I recently had the opportunity to fly first class with All Nippon Airways (ANA) from Narita International Airport in Tokyo to Bangkok, Thailand. Having never flown anything but economy until then I would like to report on my half day of luxury, detailing the points that put the class in first class.
• Wait In Style
I started the day off at 10am in the first-class-exclusive ANA Suite Lounge where I received a free meal ticket for ANA-don, ANA’s special donburi that is available for purchase only in this lounge. ANA-don is available topped with either pork or eel, and it seems there are some people who opt for first class just so they can eat it. All other food and beverages, alcohol included, were buffet-style and the selection was similar to that of a high-class hotel’s brunch.
• The Crew Shake Your Hand
After sitting down the head flight attendant came to greet me and shook my hand. Then another flight attendant approached me and asked if I would like anything to drink. You can drink before takeoff!? Unwilling to pass up this opportunity I ordered an iced tea. While I was waiting I looked around and noticed that I was the only one in first class. I wiped my hands with the chilled hand towel they gave me and smiled as I surveyed my private first-class cabin.
• First Class Dining
After reaching a stable altitude I asked for a cup of white wine. When the wine arrived it was accompanied by an hors d’oeuvre of skewered grilled chicken, fish and shellfish. After that followed a full course meal of salad, bread, beef steak, and truffle soup with Häagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert. I had to take a few points off for no peanuts.
• The Chair Doubles as a Luxury Bed
Aiming for a good two hours of sleep, I reclined the chair into a bed. The level of comfort was astounding compared to the cramped economy class seats I was used to, and I slept like a baby. Headphones were set out and these were also leagues better than the cheap plastic earphones provided in economy.
• First Class Goodie Bag
First-class customers are given a bag containing a toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion and other toiletries. The bag itself is made by the famous brand RIMOWA and makes a nice little souvenir.
• A Chauffeur to Immigration
First-class passengers are allowed to disembark, well, first, and after stepping off the plane and walking down the corridor ahead of the crowd I noticed an airport staff holding a piece of paper with my name on it. It seems that first-class passengers are loaded on a small cab and chauffeured to the immigration gate. Moreover, there is a separate gate for first-class passengers only!
• Your Check-In Luggage Comes Out First
Used to waiting impatiently around the luggage carousel, I was surprised when my bag was the first to pop out of the gate. It seems that first-class service continues all the way to baggage claim!
First class really does live up to its name and makes flying a much more enjoyable experience. Next time, I’d like to write about my slightly different, but just as luxurious first-class trip back home from Bangkok to Narita.