Here's what it's like to dine in first class at 35,000 feet

ANA 777-300ER First Class

  • This past winter, I used credit card points to fly in first
    class on Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, or ANA.
  • While bigger and more private seats are an obvious feature of
    first class, the biggest differentiator between first and business
    class is the food and drink service.
  • From sashimi to steak, it was an incredible experience. Read on
    to see what it’s like to dine during a flight in first class.
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    Insider’s homepage for more stories
    .

As airlines compete with each other for premium passengers,
international business class cabins are becoming more and more
luxurious, getting closer to what first class seats look like.

However, for airlines that still offer international first
class, the difference between first class and business class can
cost thousands of dollars — so there’s a need to make the top
product distinct enough to command that price premium.

Aside from bigger and more private seats, the main way to do
that: offer more over-the-top service, featuring lavish meals,
top-shelf liquor, and champagne that normally retails for hundreds
of dollars.

This past winter, my wife and I used our credit card points to
book $20,000 roundtrip first-class tickets to Tokyo on the Japanese
airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) for about $250 each — you can

read about how we did it
. The seats were great, but the meal
service was over-the-top fantastic.

From sashimi, to waygu beef seared to a perfect medium, to a
perfect miso soup, here’s what it’s like to dine in first
class.

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The feast began with an amuse-bouche plate, consisting of four
bite-size morsels: a roasted duck and kumquat pincho, a grape and
goat cheese ball coated in crushed pistachio, smoked salmon and
scallop tartare served in a puff pastry, and a sharp cheese and
pepper bar.

As we snacked on the amuse–bouche plate, flight attendants came
by to take our lunch orders. There was a Japanese cuisine option,
and an “international” one. I went with the Japanese — I mean,
how could you not?

After she took my lunch order, the flight attendant came to set my
table for lunch.

The first course, the “zensai” appetizer, was an eclectic mix of
small Japanese bites, most of which I’d never tried before. All of
it was delicious.

Here’s what the menu listed.

Next came the soup — a clear broth with vegetables and a scallop
fish cake. After the strong flavors of the first course, it was a
nice palate cleanser.

Next came a fabulous sashimi course, consisting of a lightly seared
yellowtail.

Next came the entree. There was a grilled sablefish in a sweet
soy-based sauce, steamed alfonsino fish with grated turnip, a tasty
crab meat salad with mascarpone and avocado, steamed rice, miso
soup, and pickled vegetables. It was incredible, and quite filling.

For dessert, I had a few different things: a red bean pastry, a
flan-like pudding, and a cup of fresh green tea.

One of the highlights of the airline’s first class service is an
extensive list of “Light Dishes Anytime.” While I was very full
after the initial feast, the flight is a long 14 hours, and I woke
up from a nap a few hours later feeling peckish.

I had the “Tea-and-rice” with shredded chicken and chopped Japanese
plum. It was a light savory, salty snack — perfect for
mid-flight.

Before we landed, the flight attendants came by to offer a final
light meal. Who was I to say no? I had the udon noodles with
deep-fried tofu, which, despite the fact that we were on an
airplane, was actually crispy…

And a small fruit salad.

On the return flight, I decided to try the “international cuisine,”
just for a point of comparison.

It started with a slightly different amuse-bouche plate: a
pistachio-coated nut stick, duck prosciutto wrapped around a
marinated mushroom, an apricot and butter roll, and a smoked
scallop with mandarin orange sauce.

For the appetizer, I had the “gâteau style of homard and its
consommé gelée,” or lobster served in a gelled stock, which was
served with caviar. The lobster was tasty, but the texture wasn’t
my favorite.

Next was a crisp and fresh garden salad …

… followed by the main course, for which I ordered a grilled
wagyu beef with pancetta and tarragon sauce, which was served with
a tasty lotus root pancake.

Considering that this was steak served on an airplane, I was
tremendously impressed. It was melt-in-your-mouth, and while it
wasn’t quite as rare as some might like, it was delicious, and not
overcooked.

For dessert, I had the blood orange and lychee mousse, which came
with a meringue.

Finally, for the pre-landing meal, I had a fruit plate with a
couple of rolls.
Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Here's what it's like to dine in first class at 35,000 feet