First class airline lounges, particularly those of non-U.S. airlines, are generally something to savor and behold. Perhaps I’m holding them all to the near incomparable standard that is the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt or the Thai Royal First Lounge in Bangkok. But the ANA Suite Lounge at Tokyo’s Narita Airport I visited a couple of weeks ago was rather underwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice lounge with decent amenities, but it didn’t quite have that air of exclusivity that others offer. I’d put it on par with very good business class lounges I’ve visited in the past.
The greeting I received after walking through the doors was exceptional and very first class with the three agents behind the counter straightening their posture and even bowing. I was welcomed into the lounge after a quick check of my United Airlines Global First boarding pass to San Francisco and made my way to the only available seat next to a window.
Yet another agent promptly welcomed me with a hot towel as I took a seat and asked if she could bring me a beverage. As I wanted to peruse the buffet, I declined mentioning I’d take a look at everything on offer.
The lounge was packed during my visit with very little opportunity to capture a few discrete pictures beyond these of the buffet and work station area:
There was a generous spread of nibbles, both hot and cold, and I went with a little sampling of noodles and a couple of sandwich wedges together with Perrier. The Noodle Bar (a restaurant of sorts) also offers additional full-service items (PDF menu). Having enjoyed a big buffet breakfast at my hotel, I didn’t partake.
The view out to the apron was quite nice, especially when compared to the not as active side the United Club occupies in the same satellite.
Additional amenities inside the lounge include shower rooms, a business center and apparently a “Refresh Salon by Raffine,” which I never came across, though I thought I explored every corner and turn.
There wasn’t anything terrible about the lounge, but the cramped quarters, simple food offering and general lack of anything particularly unique found me wanting to head to the United Global First lounge. I had plenty of time had I decided to visit the other ANA Suite Lounge in Satellite 5, but I figured it wouldn’t be anything different. Not to sound elitist (okay, I am), I was expecting to be “wowed” a bit more.