June 17, 2017

Review: Asiana First Class A380 LAX to Seoul

Planning & Booking
Planning & Booking II
Star Alliance First & Business Class Lounge LAX
Asiana First Class A380 LAX to Seoul (ICN)
Asiana First Class Lounge Seoul (ICN)
Asiana A330 Business Class Seoul (ICN) to Kyoto (KIX)
Kansai-Airport Express Haruka Green Car Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
JAL Sakura Business Class Lounge Osaka (KIX)
Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-300 Kyoto (KIX) to Hong Kong
Conrad Hong Kong
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines First Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to San Francisco
Hyatt Regency SFO

Asiana Airlines OZ 203
Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul (ICN)
May 21, 2017
Aircraft:  A380-800
Seats: 2K/3K

This would be my third time flying Asiana first class and the second time flying first on the A380 so I was looking forward to comparing how things had changed.  After a great couple hours in the Star Alliance lounge, we had made our way down to the concourse and to our gate.  Boarding was delayed a few minutes for now apparent reason and passengers had begun to line up.

Our documents were checked yet again and my seat was swapped from an aisle across from Emily to a window seat behind her.  I was happy about the change but the crew insisted on apologizing (on the ground and in the air) half a dozen times.

Boarding began a little after midnight and we made our way down the main jet bridge and turned left at our entrance to the first class bridge on the lower deck.  We were the first ones in the cabin and the crew provided a warm welcome and showed us to our seats on the right side of the aircraft.

We begin settling in and exploring the seats.  Both of our carry-ons were too large to fit under the ottoman at our seats but the crew grabbed both bags and stored them in a closet somewhere.

I really like Asiana's A380 first class seat layout.

The color scheme is disgusting but other than that, it's great.  The bed is fully flat, the 32" TV is massive, and the doors shut completely providing a very private experience.

I did find the seat to be showing a bit of it's age with the faux wood paneling pretty beat up.

I also (after takeoff) somehow dropped the warm towel holder into the tray table compartment which prevented the tray table from closing.  Emily was able to get it out with a hangar from the closet - genius.

Ferragamo amenity kits and pajamas were provided prior to take off.  I didn't change into pajamas on this flight given that I expected the cabin to be sweltering.  Fortunately, that wasn't the case and I have the pajamas sitting in a pile of about 20 other pairs of airline PJs.  Slippers were provided after takeoff as well.

We both had water on the ground with mixed nuts.

We had a bit of a delay so we didn't actually get airborne until nearly 2AM MT.  Our plan was to eat dinner once airborne and try to sleep as possible to transition to local time.  We figured we'd be asleep by 4AM MT which was 7PM in Seoul.  Essentially we were going to bed really early and waking up early.  This plan worked great and our adjustment to local time was much easier than past trips when we've taking a day flight from the US and arrived at night.

Once in the air, menus were provided in a leather-bound binder and we began considering our options.

I had read about Asiana cost cutting and wasn't sure if we'd get a complete dinner service on this sector.  I had also read that Asiana had cut back on their Champagne offering in the air.  Neither was the case - we had a full dinner menu to choose from and there was more than one bottle of the "better" Champagne on the aircraft.

I kicked things off with caviar which I find to be beautifully presented on Asiana.

Next up was a very solid salad.

The beef brochette (western) main course.

And a cheese plate to finish things off.

The crew made my bed and I slept soundly for 6 hours after finishing The Arrival.  Nothing beats watching a move in your own compartment with your own bed after a great meal...in transit to the other side of the world!  I also love the mood lighting and starry night sky in the cabin.

There are two first class lavatories - one larger lavatory on the right side of the plane and the other up a few  stairs towards the cockpit.  I imagine this one is for the pilots although the flight attendants allowed us to use it throughout the flight.  We did take a walk up the stairs to use the restroom a couple of times.  The "lounge" Asiana has on the right side  of the plane is just lame - there's plenty of space to build a bar or add some sort of feature that premium passengers would appreciate.

Asiana does a nice job stocking the lavatories with amenities - you really don't need to bring much with you.

I woke up with about 3 hours to go and played the golf video game for a bit - pretty fun!  I think I shot +9 on the front nine - would have done better in real life!

I ordered breakfast - fresh fruit, fruit crepe, pastries, and two  excellent cappuccinos.  Given the lighting in the cabin and my amateur photography skills, the pictures turned out terrible. You'll have to take my word for it that it's worth waking up for breakfast.

After breakfast, I watched an episode of Planet Earth 2 and changed back into my street clothes.  On the last two Asiana first flights, we'd be given a duffel bag at the end of the flight to store pajamas and amenity kits.  That wasn't the case on this flight but the crew happily provided a duty free bag for us to store our goodies.

We landed more or less on time and taxied to the gate.  The crew said their goodbyes and we headed into the terminal through transit security and to the first class lounge for a quick shower.

Final Thoughts:
Asiana first class is a great way to get from the US to Asia.  They aren't my favorite Asian airline as I'd rank Singapore, Cathay, and ANA ahead of them.  But the first class hard and soft products are both solid and award availability is plentiful.  The seats on this plan were definitely showing their age .  I was worried about the late night departure but it actually turned out great.  We got to spend plenty of time at the LAX Star Alliance lounge, eat on the plane, and adjust to local time without too much trouble.

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