Hi everyone! My name is John and I’ve been a long time reader of PointsNerd and I wanted to give back with a couple flight reviews. I love to travel so if this flight review is well received, I hope to contribute additional reviews.
Asiana is an airline that is part of the Star Alliance that is often forgotten but it offers some excellent availability and very useful for flights in Asia on a Mini-Round-the-World redemption. Most importantly for me, it is one of the few airlines in the Star Alliance that features an A380.
One goal of my recent Aeroplan “mini-Round-The-World” award was to finally cross the Airbus 380 off my nerdy “bucket list” but as they’re only available on a handful of Star Alliance routes I had to get myself to the right place. In this particular case, it meant I needed to get to Seoul, South Korea, the hub of Asiana Airlines (OZ). This meant a short 3-hour hop from Hong Kong on Asiana’s regional-configured Airbus 330-300.
Regional Business Class is often the poor cousin to the glamorous ultra-long-haul routes that inevitably receive the newest premium seats, but this flight was a pleasant surprise.
Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airport is one of my favourite travel hubs in the world; it’s got terrific lounges, fascinating plane-spotting, and some truly beautiful architecture.
This was my first visit to HKG since the arrival of the new Centurion Lounge, a free benefit to anyone with an American Express Platinum Personal or Platinum Business card. It’s a beautiful space, with sweeping views of the bustling runways, which would be pictured here if I’d remembered to correct my shots for a dimly-lit lounge and a bright-sunny exterior.
As usual, The Centurion Lounge has put together an excellent collection of custom-designed cocktails and a buffet that puts most airline lounges to shame. As is the norm, AMEX has hired a team of local bartenders who really know mixology well. Be warned; these well-crafted cocktails run on the strong side so take care that you don’t end up weaving from the lounge to the gate!
We boarded our Airbus 330-300 right on time, and a dual gangway had a full flight seated very quickly.
It’s common among Asian airlines for regional Business Class cabins to feature recliners or “angle-flat” seats that don’t turn into a flat bed, but these were remarkably comfortable. I’m over 6 feet tall and had no trouble catching an hour of sleep later in the flight.
Asiana’s 330 Business Class cabin use a 2-2-2 layout, which is perfect for couples traveling together. As a solo traveler, you may wish to choose the center pair of seats (D+G) to avoid having strangers crawl over you mid-flight!
After a pre-dinner glass of decent Laurent Perrier Brut and the obligatory dish of warm nuts, lunch service was prompt and friendly. I chose the “Korean” menu, because honestly, when else am I going to get the chance to have fresh bibimbap at 30,000 feet?
The roast-beef appetizer was tender and flavourful, and the main course was thoughtfully presented in a way that allows each passenger to make the dish as mild or as hot as desired.
In-flight entertainment was decent but not all that impressive. With a only handful of new-release blockbusters, most of which I’d already seen on the flight over to Asia, I decided to pass the rest of the flight with a quick nap.
We arrived at Seoul Incheon about 45 minutes late, and between that and a dead-slow Customs lineup, I arrived in downtown Seoul nearly 3 hours after our scheduled landing time. This gave us just enough time for a quick visit to the Dongdaemun Night Market and a quick night’s sleep before the next day’s date with the Airbus 380!
That’s it from me – safe travels!
This is great! While I miss Jayce and his blog, the two chaps who are filling in are excellent.
Asiana has been one of my curiosities ( is that a word ? ) for some time.
While I have done some points and miles , I have to admit that there seems to be a lot of people who have interesting experiences to share.
I will keep reading and commenting.
Great first post, John! I suppose you started in HKG to avoid the fuel surcharge, but how did you manage to get to HKG?
Thanks for the kind words!
Total routing for this mRTW was YOW-ORD-TPE-SIN-HKG-ICN-FRA-ZRH-YUL-YOW, with legs on Air Canada, EVA, Singapore, Asiana and Swiss, and long stop-overs in Singapore and Hong Kong just because I love those cities!
Fees came to roughly $225 altogether.