I was lucky enough to experience the business cabin of Asiana Airlines last weekend and after enjoying many trip reports on airliners.net I decided to try my hand at writing my first trip report, hope you enjoy.
Saturday 8th March 2008, Asiana Airlines OZ522 LHR-ICN, Boeing 777-200 Reg HL7739, STD 2100 STA 1640
Asiana Airlines check-in desk at Heathrow Airport Terminal 1 was empty on Saturday afternoon when I arrived, but being 3 hours before STD I suppose it wasn't that surprising. SAS were the handling agent and check-in was quick but the agent wasn't not overly friendly, I wasn't even asked about my seating preference but was given 1D and an invitation to the bmi international lounge.
I'm afraid thats the only pic for the outbound but lots for the return sector!
With lots of time to spare I ended up roaming the duty free before going to find the bmi lounge. The lounge itself was also quiet and looking a bit shabby but there was loads of time to enjoy the plentiful magazines, papers, nuts, crisps and self service bar.
Boarding for the flight was due at 2030 so around 2000 I decided to wander to the gate to catch a glimpse of the 777 that was going to take me to Seoul. At exactly 2030 the boarding started with business, star gold and pax who needed extra assistance. By the time I boarded the business class cabin was half full and I quickly settled into 1D. Asiana business on the 777 is configured 2-3-2 so I was pleased to be on the aisle on this busy flight so I could easily get up without disturbing anyone. On this aircraft there were 35 business seats with 6 empty. The crew came around with juice, water or champagne, immigration cards for Korea and newspapers. Boarding was swiftly completed doors shut and push back was at 2105. Before the safety video was played the cabin crew stood in the cabin performed a traditional Asian bow as a welcome which was very charming.
No delays tonight at LHR and we were soon speeding down the runway and away at 2015. The crew then introduced themselves over the pa 13 of them to look after us tonight (4 in the business class cabin) for the 10 hours 15min flight to Seoul. The flight crew then introduced themselves, 2 Captains and 2 First Officers, the Korean Captain first and then the other Captain, an Australian, did the English PA's.
The friendly cabin crew then passed around with washbags on a trolley, menus and hot towels and promptly took a drink and meal order. I choose a lovely German Reisling and the traditional Korean Bi-Bim-Bab (steamed rice mixed with various kinds of vegetables, accompanied by hot pepper paste, sesame oil, side dishes and soup). The western choices were salmon starter, salad , beef fillet or prawns with sweet and sour sauce.
While the crew were laying the table cloths out the senior crew member came around to introduce herself to each passenger and thank them for choosing Asiana.
The crew passed by with drinks, offering a taste of the wine first and my meal tray quickly followed. The Bi-Bim-Bap was really tasty and I soon polished off the whole lot. The crew then cleared my tray and offered a cheese and fruitplate with Port, cleared this away and offered Pear Tart from the dessert trolley with teas or coffees and another hot towel. My wine and water glass was never empty, the crew being very attentive.
By now it was about 3 hours into the flight, about midnight, and I decided to give the Avod system a miss, not much to my taste was on offer, and decided to try to sleep. Asiana's business seats are the angle lie flat type which I found to be comfortable to sit and lounge in but not quite as comfy when in the fully reclined position as I did feel I was sliding down all the time. Nevertheless I managed to doze on and off for around 4 hours and during that time I noticed the crew passing around with sandwiches and fruitplates for those awake. I thought I'd give the AVOD system a go and watched a couple of comedies. Time passed really quickly and before I knew it the lights were being turned on gradually and a pa made to announce we were to be served the next meal. I was quite surprised that it wasn't breakfast but the second meal service was lunch, I suppose it was the next afternoon in Korea but for me it was still 6 am! The ever smiling crew came around with hot towels juice and water and took the meal order. I choose Beef and Pimento Skewer with potato, turnip and tomato. The other choice was Stir Fried Chicken. Appetizer was Smoked Turkey, Prawn and Tomato and dessert was a fruit plate. The service had lots of nice touches about it that were almost like a first class cabin, food was displayed on the trolleys as you were served, main courses that had sauces and gravy were spooned on top in front of you and the teas and coffees were not served with packets of sugar rather the crew put it in for you from a sugar bowl. Another set of hot towels and we were soon starting our descent into Seoul. A quick freshen up in the spotless toilets making use of the well stocked amenities, toothbrushes, mouthwash, dental floss, combs and colognes back to my seat and ready for landing at 1630 ten minutes before STA. A great flight and was hoping the return would be just as good.
Monday 11th March 2008, Asiana Airlines OZ521, ICN-LHR, Boeing 777-200 Reg HL7700, STD 1335 STA 1725
On this flight I managed to take pictures so I'll let them do the talking and keep the chat down!!
Check-in at Incheon was again very quick as there was no queues at the Asiana desk. The agent was friendly this time telling me about how she had seen on the news it had been windy in London the previous day! I asked for a window seat and was offered 3A, or K or 1A. I choose 3K as i thought it might be more private out of the way. Straight through security and I went to find the gate to see if I could take some pics as it was daylight not like when I departed London.
HL7700 being towed to gate ready for the flight to London
At the gate
The Asiana Business Lounge at Incheon was big, modern and clean with showers and sleeping rooms for those who needed. When I arrived there was plenty of space but it did start to fill up quite quickly. I had enough time to use the internet and have a drink but wasn't hungry so didn't help myself to the salads, noodles and snacks.
Went to the gate just before the stated boarding time of 1305 to find people queuing to board. The agents announced boarding and before they let us board they performed the traditional Asian welcome bow. As soon as I boarded I noticed this 777 was a slightly different config in business class, one row less of seats with the toilets at the back of the cabin where 5a/b and 5j/k had been on the way out instead of at the front.
Boarding complete and I was glad that I had an empty seat next to me. In fact the cabin was really empty 12 out of 28 seats taken. Once again the crew were in the cabin and friendly and I enjoyed some pre take off champagne and the crew distributed the washbags
Push back followed on time and as we were pulling from the stand the ground crew waved from the tarmac.
Managed to get some pics from my seat before take off;
Then we turned onto the runway and it was our turn for take of
The order of service was the same as on the way out with the same level of attentiveness from the crew. This time though we were served canapes with our drinks
I decided to go for the Korean Main course again, Ssam-Bab (Various lettuce leaves to wrap around steamed rice, vegetables, grilled beef bulgogi and bean paste)
This aircraft did not have AVOD rather 18 channels on a loop. I spent the rest of the flight trying to snooze and reading.
With 5 hours to go I was a bit peckish and the crew fixed me some warm scones with jam then we were served another meal 1 hour 30 before London. Shrimp salad and crab leg meat in crab shell, ham, melon ball and asparagus followed by Deep fried prawn or beef skewer and fruit, tea or coffee.
The approach to London was over the city with some great views of the Thames and Tower Bridge
Landing was at 1705 and we were on the gate only 5 minutes later. I thanked the crew as we disembarked and was through immigration in no time. Waited a few minutes for my bag and was on the bus to the car park a full 10 minutes before we were even supposed to have landed. Who says Heathrow is congested?!
Two great flights with Asiana. Would recommend.
[Edited 2008-03-12 09:59:45]