Today, we have a very special guest post! Everyone, meet Tony Chai. He is Paul’s brother and also a foodie traveler. Last year, he experienced the ultimate luxury for the first time in the sky… ANA (All Nippon Airways) First Class. Hope you’re hungry, because this is one gastronomic story you don’t want to miss…
Warning: This ANA First Class will completely spoil any type of expectations you have for future flights. Let’s start at the check-in counter at LAX.
Maybe it’s the red colors, but I feel special already. The zero minute wait for check-in was nice too, no need to come to the airport many hours early in worries of long lines.
Actually I take that back, you do want to get to the airport early. Not for long lines, but for the lounges!
I ordered the light Lox Flatbread since I wanted a light snack, but I also didn’t want to get too full before my first meal on board. I really shouldn’t have got the dessert too but I was in the “might as well” mindset.
If you get tired of the First Class area, step into the Business Class lounge for some variety, or if you fancy a shower. Pro tip: This Star Alliance lounge is much much better than Skyteam’s lounge (KAL), you’ll want to stay here even if you have PriorityPass and want to lounge hop, but trust me just stay here.
Time for boarding! Look you even have your own line for boarding. 0-minute wait again, I’m starting to like these 0-minute lines.
Welcome to Seat 1A! You have your own personal jacket storage. Let’s look around the seat.
Oh, Krug champagne? Sure, I’ll have one before takeoff.
Ok, back to looking around the seat.
A solid Samsonite amenity kit with designer Ginza beauty products.
The Hibiki 21 caught my eye immediately. I’ve never tried a bottle due to how rare it is to find it in the states. It retails for ~$500, and it’s definitely not at your local Bevmo.
Taste verdict: such a smooth whiskey, definitely a darker oak taste than the 12 year, but equally as smooth.
Omakase Menu Tasting Time
Chicken mousse tarelette, smoked salmon canape, and cheese/peppers.
Abalone, fishcake, veggies rolled in beef, winter melon, white asparagus, purple sweet potato, plus pairing it with some LEGIT Sencha tea.
Prawn fishcake in clear soup with seaweed.
King salmon, unagi, yams, miso beef tongue, japanese pickles.
Whisked ceremonial grade matcha, with paired sweets.
Time to try out some drinks to pair with this extensive menu. Maybe some sake. Or maybe some graham 30-year port. Oh, some more dessert too? Sure.
After the taste bud sensory overload, it’s time to freshen up in the restroom and get ready for bed.
The room has mouth wash, facial sheets, toothbrushes, and….
On this LA->NRT flight, I was actually one of two people in the entire first class cabin (eight seats total), so the flight attendants suggested to use Seat 1D next to mines as my personal bed when I get tired. They prepared my bed with a mattress pad, blankets, a tempurpedic pillow, and a normal pillow. They also provide comfortable pajamas and slippers to change into.
Honestly I didn’t sleep at all this flight. I was too excited about how awesome it was, and didn’t want to miss a minute of it in dreamland. I did lay down in this bed for a few hours though just to relax and go through my photos/videos on my phone, as well as practicing a few Japanese phrases in preparation for Tokyo life.
Towards the end of the flight, the flight attendant knew that I loved the matcha tea and sweets from earlier, so she actually prepared another one for me without me even asking!
Regrettably, this experience came to an end, and we eventually did land in Narita. It felt weird wanting to prolong the flight instead of wanting it to be over; a flight experience like this definitely changes your perspective on travel…
[fast forward a couple nights]
I had an awesome time in Tokyo and now it’s time to go back to LA. On the flight back, I took first class as well. My seat was 2A this time. I won’t go over everything I already mentioned, but I will mention some differences.
Gray Samsonite amenity kit instead of red…
Amuse bouche. Tomato cream, veal slice, parma ham, and grissino.
As a red eye flight, the food was slightly different.
I tried a few different drinks this time.
Rubaiyat Koshu Sur Lie – a japanese white wine
Bruno Paillard – champagne
Trefethen – cabarnet sauvignon 2012
And I had more of the Hibiki 21… because why not?
I actually changed into their pajamas and slept on this flight. This return NRT->LAX flight was a red-eye flight and I’ve already taken a million photos/videos of my first experience, so I got much more shuteye.
That is the face of a happy man. Good night.