Due to a last minute engagement in Hong Kong, my mom and I have to return to Hong Kong from Los Angeles a week and half ago! With not too many options, I decide to go with American Express international airline program. The once again friendly and helpful AMEX travel agent provided a number of options. Despite China Airlines has the cheapest first class fare, I decided to go with Asiana and the price difference is really small - $200-300. We spent about $5800USD for this one-way trip including tax and all fees for two. It is not the great deal that I usually look for but with limited options and time frame, I decide to go with the AMEX. It at least makes me feel better when I pay the membership fee for the Platinum card this year.
Check-in was a bit slower than normal, as the party in front of me was frantically trying to repack their bags, which seemed to be a common occurrence even for the premium lines. People are still not used to the new 50lbs weight limit. The same Korean lady checked me again and immediately recognized me and wished me a “Happy New Year”! She immediately asked her colleague to check me in and my request for the “First Class” seats on my last segment from ICN to HKG – only two-class operation but since 747 was used, you can request the “first” class seats, but receive of course J service. The whole procedures was simple, and one very important benefit on flying OZ F is that there is a “porter” service and no need to drag my bags to the security checkpoints. The lady offered to escort us to the lounge, but we declined, as I was trying to get some magazines. The elevator to the Star Alliance lounge broke again and we had to climb up two floors (four flights) of stairs, which was not fun and definitely a hassle. LAX just could not get its act together. When I answered survey during the flight, I rated LAX as “poor”. Nothing much to report at the Star Alliance first class lounge, except the food selection remains poor and uninterested. The lady came to the lounge forty-five minutes prior to departure time and escorted us to the lounge.
Boarding began early at 11:44am, and the loading in J and Y looked pretty busy, but F class was very flight. The same lady escorted us all the way to the entrance of the cabin and I thanked her profusely. The first class F/As immediately helped us with our bags, and said, “feel free to sit anywhere in the cabin, as you are the only passengers this afternoon”! I immediately said 1A and 1K, and the whole cabin looked fresh and smart. The only other passenger was the quiet reserve cockpit crew sat at 4K.
The meal was the same as my last trip report, so I don’t need to repeat the menu transcript. However, I have chosen the caviar as my starter choice and the bibimbap as my main course choice. So the pictures shown are mostly items that I have not chosen on the previous trip. So if you want to see the full menu, please refer to my earlier report. The F/As are as great as ever, and with such a light load, they are a bit more flexible, and the lunch felt less rushed.
Just some plane-spotting note at LAX:
Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 ZK-SUJ resting at LA during the day
Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 B-HOS arriving early from HK as CX 882 and returning later as CX 881!
Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 9V-SPJ as SQ 11 back to NRT and SIN
Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 D-ABVU
American Boeing 777-200ER N754AN heading to NRT
China Eastern Airbus A340-600 B-6051 heading to Shanghai Pudong
Gate was 123A this afternoon at LAX, and two doors are used to board the plane. Boarding time was 11:44am, and then door was closed at 12:11pm. We pushed back at 12:13pm, and we took off from R/W25R at 12:31pm. We hit a really rough spot at 1:32pm, and the soup from my lunch spilled all over the tray. We later hit another two spots at 6pm and 7pm. Descent began at 12:28am LAX time/5:28pm Seoul local time. We landed on R/W33R at 6:04pm, and parked at gate 43 at 6:19pm. The plane would continue to Ho Chi Minh City.
Flying time was estimated to be eleven hours and thirty-three minutes, but due to strong headwind and avoidance of some moderate turbulence, our actual flying time was twelve hours and thirty-three minutes. The routing was a bit different from December, as we hugged along the Western coast of the United States, Canada, Alaska, and then into the Siberia, Kurile Islands, and then Dokdo and Uleungdo before turning towards Incheon. We first climbed to 32,000feet as we passed Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Monterrey, and then descent towards 30,000feet as we hit a really rough spot. We then climbed back to 34,000feet as we got closer to Alaska – Anchorage and then as we left Nome, we descend towards 31,500feet, and then climbed up to 35,000feet after we crossed the International Date Line and the city of Magadan and Sea of Okhotsk, and then up to 38,000feet as we crossed the Sakhalin Islands, Dokdo, and Uleungdo before turning west towards Seoul.
The flight was very nice, as expected. The only minor problem was that the female version of the amenity kit was not loaded, despite having at least my mom on the manifest long before the plane left Seoul. The F/As apologized and brought her the business class amenity kit as well. Another major problem was the F/A rather poor English verbal skills. Communication was a problem at times. Arrival gifts were the same as December, and my mom and I both selected the Versace cups again.
I don’t really have much to add and hope the pictures can help you comprehend Asiana’s first class product a bit more.