Review: Korean Air A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon

Introduction: The Easy Way To Seoul
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air A330 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul
The Westin Chosun Busan
The Westin Chosun Seoul
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Seoul
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 747-400 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong


Korean Air 604
Friday, April 3, 2015
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 26 Dep: 12:05 (12:20)
Destination: Seoul Incheon (ICN) Gate: 15 Arr: 16:45
 (16:40)
Duration: 3 hr 40 min (3 hr 20 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 9G (Business Class)

We walked through the first class cabin on the way to our seats, which seems infinitely inferior to its competition. The seats are basically the same as those in business class with slightly bigger headrests and bigger pillows, as well as an ottoman.

IMG_2332Korean Air Airbus A330 First Class

IMG_2333Korean Air Airbus A330 First Class

IMG_2435Korean Air Airbus A330 First Class

Korean Air markets their second generation international long-haul beds as Prestige Sleeper seats, which are featured on their A330s, A380s, and select 777s (whereas their 747s and the rest of their 777 fleet feature their older Prestige Plus angled lie flats). These A330s are in the process of being retrofitted with their new Prestige Suites (staggered fully flat beds that resemble Japan Airlines’ new Boeing 777 business class seats), but to my knowledge none of them have been retrofitted yet.

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 13.33.18
Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seatmap

The business class cabin features 18 fully flat beds in a 2-2-2 configuration. I was assigned seat 9G, next to my sister in the last row of the cabin.

IMG_2334Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

I liked the colour tones – while not everyone’s cup of tea, they’re bright, relaxing and feel like daytime (if that makes any sense). The cabin was also fairly intimate, with only eighteen seats, and it was fairly quiet.

IMG_2335Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin

IMG_2336Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class

The seats had tiny pillows and scratchy Korean Air-branded blankets on them, and also featured two USB ports, a headphone plug, adjustable reading lights, tray tables and lots of storage.

IMG_2339Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seat 9G and 9H

It’s great to be sitting in the last row of a cabin. Makes for good whole cabin pictures, surely!

IMG_2337Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class

I sat down in my seat, and realised just how spacious the cabin is. From my seat, I could barely touch the panel in front of me.

IMG_2338Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class

IMG_2347Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class

As aforementioned, we had legroom for years.

IMG_2345Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Legroom

I sat down and explored my seat. While forward facing seats aren’t world class these days, I feel like these seats were designed perfectly in every small detail. To my left were the seat controls, which were fairly intuitive.

IMG_2342Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seat Controls

To my right were the reading lights, which were pretty strong.

IMG_2343Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Reading Lights

Also to the right was a panel with a sturdy divider and the two USB ports, along with a jack for headphones. What’s better than one USB power port? Two, of course!

IMG_2341Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Power Port and Headphones

“Real” 110V power ports were located by the legrests, and were functional and fit “wall climber” power ports, such as MacBook chargers without extension wires.

IMG_2390Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Power Plugs

One thing worth noting about the cabin is that nearly everything is static electricity-inducing. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but I was given little static shocks every time I touched the iPhone charger when my iPhone wasn’t plugged into the cable, which probably suggests that battery was still being pumped from the USB power ports. Similarly, our whole family found ourselves electrocuting each other after using the blankets on the flight.

IMG_2352Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Blanket

Slippers were placed by the storage area, and they were handy (the seat also came with shoe storage areas, which is a nice touch).

IMG_2351Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Slippers

IMG_2346Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Shoe Storage Area

Also to the right were the entertainment screen controls. It’s funny that the screen doesn’t work like a gaming system like most other entertainment screens, but rather like a real computer, where there’s a mouse that you move around the screen. I’m not sure if I prefer that to normal gaming system-style entertainment screens, though the screen was responsive and featured an extensive entertainment selection (which was turned on on the ground), so I’m a happy camper.

IMG_2344Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class TV Remote

There was more storage under the remote, which the seat wasn’t short of.

IMG_2382Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Storage

IMG_2364Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Inflight Entertainment

The privacy dividers were sturdy and functional enough.

IMG_2400Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Privacy Divider

While we settled down, the senior purser came and welcomed myself and my parents, introduced herself, and wished us a great flight (which I immediately knew it would be). Another flight attendant came after her with newspapers, which I declined.

IMG_2350Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Newspapers

I ripped apart the headphone packaging and wasn’t impressed – these headphones were of extremely low quality. Sucks that I’d lost my own, or else I’d have had to use them.

IMG_2363Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Headphones

The cabin started to fill up. It doesn’t suck that I knew half the people in the cabin, given how small it was.

IMG_2348Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin from 9G upon boarding

My sister took a few photos of the Cathay Pacific 777 next to me, running the exact route that my next outbound flight in business class would be on!

IMG_2353Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

Shortly the door closed, and the safety video played. Apologies that I couldn’t find a better version online, but they played the 747 safety video (either that, or they use the same video across the board):

Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

IMG_2354Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Safety Video

IMG_2362Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Cabin after Safety Video

I flipped on the airshow after that. Korean’s airshow is one of the more detailed ones out there, with interactive information – kind of like FlightRadar24 on the plane itself. Pretty damn wacky.

IMG_2365Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Airshow

We pushed back, and taxied over to the runway, and the senior purser went on the PA and announced that we were fifth in line and would have a delayed takeoff. Only on a Korean airline (or a Japanese airline, in that matter).

We were delayed by about seven minutes (*grumble*) and there were four planes taking off before us, so the information was accurate.

IMG_2366Hong Kong Express Airbus A320 Hong Kong Airport

IMG_2370Dragonair Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

We took off on runway 25L, and were in the air in no time. I’m sure getting used to A330s with my eleventh (and FINALLY last) continuous flight on it.

IMG_2377Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Views upon Takeoff

Taking off on runway 25L on the right side of the plane probably has the worst views. Not that it’s much, but on the left side of runway 07R you get a view of the whole terminal, and in the other two circumstances you get an overview of Hong Kong, which is always cool. In my circumstance, we just got a view of the water.

IMG_2379Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Takeoff Roll Views

IMG_2381Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Takeoff Roll Views

I visited the bathroom after we were airborne. It’s rather old though fully functional, and lacked any “premium” amenities (unless mouthwash acts as one).

IMG_2383Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Lavatory

IMG_2384Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Lavatory

I also went into the economy cabin to visit four of my friends who didn’t get the cheap prices we got in time and were stuck back there for the outbound. That said, economy looked rather nice and spacious, especially since Korean Air is one of the only airlines offering 34″ pitch.

IMG_2385Korean Air Airbus A330 Economy Class Backward Cabin

IMG_2386Korean Air Airbus A330 Economy Class Forward Cabin

I woke up rather early to finish some work, so was rather tired by the time we were airborne. I asked to be woken up for lunch, and had a nap after testing out the bed position (which was pretty comfortable, though slightly lacking in padding).

IMG_2388Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bed

IMG_2389Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bed

I noticed the ever-so-slight 3˚ angle that some forward-facing fully flat seats employ due to the fact that the plane flies with its nose up at a 3˚ angle, though there’s a pillow anyway so I’m not sure if that 3˚ makes much of a difference.

IMG_2391Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bed

There were “simple” controls to get the seat back into upright or reclined position, which I found a nice touch. It’s worth noting that the seat motors are really quiet.

IMG_2393Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bedside Controls

I napped for a while and was woken up for meal selection, which I selected the bibimbap. The menu read as follows:

IMG_2394Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Menu

IMG_2395Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Wine List

My dad also asked for bibimbap, and since he was served before me, he was given a pamphlet on how to eat bibimbap (as he told the purser he’d never had it before). I asked for it and took a picture.

IMG_2396Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Bibimbap Instruction Card

When the flight attendant asked me if I had tried bibimbap, I showed her the photo I had taken, where she said “wow”, gave me a thumbs up and moved on. It’s nice when you’re faking as a regular when you actually have no idea what bibimbap is. 😉

Service began with hot towels, which were presented nicely (thank god).

IMG_2397Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Meal Service Hot Towel

Which was followed by my table being set (which slides out from the center console).

IMG_2398Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Table

Drinks followed along with packaged honey nuts (which Korean still serves that way albeit the great kerfuffle they had, but that’s slightly further upfront).

IMG_2399Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Drinks Service

The appetiser was soon served, which consisted of smoked salmon with feta cheese (as the flight attendant described intricately). The feta cheese worked with the salmon, the salsa was great, the salmon was flavourful but it was about a minute over and bordering on tough and powdery. I’m not sure if that’s “smoked” salmon, but I’ll let slide.

IMG_2403Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Appetiser

It was followed by some garlic bread (which was good but not show-stopping).

IMG_2404Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Garlic Bread

The bibimbap was soon served. I applaud the airline for serving traditional bibimbap in business class, as it was definitely one of the best airline meals I had, along with the main course featured on my Dragonair flight from Hong Kong to Fukuoka. The soup was perfectly seasoned, the bibimbap was perfectly balanced (not that I can properly judge given that I’d never had it before, but the flavours definitely worked), and the side dishes were great as well (but I may have overestimated my tolerance for hot food, given that I added half the container of hot paste despite the fact that I had already been warned about how hot it was). It’s worth noting that true bibimbap should feature a crust where the rice at the bottom of the pot crisps up and caramelises, though that’s a little harder to achieve on a plane, so I was happy with what I got.

IMG_2405Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Main Course

The bibimbap was followed by ice cream and a fruit plate. The ice cream was perfect in temperature and the fruit was good (I’ve had some less than stellar experiences with inflight oranges).

IMG_2406Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Dessert

Meal service finished over Taipei, about two hours into the flight.

IMG_2407Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Airshow

Overall the meal was way better than expected, and service was great too, as the flight attendants were polished with every course, even in their explanations.

The cabin lights dimmed, and I slept for a while, before waking up and filling in immigration forms for the family. I find Korean’s service mentality to be somewhere in the middle of Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines (which I had flown before I started blogging). Once the call button is pressed, the flight attendants are there within seconds with a smile, but between cabin checks and meal services they do appear every fifteen minutes to see if anyone needs anything. It’s kind of a perfect balance, in my opinion.

Before we knew it, we were on the way down for my first landing in South Korea.

IMG_2408Views upon Descent Seoul Incheon Airport

IMG_2411Views upon Final Approach Seoul Incheon Airport

IMG_2413Views upon Final Approach Seoul Incheon Airport

After a great flight we touched down in Incheon five minutes ahead of schedule.

IMG_2417Views upon Touchdown Seoul Incheon Airport

Taxiing views were rather interesting, as we cruised over the cargo terminal and soon after the Asiana terminal to get to our gate.

IMG_2419Views upon Taxiing Seoul Incheon Airport

IMG_2420Views upon Taxiing Seoul Incheon Airport

IMG_2422Korean Air Airbus A330 Incheon Airport

We taxied over to the Korean Air terminal, which I spotted an A380 (which always gets me excited).

IMG_2426Air China A320 Incheon Airport

IMG_2429Korean Air Airbus A380 Incheon Airport

We parked next to a Korean Air 777-200.

IMG_2431Taxiing Incheon Airport

We definitely left our seats in worse condition than we should’ve.

IMG_2434Korean Air Airbus A330 Business Class Seat Condition upon Deplaning

We deplaned, and had the chance to take a last glimpse of the plane along the way to the terminal.

IMG_2436Korean Air Airbus A330 Incheon Airport

From there it was off to the Westin…

Bottom Line: Korean Air A330 Business Class

I was blown away by Korean Air’s business class service. While the hard product is one of the better business class products for regional flying out there, it was the service that was the showstopper, in my opinion. On the inbound I learned that it was not just a fluke – stay tuned.

Especially at sub-HK$4000 fares, I’d be sure to fly them again.

Have you flown Korean Air in business class before? Did you enjoy it?

Advertisements

Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.