Review of Asiana Airlines flight Seoul Hong Kong in Economy

Airline Asiana Airlines
Flight OZ 721
Class Economy
Seat 22K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 4:50
Take-off 24 Nov 16, 09:00
Arrival at 24 Nov 16, 12:50
OZ   #31 out of 111 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 63 reviews
NGO85
By 986
Published on 2nd December 2016
Background:

This series covers a trip to Kaohsiung (高雄) and Kinmen (金門). Refer to Part 1 for a detailed background. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – ICN-HKG [OZ 721, Airbus A330-300, Economy] – You are here
Part 3 – HKG-KHH [CI 948, Airbus A330-300, Economy] – Here
Part 4 – KHH-KNH [B7 8915, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-600, Economy] – Here
Part 5 – KNH-RMQ [AE 770, Embraer ERJ-190, Economy] – Here
Part 6 – KHH-HKG [AE 981, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here
Part 7 – HKG-ICN [OZ 722, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Business] – Here
Part 8 – ICN-LAX [OZ 204, Airbus A380-800, Economy] – Here



Pre-flight:

I left off the last report as I cleared the transit security at ICN and took the escalator back into the terminal.

photo 1

My first stop will be the Asiana Lounge.

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Checking in, I ask if a shower is available. The agent hands me a key in exchange for my boarding pass. She notices I’m missing a gate on my boarding pass and she writes it down saying: “did you know your flight is delayed until 10:30?” Not the news I wanted, but I had a long layover in HKG so it didn’t affect my downstream plans. As an aside, there was a passenger trying to get in with Priority Pass and was having a heated argument about why they wouldn’t let him in. The OZ agent's response was that it is too keep the lounge less crowded for its own passengers. Trust me, the OZ Lounge gets hammered before/after TPAC arrivals so I appreciate them trying to keep the crowds to a reasonable amount.

photo 4

Off to the shower room I go. Looks the same as my last trip through ICN, but this time the shower products have changed.



After my shower, I went back into the lounge. At 7am, the lounge was still light since the mad rush hadn’t started yet.

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Maybe something in the previous photo caught your attention^^ I just roll my eyes and keep walking…

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I stopped by one of the computers in the business center to do OLCI for my CI flight and collect a boarding pass.

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The chef station was making scrambled eggs, so I grabbed some along with fried rice.

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Then some ramen and a pint of Cass as I watch the traffic outside.

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At 9:15, I got up and headed towards my gate to see what aircraft was going to be there. Flightradar wasn’t showing a plane listed yet so I was still hopefully of a B744.

FIDS.

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OZ A380.

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OZ and KE A333s.

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OZ A321 operating the 10:00 flight to HKG. They’ll clearly be beating us there.

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KE B739 and B738.

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OZ A333.

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My boarding documents.

photo 27



————————-

Asiana Airlines, OZ 721
Equipment: Airbus A330-300 [HL7746, delivered July 2006]
Departure: 9:00 (ATD: 10:52)
Arrival: 11:50 (ATA: 13:16)
Flight time: 3:23


Reaching my gate, I noticed that there was an A333 sitting outside. Very disappointing. And to throw salt in the wound, there was a B744 in the background sitting at a remote stand.

photo 28

Realizing the aircraft swap meant my carefully selected seat 22K now equated to a seat on top of the wing, I went up to the counter to ask if I could get a window seat in front or behind the wing. The agent looks and tells me that no other window seats are free.

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The sign announcing the delay from 9:00 to 10:30 due to “aircraft connections.”

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At 10:00 boarding commenced.

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Down to the plane we go.

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There were newspapers at the entrance of the plane with English, Korean, and Chinese selections.

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Entering the cabin, the FA standing there looks at me and asks: “aren’t you cold???” I was wearing a t-shirt having come from 20C weather in Los Angeles and heading to 28C weather in Taiwan so didn’t think about the fact that it was -2C that morning in Seoul. She checked my boarding pass and then directed me through the galley and to the right. Entering the cabin, there were 4 FAs standing there ready to greet passengers and they looked startled when I turned the corner. There were no special assistance passengers on this flight so I was the first person to enter Y. Here is the rear half of the Y cabin. It will be the oldest Y-cabin on this plane.

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The FAs quickly turn back around and get back into position to greet the rest of the passengers.

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View down my row.

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The prehistoric IFE.

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The sidewall of this cabin was really protruding into window seats and I kept hitting my head on it.

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Pillow and blanket were pre-placed on the seat.

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Headphones were pre-placed in the seatback pocket.

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The seat pitch is good, but not as good as the B772s or A380s.

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The window seats have an entertainment box under them.

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IFE controls are in the armrest.

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The Korean newspapers are of course talking about the Park scandal.

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The seatback contents.

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The safety card on this A333.

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The flight was nearly full in Y. The safety video played as we initiated pushback.

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OZ A333.

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The B744 to FRA quickly takes our gate.

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We get a wave from the ground crew as we roll out on our short taxi.

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OZ A380.

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Aligning onto the runway.

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Tons of diversity at the “non-Korean” terminal.

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Lifting up over the new terminal.

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A KE B777 lifts up in parallel in the horizon.

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It’s impossible to see anything on this IFE, but it projects a 3h 20m flight down to HKG.

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I dozed off on the ascent, but woke to find that the FA had left a HK immigration card clipped to my tray table.

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Meal service commenced in usual fashion with 4 carts deployed in each cabin working front to back. The options were bibimbap or fish/rice. I went for the bibimbap since it is higher quality/quantity than the western meals.



The tray is the same on all regional flights and differs from the long-haul flights. The regional tray comes with kimchi in place of the omelet. The fruit cup and the dried Pollock soup are the same as the long-haul version of the tray.



Meal service ended as we got near Taiwan.

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The lavatory was okay, but no amenities are out (just skin toner and coffee grounds).



The view of the cabin from the back of the plane.

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Water was handed out from trays throughout the flight.

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Approaching HK.

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Orange juice and water were handed out for the final descent.

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First sight of land.

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Glimpses of HK through the clouds.

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Cutting through the clouds on the approach.

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Dropping into HKG.

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UN B763.

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So I guess the Borussia Dortmund livery is now on OM instead of TK.

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KL B744.

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The OZ A321 that was operating the 10:00 flight from ICN.

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SQ A380.

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We pull into a gate next to a CZ A321.

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Deplaning.

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A last glimpse of my plane before I head towards the CI transfer desk.

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I'll leave off this series here as I begin my layover in HKG at the ST Lounge.
See more

Verdict

Asiana Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment4.0
meal/catering8.5

Asiana Airlines Business Lounge

7.3/10
Comfort7.0
meal/catering7.0
Entertainment7.0
Services8.0

Seoul - ICN

8.9/10
Efficiency9.5
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Hong Kong - HKG

8.9/10
Efficiency9.5
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

OZ regional flights are pretty mundane, there isn't too much to get excited about. The catering and crews are still good, but the hard product on most of their older heavies leave a lot to be desired. That said, it's more than acceptable, just don't expect anything new and shiny.

Cabin comfort: To tease me with a B744, then give me this... come on OZ^^ I'm not a big A330 fan from the start and this was probably the worst OZ heavy I've tried so far (I liked the old cabin B772s better than this old cabin A333).

Crew: The OZ crew was again very good with very friendly and attentive FAs. English ability of crew and flight deck were both very good. There was a large tour group of rowdy older Korean men who were pressing call buttons like mad requesting more beers and the FAs seemed to handle it very well.

Meal and catering: The meal quantity/quality was exactly what you'd expect from a bibimbap tray on a Korean carrier. Drinks were offered regularly post-meal. The lack of an aperitif service is the only negative (but OZ never does this, so it is what it is).

Entertainment: Newspaper available on the jetbridge, magazine rack on the bulkheads, and the standard seatback literature. OZ’s IFE in the old cabins is essentially unusable. The contrast is poor and the size is poor. On top of that, the content is reduced from what is available on the long-haul flights.

Related

11 Comments

  • Comment 376733 by
    BombieFlyer 92 Comments

    Hi NGO85!

    I flew with this A330 from Shanghai to Incheon. I must say, despite the obvious wear and tear of this old cabin, the padding is really good compared to slimline seats that airlines favoured these days. I agree though that IFE left nothing to be desired. Oh and that IFE box underneath the seat, man... I really hate it!

    Btw, nice shot of the new terminal. It's really coming alone nicely, eh? I hope it will help to ease congestion.

    I hope that the coffee grounds in the lavatory was there to absorb bad odour ^__^ here in China, it's very popular to use coffee ground to absorb toxic smell after your office or house is renovated.

    I think the OZ lounge has a very nice decor. However, I think for a reputable carrier like OZ, the choices of both hot and cold meals are really lacking. Similar to what North American carriers would offer its premium passengers. And I must make a confession that I was one of those Priority Pass users ;-)

    All in all, a nice report to see what OZ offers on its short regional hop. Cheers!

      0
    • Comment 376822 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "I must say, despite the obvious wear and tear of this old cabin, the padding is really good compared to slimline seats that airlines favoured these days."
      - These seats were too worn. I could feel the metal support prodding into my thighs when seated. Some might like the 2-4-2 of the A330s to the 3-3-3 of the B777s, but I find the B772s to offer more shoulder space in window seats.

      "I hope it will help to ease congestion."
      - Without additional runways, I doubt it, but it should open up more gates for KE/OZ since they spend so much time moving planes back and forth from remote stands. It's still expected to open 2017, so we'll soon see who moves into there.

      "I hope that the coffee grounds in the lavatory was there to absorb bad odour ^__^"
      - I've seen this only on OZ to leave them like that. I can't remember what carrier it was, but one had a little bag of coffee grounds in a bag on the door of the lavatory.

      "the choices of both hot and cold meals are really lacking."
      - The catering is poor and the lounge size is inadequate for their operations. I think the KE lounge has better food offerings (IIRC), but it really sucks that ICN is a one-way traffic terminal so you can't spread passengers out to the other OZ Lounge and SQ Lounge.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

        0
  • Comment 376780 by
    FLIGHTEXAMINOR 16 Comments

    Hey man,

    Could you do a detailized review on SQ lounge at Incheon?? I will be there on January, including shower facility they got:) Mainly food options as well:))

      0
    • Comment 376821 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      Never been to the SQ Lounge before at ICN, but if you buy me a ticket, I'll happily write a review for you ;)

        0
      • Comment 376824 by
        FLIGHTEXAMINOR 16 Comments

        Ok, I need to teach you a new lesson. Since you are star gold, next time, go to the SQ lounge, show your Asiana boarding pass, then show your Asiana star gold card to SQ. they are also a member of star alliance, I'm 100% sure is free for you, and you can bring a guest as well! Please do a detailed review, like food offerings and shower facilities!

          0
        • Comment 376825 by
          NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

          You must not be familiar with the layout of ICN. You cannot freely travel between terminals, the train only travels in one direction so you would need a security escort to bring you back to where the OZ flights depart from. Only non-OZ passengers can reach the SQ Lounge because of logistic reasons.

            0
  • Comment 376828 by
    FLIGHTEXAMINOR 16 Comments

    I see. The SQ lounge is in satellite terminal, on your way back to Los Angeles you will have a chance because Asiana leaves on Satellite as well, not main terminal

      0
  • Comment 376829 by
    FLIGHTEXAMINOR 16 Comments

    And beside, in HongKong you can check out the SQ lounge, and the UA club. I wanna hear your comparison of both SQ lounge in HongKong or Seoul, like which one is gonna be better!

      0
  • Comment 377014 by
    Rl 777 676 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Definitely not the most exciting thing to get a downgrade from a 744 to a 333 :(. Unfortunately pretty common on many short-haul flights where there is some flexibility for the airlines.

    Great spotting shots at ICN, nice weather.

    A more worn-out A330, not desirable to fly with it but works on a 3,5h long flight.

    Catering looks good as always.

    Stunning spotting shots at HKG.

    Thanks for sharing, this is definitely a very interesting read.

    Have a good one, see you later!

      0
    • Comment 377220 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "Definitely not the most exciting thing to get a downgrade from a 744 to a 333 :(. Unfortunately pretty common on many short-haul flights where there is some flexibility for the airlines."
      - The Combis are really rare species too, it's hard to catch them. I'm glad KL still sends their Combis to LAX^^

      "Great spotting shots at ICN, nice weather."
      - Cold, but sunny.

      "A more worn-out A330, not desirable to fly with it but works on a 3,5h long flight."
      - In all honesty, the A330 is probably better than the B747 in comfort, but the B747 at least gives nostalgia. Nothing like flying a Queen!

      "Catering looks good as always."
      - Good, but sooooo repetitive. They really need to spice up their catering department and offer something other than bibimbap.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

        0

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