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REVIEW – ANA and United Lounges : Business Class, Tokyo Narita

After disembarking from my first ever A380 flight, in F no less, the absurdity of my situation struck me.

Before FT, I dreamed of perhaps having one holiday per year in business class yet here I was, midway through a 5 sector, 1 week journey spent entirely in the F cabins of top tier Asian carriers. I had touched down in my final destination but was not content to end my journey here.

I was going to leave Japan and fly to Korea, for the sole purpose of flying out of Korea, on Asiana.

Before all that, I had a 3 bottle of Dom buzz to take care of. More accurately I had to handle the effects of the dwindling buzz whilst successfully completing my transfer to the ICN-NRT flight.

After having my hand luggage scanned I was able to proceed to the regular departures area of NRT. I headed straight for the ANA Suite lounge, excited to find a comfy chair... and a cup of coffee.

It turns out that passengers arriving in *A F with onward tickets in J are not allowed to use *A F lounges in NRT, unless they have arrived in either NH or UA F.

'No problem', I thought. I was going to be heading back to the NH F lounge in a few days anyway. I'd heard about the noodle and sake bar at the NH J lounge and figured it was worth taking a look.

I figured wrong. The place was a zoo. There were people everywhere. I managed to find a quiet corner and proceeded to drink a couple of cups of coffee and about 8 glasses of water.

The decor in the lounge is cool, monochrome, minimalist Japanese.

The biggest downside though is the overcrowding, coupled with a complete lack of natural light. Let me tell you, feeling the way I did, I needed to see the sky. Neon strip lights weren't going to cut it.

Still, I couldn't leave without getting a quick snap of the sake bar for you lovely people.

My search for daylight led me to the UA lounge. I remembered reading on numerous occasions how this was nothing like a regular United lounge and that it was probably the best UA lounge in the world. Having never set foot in one in the States, I can't say for sure. One thing I can say though, this place was a massive improvement over the overcrowded dungeon that NH has for its J fliers.

The lounge is enormous, featuring loads of different seating areas, all of which are partitioned off so that you never feel completely exposed.

The decor is very Japanese, more so than the NH lounge, with numerous art installations dotted around.

There was a decent selection of food and drink, including both Japanese and western choices. Most impressive was the extensive series of different accoutrements supplied for anybody wanting to make a Bloody Mary.

I settled down with a tomato juice and my book and watched the sun set over the tarmac of NRT.

Soon enough it was time to wander over to the gate and board my flight to ICN.

ANA (NH) and United (UA)

  • Location: Tokyo (NRT)
  • Class: Business
  • Access:
    • *Alliance Business Class passengers
    • *Alliance Gold cardholders
  • Date: February 2014

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