What Is Korean Air’s Old 777 Business Class Like?

I’ve spent some time with friends and family in Seoul over the past week, and just last Friday I detailed my (unexpected, given the circumstances) reseating in Korean Air 747-8 first class on the way to Incheon Airport. On the same ticket I had to get back home, and just now I did so on a Korean Air 777-300ER. While I would’ve wanted to get on one of Korean Air’s frequencies with Apex Suites, the flight we ended up booking was more suited to our schedules by far, so I was happy to try out Korean Air’s older product on the way home. While I’ve done so on the Korean Air A330 and 777-200, it’s been a couple of years, and I’ve never flown Korean Air’s 777-300ER.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class 

Once again the first class cabin was opened up for business class seat selection on this flight. However, they only decided to open up the cabin to full fare passengers, and we were booked into the lowest fare bucket (while I’ve written that you shouldn’t take BS from an airport officer when it comes to managing your travels, this is a reason I can completely get behind). So while I didn’t get to sit there, I still got to photograph the first class seat, which I’ll include in the full review.

With that, how was my flight? Good, actually – I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Korean Air 777 Business Class Seat

While Korean Air’s 747-8s and new 777s feature Apex Suites in a 2-2-2 configuration, their older 777s all feature business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Korean Air’s 777-200s feature two rows of business class in both cabins, but their 777-300ERs feature a much larger cabin featuring 42 seats across six rows (there’s also a smaller cabin between the second door and first class, which features two rows for a total of 14 seats, though almost all seats in that cabin were blocked for the airline’s own frequent flyers).

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Main Cabin

These seats are standard, forward-facing, quasi-flat seats. While they aren’t horizontal to the floor of the plane when in bed mode, in practice the plane’s nose tilts up a bit during cruising, minimising the effect of the slight angle; also, I like it when my head’s propped up above my body by a little while I’m sleeping anyway. So these seats have nothing on the industry’s newer, more private seats, and it’s quite depressing to have a middle seat in business class in 2018, but these seats are still alright for sleeping.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class in Bed Mode

While Korean Air was sure to cut out a few dedicated storage nooks in this seat, it is still quite lacking on the storage front, as there’s no place to put a laptop or a bag during meal services or sleeping. More than anything, however, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of legroom there was at the seat, which surpassed that of most modern-day higher-density business class configurations out there.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Legroom

In terms of power, the seats are also well-stocked, with two USB ports and a 110V power port at each seat (even most modern seats feature a single USB port, which can get annoying when you own a phone, a portable charger, and a GoPro, all of which need charging).

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Power Ports

So you’ll find far superior seats in the industry today, but all in all Korean Air still features an okay older business class hard product. Since this is already the inferior Korean Air business class hard product flying between Hong Kong and Seoul, I can’t complain, with a certain Skytrax five-star airline offering an even inferior hard product on most of their flights on the route.

Korean Air 777 Business Class Amenities

Now this isn’t exclusive to Korean Air’s 777, but Korean Air continues to have a tiny pillow and an underwhelming fleece blanket in business class, even on their longer flights. The headphones on this flight were actually better than the headphones on the outbound (I believe they were from Phitek), and were comparable to headphones used in business class on Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways – though I still preferred my own Bose QC35s.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Headphones

One thing I didn’t mention in the “preview” post of my outbound flight is that Korean Air offers slippers even on regional flights, which I find to be a really nice touch. On longhaul flights it’s much easier to get into slippers when using the lavatory, compared to wearing scratchy airline-provided socks (and getting them wet).

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Slippers

Korean Air 777 Business Class Food

Once again, this isn’t specific to the Korean Air 777. However, Korean Air has a pretty solid food offering in their business class product, especially if you pick the right dishes.

The appetiser was a shrimp dish, which was good.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Appetiser – Marinated Shrimp

For the main course I went back to Korean Air’s signature bibimbap, which I’ve had before. It was quite good.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Main Course – Bibimbap

Once again, dessert was a Häagen-Dazs ice cream, and it was served at the perfect temperature, which is a blessing.

Korean Air 777 Business Class Service

The crew on my flight were friendly, though not especially polished or proactive. They were especially conservative about photos, in that I was repeatedly reminded that cabin crew should be out of my photos. They even had to check a few times to see if I could photograph the business class cabin I was seated in, so clearly they haven’t flown with many travel bloggers like us before.

However, once they realised I was there for the cabin pictures and not for them, they warmed up to my photo taking. The first class cabin was operating as business class on this flight, so I was granted permission to photograph it during the flight. I appreciated that the crewmember who granted me permission was kind enough to stand there and assist me with turning the seat into a bed, etc..

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER First Class

Bottom Line: Korean Air’s Older 777 Business Class

There’s no denying that Korean Air’s older business class product is starting to become a little past its prime. While sufficient on this three-hour flight, Korean Air still operates their old 777s to quite a few longhaul destinations, where a 2-3-2 business class cabin becomes less attractive.

Now that Korean Air rarely flies 747-400s to Hong Kong and most aircraft flying the route feature their newer Apex Suites, there’s plenty of reason to avoid this configuration whenever possible (since they’re priced the same).  However, don’t get too bummed out if you’re flying this aircraft in business class – you still get a rather spacious seat that reclines into a fairly comfortable lie-flat bed, and it still isn’t a bad product for mid-haul flying.

Korean Air’s amenities continue to underwhelm, while their service continues to impress. Stay tuned for the full review.

Have you flown Korean Air’s older business class product before? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

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