For my return from Central Asia I chose Asiana as it is the only carrier that flies east from Tashkent with Star Alliance – so maybe it wasn’t much of a choice. I used my 35,000 Miles & More points and $180.
Tashkent Airport gets really crowded at 8PM as Korean Air, Asiana and all prepare for their overnight departures. The departures hall is tiny though and barely equipped to handle a few A320s. You also need to go through five security checks to get to the check-in gate.
The contracted agents made it clear that Asiana has no lounge for business class passengers (there are a few lounges, but Asiana chooses not to buy access). As compensation they offered 2,000 miles for any Star Alliance program of our choice. Oh well.
Uzbekistan customs and immigration is known to be extra suspicious and trouble for tourists. However nothing like that happened this trip and our customs declarations and immigration forms were accepted without hesitation. To get to the boarding gate you also have to go through five passport/boarding pass checks – as if the desk right before did not exist, it would be repeated endlessly.
The boarding area is actually not terrible and besides the missing WiFi it’s not a bad place to wait for a few minutes.
Boarding was announced and minutes later everyone just stormed the gate. The seats in the 767 were ancient and so was the whole cabin layout in a 2-1-2 configuration. The flight attendants had trouble getting through the cabin so we grabbed a bottle of champagne and had our own impromptu lounge right at the front door for 20 minutes. The flight attendants were happy to let us drink there.
Both cabins were completely full and the seat did not really allow much wiggle room. There was a 110V outlet and a USB port to charge your devices. The entertainment system only held four Hollywood movies and a small number of shows and there was no WiFi.
Since there is precious little runway traffic, we got off right on time into the mountainous skies.
The dinner service started right away but I did not like the way the main meal looked; I returned it right away and just nibbled on the cheese and dessert.
Most passengers reclined right away as it was almost midnight local time now and I did the same. The seat is super angled and I found it hard to find a comfortable position. It’s worse than the dreaded seat in Asiana Business Class on the 747. In fact I would have preferred an economy seat for this flight.
After a few hours of sleep we were right outside Seoul Incheon Airport and then it was time to finally leave this plane. Immigration lines at the airport were loooong! The ‘foreigner’ line is enormous and business class passengers get no priority line.
There aren’t many good things to say about this flight, though the flight attendants were courteous and professional. The seats, the food and the whole ground experience in both airports were terrible for a business class flight. Avoid this flight if you can.