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 (ICN) Gate: 15 Arr: 16:45 (16:40)
Duration: 3 hr 40 min (3 hr 20 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 Reg: HL7709
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s great to be sitting in the last row of a cabin. Makes for good whole cabin pictures, surely!
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.
As aforementioned, we had legroom for years.
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.
To my right were the reading lights, which were pretty strong.
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!
“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.
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.
Slippers were placed by the storage area, and they were handy (the seat also came with shoe storage areas, which is a nice touch).
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.
There was more storage under the remote, which the seat wasn’t short of.
The privacy dividers were sturdy and functional enough.
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.
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.
The cabin started to fill up. It doesn’t suck that I knew half the people in the cabin, given how small it was.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
I napped for a while and was woken up for meal selection, which I selected the bibimbap. The menu read as follows:
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.
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).
Which was followed by my table being set (which slides out from the center console).
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).
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.
It was followed by some garlic bread (which was good but not show-stopping).
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.
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).
Meal service finished over Taipei, about two hours into the flight.
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.
After a great flight we touched down in Incheon five minutes ahead of schedule.
Taxiing views were rather interesting, as we cruised over the cargo terminal and soon after the Asiana terminal to get to our gate.
We taxied over to the Korean Air terminal, which I spotted an A380 (which always gets me excited).
We parked next to a Korean Air 777-200.
We definitely left our seats in worse condition than we should’ve.
We deplaned, and had the chance to take a last glimpse of the plane along the way to the terminal.
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?