5* Airline and 5* Airport - Korean Air 787-9 Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong (KE601) in economy
Flight: KE601 ICN-HKG
Airline: Korean Air
Aircraft: 787-9 HL8084
Cabin/Seat: Economy 51K
Routing: LAX-ICN-HKG (one way)
Cost: £294, booking 2 months before departure
As part of a round the world trip I had flown from Los Angeles to Seoul on KE12, arriving early in the morning and had 8 hours before my connecting flight to Hong Kong giving me just enough time to leave the airport and take the A'rex train into Seoul city centre to spend a few hours having a look around the Dongdaemun area. The express train to Seoul city centre from Incheon takes 40 minutes from Terminal 1 and 50 minutes from Terminal 2. Soon enough time was I up and had to make my way back to Incheon. My flight to Hong Kong was on Korean Air who operate from the new Terminal 2 together with their SkyTeam partners. This is a brand new terminal, just opened in January 2018 and it is stunning, not just in the architecture and design but also in the facilities it offers travellers.
I went through security and headed to the transit lounge, an area set aside one level up from the main departures floor that has a number of facilities for the transiting passenger. First off all a visit to the free to use showers since I had been on the road for the last 36 hours. These were well equipped individual shower rooms, exceptionally clean and the shower was amazing, hot and powerful and so refreshing. In the transit lounge you could also get a free massage, use the digital gym, use the pay to enter lounge or just relax in the quiet seating area or have a lie down in one of the lounging chairs. There is also an airside transit hotel.
Now fully refreshed it was time to check out the beautiful terminal, down in the main departures floor are a multitude of shops and food outlets, these continue down the piers to the gates. The terminal is bright and airy with beautiful sculptures and design features and best of all massive windows overlooking the ramp and the planes parked outside. Korean Air is the main user of the terminal and their 747-8, 747-400 and A380s could be seen. The A380 that I had arrived on earlier in the morning from Los Angeles was about to depart to Heathrow on the KE907 as its next flight. Other interesting aircraft at the terminal included a CSA Czech Airlines A330-300 and a China Airlines 777-300ER.
I did a bit of shopping and had some lunch and soon enough it was time to board. The boarding process was quick and I was soon onboard and it was looking to be a very light load.
Parked next to us was another Korean Air 787, this one heading to Madrid.
I had a window seat 51K in the aft economy cabin and had all 3 seats to myself, perfect. Seat pitch was 33 inches which gives you plenty of legroom.
We pushed back over 30 minutes delayed as a result of congestion which the captain kept us updated on and after a 20 minute taxi we were on the way to Hong Kong. We took off on runway 34 heading North West and quickly made a turn west to avoid North Korean airspace before heading south along the China coast towards Hong Kong.
Lunch was served half an hour after getting airborne and there was a western choice of Chicken with potato and the Korean choice of Beef Bibimbap, a Korean dish where you add a chilli sauce and mix all the ingredients together with rice. This is Korean Air's signature dish and a must have when flying Korean Air. Its fun to make and tasty, highly recommended, especially if you like spicy food. The meal came with a seaweed soup and Korean pickled vegetables. I had chosen the Bibimbap on the flight from Los Angeles and chose it again, it was that good. The meal was finished with an ice cream and tea or coffee. Everything was served with genuine politeness and a smile.
For the remainder of the flight I put my feet up on my lie flat economy seat and enjoyed a movie. Even without the extra space the legroom was very generous, with a good 15 cm of space between my knees and the seat in front. The IFE selection though wasn't great with only a few choices per category but the inflight map was good, the latest version with a number of interactive functions.
After the movie we were soon well into our descent into a overcast Hong Kong, breaking through the cloud at around 2000ft and soon touched down on Hong Kong's 25R after a flying time of just over 3 hours.
Some interesting aircraft were seen on the taxi in: Etihad 787-9 in the F1 livery, and S7 Airlines A320 from Vladivostok, Hong Kong Airlines A350, Cathay Dragon A330 in the Spirit of Hong Kong livery and China Airlines A350 in the carbon fiber livery.
Whilst getting off the plane I walked though the business class cabin and first class cabin which were next to identical, the only thing noticeable was the larger TVs in first, the seat was exactly the same, interesting and probably not worth paying he premium for only for the better service and food.
With one last look at my plane I headed on the long walk to the immigration/baggage reclaim area, passing several gates with good views of the plane parked at the gate. Being a Hong Kong resident immigration was a breeze through the automatic barriers and was able to pick up my baggage from the carousel without any waiting. Now off to catch a bus into the city where I will be spending one day before continuing my journey round the world.
Korean Air were a great airline to fly with, 5* service, great food and excellent cabin product. Furthermore Terminal 2 at Incheon was absolutely wonderful to travel through with its great facilities and amazing design, now my new favourite airport terminal in the world.