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ANA’s new business class seat really is very good ….

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Back in July we wrote about ANA’s new Business Class and First Class products, which are debuting on the Heathrow to Tokyo route.

This is worth knowing about because one of the best uses of Virgin Flying Club miles is redeeming on ANA flights from London.  You only need 95,000 miles for a return business class flight!

Using your Virgin Flying Club miles for a trip to Tokyo has just got a whole lot more interesting.  ANA is launching a new Business and First Class seat on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and the London route has been the first to get it.  It looks rather good, to put it mildly.

The First Class suites are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration.  Finished in dark woods, there are two only rows which make this an intimate cabin:

ANA first class the suite

The seat almost takes the full width of the suite, with only a thin slither along the side given over to storage or as an armrest. There is also an exceptionally large 43” screen which has a 4K display – apparently the first time this has been used for a commercial aircraft.

THE Room is ANA’s new Businesss Class product.  Club World style, half of the seats face forwards and half face backwards.

If you look at the photo below the first thing that will strike you is how disproportionately wide the seat is.  Look at the head rest.  You can see the protective cover, which is about what you’d expect the seat width to be. THE Room looks like it is twice as wide – more sofa-like than a seat! ANA says that THE Room has twice the width of their old business class seat (click for Anika’s flight review) which is not hard to believe.

Of course, this is business class and the trade-off is that it does taper into a cubby hole where your feet end up.  Nonetheless, the extra width at torso and shoulder height should make sitting and sleeping in this seat feel a lot less cramped.  It is a very clever piece of design.

ANA business class the room

Last week I attended the media launch of THE Room, and there were seats available to try out.  It is, genuinely, huge.  At one point there were two of us sat side by side on the seat and we were able to have a normal conversation, with a decent bit of space between us!

Not content with a sliding door, THE Room also has a second opening which slides up and down.  This allows the crew to pass food to you whilst the door is closed, getting around one of the biggest issues with Club Suite and Qsuite.  The 24 inch 4K TV also looked very impressive, although it was not operating.

ANA business class the room

If you need to head to Japan in the near future, I strongly recommend giving this a try.  It is currently on both of ANA’s daily Heathrow services.  You won’t earn Avios or BA tier points as ANA is a member of Star Alliance, although you can credit the flight to Virgin Flying Club.

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Comments

  1. OT: I have booked BA reward flights in Europe for 4 people during the school holidays and have now realised that the flight will probably clash with my team playing in the rugby world cup playoffs. Is it possible to remove a person from a reward booking and keep the remaining people on the booking (is a household account).

    My wife has said I can change flights and she will fly with the kids

    • Not 100% sure about BA but with other airlines I’ve had bookings split into 2 different PNRs which would then allow you to change your flight. I hope your team does make the playoffs otherwise I imagine t’other ‘alf would be somewhat annoyed?

      • It is the All Blacks, so hopefully a decent chance – the match this Saturday will determine which day we play though

        It is tempting to just book it now and enjoy a relaxing flight without the kids! short term vs. long term happiness 🙂

        • In that case I would say you are fairly safe, I’ve seen England humiliated twice by the ABs, once in Auckland and the other in Dunedin. Mrs S was generous enough to buy me tickets for the last semi final between Australia and NZ which was a cracking game.

    • Yes, fine. I am doing the same with a Lufty booking soon as my wife now has to be in London for an extra day.

    • I did this with BA no problem. Split into two PNRs then cancelled one of them whilst the other one remains. Needs a phone call though…no ‘telephone fee’ for doing such action as unable to do online.

  2. Shame that one way redemptions are not possible, NRT – LAX would be a lovely sweet spot in ANA First!

  3. Spaghetti Town says:

    A tip i’ve noticed with Tesco gift cards, you can double dip by spending them in store. Get clubcard points buying them and then again spending them.

    • Never used to get CC points when buying Tesco Giftcards. Interesting

    • Where/how did you buy them? I’ve also never been awarded points for buying them, only spending them!

    • I was surprised to get points buying a Tesco Mobile top up, and then again when I used it to top up.

      Makes a mini dent in their expensive SMS rates, I suppose! (I know that there are cheaper rates around, but as they have little or no signal here…)

      • Russell – I know you have an aversion to smartphones, but one benefit of many networks (not all) is wifi calling, on a smartphone… You can also use other messaging tools instead of SMS. Something to consider!

  4. Like many, I hold One World status with BA but I don’t have anything with any other alliance. My wife and I travel to Japan twice a year and next year we booked some relatively cheap Etihad flights and are unsure where to credit them. I’m thinking to create an ANA account and credit them there. Does anyone have any better recommendations?

    This article suggests that Virgin is redeemable on ANA, but how does that compare with redeeming ANA miles themself?

  5. Has anyone managed to find availability for ANA business class seats from LHR? I keep checking United but can never see anything in J. There are several options in F, but I rarely (if ever) see anything for J.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack Ben! Availability often opens up a few days out otherwise try Frankfurt but they don’t have the new seat yet.

    • How were you finding F? I could only find J!

  6. Spaghetti Town says:

    BAEC Household accounts: – Can i safely add someone who doesn’t live at my address? (but say in the form they do)

  7. OT: Any Tokyo / Osaka hotel recommendations for cash bookings? 3* / Clean / Modern / cheap

    • I stayed at the Dormy Inn Premium Namba Annex in Osaka and it was perfectly nice and had a free hot spring. Think I paid around £60 a night in mid-late March.

    • Tokyo. The Knot, Shinjuku.

      Osaka, Hotel Monterey Le Frere. 10 minutes walk from Umeda Station.

      Stayed at both last year and using them both again in December. Clean and comfortable. Biggest rooms are 20 Sq metres and give you a good amount of space for the price your are paying. For through Hotels.com. Go via the BA link for 4.5 Avios per £ spent plus rewards

  8. Is this new business seat on all outbound flights LHR – HND?

    I’m flying on 24/10.

  9. Hilton LXR, none of the room/suite descriptions include “executive” and there is no mention of lounge access in any of the rooms, so looks like this isn’t the place to go for a lounge experience if you happen to be Diamond.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s London. Isn’t there so much more to do than sit in a lounge?

      I know I’ve said it before but really don’t get the fascination in city hotels other than when you don’t have breakfast included.

      However, if you’re diamond you’ll get breakfast so all good.

  10. OT:
    On 6 June Rhys wrote about the new Intercontinental In Lyon – we are just back after spending Monday night there – my partner had spalashed out on a Black IHG card and used the free night voucher to book. (We also spent a couple of nights for cash at the Crowne Plaza). As she had also splashed out on Ambassador, we were upgraded to a room with a river view.

    The building is everything that Rhys say. the Dome Bar is magnificent, even if it is as expensive as you would expect.
    BUT: the soft product really needs serious work.
    1. The hotel is on a busy dual carriageway (the Rhône is the far side of the road) and the room was noisy. This we only found out when we went to bed. I assumed that it was down to poor insulation, but in the morning I discovered that it was due to the bit of the window that opens being broken. The window could not be closed.
    2. The room included a nespresso machine and a kettle with tea bags, but no milk was provided. I only found this out after making the first cup of coffee. I phoned reception who told me that they did not provide milk, but that they might be able to get room service to supply some. I asked if this would be chargeable and she said that she did not know (which I deduced as = yes). I told them that I did not think this was good enough, so she said she would phone me back.
    When she phoned back, she said that someone would bring some milk. After waiting 30 mins we went to a cafe around the corner for coffee and croissants. The milk never arrived.
    3. At check in we were given a voucher for two free drinks in the Dome Bar. We were told that we could have anything off the drinks list.
    We checked this again with the waitress in the bar – her understanding was the same. However, 5 mins later she returned to say that the bar manager had vetoed my partner’s choice of cocktail – alcoholic cocktails were excluded. However, my partner was allowed to order a glass of expensive champagne (more than the price of the cocktail).
    4. All these things were mentioned at check out and only elicited a mumbled “Sorry – I shall inform someone appropriate”.

    One sort of expects this to happen sometimes at a Hioliday Inn or HIE – it should surely not just be met with a shrug of the shoulders at an Intercontinetal, even if it was a free stay!

    [For comparison, the Crowne Plaza DID provide milk with the nespresso machine, and their free drink for Platinum member voucher was the best I have ever seen, specifying two drinks and either a board of cheese, board of charcuterie, or a mixed board – these were selling for around €12 on the bar menus – plus fresh crisp rolls and ample butter.]

    • Thanks for this. First reader feedback I have seen so far. Looks like teething problems dragging on.

    • Lady London says:

      I will allow myself this one. IME what you experienced was the orientation of customer service predominantly found in France. It’s changing but in some industries sooner than others.

      Rest assured at thé very very top in the hôtel industry, however, the service in France is world standard and gets close to that équivalent Lebel in Switzerland.

      I’m very grateful to you for this review RussellH and will defo give the Crowne Plaza a try sooner than this IC when I find myself in Lyon. The Crowne Plaza looks to have realized it has to compete.

    • Thanks RussellH. That is impressive from the Crowne Plaza. Which of the two hotels would you choose on another occasion?

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        A shrug of the shoulders is exactly what I would have expected…

      • The potential problem with the CP is the location – it is not central, but well north of Part Dieu as part of a massive edge-of-town-centre convention centre. There is also a Marriott there, which looks identical from the outside, but I only went into the lobby (my partner liked the casino in the Marriott).
        Good point about the CP’s location is that it is next to the huge main park in Lyon, which our taxi driver had praised very highly on arrival. We loved it.
        The museum of contemporary art in in the same complex too, next to the Marriott.
        Other good point is that although out on a limb, there is a bus stop outside served by four (I think) bus routes into different parts of the city. A bus ticket is €1,90 and valid for 60 mins, anywhere on the network, with no restriction.
        BUT the description of the Lyon public transport network on their website (tcl.fr) is a complete mess. The supposedly clear map leaves out most of the bus routes, and trying to find connecting bus routes’ stops is a nightmare. They need to look at TFL’s offering. Example, to get to the main centre of town from the CP (or the Marriott), you take the C5 bus, but you only learn of its existence from staff at check in – it is not on the map! (One stop on the bus from Marriott to CP).
        We were at the CP Sat + Sun nights, and it was pretty dead, which presumably explained the reasonable cash rates! Sunday night staff levels were very low, the one young lass behind the bar was not able to take orders from tables. Food was was simple, but very decent quality and certainly not mini portions.
        Staff at check in were very friendly and helpful. When we asked about river cruises, the young man on the desk got quite lyrical telling us about how he had taken his girl-friend on a dinner cruise last Valentines night. Clearly a success from the smile on his face. And not the sort of thing one normally expects from the French.
        CP is 40 000 points, Interconti 55 000 [Marriott is 30 000].
        By contrast, public transport at thye Interconti is poor. The 27 bus stops more or less outside heading for Vieux Lyon, but takes a different route on the way back. And it only operates every 20 mins and not at all on Sundays…
        And if you are into lounges, the CP in Lyon closed theirs back in January, the Interconti only gives lounge access on cash rates, not upgrades. €100 supplement was requested, and declined.
        What would I choose next time? Not the Interconti, but then I would not consider an Interconti anyway, unless it was on some sort of freebie. Just too expensive for me, whether cash or points. But the same would apply to the CP too, TBH. Midweek rates seem to be about €250, and that is RO. Way out of my league.
        For reference, we have stayed at the Interconti in Porto (again an IHG freebie, but 2 nights) and we loved it. Got a nice duplex upgrade. I have also been to the one in Frankfurt – poky little rooms. We did pay extortionate rates for Hong Kong Interconti last Feb. But did get lounge access, which was excellent, and a room upgrade, with balcony and recliners – nice surprise after 10 hour flight delay. But the service there was very good, which makes one see what is possible.

        • Thank you very much for taking so much trouble with your information, Russell. I’ll probably cross both of them off my wish-list then, but leave Porto on it.

          IC prices are out of our normal price range as well, and we have only stayed at the Le Grand and the IC Madrid. Having said that, we love the Le Grand and try to stay there each year for our anniversary on a mix of judicial use of the AMB weekend certificate and free nights. Their customer service is superb and the bus routes from there work really well for us to the airport, train stations and further away museums and we walk everywhere else.

          Otherwise our favourite hotel in the world is a small family-run hotel in Catalunya, and strangely enough they both have the same “at home” feeling, which is the most important thing for us. I do recognise that this doesn’t exactly have wide applicability for the general HfP reader, so offer apologies in advance.

  11. OT: I’m flying to Santorini on Sunday using a Reward Flight Saver (8,500 Avios) in ET. BA is now offering a special offer upgrade to CE for cash (£239). If I pay for the upgrade, will I earn any Avios and TP?

    • Nope – you don’t get TPs or Avios on cash upgrades where the underlying ticket is redemption.

    • That’s still a relatively expensive POUG. There are 4J avios seats available for 17k avios (+8.5k) which seems a much better deal. You’d have to pay £35 to change (and £7.50 extra): cancelling the ET for £17.50, though if you booked a “new RFS” recently you might be able to cancel for 50p.

    • You do sometimes get them on cash upgrades from cash economy fares to Club Europe though.

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