ANA Economy Class- When Team GTE flies United on international long haul flights, we fly exclusively in Polaris Business Class because the Economy experience is so poor. That’s not the case for other airlines such as Singapore Airlines and ANA, where for a relatively short trip from San Francisco to Tokyo(Narita), economy class is actually bearable. Here are 10 differences that set All Nippon Airlines Economy class apart from the competition.


The Premium experience for ANA Economy Class starts at ticketing. As a Star Alliance Gold member, one is able to check in on the Business Class counters. Even outside of Japan, ANA always has Japanese speaking representatives at the counters. This may be subtle, but we’ve flown United to places where they barely spoke English. The agents are very well trained and are very thorough when reviewing your ticket with you. They go over the boarding / departure time, baggage information, gate, show you a map of where you will be sitting, and walk you though your mileage program accrual.

In our case, the United Lounge was closed for remodeling and we were given a $20 Amex Gift card. Honestly, that is better than going to the old United lounge in SFO.


Airlines like United has a ridiculous boarding process by numbers 1-6. The queue gets so long you can never tell who is in which boarding group line. ANA opens up two separate lines for Business class / Star Alliance Gold members for ease of boarding. They are also are very good at calling people to the ticketing desk before boarding to ensure an on time departure. Often times, they will write your name on a dry erase board and walk around the boarding area to find the individuals (Hopefully to upgrade you to business class!).


The seats on ANA Economy Class have more leg room than most domestic economy seats in a 3/4/3 configuration. It’s pretty much like Economy Plus / Premium Economy but better. There is nice entertainment system included on all the seats. One nice touch is that when entering the plane the seat number is clearly labeled on the entertainment screen. Makes finding your seat a whole lot easier than looking above the seat and figuring which one is a window seat and which one is an aisle seat.


This is one area that sets ANA Economy Class clearly apart from its competitor. The food in my opinion, is better than United business class. They actually have a real menu which no domestic airline has, and the food is excellent. It always has an appetizer, Japanese appetizer, entrée, and desert. For my lunch I had the following:

Appetizer of Prosciutto/Potato Salad, Cantaloupe / Black Olive, and Boiled Asparagus / Green Leaf. Kabachi of Japanese Omelet, Stir fried lotus roots with salted green soybeans. Noodles of Udon noodles, Nori, seaweed, and wasabi. Entree of Miso-Grilled Spanish Mackerel served with Rice.


ANA Economy Class has an impressive selection of drinks, from premium Japanese beers (Asahi, Kirin, Asahi), wines, sodas, Juices, and also they have GTE’s favorite drink “Kabosu”. Unique to ANA, it is a lemonade base drink with some floral accents and is extremely refreshing.


ANA Economy Class doesn’t have that many amenities in general but there are things like hand lotion in the bathrooms and self service snacks and drinks in the middle galleys. United Business class doesn’t even always have food out for their passengers sometimes!


Not the most interesting topic, but ANA Economy Class bathrooms are bigger and cleaner than US Domestic Airline’s toilets.

Flight Attendants

ANA Economy Class has all Japanese female flight attendants. Their level of service is top notch and they are all very pleasant and polite. This is something that is almost non-existent on US airlines.


Even in ANA Economy Class, the service is top notch. The flight Attendants help load your luggage, get you any drink/item you request at anytime during the flight, are trained in terms of arriving airport information, connecting flight, duty free regulations, and the whole gambit. When traveling to a a new country, these little things make all the difference and can make your flight a whole lot more pleasant.


ANA has a nifty mirror on the inside of the overhead storage bins that allow you to easily spot your items.  This is extremely helpful when some of your smaller items shift during flight.


In conclusion, flying economy is not always that bad.  It all depends on the airline.  The money you save flying economy can be used to spend when you actually get to you destination.  Be reasonable!

Until Next Time,

Team GTE