagyu on board.

Of course I’d love to get on that new JAL product that just started flying this year but alas it was ANA F or that and availability for ANA won 😉

Here’s a look at the menu and what I chose to eat. 

PS: that coffee chocolate cake at the end was amazing….

ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
ANA First Westbound Overnight Menu (NYC-HND)
Amuse bouche
Appetizer – loved that zucchini burrata! And pretzel bread
Corn Soup
The steak main
Cheese Plate
Dessert – Coffee Chocolate Cake


You’d probably expect a first rate Japanese carrier to have amazing service – especially in their most premium First Class can and especially with only one other passenger on board, and you’d be right. 

A nice iced coffee – I had several, made perfectly each time

The service was absolutely flawless. Super attentive without being obtrusive. As I mentioned above, they even proactively offered me a second seat to use as a bed so I could sit or lie down at my preference and without needing them to adjust the seat and left a $1,000 bottle of whiskey at my seat so I could top off as desired.

That’s pretty tough to beat!!


It’s pretty hard to find fault with a product like the new ANA First Class Suites. Sure, I would have liked a more extensive menu to choose from and some addtional in flight entertainment selections, but those are the tinest of quibbles. 

For a flight of over 14 hours, I felt it went rather quickly. I stayed up as late as I could, as I always do on the overnight Westbound flight to Asia, meaning that I front loaded the eating and drinking as a very late dinner. I slept a solid 7-8 hours or so, and then took some time to relax and enjoy the end of the flight. For breakfast, I wasn’t so into the one option they had, so I snacked on some bread with coffee. Perhaps not the most elegant way to end an $11,000 flight, but start to finish was pretty impeccable. 

I’d have to give the experience a 9.5 / 10 rating and would happily fly it again any time. 

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  1. A very well done report! After having experienced F class on multiple carriers, other than the brand new seats/suite, it just looks like another good F class airline experience. I’m not wowed by it, especially since several people have posted how hard the seat is.


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