There are several different routings one can take to get to Bangkok from TPA. Before booking with OZ, I looked at KE via ATL and ICN, EK via JFK and DXB, and the TG nonstop from LAX. However, when I was able to get a heavily discounted J fare with OZ, the other options were immediately ruled out. I ended up settling for DL on the TPA-LAX-TPA legs and OZ on the LAX-ICN-BKK-ICN-LAX legs. The connections worked out perfectly on the outbound trip, however, the return required a 12-hour layover in ICN and then a 10-hour layover in LAX. Despite the fact that KE offered far better connections for the same routing, the incredibly good fares Asiana was offering made the long layovers worthwhile.
Ticketing was done through American Express Travel, however, I wanted to test out OZ’s website anyway. OZ really seems to fall behind here, at least for the English version of their website. I was only able to change and pick my seat after joining OZ’s frequent flyer program, and the only way to view your reservation online is by joining their frequent flyer program. I believe this has since changed, however, and people can now view their reservation even if they are not a member of OZ’s FF program. Also, I was only able to pick my seat using Internet Explorer. Despite this, the online seat map does look pretty cool:
After arriving into LAX on an incredibly long and boring flight (5:45 on an A320 without ANY IFE whatsoever), I found myself in the dilapidated T6. I needed to get to TBIT where OZ and the majority of foreign airlines serving LAX operate from. From what I understand, the only way to transfer between terminals is by walking or taking a shuttle bus. I was in the mood for a nice stroll since it would be the only physical activity I would be getting in the next 20 hours or so. Plus, the fresh air (not) would be nice.
TBIT check-in areas seemed pretty nice, definitely much better than the post-security area of the terminal. The OZ check-in is located in the last row and there were Asiana signs all over the place.
Check-in was smooth, and the agent was friendly. We were given lounge invitations that were actually printed out on boarding-pass paper and had our names and flight number printed on it. Pretty nice.
Oddly enough, the scheduled boarding time was only 30 minutes prior to departure. I suppose a 744 Combi takes much less time than a fully pax 744…
I can’t say that I am a fan of the airside portion of TBIT; the ceilings are low and walkways are narrow. Instead of going to lounge, I walked to the gate first and took some pictures of various aircraft. One benefit of this terminal, however, is that it’s not too high from the ground and aircraft park EXTREMELY close to the windows. This really makes you appreciate how big 777s and 747s are!
After enjoying myself in the cramped terminal, I decided to head up towards to the Star Alliance lounge. It’s on the 5th floor and was much nicer than I expected. They had a mini-buffet set up with chicken fried rice and some soup.
I saw our 744 taxiing into the gate from the lounge windows and decided to head on over to the gate and get some pictures of the aircraft. Sadly, there was absolutely no view of our 744 from the gate area and this was the best I could do:
About 10 minutes prior to the scheduled boarding time, there was an announcement that the flight would be delayed 30 minutes due to “aircraft connection”. I had no clue what this meant so I asked the gate agent and he said that aircraft had just arrived late from Seoul.
Boarding occurred exactly when they said it would and I was delighted to see a window right after going through the door but before the jetway. Also, a side note: There was an old Asian woman who was clearly uncomfortable walking without her cane. The nice Asiana agent held her hand and walked her onto the plane, which I thought was very nice.
I boarded through door 2L, was greeted by two beautiful F/As, and went straight upstairs to the upper deck.
Date: 14 March 2010
Airline: Asiana Airlines
Flight: OZ 201
Aircraft: Boeing 747-48EM
Aircraft Reg: HL7421
Departure Airport: Los Angeles (LAX / KLAX)
Arrival Airport: Seoul – Incheon (ICN / RKSI)
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:50 PM
Actual Departure Time: 1:41 (51 minutes late)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 6:10 PM (Next Day)
Actual Arrival Time: 6:49 PM (39 minutes late)
Departure Gate: 101
Load Factor: 100% in all classes
My initial impressions of the cabin were very positive. Seats looked good, felt comfortable, and it seemed as though the aircraft was recently built.
I really wanted to get a picture of F so I walked down there half expecting to get scolded for doing so. Instead, the F/A was ecstatic and even offered to take a picture of my dad and I in F!
In our seats, there were slippers and headphones but no amenity kits (there were toothbrushes and cologne in the lavs). I was very surprised about this as I thought it was pretty standard to have amenity kits in J. Also, the headphones were very similar to those received in Y, and pillows were small and blankets were very Y-class.
The F/As then came around with welcome drinks (water, OJ, or champagne), and handed out hot towels to clean our hands with.
The captain came over the PA and announced that there would be further delay as they were having trouble loading cargo onto the aircraft.
The safety demo was shown on the PTVs, and then a manners (!) video was shown. It was an animated video of a kid running around the plane pissing people off, and encouraged passengers to have “beautiful manners”. I can’t imagine this being shown on a U.S. carrier.
F/As were then introduced over the PA and each bowed as they were introduced. Then, the head F/A came to each J passenger, addressed them by name, and thanked them for flying Asiana. Excellent! We were then handed menus.
Pushback occurred about 50 minutes late and during taxi, the F/As asked for our lunch choice and took the menus back, which I found a little strange. Anyway, we taxied to 25R and performed quite a long takeoff roll.
The seatbelt sign was turned off right at 10,000 feet and I began to explore the IFE. Unfortunately, there was an annoying glare on the screen that made watching movies with the window shades up very difficult.
The moving map was very detailed, and appeared to show shipwreck locations which was very strange.
Meal service began about 45 minutes after takeoff.
The food was extremely good, definitely one of the best meals I’ve had on an aircraft.
I then watched Surrogates on Asiana’s AVOD and enjoyed the moving map feature.
I was feeling pretty tired so I feel asleep for about two hours. When I woke up, I watched another movie, and was then feeling hungry. The menu mentioned that ramen noodles were available on demand throughout the flight, so I decided to take advantage of this option. I went to galley and the extremely friendly F/A was more than happy to prepare this for me.
Snack was served about 2 hours before arrival. It wasn’t as good as the first meal, but still tasty nonetheless.
I found the seat pretty comfortable but it was nowhere close to being lie-flat!
The captain announced our descent into ICN about 30 minutes before arrival, and apologized for the delay once again. The head F/A came around thanking each passenger individually for flying Asiana and told us it was a pleasure serving us. Then, a F/A gave me a survey to fill out, which I gladly did. Landing on 16L was smooth, taxiing to the gate took about 10 minutes, and disembarkation was painless.
I then went through security and back to the departure area for my flight to BKK.
Overall I was very pleased with Asiana. The crew was exceptional, food was great, IFE was fantastic, and seats were comfortable. Not having amenity kits in J is unacceptable, however, along with the cheap headsets. Overall, however, the pluses far outweighed the negatives, therefore making this an exceptional long-haul flight.
Here is some video footage I took on this flight for anyone interested. Includes views of moving map during flight, and the landing.
Hope you enjoyed the read, and here are some of my previous TRs:
Delta 737-700 ATL-SXM In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 5 2009 in Trip Reports)
Air India 777-200LR DEL-JFK In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jan 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
Drukair A319 PBH-DEL In Y W/TONS Of Pix/Vid (by MHTripple7 Jan 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
Air India 777-200LR JFK-DEL In C W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jan 5 2009 in Trip Reports)
South African 737-800 JNB-CPT In C W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Sep 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
South African BAe 146-200 LVI-JNB In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 13 2008 in Trip Reports)
Delta 767-400ER JNB-ATL In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Aug 1 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air Botswana BAe 146-100 JNB-MUB In Y W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air France 777-300ER CDG-JNB In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air France A330-200 DTW-CDG In J W/Pix (by MHTripple7 Jul 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Delta 737-800 JFK-TPA (Pix And Vid) (by MHTripple7 Apr 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 777 DEL-JFK Mar 28 2008 Pix (by MHTripple7 Mar 29 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 9W707 W/Diversion (Pix) (by MHTripple7 Mar 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 777-300ER JFK-DEL ( Pix) (by MHTripple7 Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
[Edited 2010-03-28 21:22:30]
[Edited 2010-03-28 21:25:39]