Matthewonlive and let's fly

Tokyo Haneda to Seoul Gimpo in ANA Business Class

When it came time to book tickets between Tokyo and Seoul I was faced with three options: United, Asiana, or ANA. United was a bit cheaper, but all flights were over $500 round-trip. For a 2.5 hour journey in economy class, this seemed like a perfect route to redeem miles on. After some valuable input from you, I booked ANA on the outbound and Asiana on the return in business class. Usually I squeeze a lot more out of a 40K award, but time was tight on this trip and the flight schedules for the non-stop flights were perfect. I suppose I could have used UA vouchers, but this booking gave me a chance to sample two Star Alliance carriers I had not yet been able to try.

Check-in at Haneda Airport in Tokyo was a breeze--there was very few passengers around and no wait to check in. Security was also painless, and literally moments later my uncle and I reached the ANA lounge.

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Like the airport itself on this cool May afternoon, the lounge was quiet with very few other passengers inside. The food selection was decent and included a mix of western and Japanese options including soups, sandwiches, and even sushi and dumplings. Packaged snacks like cookies and peanuts were also available along with a wide selection of beverages both self-serve and at a separate bar.

The lounge was spacious, clean, and well-lit. Showers, resting rooms, computers, and conference rooms were all available. Boarding was called 25 minutes before departure and we simply walked downstairs to our gate.

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Onboard, the ANA 767 featured regional business class seats that reminded me of a clean version of United's old recliner international business class seats. Legroom was tremendous and we were promptly greeted onboard by two smiling hostesses who bowed then offered us a beverage of choice.

Although the cabin had 35 seats in business class, only five were occupied by the time the door closed. Both cabins were lightly booked and we quickly took off with a roar after safety announcements in Japanese, Korean, and English.

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While scheduled flight time was 2.5 hours, announced flight time was 1hr, 45mins. That did not leave a lot of time to enjoy the product! The FAs (four of them for the five passengers) sprang into action soon after takeoff and offered a beverage of choice. I was happy to see Perrier onboard--a welcome change from the Seagrams I would have been served on United. The drink came with an Oriental snack mix.

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There was no choice for the meal, but it was substantial for a two hour flight. I was not all that hungry, but polished off most of the cold appetizer and the hot main course of rice and beef. The presentation of the meal could have been a little better--there was no need to leave on the cover for the hot entree and vegetable--but the meal did have a nice appearance once the clutter was removed.

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The only disappointment on the flight was that the IFE was not switched on. I asked about it and was told that technical difficulties had arisen and there would not be in IFE during the flight. There would not have even been time to finish a movie, but a little IFE is always appreciated.

There was a moderate chop throughout much of the flight so I did not get up once. The FAs--all young and beautiful women--were very good about ensuring that my uncle and I were comfortable and one even gave us some tips on what to see in Seoul. We landed in a rain at Seoul--the flight had been much too quick.

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My expectations for the ANA flight were very high and I am pleased to confirm that they were met.

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Comments

#1
Gary July 16, 2011 at 11:20 am

"Check-in at Gimpo Airport in Tokyo was a breeze"

You may be the only person in the world who could manage this in a breeze. :)

LOL. Corrected.

Thanks Gary!

#3
David Balcon July 17, 2011 at 07:57 am

It should be noted that ANA's 767s are actually wet leased to Air Japan, so crew and plane were not actually ANA's. I've flown them a few times now between NRT and ICN and HKG. My main complaint about this service is that I found the seat to be the least comfortable business class seat in the air!

@David: I saw no indication this was Air Japan. ANA crew and uniforms and no mention of "operated by Air Japan" on the reservation or at the airport.

Every time I've been to the HND ANA lounge it has been absolutely packed!

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