Okay! Making the leap! If you fly from the US to Japan (or vice versa) via All Nippon Airways, you will find yourself on their 77W aka Boeing 777-300er. They have 4 different versions of this, but they don’t really vary enough to matter for this informative-yet-goofy webcomic/blog- like small adjustments in the size of the different areas. Why ANA? They have good reviews of their customer service. Can’t complain so far, and I’ve used them for Trip III and Trip IV.
Anyways, the next critical decision to be made: Which seat class to go for?
Ideally, I want an outside seat. Erm, aisle seat. I used to be a window kind of girl, but really, it’s not all that cool when most of the trip they make you keep the shade down so it’s super dark and people can sleep. Also, it comes down to bladder convenience. When you gotta go, do you really want to climb over people to get access?
No, you want no hindrance between you and that scary vacuum toilet. Let it suck you in there like a hull breach in a spaceship with nothing in the way.
Also, as much as I loved sitting in a emergency door aisle with legs-straight-out space supreme last time, it was a little annoying that you don’t get a spot to tuck in your carry-on. Meaning you gotta fight for space in the over-head or you gotta stuff it into the infinitesimally small nooks around you and pretend you don’t have any carry on during take off and touch down.
ANA Economy Class
TPA to NRT. The $1700 (Update: I think I didn’t reserve during a more on-sale time. This number was $914 or so for Trip IV. Seems to bounce up and down from time to time, and I haven’t figured out the pattern…) is with the leg from Tampa to Houston. Even so, it’s not exactly cheap. You can shave a little off of this by going United all the way, but I want ANA for the excellent service. I was impressed the way they were so helpful on the ANA domestic flight we took last time- reordering my bags and bags within bags to get through security.
Not supreme butt and leg room, but hey, what did you expect? At least you get a plug or 2. Perhaps you can plug in your humidifier here. Make the best of it.
ANA Premium Economy
A little wider, a little more leg room, and ooh, a leg rest. The seat looks a little cushier, too. There’s also a reading light, but I’m more of an audiobook girl, so whatev’s. The meal is the same as economy, so no bonus there. There’s a few other odds and ends- I think you get a little bottle of bubbling alcohol and maybe some fancy dessert? You get a bigger TV, but if you’re farther away from it, does it equal out?
Actually, one of the bigger bonuses is that the Premium Economy has it’s own little sub-cabin of just 3 rows. Pretty sweet. But you’re paying a good extra bit for it. (Update: I think you can widdle it down to $2000 if you find fares on sale.)
ANA Business Class
So, luxury is nice. Sleeping horizontally is nice. Gourmet plane food is nice. Room to Stretch in a 360 degree arc from your location is nice. There’s even a special place FOR YOUR SHOES! ::quiet weeping:: It’s…too expensive. I’d like to think that one day…one day! If all the other heirs to a seat upgrade somehow pass it up, it’ll be me. That’ll happen, right?
ANA First Class
I was surprised how small a jump there was between first and business. But with only 8 seats- oh, no, I mean cabins- I guess that’s enough. It’s pretty snazzy with the La-Z-Boy chair and closet and mega TV and gourmet food and all that. And then there are moe girls that serve their very best ketchup art Omelet Rice and make you do a little magical song to make it extra delicious. Just kidding. But that would be pretty cool.
Are Seat Upgrades Worth the Money?
Anyway, the true answer may depend on a lot of factors, both financial and physical. It’s one thing if you’re dealing with the squeeze of economy for 2 hours. It may be another if it’s for 14 hours. Premium economy is a compromise half-step up the class ladder into a realm of more human-sized facilities. But for most, it just isn’t worth the extra bite into a vacation budget, and that’s fine. ANA’s economy seats are comfortable enough to get by.
I don’t think I’ll ever know what’s it’s like in business or first, but I still like to read about it. Especially the food. Oh God, the food.
ANA’s In-flight Service.