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Burn, United (Miles), Burn: ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing

United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco

NH 955
Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Beijing (PEK)
Sunday, November 3rd
Depart: 5:25pm
Arrive: 8:35pm
Duration: 4h 10m
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 4A

I arrived at the gate about 15 minutes after the lounge attendant in the ANA Suite Lounge told me to go to the gate, which was still about 25 minutes prior to departure. But this was a gate for a remote stand, and the final full bus had just started leaving when I arrived, so I ended up having to wait around for the other stragglers for the final final bus to leave. Specifically, there were 2 Americans trying to get on this flight, but ANA was considering denying them boarding since they were headed to North Korea from Beijing but didn’t have tickets to Pyongyang in hand as they were supposed to pick them up the next morning in Beijing. Oy. Luckily for them, they did get on the flight, and the final bus to the plane left about 10 minutes prior to departure.

Riding the bus to the plane
Riding the bus to the plane
Boeing 767-300
Boeing 767-300

Upon getting on the plane, I noticed that the business class cabin was relatively empty, with maybe only 1/3 of the seats taken. The plane had a regional config in business class with recliner shell seats, but it was perfectly comfortable for a 4 hour flight, especially since I had an empty seat next to me.

My seat, 4A
My seat, 4A
Plenty of space for a regional flight
Plenty of space for a regional flight
Not a particularly crowded flight
Not a particularly crowded flight

Even though I boarded quite close to departure time, we still ended up waiting a while before the plane started moving. And even then, we ended up taxiing for about 30 minutes before takeoff, which meant that our flight’s arrival into Beijing was delayed a bit.

Basic seat controls
Basic seat controls

Once in the air, the flight attendants were taking meal orders, but I asked if they could hold a meal for me so I could sleep first, which they were more than happy to oblige. Given that I had eaten about 4 Japanese meals on my flight from IAD to NRT and another Japanese meal in the lounge, I opted for the western option this time of pumpkin and sweet potato mont blanc-style, foie gras terrine, smoked Pacific saury, sauteed salmon with mushroom and port sauce, and a Pierre Herme chocolate dessert (links to the food menu and drink menu for the flight).

Seat in reclined mode
Seat in reclined mode
Western-style meal
Western-style meal

I slept comfortably for about 1.5 hours, and upon waking, had a flight attendant deliver my meal. Although it was a western-style meal, it still tasted Japanese to me, if that makes sense. It was pretty good, and certainly better than any meal that I’ve had on an American carrier, but the salmon was a little dry, which could have been due to the fact that I had my meal served an hour after everyone else.

The entertainment options were similar to my previous flight in that they felt slightly limited in content, but I enjoyed watching some Japanese variety shows which didn’t really require any language skills to comprehend.

The service on this flight was superb, and surprisingly, I think the English skills of the flight attendants on this intra-Asia flight were on a whole better than the English skills of the crew on my flight from the US (it was also surprising to me that most of the business class passengers on this flight were American). The crew seemed happy to serve, and their smiles felt genuine. Overall, a great flight.


  1. thats funny you mention the smiles were genuine cause my GF tells me they are told to smile (she is a three cabin CP) in front of western people and hold the smiles in front of japanese passengers. nice writing though! i shared some of the other ANA stuff with her just now and she smiled and said westerners are generally blown away by asian service standards (her sister is a JL 3 cabin CP) an without question i agree! we travel on UA alot since she refuses to fly her own (long story) and we actually had to help a FA put her own bag in the overhead bin last week. AARP i guess.

    1. I definitely agree that Asian service standards are just so much higher than those of US airlines. I’ve definitely received better service in ANA, JAL, or CX economy class than I have in UA or AA business class!

  2. Question – I’m flying global first to NRT and then on business from NRT – PEK. When I called ANA they mentioned I wouldnt have access to their Suite lounge. I noticed in your summary you referenced a suite lounge attendant. Were you able to use the suite lounge on a business class ticket from NRT-PEK?

    thanks so much!

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