I left the CNAC lounge a little more than an hour before departure to check out the gate area and activity on the ramp. Asiana’s Hong Kong flights seem to leave either from the high teen gates or low twenties and tonight’s departure left from gate 22.
The aircraft had just arrived as I took a seat next to the window and watched a huge amount of cargo being unloaded from the forward cargo bay. Passenger luggage was unloaded from the rear and from what I could see, only three containers were offloaded.
As much as I’ve watched them over the years, I still enjoy seeing the containers come off an airplane and the operator lower them on the scissor jack thingie to maneuver onto waiting flat beds. The way those containers can be manipulated on the rollers fascinates me.
I noted that no food service trucks serviced the aircraft, so my HKG-ICN flight was obviously catered in Seoul, this aircraft’s origin. After a bit, people began to line up and I was about the seventh or eighth person in the Business Class line.
Economy passengers were lined up in their roped queue and an agent was going down the line checking boarding passes and passports. Shortly, an agent started doing the same in the Business Class line. Boarding began right at the designated time and I was scanned and wished a pleasant journey (their English was excellent).
A flight attendant greeted me at the door and pointed the way across the galley to the far aisle of the Airbus A330-300. I made my way to seat 2K and settled in.
My jacket was hung and in a few moments, flight attendants came through with a tray offering orange juice, water and champagne, followed by hot towel service and the distribution of eyeshades and earplugs. Slippers were already at the seat sticking out of the seat pocket. A Korean man had the aisle next to me, but the Business cabin was light, so he was able to move to have a row to himself.
Across the aisle from me was a very chatty American talking to a German next to him and I was thankful to have the two seats to myself. I’m not much of a socializer on airplanes and that guy was chewing the German’s ear off.
Boarding completed, we pushed back on-time and made our way to the runway. I noticed this on my other Asiana flights, but forgot to mention it in earlier reports, that the flight attendants carefully check each overhead bin to ensure they’re fully latched during taxi. Also, before the safety video airs, attendants are in each aisle at the front of the cabin and bow in unison – a nice touch.
After takeoff, menus were distributed and beverage & meal orders were taken a short time later.
I went with the Beef Provencale Stew served with sugar peas, carrots and mashed potatoes. To begin, though, was mixed greens with herb poached chicken and an apple salad.
All were delicious and my main course arrived. I chose garlic bread with my meal.
Unlike my ICN-HKG flight, this dish was fantastic and the flavors were wonderful. The peas might not look that great in the picture, but they weren’t overcooked and tasted good. Then it was on to a fruit & cheese plate.
The chatty and now drunk American across the aisle got the last “good looking” fruit & cheese plate, but mine was just fine. After a bit, Tiramisu was delivered along with coffee or tea.
I passed on the coffee since I knew I’d be heading to the transit hotel to get some sleep immediately upon landing. I freshened up in the lavatory and found the same amenities as my previous flight – toothbrush & paste packets, combs, lotion, facial spritz and eau de toilette.
Airbus has a more attractive lavatory (if a lav can be attractive) than Boeing, with better fixtures and lighting.
They dimmed the cabin and I watched some of the on-demand entertainment.
Even more entertaining and a bit sad was watching the now fully inebriated American across the aisle passing out. The German was probably thankful. He spilled a glass of port all over himself and the seat, struggled to change his shirt in the aisle, and flight attendants embarrassingly scurried away when he became bare chested for all passengers to witness. The cabin reeked of alcohol.
We landed, taxied to the gate and parked at about 4:30am. What really impressed me about the two hour and 45 minute flight was just how full-service it was. Yes, I was in Business Class, but it was better than the First Class service I received on United flying from Hong Kong to Singapore last year.
Oh, I also spent my $200 in Asiana credits I received on my LAX-ICN flight due to the inoperative entertainment system. I picked up a very nice pair of duty free sunglasses. Or so I thought… when I got home and tried them on, I didn’t like the way they fit. They’ll be on eBay soon.
When the lights came on and I stood up to get my bag, I actually helped the drunk guy get his bag down as he was having trouble. His seat cushion was horribly stained. Good thing we were in Asiana’s hub as it definitely needed changing out. I was one of the first off and made my way to the transit hotel, which will be the next installment of this trip report.