Flying Coach: ANA Dreamliner, Seattle to Tokyo Narita

Back in January, the Japanese Yen wasn’t having a good run in the markets. The yen against the dollar was at one of it’s lowest points (around .008 to the dollar) or in reverse around 125 Yen = $1. This provided a fantastic opportunity to buy tickets on the Japanese carriers since they were still pricing in Yen and then converting to USD to price tickets.

We found a fantastic deal from Seattle-Tokyo-Manila-Tokyo-Vancouver for 82,000 Yen for 2 people. For those not good at math, that’s $656 for two tickets, or $328 each. For a trip to the Philippines. That’s what I call a heck of a deal!

While YES, it was in coach, and YES, I know our blog is NoMasCoach, we couldn’t say no to a $300 ticket to the other side of the world. Besides, since we booked so far in advance we didn’t have to sit in “true” coach. In fact, since no one was booking flights that far in advance, we managed to grab exit row seats (#LegRoom) on three of the four flights. On the fourth flight, as you’ll see later, we managed to grab a premium economy seat due to an equipment change! More on that later, however.

ANA Dreamliner

ANA Dreamliner SeaTac

The exit row seats were a bastion of hope for what I expected to be a rough flight. At least, at a minimum, we’d have leg room.

ANA Exit Row

ANA Exit Row

ANA Exit Row

ANA Exit Row

Shortly after being seated we were given a “wet towel” and a bottle of water. Hooray.

ANA Wet Towel and Water

ANA Wet Towel and Water

Guys, I’m not gonna sugar coat this. This flight sucked. Like, really bad. Check out the snack 🙂

Rice Cracker Snack

Rice Cracker Snack

When it came time for the food, we were offered Western or Eastern options. Being brave, Ben chose the Eastern option. Once he cracked open the lid to the food, the entire cabin erupted with a smell that can be best described as a seafood market when the refrigerators die and all the fish have to be laid out on the ice to try and keep them cool. Good Lord it was rank.

ANA eastern option

ANA eastern option

I stuck with an old favorite. Meatballs and Tater Tots! I felt like I was back in my middle school lunch room all over again. And what best to accompany the tater tots than Soba noodles and noodle sauce! Yuck. 

ANA Western Option

It was nice to see that they gave you real honest-to-God silverware, even in coach!

ANA Silverware

ANA Silverware

After this thrilling lunch option, I decided to recline and relax. The flight attendant then came around with our dessert. What the actual F…

ANA Dessert

ANA Dessert

#NoMasCoach… #NoMasCoach… We kept reminding ourselves that this was only a $300 flight and that somehow made it all better.

Even the flight attendants were boring and mundane. They were all business with no personality, so it really added to the coach class cattle experience 🙁

There was wifi on the flight, but we decided to just watch movies instead.

ANA Wifi

ANA Wifi

Just about an hour and a half before landing, the “breakfast” option was served. Oh, you can imagine, this was going to be a real treat!

There were two options… so once again we opted for both. Both were equally bad. Both came with fruit and yogurt, but when it came down to it, the options were… drumroll…

ANA Breakfast Options

ANA Breakfast Options

Shrimp and baby scallop pasta or Sautéed chicken with barbecue sauce. Good lord get me off this plane. Shrimp pasta FOR BREAKFAST?! WITH YOGURT? DAMN… I suppose the good news is that the bar was set incredibly low and we could only improve.

ANA Breakfast

ANA Breakfast – Sautéed Chicken

And look at the shrimp stuck to the top of the plastic! Makes you wanna just lick it off, doesn’t it? Haha!

ANA Breakfast

ANA Breakfast

Once we finished picking at this lovely gourmet “breakfast” we were landing and it couldn’t come soon enough. We landed and passed through the transit security before heading to the lounge.

ANA Dreamliner in Narita

ANA Dreamliner in Narita

ANA Dreamliner in Narita

ANA Dreamliner in Narita

SO here’s the bottom line. It was coach. And it sucked. And it reminded me why we like to fly business class. Or first class.

But also, I understand that when a deal comes by for $300 to get to Asia, sometimes you just have to jump on it. If you need to get to Asia on the cheap, then by all means consider ANA. But I won’t be flying them long-haul again (unless we’re sitting up front).

Has anyone flown on ANA and had a similar or better service?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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18 Comments

  1. My wife and I flew ANA coach in April LAX to CGK thru Haneda and loved it. We have not been privileged to fly business or first before, so our expectations for coach were based on US carriers. Yes, we would have like to have more leg room, however, the service was excellent and we both liked experiencing Japanese inspired food choices.

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  2. I think the description of the smell of the eastern option was an exaggeration. Having flown ANA many times and had similar meals it lacked any real odor unless you put your face right into it. The rice is sometimes made with a sushi vinegar that can have a sour smell. But I would say that most western (US and European airlines) meals smell much worse. If it was really that bad you should have sent it back since sometime must have gone wrong.

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    • Funny you mention that. Ben got intense food poisoning once we landed (about 8-10 hours later) so I’m guessing that something did go seriously wrong.

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      • Yikes! Unfortunately that happens from time to time. I got really ill on a LH flight from SFO-FRA a few years ago. The food seemed normal, but around 8-10 hours later I was in a lot of stomach pain. And that was business class too! Goes with the territory of constant travel and industrial food production.

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  3. Well, I consider ANA as the best airline in the world at least in Eco. No other airline is on par with their seat pitch (34″ in Eco) and Service. Food is ok, or let’s say there is still 2 meal services on long-haul flights. Which other airline does still offer this?

    I’d chose ANA over any over airline in the world, especially when flying from the US to Asia.

    If you think ANA is not good (in Eco) then what do you think of all the US or Chinese carriers?

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    • Just like there’s tons of people in the world who refuse to fly a carrier because of one bad experience, I agree that writing off an airline because of one experience wouldn’t be the best choice. I do think that a lot of airlines offer 2 meals on a long haul. Again, we paid $300 so we didn’t expect a business class service. I will say (hence the name of our blog) that we’ll be trying them again in the future, but we’re definitely going to give the business class cabin a go. We did fly Korean and also Garuda in business class and the service was on point. A heck of a lot better than being on a domestic carrier!

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    • Unfortunately, most ANA 787’s are no longer 8 across (2-4-2) with 34″ pitch as they were when they launched. Now they’re 9 across (3-3-3) with 31″ pitch, like United unfortunately. For kids meals, you can order a “deco-ben” or decorative bento. No mention of the washlets (bidets)?

      For those who still want 34″ Economy pitch to Japan, try Japan Air Lines’ Dreamliner which is run on SAN-NRT among other routes.

      And both JAL and ANA’s real premium economy give you Business Class Lounge access on purchased/award tickets, but not if you upgrade at the airport for a fee.

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  4. wow, you really are some spoiled ass white kid. For a $300 flight why are you even complaining about coach. does it really make sense to pay an extra 1000 for business or 3x the amount for first class everytime you travel? The food looked good.Its probably better than what you can cook at home anyways. I cringe at little babies like you who cant handle a smaller space for a few hours. But go ahead, pay that premium for business or first. It only takes a month of your income to pay for that extra 10 hours of space and service dumbass.

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    • Thanks “deeznutz” for your insightful commentary 🙂 And who said we pay $1k extra to fly in first class? You’re right, that would be stupid. I invite you to read more of our blog to learn how even a guy with the name deeznuts can enjoy the comforts of a premium class, or maybe don’t. It’ll leave more award space for me to book my next reward! Thanks for reading!

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  5. This review is very narrow minded. I guess you could tell from his final destination Manila) how uneducated Moran he is. Come to the bay area, people like you will never survive. Stay in the white blanket dumbass.

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    • I had considered censoring your comment, since it is filled with racism (and typos) but I decided to approve it. My job is to provide a review of the service provided. Sometimes the service sucks, sometimes it’s great, but at no time does having an opinion and injecting humor mean narrow minded. Being narrow minded would mean staying home and not traveling to Asia, staying in my white blanket, as you called it. I encourage you to open your mind instead of assuming that people stay in their white blanket. I’ve been to the bay area many times, so I’m not sure what that has to do anything. If you’re implying that the Bay Area has a large Asian influence, I encourage you to come to Seattle where we live, where Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog are the 3rd, 4th, and 5th most popular languages. Your comment makes me sad and hurt, and those kind of comments advance us nowhere. I am sorry that your narrow minded views came to the forefront.

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  6. How did you get that deal?? That is AWESOME!! 🙂 My family would’ve LOVED to fly to Manila for under $350…that’s just unheard of.

    Good review….sad to hear you didn’t like the experience at all. I fly my Dad MNL-NRT-SEA on ANA in Coach using miles and he loved it. Guess the food can be a hit or miss. He did agree that the plane from MNL-NRT was ancient…lol 🙂

    I’ve never flown ANA but always wanted to try ANA First since they say the hard/soft product, along with the service, is one of the top ones out there.

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    • Thanks Marvin – it was kinda saddening walking by the business class cabins, they looked so much more comfy! We’ll do it again. I encourage you to look into flying into Vancouver, as the Canadian dollar right now is LOW, and ANA prices it strangely. That’s how we scored the deal 🙂

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  7. Oh man… and I was considering flying ANA in the future for my trips to Beijing (I rather make an extra stop in japan than travel with US and Chinese carriers), guess that plan’s a bust…

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    • I mean, give it a shot if the price is right 🙂 As you can see by some of the other comments, some people love it! Do you have the miles to redeem for up front?

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  8. The breakfast choices look great, much better than other airlines. Does your typical half-dried up 1oz omelet in economy look more appetizing? Your expectations in coach are unrealistic. ANA is a great airline with superior catering.

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    • I don’t think our expectations of breakfast stem from being in coach or business. I wouldn’t have expected breakfast to be strawberry yogurt with Shrimp Scampi and Pasta 🙂

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  9. I thoroughly love you guys’ blog and your photos that accompany your dialogue keeps me interested and most of the time giggling. Keep up the good work.

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