Book your flight on Asiana here.
I had originally booked my flight with United miles as a one-way for 60,000 miles and was curious to try out Air China's 777. However, my flight to Seoul was cancelled that morning as the plane had electrical issues (but left without passengers 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time).
The Asiana gate agents were very friendly (though they barely spoke any English) and quickly offered to re-book me on Asiana 'metal' all the way to San Francisco. The only other same-day business class option was via Hong Kong with Singapore Airlines but that would have kept me 12 hours at Osaka Airport. As much as I'd like to fly Singapore Airlines again, I was put off by the long delay.
I was of course interested in the booking class of my new flight, but all I was able to find out was that it was 'J'. This could have been the booking class or the class of service, but I didn't press for more information and added my frequent flyer number again.
I had never been on an Asiana 777 in business class, although I had taken these flights before:
Asiana First Class
Boeing B747 (Los Angeles, Frankfurt) – I will have to find the old photos 🙂
The 777 features a similar product to what you find at Cathay Pacific. The Smartium Mini Suites are configured in 1-2-1 seats and Asiana only has 16 seats on their 777. They run the same plane from Osaka to Incheon (just a 1.5 hour flight) and onward to San Francisco – so my flight from Osaka would be in the same plane (but different seats) for the entire duration of my flight to the US.
The first leg from Osaka to Seoul featured a full meal served on one tray. I had the steak which was pretty good and almost restaurant-quality. The wine selection was short but the choice of red was excellent.
The entertainment system was fantastic – very responsive and loaded with so many of the latest major movie releases that I took pictures just to see which ones I missed!
After our stop at Seoul's Incheon Airport (where I tried to find good coffee and eventually settled on Starbucks) we boarded again. For this flight, both a long and short blanket and a pillow was ready in addition to an uninspiring amenity kit.
I wasn't quite sure what to do with the short blanket – I tried wrapping it around my shoulders but wasn't very successful.
The Korean dinner served was so exceptional that I could have eaten another portion. I asked for a cheese dessert (from the Western menu) and my wish was granted 🙂
The cabin was almost full so I was surprised my wish came through.
After dinner I reclined my seat and watched "Anchorman 2" and after a couple of laughs fell asleep. I was able to sleep really well on the flat seat. It's harder than a Cathay Pacific seat and maybe a little shorter but I was able to lie on my stomach and dream away. I slept about 6 hours and had no back pain to report 🙂
I had little interaction with the flight attendants overall but found them very attentive – almost too much in fact (as I had noted on prior Asiana flights). Their English wasn't great but I managed to communicate rather well.
Our route was straight east over Tokyo and continuing on to San Francisco. There were seemingly very few tail winds that day as we arrived at our destination about one hour late. The westbound flight will have a much shorter ride than eastbound I guess.
There was no wait at immigration at just before noon in San Francisco and Global Entry didn't save me any time really.
In conclusion, while I was highly critical of the old seat on the Boeing 747, the new Smartium seats are as good as it currently gets in most business class cabins. I had a great flight and would fly with Asiana again.
Book your flight on Asiana here.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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