Several airlines – both Korean and Japanese, and even Ethiopian Airlines – operate between Seoul and Tokyo. One of those is Korean Air which connects Seoul Incheon airport with both Tokyo Haneda and Narita, as well as Gimpo airport with Haneda.
Earlier this year, I had a chance to fly from Incheon to Narita on Korean Air’s 777-300.
Check-in, Lounge & Boarding at Seoul Incheon Airport
After arriving in Seoul from Da Nang onboard VietJet, I passed through immigration and took a free shuttle bus from terminal 1 to terminal 2. Getting between the terminals took about 20 minutes.
While I checked in online beforehand and was only traveling with hand luggage, I stopped by one of the self check-in machines to change my seat to a window seat.
Once I went through security and immigration – a process that took only about five minutes – I headed to one of Korean Air’s two business class lounges in the terminal, KAL Lounge Prestige West.
The lounge was located directly above gate 249 – my departure gate – and so I was able to spend a couple of hours inside without feeling rushed. That said, the lounge was nothing to write home about.
I left the lounge around 9:35AM, five minutes before the boarding was scheduled to start. When I got to the gate, the 777-300 was – of course – already waiting there, and it was almost ready to go.
Boarding started on time with SkyPriority passengers – i.e. business class passengers and status holders – being invited first.
Inside the jetway, there was a rack with a variety of newspapers. While most of them were Korean, there were also some English and Japanese publications.
Korean Air 777-300 Business Class Cabin & Seat
The aircraft was equipped with 35 full-flat business class seats in “2-3-2” configuration. The seats were spread across two cabins with the first cabin featuring three rows of seven seats and the second cabin featuring additional two rows.
While the seats were fairly outdated, they were perfectly fine for a two-hour regional flight.
That said, I would try to avoid these seats on a long-haul flight – especially considering that there are middle seats in the center section.
As for the legroom, it was more than sufficient thanks to the 74-inch seat pitch.
While each of the seats spanned roughly three windows, my seat, 9A, lacked one of those. Considering that it was the window closest to the seat itself, it made it a bit more difficult to look outside.
As for the seat itself, its outer armrest featured the seat controls. Besides three presets – upright, lounging, and full-flat – there were also controls for individually adjusting each part of the seat.
The console between each pair of seats was equipped with a small drink table, the in-flight entertainment controller, a small storage compartment, the tray table, as well as a universal power outlet.
On the panel further up between the seats, there were also a privacy partition, a reading light, a pair of USB ports, and the audio output.
The seat back in front featured a 15.4-inch screen, a seat pocket with a safety card, a shoe compartment, and a magazine compartment with the in-flight magazine, duty free catalog, and other printed materials.
Upon boarding, a small pillow was waiting on the seat, and noise-cancelling headphones and a pair of slippers were prepared in the seat pocket.
Korean Air Business Class Pre-Flight Service & Departure
Once I settled in my seat, one of the flight attendants came to greet me saying “I hope you enjoy your flight.”
At the same time, I was offered a welcome drink from a selection of guava juice, orange juice, and water. I went with the first of those.
Then, a minute later, I was provided the Japanese customs form as well as a pen. I always appreciate when pens are proactively offered as it makes it a lot easier to fill the form out than having to first search for a pen in my bag.
A few minutes after that, my brunch order was taken. More on that later, though.
At 10:05AM, the safety video was played, and at 10:08AM – two minutes ahead of schedule, we were pushed back.
The taxi to the departure runway took about fifteen minutes and offered some excellent views of mostly Korean Air aircraft.
We took off from runway 15R at 10:27AM.
Korean Air Regional Business Class Brunch
Seatbelt signs were switched off about ten minutes after take-off at which point the brunch service begun.
Before the meal itself was served, hot towels were distributed.
As for the meal, there were two choices of main – Korean beef and vegetable soup and scrambled eggs. I decided to go with the former which turned out to be a good choice.
Unfortunately, there was no bibimbap – that was, instead, offered on the lunchtime flight from Narita to Seoul.
I received my meal about twenty-five minutes after the seatbelt signs were switched off. First, I was served a tray with rice, soup, and side dishes. After that, the flight attendant brought the soup itself.
The soup was really good – it included enough vegetables and so on to be filling and it wasn’t overly spicy.
Around the same time, the captain made an announcement mentioning that we were cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet at 600 miles per hour.
Around 11AM, I was served green tea and a few minutes later, I got a small plate of cut fruits that included apple, orange, and watermelon – one piece each.
Korean Air 777-300 In-Flight Entertainment
Throughout the brunch, as well as after it, I watched a couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory on the in-flight entertainment system.
As mentioned earlier, noise-cancelling headphones – not as good as Bose or other high-end brands but good enough – were available at each seat upon boarding.
As for the content, there were dozens of movies both old and new to watch, as well as a good selection of albums (and “radio channels”) to listen to. The TV show selection was quite limited and each show only had an episode or two.
Arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport
At five minutes past noon, the seatbelt signs were switched back on and the flight attendants prepared the cabin for landing. One of them also thanked everyone for flying with Korean Air over the PA.
The flight came to an end when we landed on Tokyo Narita’s runway 34L at 12:20PM and got to our gate at 12:23PM – seven minutes ahead of schedule.
Korean Air 777-300 Business Class Summary
Overall, the flight was pretty much on par with my expectations. The seat – while outdated – was more than sufficient for the two-hour flight, the crew was nice, and the meal was good as well.
That said, the flight wasn’t as enjoyable as my flight with Asiana Airlines from Tokyo to Seoul a while back. But then again, that’s also because the Asiana flight was a lunchtime flight and was operated by the Airbus A380.