About 10 mins prior to boarding time, I made my way from the Lufthansa Senator lounge to gate B46. This was plenty of time considering it was only a two minute walk from the lounge but I wanted to take some pictures of the bird before boarding. After snapping a couple of pics, boarding was called for first class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members.
This Boeing 747-400 Combi was configured with Asiana’s old first class product and not the new first class suites found on the Boeing 777-200ER’s. Even though they were older, I found the seats to still be spacious, comfortable and well maintained. All the window seats were slightly angled towards the windows (as opposed to towards the center of the plane) and I really appreciated not having to crank my neck to enjoy the views outside.
Flight: OZ 542
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 Combi
Frankfurt (FRA) to Seoul (ICN)
Depart: 6:30 PM on Sunday (6:27 PM actual)
Arrive: 12:40 PM on Monday (12:29 PM actual)
Duration: 10hr 10mn
Seat: 3K First Class
Asiana has their first class cabin in the nose of the plane with 10 total seats. There are three rows of 1 x 1 seats, and one row of 1 x 2 x 1 seats. The center seats in row four are great for couples traveling together but I hear they are not as spacious as the single seats.
As I entered the bird, I presented my boarding pass to the flight attendant and was escorted to my seat, 3K, on the right side of the plane.
With six of the 10 seats occupied for this flight, the cabin still felt spacious and private. There was plenty of storage space in the overhead bins, to the side of the seat and under the ottoman. There were also small seat pockets to keep your passport, cellphone and other small electronics nearby.
The two center seats lacked overhead bins and the passengers had to store their carry-on bags in the overhead bins above the single window seats. With only two seats in the middle, this wasn’t a big problem but something to consider if you are seated in row four.
Waiting at my seat were a pillow, day blanket, Bose branded noise cancelling headphones and slippers. Every seat was equipped with a USB port, universal power outlet and two reading lamps.
The unisex Asiana Airlines branded amenity kit was beautiful and luxurious. It was a soft cream colored, leather case filled with Bulgari products including face cream, hand cream, body lotion, after shave, lip balm, comb, dental kit and perfume spray. The kit was full of stuff but actually lacked a set of ear plugs and eye shades. I don’t know why they didn’t include them in the kit but they were available. Just ask for them if you need them.
Once I was done taking pictures and settled down into my seat, the flight attendant came by to introduce herself. She advised me the expected flight time of 9 hours and 50 minutes, offered me a pre-departure drink and asked which size pajamas I would like. I asked for a glass of champagne but was told they did not offer alcohol on the ground. After taking my drink order, she came back shortly after with a glass of pineapple juice, small ramekin of warm nuts, my pajamas, menu and a landing card for South Korea.
Service wise, I knew this was going to be a great flight. There were a total of four flights attendants working the first class cabin and they were all very friendly and polite. They kneeled down to speak with all the seated passengers and addressed everyone by name. My glass of juice and ramekin of nuts were refilled twice without me asking.
The pajamas were nicely presented in a tan colored, drawstring bag but looked a little silly when I actually put them on. For those of you that collect airline pajamas, these later shrunk a full size after one wash. So if you want them for later use, ask for a size up.
Wanting to explore the IFE system a little bit, I started to play with the controller but was unable to power my monitor on. I notified one of the flight attendants and they tried to reset the system for me. Unable to reset the system, she apologized profusely and offered to move me. I didn’t mind and moved over to seat 1A.
Once we were airborne and the seatbelt signs were turned off, I grabbed my pajamas and walked into the lavatory to change. There were two lavatories for first class passengers located behind the first class cabin. They were standard size lavatories but were complimented with L’Occitane products.
I changed into the pajamas and found them to be on the heavy side but comfortable enough. As I exited the lavatory, I was immediately greeted by one of the flight attendants who offered to hang my clothes for me. Because the seats lacked individual closets, our clothes were all hung in the main closet located in the nose of the plane. The lavatories were kept spotless and were refreshed after every passenger.
As I sat back down, the flight attendant came by to set my table, offered me a warm towel and take my order for both dinner and breakfast. The menu had two options, a western meal and a Korean meal. Now, I normally go for the ethnic dish on an international airline as I find they tend to be better than the western option but I wasn’t in the mood for bibimbap today. I went with the western option instead (and later regretted it).
The western option started with a potato cup with feta cheese with red and yellow pepper sauce.
My plate was then cleared and table was fully set. The flight attendant was meticulous and carefully set all my plates and condiments for the caviar service. This was by far my favorite part of the meal. The caviar tin was opened at my seat and was beautifully presented with all the condiments.
Next came the marinated salmon, halibut and poached scallops with saffron appetizer, cream of mushroom soup and mixed greens salad. For my main course, I chose the lobster medallion. I was so hungry at this point that I accidentally ate the appetizer dish without taking a picture of it. Sorry.
Dinner concluded with fresh fruit, passion fruit cake and coffee/tea service.
After dinner, the cabin lights were dimmed and I asked for my bed to be made. This consisted of a sleep pad, additional pillow, duvet and a bottle of water. Not that I was really tired, I just wanted to watch TV in bed. In the fully reclined position, the seat was extremely comfortable. The armrests automatically lowered down and made the seat wide enough for my shoulders. The bedding was pretty soft and comfortable. I laid in bed, watched Captain Phillips (great movie!) and actually dozed off for a bit. The cabin was pretty warm and I woke up several times to kick off the duvet.
The 15” IFE monitor was decent but felt like I was watching television on an old computer monitor. The AVOD (audio/video on demand) library wasn’t that great and only had a selection of about 20 movies, nine television shows, some music, games and a moving map.
Now, if you know anything about me, you know I’m a little piggy and I’m constantly hungry. When I woke up, I decided to peruse the snack menu. I ended up choosing the ramen. It was served with several side dishes and it was delicious. After my snack, I fell back asleep again.
About two hours outside of Seoul, the lights were turned on and the flight attendants prepared for the breakfast service. The flight attendant came by to make my table and offered a warm towel and glass of orange juice. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, yogurt and a spinach and tomato frittata. Again, the main course was dry and not that tasty.
After breakfast, our tables were cleared and I asked for my clothes so that I could change back into my street clothes. As we prepared for landing, the flight attendant came by to thank everyone individually for flying with Asiana Airlines and wished them a safe journey.
And in case you were wondering, Asiana Airlines no longer gives out parting gifts for first class passengers. This practice was stopped as of December 3, 2013.
So overall, this was a decent experience for my first flight with Asiana Airlines first class. The seat was not the newest or most modern design but it was spacious and comfortable. The seat was great in both sitting and sleeping positions but the AVOD IFE system was slow and lacked an adequate selection of entertainment.
The meals were hit and miss. The caviar service and mid-flight snack were delicious but both my dinner and breakfast main courses were dry and lacked flavor. I was actually kind of disappointed considering how much I have heard great things about their food. I was kicking myself thinking that I should have ordered the Korean option as I’m sure that would have been better.
However, whatever Asiana lacked with their food, they made up with their service. The flight attendants were all extremely professional, caring and attentive. Everything was said with a smile and they were there at every moment to assist me. Whenever I woke up from a nap or went into the lavatory, a flight attendant came by to see if I needed anything. Not once did I see them slacking off, chatting with each or ignoring any of the passengers. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more from them.
For those of you that enjoy a lot of pictures, I created a photo slideshow with additional photos for you here.
Other trip reports in this series:
- The new Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
- The new Korean Airlines Skyteam Lounge at LAX
- Turkish Airlines business class from Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Hilton Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge at Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines business class from Istanbul to Frankfurt
- Lufthansa Senator Lounges at Frankfurt
- Asiana Airlines first class from Frankfurt to Seoul
- Asiana Airlines first class lounge at Seoul
- Asiana Airlines business class from Seoul to Shanghai
- Westin Bund Center Shanghai
- VIP lounges at Shanghai Pudung International Airport
- Thai Airways business class from Shanghai to Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Spa and Lounge
- Thai Airways first class from Bangkok to Paris
- Star Alliance Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Paris to Montreal
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Montreal
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Montreal to Los Angeles