With names like “The Room” and “The Suite,” you know you're in for a treat flying first or business class with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).
These premium cabins at the front of these new (or refurbished) ANA jets flying to and from Japan are a huge step up from what you'll find on ANA's other planes. Heck, they might even be the best first and business class seats in the world.
But just a handful of the airline's Boeing 777s are equipped with these latest-and-greatest seats onboard – and they're only flying to and from a few U.S. cities. That means it'll pay to be picky. It's the difference between flying a standard business class seat like this…
Or what you really want. Keep reading to see how and where to find them.
Read our full review of ANA's The Room business class!
How to Tell If You're Flying The Suite or The Room
From its hubs in Japan throughout the rest of Asia and across the Pacific Ocean, All Nippon Airways flies in and out of nearly 100 airports across the globe. That includes nonstop flights to Tokyo from nine cities in North America.
But just a few of those flights are operated with these updated first and business class seats. You'll only find updated premium cabins on ANA Boeing 777-300ERs – but not all its Boeing 777-300ERs, just a subset of that fleet.
There are many 777s where you'll find an older (and somewhat underwhelming) business class seat, though ANA may continue refurbishing some of its older planes to replace the cabins onboard. And the Boeing 787 Dreamliners that ANA most frequently uses for transpacific flights have an older business class seat … and no first class cabin, period.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to confirm you're booking ANA's best business class seats. For starters, ANA's own website does a pretty good job of labeling whether a route is set to be operated with The Room business class suites or The Suite first class onboard.
So does Google Flights, for that matter. Just search for a business class ticket on your route and click for more details on each fare. You want a flight that shows “Individual suite” – a ticket with “Lie-flat seat” means you'd be in ANA's older, inferior business class seats.
Still, you might want to take a hard look at a seat map to confirm you're really, truly, getting what you're looking for. For that, you want to plug your flight into a tool like ExpertFlyer.
ANA's newer 777s equipped with The Room business class have 64 business class suites in all, laid out in an unmistakable fashion with some pairs of seats in the center aisle close together and the next row spread farther apart. If this is what you see, it also means this plane will have the airline's revamped first class interior, too.
The airline's older 777s (and most Boeing 787s, too) have a distinctly different layout. Seats are staggered in every row.
Which Routes Have ANA's New First & Business Class Cabin
The airline regularly rotates these 777s equipped with The Room business class around some major U.S. cities along with some major European destinations, too.
Here's a quick list of where you'll currently find ANA's new business class seats flying today as of publication. Just keep in mind this could quickly change.
- New York City (JFK) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND), flying year-round
- San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – but not Tokyo-Narita (NRT) through Oct. 31, 2023
- Honolulu (HNL) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) occasionally throughout the year
- London-Heathrow (LHR) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND), flying year-round
As you can see, just a small fraction of ANA's routes feature these updated cabins. Flying from New York is a safe bet: Both of the twice-daily flights to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) from New York City (JFK) have The Room and The Suite onboard. Meanwhile, you'll only find the best first and business class seats when flying from San Francisco (SFO) straight into Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – not into Tokyo-Narita (NRT).
In the past, we've also seen these cabins flying from both Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago-O'Hare (ORD). Whether these updated jets eventually rotate back to either city is anyone's guess.
Comparing ANA's First & Business Class Seats
I'll let some photos do the talking.
There's certainly nothing wrong with the ANA business class seats you'll find flying on most of the airline's 777s and 787s. They're plenty comfortable, they recline into fully-lie flat beds, and you'll be treated to the same, excellent onboard food and service regardless of the seat.
But the new The Room business class is simply in another league. At 38 inches wide, these suites are almost laughably spacious: They put even most 20- to 24-inch-wide first class seats on other airlines to shame. And with a privacy door you can close with the touch of a button, you can close out the world as you make your way across the Pacific Ocean.
The privacy, space, comfort, and chic design put ANA's The Room business class firmly in the running for the world's best business class, if you ask me. And yes, that includes Qatar Airways' famed Qsuites.
Splurging even more for a first class ticket? You're in for an upgrade up front, too.
The old ANA first class seats are nothing to turn your nose up at. The service and catering is second to none. While the design may need a facelift, it's still an incredibly comfortable and private way to fly to Tokyo or back home.
Read our full review of flying ANA first class from Chicago to Tokyo!
But ANA has leveled up to make its new first class seats even better. The cubicle-like setup that made it hard for companions to chat mid-flight is gone, replaced with a more open design that doesn't sacrifice privacy thanks to a set of doors on each suite. And ANA slapped some massive, 42-inch 4K screens at the front of each suite – talk about an upgrade!
How to Book
You know why these newer first and business class seats are worth seeking out and where to find them. Now you just need to book them.
That's easier said than done. As with booking any business class or first class seat using your miles, the trick is finding award availability to actually book those awards using miles. And with ANA in particular, it's proved difficult lately. You can regularly scan through months of calendars without finding a single award seat flying to or from Tokyo – especially in first class.
But it can be done!
How to Book ANA Business Class
There is a clear pattern when it comes to ANA business class award availability… and it requires getting down to the wire. You'll regularly find these business class awards bookable in the final two to three weeks before departure, especially if you're trying to book more than one seat. While you may luck out finding a few seats further in advance, booking last minute is probably your best bet.
That's not always the case, though. A few months back, we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ alerts for wide-open ANA business class availability from both Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and other cities for a trip in 2023.
Get award alerts to fly ANA business class and other great ways to use your points and miles with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
Once you've landed on your route and found the award availability, you've got plenty of options to book no matter which airline miles you have or transferrable credit card points you've got saved up from banks like Chase, American Express, or Capital One. ANA is part of the massive Star Alliance, which means you can book these flights via 20-plus airline mileage programs – including one that isn't even part of that alliance.
- You won't find a better deal to got to Japan and back than using the airline's own ANA Mileage Club … for as low as 75,000 miles roundtrip (or slightly more during busier travel periods), it's one of the best ways to fly business class at economy rates. It's easy to get the miles you need as ANA is an Amex transfer partner, so points from cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card will do you right. One hitch? You must book roundtrip through ANA – one-way redemptions aren't allowed.
- One of the best options isn't a Star Alliance airline at all: It's Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club charges just 45,000 points for one-way flights between Tokyo and the West Coast or 47,5000 points from the Midwest or East Coast. Those stellar award rates weren't touched (at least not yet) when Virgin Atlantic recently raised ANA first class rates. Virgin Atlantic points are incredibly easy to earn as they're a transfer partner of all the major banks, from Amex to Chase to Capital One and even renters earning Bilt Rewards. Just beware you'll need to call up Virgin at 1-800-365-9500 to actually book.
- Air Canada Aeroplan is a decent option, especially since you can add a stopover in Tokyo for a few days before continuing onward in Asia for just 5,000 miles more. Nonstop flights to Tokyo from most U.S. cities will cost you 75,000 points each way … except a sweet spot to or from Seattle, which clocks in at just 55,000 points each way. Air Canada is a transfer partner of Chase, Amex, Capital One, and Bilt.
- You could also turn to United MileagePlus, which charges at least 88,000 miles each way for ANA business class – or even more if you're booking within just a few weeks of departure. You can transfer points to your United account from both Chase and Bilt Rewards.
How to Book ANA First Class
One of the best deals in the world of points and miles took a big hit recently. Yet it still remains the best way to book ANA first class.
It's by using Virgin Atlantic. For years, you could book one-way first class flights from the West Coast on ANA using just 55,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points – or 60,000 points each way from the Midwest or East Coast.
Sadly, those rates shot up last month as part of a major Virgin Atlantic devaluation:
- Flying from West Coast cities like Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo now costs 145,000 points roundtrip – up from the previous 110,000-point rate, a 32% increase
- Longer flights from Midwestern and East Coast cities like Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Houston-Intercontinental (IAH), or New York City (JFK) now will run you 170,000 points roundtrip – up from 120,000 points before, a hike of almost 42%
No matter how you slice it, suddenly hiking award rates by up to 40% or more is a tough pill to swallow. But frankly, we were expecting much worse.
After months of preparation, Virgin Atlantic finally joined the SkyTeam alliance last month along with close partner Delta. Yet ANA is part of the Star Alliance with United Airlines. That kind of cross-alliance mishmash rarely lasts long. We expected Virgin Atlantic to kill off its partnership with ANA and this amazing sweet spot altogether – and that could still happen down the line. This deal was simply too good to last.
Even at these higher rates, finding the award availability to actually book ANA first class is still a chore – it's even harder than scoring ANA business class seats.
You can regularly scroll through many months' worth of flights without seeing a single first class award available flying to or from airports like New York City (JFK), Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), or Honolulu (HNL).
But every once in a while, a unicorn fare pops up – or a few of them. Before that award rate hike, we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ alerts for wide-open ANA First Class availability from both San Francisco and Honolulu for a trip to Japan later this year. Best of all, these flights were all in ANA's latest-and-greatest first class seats on their Boeing 777s.
Get award space alerts for the best ways to use your points and miles with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
ANA is one of the world's best airlines. That's not up for debate. And these newer first and business class seats just make that case even stronger.
Trust me: I've flown ANA's newest business class suite and I've flown its older seats. You really, really want to fly ANA's “The Room.” And I'd wager the same hold true for “The Suite” first class, too.