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newbief1yer
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:49 pm

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Video report

Korean Air KE908 - London to Seoul - A380-800 (Economy)

Background


We wanted to visit the in-laws over the summer. We usually try to combine travelling with them which takes care of meeting them and we also get to visit a new place. The destination of choice this time was South Korea! :)

We decided to visit them in September. The plan was to spend a week in South Korea, and then 3 days in my wife's home town (Shijiazhuang) before making our way back to London.

Looking at flight options the best option worked out with KLM. Leaving London on a Friday evening (late afternoon) arriving at Seoul (ICN) at 14:00 the next day and the return flight timing was also very good.

It was not the cheapest option but taking timing and the price into consideration, it was the best option.
Worked out to £1470 all in (For two of us).

This would be my first flight with KLM an looking forward to it. Moreover, as of now, I would get to go in their old queen (Boeing 747 Combi) and their latest aircraft (Boeing 787-9, first time on a -9). So that is a lot of first's and looking forward to it.

We used a travel agent called TravelUp to book these tickets. Once booked, we immediately got the PNR from KLM. Went across to the KLM website to check and it all looked good.

Seat booking was available but the prices were exorbitant (£5 all the way up to $96!) Will take a risk and see what happens during online check in.

I was not able to add my Delta SkyMiles to the booking. A quick call to the super friendly KLM agent got that resolved. Well done!

We will be making our way to Seoul to Shijiazhuang (SJW) separately on Spring Airlines, they have a 2 weekly direct flight between the 2 cities, perfect for us.

This series of trip reports will be split into 4 different reports:

1. Our flight from London to Seoul
2. Korea Domestic flights - Busan to Jeju and Jeju to Seoul Gimpo
3. Spring airlines to Shijiazhuang
4. Return flight from Beijing to London via Amsterdam

Thanks for GCMAP for the below illustration:

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Booking Process, website usability and online check in

Day before the flight, checked in on-line via the KLM website. The entire check in process was seamless and very transparent. I was offered upgrades to comfort economy (~GBP 118) and business class (~GBP330) along the checking in journey, which I opted out of. Seat selection was possible and the seat map diagram was very clear in indicating which seats I could choose and which seats were charged for. There was also options to pay for extra checked in baggage and for special meals. We opted for the standard meal, however, I am not sure if KLM do charge for dietary restrictions too. The special meals did look interesting (Indonesian noodles (£11) and Champagne delight meals (£22)!), though.

Overall it was a very seamless process and looking forward to my first flight on the B747-400 Combi. Woop! (or is it????)

Another cool feature which I found on the KLM website is advanced information about the aircraft we were going to fly the next day. It also gave the name of the aircraft along with some fun facts about the aircraft type. A very good initiative especially for an airline enthusiast. Looking forward to my first flight on KLM.

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Airport service / checking in / Lounge

On the day of the flight disaster strikes, flight from London to Amsterdam, is cancelled!

This was at 12:45 for our 1710 flight. From there it was a frantic hour and 15 minutes trying to sort out a re-booking. Finally got rebooked on the air France flight to Paris and an onward flight to Seoul on Korean air. Result (for now)

Reconfirmed with KLM and they confirmed we were good to go.
Got into our waiting cab and within 30 minutes got an email stating that our London to Seoul sector had been cancelled!!

What??!?!?!

Cancelled? Sorry, but how, what, why, What???

A frantic call to the KLM agent once again and they confirmed only our return flight was confirmed and our onward sector has been cancelled from our booking. How could that happen? We are in the cab on the way to the airport after a KLM agent confirming that we are good to go!

After 20 minutes of dithering we were given an option to travel on the direct flight to Seoul on Korean air from London. It sounded like a very good option. 5 minutes later we were booked on it and an email confirmation sent to my email. This coincided with us arriving at terminal 4.

So after 3 hours plus of phone calls with KLM and the travel agent (travel up, who were absolutely useless!!)It looked like a good result. But I didn't want to count my chicken before checking in and dropping our baggage.

As soon as we reached the airport I tried to check-in online. It was possible and finally it seemed like a positive result.

We arrived at the airport by 1510 and the check in desks opened at 1530.we were all checked in and bags dropped by 1540
Phew!

So my first flight on a Boeing 747 combi may never happen. But at least it was a very good result and now I get to experience the least dense A380-800 on Korean air

Korean Air- KE908
Route: LHR - ICN
Flight Reg:HL7628; Delivered to Korean Air on July 2014.
Aircraft Type: Airbus 380-800
Seat: 34K
Flight time: 19:35 - 14:20 (22:06 - 16:03)
Actual flight time: 9Hr 57min
Distance: 5520 Miles
Load: 80% load
8 Sep 2017
My Log book: 1st Flight on Korean Air/ 4th flight on Airbus 380-800/ 139th Total overall flight


Plane spotting outside T4
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T4 on a bright Friday afternoon
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Check in desks at Heathrow
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Checking in and security was quick and we were airside by 1600.
Spent some time at the duty free and then headed to the viewing gallery to shoot our aircraft land . More of that in my video.

From here we headed to the premium plaza lounge and refuelled ourselves for an hour and a half. A well-deserved break.

TBH, if it was not for my proactiveness I doubt if anything would've happened. Travel up were absolutely useless and KLM, it all depended on the agent I spoke to. I experienced total incompetence to probably one of the best KLM agents who finally sorted our flight with the least amount of fuss.

Airside at T4
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Plane Spotting at LHR
Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 with a Saudi B777ER in the background
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Tailfins
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Our first Dreamliner experience on this aircraft (B-2735) way back in 2014, when this aircraft was just a month old :)
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Very Old-school
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Just landed from Lisbon
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There is our ride - just about to land
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Taxiing to our gate
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Did not have a wide angle lens to fit this entire aircraft into the frame - at the gates
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A decent offering over here.
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Stocking up
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Lounge view
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Boarding Process

We started making our way to the gates by 1845 only to be told at the gates that the flights been delayed by an hour due to technical issues.

This seems to be following us today. Sigh!

All the time at Heathrow meant great plane spotting op.

Finally we were allowed to board at 2100. Already 90 minutes behind schedule and by the time we disembarked we were looking at a 2 hour delay to our scheduled time of arrival.

Time to head to our gates
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Neighbour at LHR
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Boarding gates
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Whilst waiting to board -
Twin whales
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Just in from Singapore
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Please take a seat - Delayed, again! Sigh!
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Finally time to board
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First impressions/Hard product/Aircraft Interiors

I was one of the first to board the aircraft and it was spotlessly clean. I was already beginning to get the sense of hospitality on board. Always courteous and we were even bowed to upon entry.

Water bottle in every seat
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Seating/Bed

A little bit on the harder side. But recline was good and the seat pitch was brilliant. Good enough for the 10 hour flight ahead of us.

Seat
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Cabin Crew/Captain announcements

Could not fault this. Absolutely top notch. Every FA looked immaculate, professional and always with a smile. Numerous water runs and they always looked like they were enjoying what they were doing. Really good crew.

F&B

The dinner we had was absolutely fantastic. A warm bibimbap. A perfect way to begin our South Korean adventure. Probably one of the better meals I've had and not just in economy.
The breakfast was very good too. I had the omelette but my wife had the rice porridge which was absolutely delicious.

Cabin view post departure
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Dinner - Bibimbap
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Empty!
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Cabin view post dinner
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Refreshing towel after a nap
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Second meal - Cajun Omelette
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My Wife's meal looked better - Congee
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Entertainment

Very responsive but very little choices. Probably the least I've seen on a long haul flight. A total of 28 English movies.

IFE
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Oh yeah! of Course!
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Reading on board
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Amenity Kit - Only slippers and toothbrush on this sector
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Safety Video
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Our route today
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On time Performance

Marks get deducted here for Korean Air. We were told of the delay, stating technical reasons, but no further information given. Even he ground staff seemed to be unaware of what the issue was.

The rest of the flight was slightly bumpy ride. Few turbulent spots, but nothing the whale jet couldn't handle.

In a hurry to reach
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Cabin during approach
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Landing at Seoul ICN
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Plane spotting during taxiing
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Korean Air B777-300ER - Jun 2013 on delivery
painted in "Children's Drawing Contest" special colours Oct 2016
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Where are we, again?
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Supposed to be on that..
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Exiting the aircraft
Korean Air First
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WOW Factor
Has to be the duty free shop on board. Extravagant waste of precious space. It's a very novel idea, but I doubt if other airlines would jump onto this idea.

Novel Idea but such a waste of space! looks great though - Sky Shop
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Sky Shop - After been setup
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Verdict

First time on Korean Air was an overall decent experience.

The major positives had to be the great seat pitch and the absolutely brilliant service along with the excellent meal.

Where they could improve is the IFE offering, adequate for this flight but if I was a frequent traveller I would run out of movies by the third flight and on-time performance, or at least give us a valid reason why there was a delay.

Looking forward to the rest of our trip.

Hope you liked the first report in this series. Stay tuned for more. Until then happy and safe flying!
Adios!


At the world's 3rd best airport according to SkyTrax - Seoul Incheon Airport
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Would never get bored of this beauty!
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Baggage Claim
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Lone Lonely Loner
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Arrivals at ICN
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Robotic floor cleaner :)
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User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:49 pm

Previous Trip Reports

Part 5 - Canadian Escapades - Vancouver to London - BA A380-800 - Club World
Part 4 - Canadian Escapades - Edmonton to Vancouver - WestJet B737-800
Part 3 - Canadian Escapades - Toronto to Calgary - Air Canada B767-300ER
Part 2 - Canadian Escapades - Quebec to Toronto - WestJet Encore Dash8 Q400
Part 1 - Canadian Escapades - London to Montreal - BA 787-8
Weekend in Bilbao - BA A320 - Photo + Video Report
Cambodian Escapades - China Southern B787, A321 and A320
Domestic Cambodian Escapades - Sky Angkor - KOS-REP - A320
Weekend in Zurich - Swiss and BA (Club Europe) - Airbus 320-200
Weekend at Cinque Terre - BA to Bologna - Airbus 320-200
Journey to the East (Part 5, Final) - BA B747-400 (Club World)
Journey to the East (Part 4) - China Eastern A321-200
Journey to the East (Part 3) - Etihad 5th Freedom Route
Journey to the East (Part 2) - BA, JAL, Etihad, China Eastern
Journey to the East - BA, JAL, Etihad, China Eastern
Norwegian And Air Baltic To ARN And RIX
London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320
Part 4:India Domestic-9W, AI, SG On A321,B737,Q400
Part3: Phuket To India - Bangkok Airways -A320-200
Part 2:Thailand Domestic -Nok Air And Thai AirAsia
Part 1:Qatar Airways - Thailand And India
Part 3:BA Club Europe - LCA-LHR - Boeing 767-300
Part 2:Blue Air - Athens-Larnaca - Boeing 737-400
Part 1: Aegean Air - LGW-ATH-JTR - A320-200
Ryanair London(STN) To Lake Como (BGY)
Weekend In Belfast - Aer Lingus A319-100
BA First - PEK To LHR - Mid J B747-400
BA CW - Upper Deck To Beijing - High J B747-400
China Railway (CRH) - Video Report - SJW - Beijing
LAN Dreamliner (J) Experience - MAD FRA
Baltic Escapades - VNO/TLL/RIX On W6,BT And OV
South France - EasyJet A320 BA A319
UK To India - The EK Way - B777-200/300 & A380
India Domestic–Jet Airways And Indigo–A320/ATR 72
BA A320/321 - LHR To Berlin TXL - Christmas Day
China Southern - LHR-CAN-HKT - B787/A321
Aloha! The United Way - B777-200 And B737-900
Mahalo Hawaii, Hello NYC - DL B767-300
Cool Blue To BOS And Got Blue? To LAS - E190 A320
VS Little Red To ABZ And EZY Return
24 Hours On A 787! - Final Leg CZ - AKL-CAN-LHR
Part 5 - BHE-WLG-AKL On NZ Beech1900D And A320
Part 4 - MEL-AKL-ZQN On QA And NZ B738\A320
Part 3 - CNS-MEL On JetStar A321-200
Part 2 - SYD - CNS On Virgin Australia E190
Canton Route Part 1 - LON-SYD - CZ DreamLiner/A332
DREAM(liner)ING Of Hainan - China Southern
Panda Calling - BA LHR To CTU - Club World
China - The Low Cost Way - Spring Airlines - SJW-CTU
China United Airlines (KN) - CTU - SJW - B737-700
Norwegian B737 - LGW-TOS-BGO-LGW
Jet Airways: LHR – COK
Barra Trip – that was not to be
LHR - KWI - BA 747 - Part 1 - Middle East -China
Part 5: PVG-LHR - BA - Economy - B777
Part 2: KWI-DXB - FlyDubai - Economy - B737
Part 4A&B - SHA-SJW-SHA - FM: Eco: B737
Part 3A&B : DXB-HKG-PVG: CX & KA :Eco: A333
Morocco Trip - LGW-RAK-TNG-LHR - EasyJet & Iberia
Dusseldorf Calling - BA & EZY - Club/Eco - A321
 
c152sy
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:26 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:00 pm

Nice report, despite being a major airline Korean Air doesn’t seem to feature too regularly on A.net so it’s good to see another report on the airline. Being an avid collector of Skyteam miles, usually KE is my airline of choice and I regularly fly them from Korea to China and occasionally to Europe. Although despite being a Briton living in Korea, I’ve never taken their Heathrow service.

I’ve been delayed a couple of times with Korean Air, once on the aircraft in Hong Kong for an hour whilst waiting for ATC to allow us to depart and once for just over an hour in the terminal at Gimpo waiting for Chinese ATC to allow us to fly into their airspace. During the apron delay the crew served drinks and snacks and allowed passengers to use the toilet and during the terminal delay we were offered a 10000 KRW voucher which certainly beat any offering China Eastern and China Southern following 24 hour delays with both of these airlines. After repeated bad experiences with these two airlines I avoid them at all costs!

Whilst I’ve never had a bad experience with the airline I do agree with you about the poor film selection, Korean cinema is famous across the world and yet there are only usually three of four Korean film options.
Anyway, thank you for the report and I hope you had/will have a good time in Korea!
Based in Seoul.
 
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newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:48 pm

Pleasure c152sy.

I am perhaps being nit-picky, but as you would see in my future reports, KLM was just a class above Korean Air. But i do agree, having flown on CZ and MU on numerous occasions, I do feel that if things go wrong with either of those two airlines, I do not have confidence in them resolving the issue. Korean Air's soft product is hard to beat. Really like it when the Cabin Attendants, bow down to every request and always with a smile. Makes every passenger feel special, with such a simple and small gesture yet immensely effective.

Stay tuned for another Korean air (domestic wide bodied) soon.

Thanks
 
KLDC10
Posts: 850
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:41 pm

Thanks for sharing another great report. It's a real shame that you weren't able to fly on KLM's Boeing 747 Combi, and re-booking process seemed a little fraught. Still, glad you got there in comfort.

Korean Air looks like a sound airline. The meal presentation was particularly commendable, and the provision of real cutlery is certainly praiseworthy. The inflight duty free shop is very interesting, though as you say, probably a terrible waste of space! I always enjoy flying with KLM, so I'd be interested to see how they compare on this route.

Thanks again.
DC9/MD90/MD11/F70/BAE146/Q400/737/738/739/744/752/763/772/A320/A321/A332/A333/E175/E190
 
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newbief1yer
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Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:03 pm

Thanks for the comments KLDC10

Yes, shame indeed. But nevertheless, we reached Seoul and back safely :)

As I mentioned, the soft product on board Korean Air is right up there with the best.

KLM report coming soon. :)

Thanks.
 
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hirofumi
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 4:21 am

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:58 am

Thanks for the detailed report. What a comfy looking seat pitch out there! That looks more like premium economy space to me, kudos to Korean Air for such generosity. By the way, loved your Gulf Air tail fin photo! Nice shot.
 
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newbief1yer
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Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:12 am

Thanks for the comments hirofumi.

It was indeed a very comfortable space.

It is not only on their (Korean Air) A380 that you have generous seat pitch, as you would see in my next report, their A330's is equally good.
 
MANMatthew
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:20 pm

Great TR. Ticking off two of my goals there; Seoul and Korean Air.
 
TheGeordielad
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Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:03 pm

Great report! like it
 
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newbief1yer
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Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:08 pm

Thanks MANMatthew and TheGeordielad
:)
 
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eastafspot
Posts: 1019
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:19 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:22 pm

Two positive aspects here:
- A direct flight (unless you were chasing miles/sectors ;-) )
- A new carrier, probably one of the best in Skyteam Alliance

Not enough time to visit the observation deck at LHR?

A two hour delay at arrival was not too bad after all the pre departure stories!
Looks like you enjoyed the flight especially the Korean specialties :-)

Thanks for sharing
Last edited by eastafspot on Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
 
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newbief1yer
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Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?

Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:27 pm

Thanks eastofspot

1. I did get the two miles/sector through klm. Had to fight for it though.
So yeah. Direct flight and two sector with of miles. Good result in the end. It was a lot of proactiveness from my side though.

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