Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Journey on ANA "firsts" - LAX to Tokyo Narita to Singapore

I flew ANA (All Nippon Airways) from LAX to SIN (Singapore) via ANA's hub at NRT (Tokyo Narita). After walking around the new LAX international terminal (TBIT) I found the gate for my flight NH005 to Tokyo. My gate was the very last corner gate on the north end of the old part of the terminal. Unfortunately I could not get a good picture of my plane, but when I disembarked in Tokyo I realized that I was on a special ANA jet. It was painted in the Star Alliance livery and it was the very first 777-300ER that ANA took delivery of many years ago. I did not take this photo, but this is the exact plane I flew the very next day in San Francisco.

Boarding was very quick and efficient in true Japanese form. The seating on the ANA 777-300ER is 2x4x3. I was on the aisle in the middle group of 4 and thankfully no one was sitting next to me. So I had a lot of room to stretch my legs and I was never bothered by anyone trying to get out of their seat. Soon after takeoff the flight attendants came around with a drink and snack service. Their rice crackers are really good. 

Soon after the snacks came around the meal service started. They had a choice of a Japanese meal or an International meal, which looked very western. They hand each passenger this laminated menu card so you can just point to the one you want.

Of course I ordered the Japanese meal with some red wine. The miso soup and the soba noodles were so good.

The flight was about 11.5 hours long and I didn't sleep at all. I watched 3 movies, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, and The Lone Ranger. I also watched a documentary on the late Senator Daniel Inoyue and some other TV shows. About 2 hours before we landed they came around with another meal service. I had the breakfast even though we landed around 5:00pm. Many flights to Tokyo serve breakfast before you land even though you always land in the afternoon or evening. I've never understood it. Under the pineapple jam is a soggy waffle. It was ok.

This is a picture of our route on the very large personal TV with about 1.5 - 2 hours left until we reach Tokyo.

Once the plane got to the gate and I got off the plane I had only about 50 minutes to connect to my flight to Singapore. In the jetway I saw this board with my name at the top. I guess since the connection was short ANA wanted to make sure we all got to where we needed to be. As is customary in Narita if you are making a connection, you have to clear security again and then you are let back into the terminal. I would guess that 90% or more of the plane was not connecting. They kept us there until all 5 of us showed up and then we were escorted to security. There was absolutely nothing special about this, so I have no idea what purpose this served, but it was a nice gesture I guess.

Since the connection was so short, I did not go to the ANA lounge, which is one of my favorite places ever. I will have a chance again on the way back through Narita when I go back home. When I found my gate on the flight information screens I realized that my gate was on the lower level, which meant that the plane was parked remotely and we had to take a bus to the plane. The only good thing about doing that is that you get to walk right up to the plane. I knew I was on a 787, but I didn't know which one. ANA has a bunch of 787s now and this is a picture of the one I flew on. This is ANA's very first 787 and they were also the launch customer for the new 787, hence the special paint scheme. Only their first two 787s look like this.

When I got off the bus and saw the tail number I realized that I was on the very first 787, which was certainly a treat for me. I took a bunch of pictures as I walked up to the plane, but none of them were that great.

I wanted to take a picture of the wing but unfortunately the lighting inside the plane made it tough to get a nice picture. My seat was a bulkhead aisle seat at the third door back. There was someone sitting next to me this time but I had a lot of legroom, which was nice. The tail of the plane next to us looks like the winglet of my plane.

Flight NH901 to Singapore was just shy of 7 hours long. By this time I was really tired and had a difficult time keeping my eyes open since it was the equivalent of 1:00am for me. They had a dinner service and I was set to get the Japanese meal again, but it was conger eel and I am not a fan of the little bones. So I had the western choice which was ok. The entertainment system on ANA is really good but they edit some of the language which sucked. I don't remember if I watched any movies but I do remember watching some short shows on Japanese food and culture.

One of the times I got up to use the bathroom right by me at door 3, I realized that this toilet had the little washer things that many Japanese places have. I have never seen this on an airplane, so I took a picture of it. The bathroom at the back of the plane didn't have this feature.

The flight arrived after midnight and the Singapore Changi airport was surprisingly busy. ANA is a very good airline I would gladly fly them internationally any day of the week. 

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