Note: I’ve published my full review in this post.
One of the newer flights and products that exists is aboard Asiana Airlines’ A380. They recently started taking delivery of these planes and the only long-haul route is from Seoul to Los Angeles, which happens to be home for me. I’m on my way home from quick vacation and I just got off this flight, and I have plenty of things to say about it and most of them are very good.
On first look, the cabin looks gorgeous. There are three rows of 4-across seating for a total of 12 seats in First Class, and each seat has closing doors for privacy. The wood used is a light grey color which is unique to Asiana and looks really nice. It definitely still has the “new plane smell” to it.
The biggest thing I noticed, no pun intended, was the size of the TVs…they’re massive. So massive that I looked at it and chuckled a little because they’re almost comically big for the distance to this seat. Thankfully the TVs actually feature high-definition quality, but unfortunately much of the content is still standard definition. Movies are marked “HD” if they are, so you’ll know which ones have a better viewing experience.
Note that the TV size is the same in Asiana’s 777 First Class Suite. I’m not sure it’s the same exact TV though since I haven’t flown that particular product. I wouldn’t be surprised if that one was not an HD screen.
Otherwise, the seat itself if almost identical to Etihad’s First Class seat. The storage units, the size and function of the dinner table, the width of the seat and foot rest, the mini closet at the seat – all nearly identical to Etihad’s seat. I consider the Etihad seat to be one of the top products out there, so that should give you an indication of how good this seat is.
Asiana in general has fantastic service. I recently flew their First Class on the 747-400 and was extremely impressed by how attentive they were. This flight, however, was a bit different. There were only 6/12 seats filled on the flight so the cabin was very empty and I was expecting more great service. Instead I received good service, but slightly lacking.
With that being said, I want to point out that I was traveling with 2 friends (one of which was Bengali Miles Guru) so I can compare my experience to theirs, which was very different and much better.
The first item of note, I did not receive my pajamas or the menu before takeoff, whereas my friends and the other passengers did. No big deal I thought – I’ll just wait until after takeoff. The menu eventually came, but the dinner service came and went without any pajamas. I eventually just asked for them, which were brought right away. Not a big deal, but it was a noticeable difference from other First Class flights. Again, this was not the experience of my friends.
The second item was in having the bed made. I worked for an hour after dinner while the cabin lights were dimmed. After I finished working I used my Flight Attendant call button to ask to have my bed made to get some sleep. An FA arrived within seconds, and I said “Hi, I’d like to have my bed made so I can go to sleep.” She looked confused for a second, conferred with another FA that was walking by, and said “OK” and walked away.
I walked over to the lavatory as I usually do while waiting for my bed to be made, and when I got back, my suitcase, which I gave to the FAs upon boarding to store in cabinets up front, was at my seat which clearly wasn’t a bed. I thought for a second and realized it was an honest mistake. They must have confused the word “bed” for “bag” so something was lost in communication. Communication difficulties happen from time to time on Asiana…no big deal.
I put the bag away at the seat next to me which was empty and waited for another FA to walk by, and this time it was the Cabin Manager. I asked it in a way that I think couldn’t have left any doubt as to what I wanted: “Hi, do you offer turn down service? I’d like to go to sleep and have my bed made.” She looked at me with a confused face and said “You want to close the doors? Yes you can do that.”
At this point I was just dumbfounded. Could it be that they don’t offer turn down service on this flight? It couldn’t be…I received it on the 747-400 with no issue. I was too tired to care so I made the bed myself (everything I needed is in a package on the footrest).
After waking up I conferred with my friends to ask what their experience with this was. BMG fell asleep before the dinner service started and never got around to asking for the bed to be made, but the other friend had the complete opposite experience of me. He said he asked for the bed to be made and the FA agreed immediately, led him to the lavatory to wait for a few minutes, and then came to bring him back once it was done.
I have no idea what I did wrong here. The difference in these two things from my friends sitting just a few feet away from me is pretty big, but also not a huge deal. I take it as this being an anomaly for me specifically and don’t think it would be the regular experience.
I’ll have a lot more to say about the seat, food, and service when I fully review this product tomorrow but wanted to give people a heads up since it looks like there are no other reviews on this product yet. If this is an option you’re considering, I definitely recommend it. Award availability seems to be very good and you can get multiple seats on the same flight. I’m flying with 2 other friends and there was still award availability left, so a family can easily travel together.
Note that as of right now I’m booked on Asiana A380 First Class again in December, so I’ll have another chance to review it and see if the same service issues pop up!
Anyways…more to come tomorrow!