For passengers taking All Nippon Airways First Class from Narita, there is a dedicated check-in area which is also open for the highest members of the ANA Mileage Club. I arrived with some time to spare into Narita after spending a night in Tokyo and taking the airport limousine bus (which is really just a bus…). I have already checked in online using the ANA mobile app on the iPhone and obtained my mobile boarding pass on passbook, but I do have my ski bags and luggage to check in. Thus I proceed to the ANA Suite check-in area at the north-eastern corner of the terminal, past the ANA’s business class check-in row.
Unfortunately, it was very packed when I arrived that afternoon and I managed to get one of the check-in attendants to watch for my luggage so that I could get some drinks first. When I returned, I proceeded to an empty counter and once again the check-in took some time as the attendant wanted to charge me for my snowboard but some reasoning allowed me to escape the extra baggage charge. Somehow do note that even First Class passengers are subject to a maximum luggage dimensions for skis and snowboards, even if the weight and piece is within the quantity specified.
Once check-in was completed, a dining coupon worth 2000 yen was given in case the lounge is full. I didn’t really get the point since the check-in attendant seems to have some problems explaining to me what this voucher is for. I never had this before and thought I could use it to get some snacks but it applies only to the restaurants (though I later found out some snack shops do accept this voucher).
After checking in at the Suite area, there is a dedicated security lane by the end which allows First Class passengers to escape the public security area though all passengers converge into the similar immigration area. The line for immigration was about 4-5 people on each lanes and it took perhaps 15 minutes or so to pass. Not too bad actually since I understand that between 3-5pm is a busy time as many international flights with huge capacity departs from Narita.
Passing through immigration, I head to buy some souvenirs first before heading to the sole ANA Suite Lounge in the No. 4 Satellite even though my flight was departing from the No. 5 satellite. It seems the last ANA Suite Lounge I visited is under renovation.
Once I entered, I enquired about the shower in the lounge as I wanted to refresh myself before the long flight. After that, I was ushered into the lounge by an attendant and once seated, I was handed a hot towel and asked if I would like anything to drink. I asked for a green tea and went to find some other snacks. The lounge is designed similarly to the one in the No. 5 satellite and has some nice views of the tarmac. There was also the private cubicles with a TV and a work desk but it was all occupied when I visited. It seems the No. 4 satellite Suite Lounge is more packed or maybe it was because the other lounge was in renovation.
The lounge also had some English magazines though the large majority were Japanese newspapers and reading materials. Compared to many other lounges, it was lacking in providing for the international traveller.
However there was still ample seating, and it was nice that the lounge was segregated by partitions with coat hangers scattered around. This made it easy for guests to hang their coats during winter and not occupy much needed seats. For food options, there was the usual hot rice dishes and udon that guests can order. On the buffet counter was a range of sandwiches, salads and desserts.
There was also some nice chocolates by Lindt, dried fruits and nuts as well as a variety of alcoholic drinks in the lounge. After getting a couple of chocolates and one plate of dessert, I head back to my seat to relax and have a bite. Just as I finished, one of the attendant came to me to let me know the shower was ready. Those Lindt chocolates in the lounge were so good that I took extras for the flight!
On my previous visit, First Class passengers were provided with a pack of bath amenities from Thann, which I actually liked. But recently they switched to a set by Shiseido. I did not use them but I did pack them to pass to my sister since she does use Shiseido products and there are some of them not sold outside of Japan. The shower room was similar to my last visit and was a spacious enough with a shower stall at the end. What I really dislike was how the toilet did not have a cover. It just felt weird. For business class passengers, there were amenities in small sachets on the basket along with fresh towels and other amenities like toothbrushes and combs.
As far as lounges go, I kind of like the ANA Suite Lounge even though it was nothing special. While it did not have massages like the Royal Orchid Spa in Bangkok or an exclusive ambience like the Private Room in Singapore or a cabana like the Wing in Hong Kong, I did find the quality of their offerings to be respectable enough for a First Class lounge. At least I find them to be better than the First Class lounge of any US-based airlines.