My long journey home from a status run to Hong Kong included flights from Hong Kong to Chicago on ANA via Tokyo Haneda. I had a chance to try the ANA lounge and was impressed with the offering.
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The ANA lounge is centrally located amongst the Duty-Free shops and high-end retailers at Gate 114. My ANA flight to Chicago departed from Gate 105. One complaint about the airport, in general, is a lack of retailers outside of this area including options for tea or coffee. If you plan on eating or drinking, do it in the lounge.
Checkin was easy and quick. Four very efficient agents were prepared to assist me and other passengers that arrived after me. For shower access, exchange your boarding pass with one of these agents at the front desk and they will assign a ready room.
While the lounge is just one floor (most are), I was surprised by how much seating they had available. Seating against the glass (below) accounts for just 1/4 of the total seats available in the lounge. When I landed around 6 AM, cleared security and transit and left the shower, the lounge was sparsely populated. An hour later was a different story. I struggled to find an open seat amongst at least 100 passengers, maybe more.
The seating options were a good mix of tall, long bar tables with power sources near the food for a quick bite in a common use environment. Booths near the food gave families a place to be (which I appreciate even as a solo traveler on this trip). There were traditional dining tables accommodating parties of two or four and lots of leather seats with small tables for work with power sources nearby.
There were three categories for food service in the lounge. A cold food buffet, a hot buffet line, and a made-to-order kitchen. I tried something from each and I was satisfied with what I had, though I think there was a little lack of variety for the size of the lounge, how busy it became and the variety of travelers.
A salad bar with finger sandwiches was well presented and busy. I am not a fan of the finger sandwiches and didn’t try any. The area was kept neat and clean, restocked several times during my visit. The sushi looked ok, but I assume enthusiasts are doing much better outside the lounge. I ate mostly from the hot items so I didn’t leave the lounge to get proper sushi. Excluded from the images below were dry cereals and jugs of milk.
Hot Buffet Items
Hot noodles with vegetables filled one of the containers on the hot buffet, I was surprised not to see Congee as I expected more Chinese visitors connecting through Tokyo and it’s such an easy dish to prepare for a buffet. The star of the show for me was the chicken nuggets and french fries. I didn’t eat them, but I thought it was a really thoughtful addition for children that might not find something else they like. I would imagine it cuts down on waste (as parents try to entice their children with other foods that don’t work out) and keeps at least the American kids happy.
We implore Lucy to try everything but occasionally as a parent, you need to do yourself a favor and hit the easy button. I saw plenty of adults from all parts of the world helping themselves to it as well.
From the Chef
There was a tiny kitchen window whereby one could order a series of noodle dishes made fresh. I tried number 9 (Ramen with Pork Broth) and it was amazing. My only mistake was eating anything else before, I would have finished two bowls of the Ramen and nothing else in future.
As you may recall, I didn’t have an opportunity to shower at the Singapore Kris Lounge in Hong Kong. Following my two and a half hour nap through the middle of the night on my inbound flight, I was ready to clean up and snagged a shower key as soon as I arrived.
I should have taken photos inside, I really should have. I didn’t. I was tired and just wanted to get cleaned up. The staff also indicated that they allow 15 minutes in the shower room and as punctual as they were everywhere else, I wanted to respect their wishes and get in and out.
Let’s do some descriptive writing to paint the picture instead.
A heavy door closes behind, the lock and key are a traditional setup. Black slate walls wrap the room, from the door to the shower and back around behind the mirror of the vanity. Well placed amenities including a toothbrush, toothpaste, and slippers (amongst others) assisted in the efficiency of getting in and out of the shower quickly and ready for the day. The toilet had a Japanese bidet function that I have come to love so much that I installed one at home. The shower was spacious, featured a rain shower head and plenty of soap and shampoo. I felt like a cartoon crunched up Buick in a carwash, entering the bathroom bedraggled, tired and gross and leaving sparkling clean and refreshed.
For those interested, there was a smoking room at the end of a long hallway in the lounge. A double entry kept the rest of the lounge from smelling of smoke. Narita has smoking rooms throughout the terminal and they do a worse job of cleaning up the smell for the non-smokers. Haneda didn’t have any such rooms in the terminal from where I arrived and from where I left, and I thought that the ANA lounge offered something for smokers while not making the lounge intolerable for non-smokers.
Lounge internet speeds were great when I checked in and became less useful as the lounge filled up understandably. When I checked in the speeds were around 25 Mbps up and down, enough for high definition video streaming. By the time I left, it was around 6 Mbps, still plenty for internet browsing and emails but not enough for streaming without some buffering breaks.
In all, the ANA lounge was a great introduction to the airline. It was sleek, substantial in size and well stocked. If you are there on business you can get plenty accomplished, if on vacation with kids everyone will be happy. One final note, the staff was incredibly attentive and remarkably well-dressed. They were perfect ambassadors for their company, and for first-time visitors, for their country. The staff you see in the below image are dressed in skirts, collared shirts and wearing an earpiece for efficient service. Despite their tidy attire, they were just as willing to evacuate an overflowing orange juice receptacle as they were to help a guest with their boarding pass.
Have you been to this lounge? How was your experience? What is it missing that you wish it had?