Review – Asiana A380 First Class from ICN to LAX

Introduction

We flew this on our way back from Korea in April of 2017; I was very excited to try another A380 F product.  I’ve flown on the Asiana business class product, which sucked because it’s angled out of Seattle.

 

Award Cost

It cost me 180,000 ANA miles + ~$300 for a roundtrip F ticket to Asia.  I’ll discuss that later, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume this flight cost me 90K ANA miles + $300 (most of those fuel surcharges were due to this flight.)  I transferred miles over from AMEX Membership Rewards.

 

Getting to airport

We were staying at the Park Hyatt Seoul and the limousine bus area to ICN was a few blocks away (PH paid for a taxi for us.)  The bus area actually had an Asiana flight checkin desk, and so we checked our luggage there.  Then we went upstairs and paid 15000 Korean won, which was about $13 at the time for a bus ticket to ICN.  Btw, you are able to use a cc to pay for the bus ticket (you buy it via a metro station like automated booth and not a human.)  There are times noted and we bought the last tickets for the departure that was 5 minutes away.  Buses run every 20 minutes.  This was on a Sunday afternoon.  It may be busier on weekdays (but may run more often.)  The trip took roughly an hour (will be more on a weekday with traffic.)  The seats were super comfy and we PTFO.

 

At airport

Even though we had our boarding pass already, I wanted to walk to the First class checkin counter anyway and played dumb.  I asked, “Where is the lounge here?”  The lady saw my boarding pass and then escorted me to a very short security line (vs the massive one to our right.)  She then asked if I needed an escort to the plan, and I told her no.  Once through security, I was expecting a VIP immigration line, but alas there was none.  It was pretty fast anyway.  After immigration, we took a floor up to the F lounge.  It has shower rooms as well as massage chairs.  Also had passion fruit and the green tea Haagen Dazs ice cream sandwhich, which was DELICIOUS!

 

During flight

When we boarded, the F cabin is on the lower deck.  The cabin looked to be very bright and spacious compared to the SQ A380 F or the EK A380 F.  The seat was comfy and wide.  The TV was pretty big.  The suite door closes.  There were some scratches on the armrest, but not as bad as SQ’s beat up A380 F’s.  I liked the LCD panel on the IFE remote.  The attendant then brought by a drink menu and my wife and I got the champagne – Barons De Rothschild Blanc de Blancs.  I know what your’e thinking, “Who?  What?”  Exactly.  I Google’d the champagne and noticed it was a $125 bottle.  I try not to be a champagne snob, but I’ve had enough Krug and Dom to know when a champagne isn’t up to snuff.  Heck, even the $50 rose champagne on the Etihad flight was delicious.  This champagne was only decent.

Service on the flight was the best I’ve ever had.  Even my wife turned to me mid-flight and said, “This is Michelin 3 star service.”  And she was right.  The cabin had 5 people out of 12 seats, and they had about 2-3 FA’s attending to us.  They were constantly walking up and down, looking to refill your champagne or whatnot.  They didn’t seem overbearing as Singapore’s crew.

The food was also good, especially if you like Korean food.  They did give you caviar service, even if you picked the Korean meal.  I chose Korean for both the dinner and breakfast and liked it.  While ANA told me, “You can eat whatever and whenever you like,” I didn’t get that comment on Asiana.  I don’t think they would have mind if I asked to eat at off hours (they do have a snack menu,) but it wasn’t explicitly told to me.

 

Now the bad

First off, NO WIFI on the flight at all.

Second, my IFE screen stopped working a few hours in.  They reset it and 5 minutes later, it worked again.  No big deal.  But Trevor from Tagging Miles said his dad had a similar issue.

Third and the biggest complaint – they don’t have a mattress pad when the seat turns into a bed.  It’s just a sheet.  At first I didn’t think it’d be an issue, but after about 10 minutes in it, I noticed that the parts of my body that touched the seat would get really hot…hot enough that I’d wake up in a matter of minutes.  I’m a side sleeper for the most part and so my pelvis and my shoulder would get hot, and so I’d wake up, then turn to the other side.  A few minutes later, the other side of my pelvis and shoulder would heat up.  Then I’d try to sleep on my back.  Then the upper part of my back and my ass would get hot.  I don’t know if it was due to the stupid sheet or maybe the cabin was too hot (which I think it was,) but I did NOT have a good sleep.  I just recall never having these hot sleeps (or maybe ones not this bad) on my other F flights.  I was longing for the egg crate foam mattress pad on ANA F.  A few hours in, I opened up my suite door, which gave me some air circulation.  It felt cooler then, so lesson learned here folks – keep your suite door open.

 

Conclusion

I was trying to decide where to rank Asiana F, and while the service I felt was hands down and the food was good, at the end of the day, I want a good sleep when I’m traveling in F.  And that’s NOT what I got here.  So for that reason alone, I’d have to put them near the bottom of the list.  If they buy some kind of mattress pad that helps cool you, then they’d be in the top half.  Also install WIFI and get better champagne!

 

Pictures

 

  • Mark Ostermann

    Biggest question is what pants did you decide to go with? 🙂

    Looks like you guys had a good time!

  • Ken

    Is it easier/cheaper/faster to take the bus instead of the train from downtown to ICN? $13 is CHEAP.

    • Miles per Day

      It would take forever by subway and multiple changes, so I didn’t want to bother with that hassle, esp with luggage.

      • Ken

        Ya, so might as well just sit back and relax. How’d you like wandering around the city? Seoul is one of the cities on our list. We have a friend that lived there for a few years and loved it. Now he’s in Bangkok, our favorite city in the world so far.

        • Miles per Day

          I’ll have a post later, but for the most part, I liked it. Not as much as Tokyo though. More English in Seoul than Tokyo, but seems fewer things to do and the traffic is HORRENDOUS. The subway system was fine although it seemed you needed to make more transfers than Tokyo. I’m headed to Bangkok in November; will hit you up for tips later.

          • Ken

            We’ve only been to a few places in SE Asia. BKK, KUL, SIN, HKG, and MFM, and Pattaya. But we’ve been to BKK 3 times and could probably write a book. Shoot me an email when the trip is closer and I’ll help you out. Do you have hotel plans yet?

          • Miles per Day

            Nothing planned yet. Probably the PH is my initial guess.

          • Ken

            The Conrad is great. Avoid the cheap Double Tree like the plague though, it’s nothing but huge tour groups. Haven’t stayed at the PH since we don’t have any status which may be changing soon if we’re lucky.