Tonight was my first flight in Korean Air’s Business class, what they dub Prestige. The Flight KE 12: Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul Inchon’s international Airport (ICN). Upon arriving at LAX everything from check in to boarding was extremely pleasant. Korean Air must have at least 20 agents stationed at LAX to help check passengers in and yet at 10pm, 2 hours before flight time there was not a single person waiting to check in. I’m not sure if Koreans commonly show up at the airport hours in advance or if Korean airline’s staff is just that efficient. Either way I was happy to be able to walk straight up to the counter and check in.
Upon check-in, I was able to confirm my aisle row seat on the upper deck of the 747. Since Korean air does 2×2 seating upper and 2x3x2 on the lower deck, I wanted to be sure to have aisle access. From what I’ve read on other review, 90% of the people get on this plane, board and pass out since the flight leaves at midnight. However, since I’m traveling to Manila, I knew I needed to stay up for at least the first 4-5 hours of the flight; otherwise I’d be stuck on west coast time.
Since I knew I would be up and down the Aisle would make the most sense for me. In addition, the gate agent told me there was no one sitting next to me upon check in, and so far 90% of business class had already checked in! Score! Two seats to myself! My bags: 1 backpack full of traveling clothes for me, and 1 very large box that weighed 5 lbs over the weight limit full of gifts and goodies for friends and family in the Philippines.
The agent didn’t even blink and ignored the overweight box and didn’t ask for any extra payments! Not even a month ago when checking in at United I had to move clothing around between two bags because one bag was 10 lbs below the limit and the other was 7 lbs over and the agent wasn’t having it!
Security at LAX was a breeze. Nothing to write home about here. Only thing I would say is TBIT at LAX is an absolute mess and the upgrade/reconstruction cannot come soon enough! TBIT is like a third-world country in the middle of the United State’s second most populated city! Disorganized and dis-jaunted. Just like the urban planning of LA.
Upon clearing security I headed to the SkyTeam lounge. At LAX I noticed there was more than one SkyTeam lounge, but I thought I was flying Korean so I should visit the Korean air lounge. I walked over to the lounge and over all I was 100% unimpressed. The décor was plain, but elegant, yet I like the Delta SkyClub in T5 better! The bathroom was probably the only part of the club that was nicer than the Delta SkyClub.
Food options were minimal and offerings were sandwiches, ritz with sun dried tomatoes and cream cheese, mini muffins, and fresh fruit. The alcohol selection was also minimal, just mid shelves alcohols such as Jack Daniels and Absolute Vodka. The only beer options were Budweiser
and something I’d never heard of. The white wine was very acidic and burned my tongue and the red was equally as bad. To top it off the wine glasses held maybe 3oz of wine, if even that! I felt like a giant when I held the toy size glass in my hand.
Upon boarding – after the bus ride to the plane—the attendants were very attentive. The two well-groomed doll Korean ladies waved towards the stairs. Once I walked up the stairs another FA greeted me, looked and my boarding pass and walked me to my seat. She then offered to put my bag up above for me. Minutes later another FA walked through the cabin offering newspapers in Korean, English and Japanese. I grabbed the USA Today and started reading. A few minutes later another FA came by with Guava juice, Orange Juice and water. I was sad to see no champagne but was very satisfied with the guava juice. Within minutes of finishing the petite cup I was offered a refill. I kindly asked for some water and called it good after that.
Shortly before take off another Korean doll walked through the cabin and took orders for breakfast and dinner. She was very friendly, but did not call a single person by name. Instead it was all sir or madams. After our orders were taken, the male pursuer (it always seems to be a male on Asian airlines) came through the cabin, bowed and introduced himself to each passenger and thanked us for our business. However he again did not great anyone by name.
After a 40 minute delay, 30 minutes of that time the cabin door was closed, we finally started to taxi down the runway! At one point two police cars were outside the plane along with a ½ dozen Korean airline employees. I thought for sure I was going to see some action. However nothing but talking!
But we taxied across the oversize LAX airport, down the runway pass all the other terminals and we took off over the Pacific and started heading towards Korea! Best part was, the seat next to me was still empty and I moved towards the window! Of the 24 seats in the upper deck all but 2 people had an empty row. Those who did not have an empty row, were couples and as I would assume wanted to sit next to each other. Again though, I am only assuming they wanted to sit next to each other. With that being said, it was time to for a drink!
Shortly after takeoff, the pursuer came through the cabin with the same beverages that were offered before departure. This time I requested a whisky sour. The drink, more whiskey then sour, but hit the spot! Within 15 minutes they refilled everyone’s drink and started dinner. See the pictures of the menu <—. Being that I don’t eat meat I went for the Cod.
Overall I was unimpressed with Dinner. I have flown both Delta, old Northwest, and British airways business class and this dinner was subpar. Maybe it was the 1150pm departure time, but dinner only included soup and then the main course. NO salad, No dessert. Nothing. IN fact I think I get a better meal on a transcon first flight from Atlanta to LA then I did on Korean! The soup was good and very flavorful; however the cod was dry, the pasta over cooked and the veggies bland.
Again, I’d rather in a domestic meal on delta then this meal! After dinner I was offered coffee or tea. I had ginger tea, but overall was dessertless.
Immediately after dinner, or about 65 minutes into the flight, the cabin lights were dinned. Already 90% of the cabin was asleep. Within 2 hours into the flight, I’m sitting here writing
this review and I don’t see any other lights or tvs on. I’m shocked. For all these people are going to wake up at 8am PST or 3am Seoul time and well that sounds horrible to me! I would much rather be on Korean time then Pacific Time since I’ll be going to Asia!
About 3 hours into the flight I fell asleep and took a short 4 hour nap. It was truly a cat nap for it wasn’t good enough where I had heavenly dreams, but I did feel rested upon waking! Beats drugging myself and passing out in economy any day! Breakfast was severed 3 hours prior to landing. I would rate the breakfast better than dinner but again not the best airplane food that I’ve have had.
Seat review: Lots of leg room, VERY comfortable, but not lay flat like the website claimed. The pillow could be bigger and the blanket is light and skimpy. The angel of the bed made it hard to sleep but I still managed to get about 4 hours of sleep in, lying on my side and trying to keep myself from sliding down the seat. The seat was truly not any better than the old NWA A330 business class seat (still in operation by Delta today), however the American carrier has the Korean one beat in hard product because the A330s have massage functions.
Overall Korean air was comfortable and a good use of my 120,000 Delta Sky miles however I honestly think Delta Biz (777, A330s, and New lay flat 767s) have a better Hard product and even their soft product (food, pillow and duvet) is better from what I remember. But maybe I was just upset because I didn’t get dessert and the cabin felt like it was 90 degrees the entire time. I felt like I was in a Norwegian sauna, without the option to cool off in the snow. I only hope the A380 offers a better product!