And the award for our new favourite airline goes to…


Air Nippon Airways! Hands down!

Our entire around-the-world trip has been organized through ANA’s mileage rewards program.  We’ve had 8 stops, 2 open-jaws, and 5 24-hour stopovers, all with countless adjustments due to our on-the-go planning. For a trip like ours, (well for any trip really), the airline could make or break the overall enjoyment factor, and without hesitation we would say it has been an absolute joy to deal with ANA. They have treated us like superstars despite the fact that we were not mileage rewards program members previously.

Amongst some of the exceptional services we received:

  • First and foremost: Amazing call centers and customer service. Throughout the process of booking the flight (which you can imagine was not simple since it was both an around-the-world trip and using points), making changes along the way, and inquiring about rules/regulations at particular airports, etc., ANA staff have been incredibly patient, courteous, and calm. Often, one of the most frustrating things when on a call, is being put on hold and hearing the annoying wait-time music — this didn’t seem to ever happen at ANA. We never felt like we were waiting when on a call. And if an office was closed, we could call another office in another region, and they would be able to help — all with the same level of service.
  • Proactive phone calls for delayed flights. Say what?? That’s right, they actually called us in advance when they were aware that a flight would be delayed so that we didn’t go to the airport too early.  This happened 3 times along the way. In addition, they sent us emails which should be standard, but most airlines can’t seem to manage that yet.
  • Strong rules, stronger empathy. Their rules require 4 days advance notice to book a flight. Although you can cancel a flight up until the last moment, you need to have 4 days to get on the next flight. However, they were very empathetic to accommodate in 2 circumstances.
    • The first was in Frankfurt, when we were delayed on an internal flight on Lufthansa (which had nothing to do with ANA). We potentially would have had to stay in Frankfurt for 4 days (read about it here) — but ANA allowed us to rebook our next flight to the next morning without hesitation. This saved us so much hassle and headache as we would have had to change everything onwards in Tunisia and Ethiopia.
    • Second, we found out late that we had the potential to meet a family member in Hong Kong, but only had a window of 3 days to so. ANA was again empathetic — perhaps it was due to to the Lunar New Year! Thanks to their kind accommodation, we were able to spend the day in Hong Kong with family.

I think the only other time that we’ve used ANA is 15 years ago when I flew to Tokyo (although, I can’t actually recall which airline I used). Even so, ANA treated us not only with respect but also with consideration of our time. Often vacations or trips are great in spite of the of the extraneous aspects such as the actual transit. ANA seems to have realized that their flight is part of the ‘whole product’ of a vacation; that they have the ability to make your trip even better, which they did in our case. Whenever we think about our vacation an all the wonderful memories of the last several months, ANA will be a part of that story.

This is how all companies should view their customers — as valued assets rather than just a commodity. ANA just won us over as huge fans and loyal customers. We will definitely use their services whenever possible in the future!

For more info on the points program, check out (thepointsguy.com)

For a quick way to earn 40k AMEX points, which can be converted to ANA: https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/platinum

And if you’re short, you may be able to convert some points at: points.com

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