When I turned my phone on upon landing at Incheon, the time was 7:28pm. My connecting flight’s original departure time was 7:45pm. Hmm, might be a possibility to make it. I had no boarding pass and the lounge agent promised she’d email Seoul to advise of the issue, especially since a Business Class passenger was in the exact same situation.
The gate agents in LAX also advised we’d be receiving compensation in Seoul for the malfunctioning video entertainment onboard, so I was anxious to see how this all was going to be handled upon arrival while trying to make a very tight connection. The doors opened and several Asiana agents were eagerly standing by on the jetway.
I was at the front of the door when it opened at 7:36pm and the leading agent called out, “Mr. Booth!?” “Yes, that’s me…” and he handed me my boarding pass for OZ 723 along with an envelope filled with $200 in Asiana travel credits. I paused for a moment to look at the BP to confirm it was for that night’s flight noticing the departure time was now 7:50pm and he insisted, “please hurry.”
Hurry I did. I was on the international arrivals level and the first transfer security I came across while running was closed. The next one still had their lights on, but was roped off not seemingly allowing entry. I looked inside and saw agents at the equipment, so ducked under the ropes and approached.
The gentleman called out for my passport & boarding pass, which I frantically gave over while putting my items on the belt in my usual strategic fashion. I love transiting through non-U.S. airports… shoes stayed on saving a few precious seconds.
I was quickly through being the only one there, but noticed others behind me also ducking under the roped off area to transit. I bolted up the escalator to the departures level and found that my departure gate wasn’t “too” far away. I knew in the back of my mind that the other Business Class guy behind me was also probably frantically making his way, but I still found it necessary to run.
While running on a moving walkway, I saw a clock and it read 7:43pm. Okay, I can do this since I could see the departure gate just ahead. I ran up and sure enough, the boarding door was open and the agents were expecting me. I got a welcome moment of breath and was then scanned to board.
My seat assignment changed from a window of 3K to an aisle of 3H, which I thought was odd, but I really didn’t care since I made it. When I approached my row, another American guy was in “my” window seat and he commented, “late getting here or tight connection?” I replied with the latter and told him how quick it really was.
I noticed the other business class passenger made it, too, a few minutes later and the doors then closed and we were on our way. My scheduled flight was to be an Airbus A330 and when I sat down I remarked to myself, “Hmm… those overhead bins look like 777 bins.” A bit more looking around woke up my senses and I was indeed on a 777. Probably the reason for not getting a boarding pass in LAX… last-minute aircraft swap.
Even with my late arrival, I received hot towel service and a predeparture beverage, water, that I inhaled instantly. The flight attendant took my coat and we pushed back.
After takeoff, the video selections began and I was surprised to find out Asiana’s 777 fleet (at least this “short-haul” departure from Seoul) wasn’t on-demand. The movies just played from where they left off and I confirmed this with a flight attendant when she came by. Pretty inconvenient. Who wants to start a movie mid-way through?
Mealtime approached and the selections on the menu included Western options of either beef or prawns and a Korean option. I went with the Western beef this time and service began promptly. I placed the menu and wine list in the seat pocket ahead of me, but they “disappeared” later in the flight, so I don’t have them to post here. I think the FA saw them and grabbed ‘em sometime during the flight as I noticed she collected them from some passengers when taking their orders.
To begin was a salad with prosciutto and melon:
My main course arrived and it, shall I say, was the equivalent of what you’d get in First Class on any United Airlines flight domestically. Mass-produced food lacking in quality and those potatoes were dry and basically tasteless. I wasn’t impressed.
Fruit & cheese plates came next, but they had run out of fruit plates by the time they got to my row and I got “stuck” with a cheese plate. Asiana seems to always serve the left-aisle first before coming to the right-hand side, so word of advice there if you’re concerned about meal selections.
Then came delicious dessert time featuring Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Wonderful.
I passed out for a while tired from my whole day, but it was a pleasant flight. I have to say, there is a huge difference in the level of service foreign carriers provide to passengers, particularly Asian ones. Flight attendants are always smiling, they’re focused on ensuring you’re comfortable and have a genuine interest in their jobs. It’s so refreshing to fly outside the United States.
The seat itself was comfortable. It’s one of those angled lie-flat seats and I did take it all the way back for a rest. I found that after pressing the lie-flat button stops moving the seat automatically, you can also recline a bit further and raise the legrest another notch or two by using their individual buttons. Not bad, but a true lie-flat seat would be ideal.
I visited the lavatory before landing and found it to be your standard 777 experience. The Business Class lavs had the common amenities included of combs, toothbrush & paste kits, lotion, facial spritz and eau de toilette. Slippers were also provided at each seat for this short flight.
We neared Hong Kong and I was very much looking forward to checking into my hotel and getting a proper shower. I missed that chance given my ICN layover was less than 15 minutes.
The visitor line at immigration was longer this time than last, but I eventually made my way through in about 20 minutes and was on my way to the attached Regal Airport Hotel. Up next in this trip report will be my return portion, and it was fantastic.