Date: March 19, 2018
Flight No.: OZ101
Route: Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon
Airline: Asiana Airlines
Type: Airbus A380-800
The first flight of my March spotting trip to Phuket took me from Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon airport onboard Asiana Airlines Airbus A380-800. While I flew on the plane before to and from Seoul to New York, this was my first time to fly it in business class.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Checking-in for Asiana Airlines Flight 101
I got to Narita airport around 10:20AM, three hours before departure, and headed straight to Asiana Airlines’ check-in counters in terminal 1’s section H. Since there was no one in the business class queue, I had my boarding passes all the way to Phuket in my hands in no time.
I asked whether getting one of the first class suites (the flight has no first class, and so they are sold as business class as well) would be possible, but unfortunately, those were reserved for elite status holders and those that bought full fare tickets.
The Star Alliance Gold security check lane was equally deserted. And, while there was a couple of people in front of me at immigration, I was airside in just a couple of minutes.
The A380 that would later take me to Seoul arrived while I was in the United lounge, and so, I also stopped by the departure gate, gate 46, on my way to the ANA lounge to get some photos of it.
Boarding the Asiana Airlines Airbus A380-800
The flight was scheduled to begin boarding at 12:40PM, and so I left the ANA Lounge around 12:25. Boarding started on time, and I was the third business class passenger to board.
At least theoretically…
I was stopped at the gate, and handed a new boarding pass for one of my connecting flights. Somewhere in the process, I lost the boarding pass stub of the flight I was about to board.
As such, I was stopped at the aircraft door and had to wait in the galley until one of the crew members managed to recover the stub from the ground staff, thus allowing her to confirm who I was and where I was seated.
Asiana Airlines Airbus A380-800 Business Class Cabin
Before continuing with the flight itself, let’s take a quick look at Asiana Airlines’ Airbus A380-800 cabin and business class seat.
The aircraft is equipped with a total of 495 seats with 12 first class seats located and 311 economy class seats located on the main deck, and 66 business class seats and 106 economy class seats located on the upper deck. The business class is located in the front part of the upper deck and is split into two cabins.
Asiana Airlines A380 business class features staggered seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. As usual with such configurations, odd numbered rows feature “real” window seats and seats in the middle section that are far from each other. And, even numbered rows feature window seats that are close to aisle and “honey moon” seats in the center section.
Asiana Airlines Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seat
As for the seat itself, in upright position, it was one of the less comfortable business class seats I had the chance to try. One of the reasons for that I found the seat not-so-comfortable was the fact that there was too much padding in the seats. At least for my liking.
Also, while this was a short flight and so I didn’t have a chance to try it, the foot cubby seemed like it would be quite tight when using the seat as a bed.
The thing I loved about the seat – and that is a common feature of upper deck window seats on A380s – were the storage boxes that could be found along the wall. The boxes are fairly large, and are great for storing a laptop or a camera.
Besides that, there was a coat hook on the back panel of the seat in front of me. That is also where the tray table could be found. And, under those two, there was a pocket with a safety card.
On the left side of the seat, there was a console which was fairly small and barely fit my 13″ laptop. That was not a problem though since, as mentioned above, the storage bins along the wall were a fine place to store it.
Above the counter, there was a reading light, a USB port, and the audio output. And, upon boarding, there were also a pair of slippers, a noise-cancelling headset, and inflight magazines.
The IFE remote and seat controls could be found on the side of the counter.
Finally, under the controls, there was an armrest which also featured a small storage compartment perfect for a compact camera or cellphone. And, there was also a universal power outlet on the front side of the counter, near the floor.
Departing Tokyo Narita, Bound for Seoul Incheon
As soon as I settled in my “real” window seat, 19K, I was offered a welcome drink from a selection of either orange juice or water. I picked a glass of orange juice, and not long after that, the same crew member came around the cabin handing out Korean immigration forms to passengers terminating their journey in Seoul.
The aircraft doors were closed at 1:23PM (check my other review to find out the number of doors that have to be closed on an A380), and shortly after that, the cabin crew made a welcome announcement. The things worth mentioning include the fact that there were 21 cabin crew members on board and that the expected flight time was 2 hours and 10 minutes.
We were pushed back at 1:26PM, six minutes behind schedule, and around the same time, the safety video was played. As soon as the video finished, the cabin crew came around to make a final check asking people to fasten their harness belt (the seats have a 3-point seatbelt like one you would find in a car), and we started taxiing at 1:38PM.
After about ten minutes of making our way to runway 16R, we finally started our shaky take off roll. And, at 1:49PM, we took off into the cloudy Narita skies.
Asiana Airlines Short-Haul Business Class Service
The seatbelt sign was switched off ten minutes after take-off at which point I decided to check out one of the restrooms. It was quite spacey and equipped with a window. There were also several amenities including toothbrushes, combs, etc., even though it was just a short flight.
Shortly after I got back to my seat, the meal service started.
First, hot towels and menus were handed out.
Soon after, one of the crew members came to take the order. I decided to order “ssambap,” a Korean rice dish together with a glass of guava juice which was on the drink menu. When I asked for guava juice, though, the crew said she wasn’t sure if they had it, and so I asked for orange juice as backup.
About thirty minutes into the flight, the captain made his welcome announcement, and about the same time, the cabin crew went through the cabin setting up tables in preparation for the meal.
While the table couldn’t be moved back and forth, it could be swiveled so that one could get out even during meal service.
The meal itself was brought around 2:30PM starting with a glass of water and orange juice, followed by a single tray with the main, sides, and dessert. A couple of minutes later, tea and coffee were offered.
While initially I was a bit disappointed that there was no “bibimbap,” a signature Korean dish, on this flight, I enjoyed the “ssambap” as well. And, overall, the meal was of good quality and the quantity was more than sufficient for a two hour flight.
Cruising Towards Seoul
Around the time the meal service finished, there was still about one hour of flight time left, and so I decided to take a quick photo of the cabin and take a look at the in-flight entertainment system.
Since it was the same as on my flight in economy class, for details about the IFE check that review.
For the rest of the cruise, I set the seat in lounging mode and worked on the QSuites flight review that I published some weeks ago.
Landing at Incheon Airport
The flight started nearing its end when we descended from our original flight level 380 down to 32,000 feet. And then, at 3:50PM, the cabin crew started preparing the cabin for landing.
The landing gear was lowered just five minutes after that, and at 3:58PM, we touched down at Seoul Incheon airport.
We arrived at our gate at 4:06PM, ten minutes behind schedule, at which point I got off, went through the transit security and visited the Asiana Lounge for a couple of minutes before getting on my next flight. But, more about that in the next review.
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No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.