This report will cover the 13-hour flight from Los Angeles to Seoul-Incheon. OZ has two flights per day; one is operated by an A380 and the other a B772. This report will cover the B772 service. As mentioned in the background, this flight was picked because I wanted to try both Business Smartium cabins and the flight times made more sense for my schedule. The other flight leaves in the early afternoon and gets to Seoul in the evening.
When I had purchased my ticket 4 weeks in advance, there were still quite a few seats available. The OZ B772s that have Business Smartium cabins are labeled “B777-200LR” by OZ to distinguish them from them normal “B777-200ERs” even though all of the planes are B777-200ERs. The even numbered seats are along the windows and the odds are aisles seats. The window seats in row 6 are missing a window. Given this information, I picked 4K.
Arriving in TBIT, I walk over to Aisle C where the OZ counters are located.
At 3 hours prior to departure, it is not too crowded and I’m quickly helped by a Korean-American agent. She pulls up my reservation and looks puzzled (I know why, but don’t mention anything). She calls over a senior agent and they discuss the issue (ironic, but they speak to each other in Japanese so I can understand what is going on). He types for a bit and everything is sorted out. The issue is that I actually changed my ticket over the phone and was told I needed to pay ¥4000 at LAX when I changed the ticket. This was mislabeled in the system and I was never asked to pay. The agent tags my bag to ICN, hands me my boarding pass, along with this nifty map to Gate 148 and the *A Lounge.
At TBIT, there is a special security line for F and J passengers. TBIT is a zoo at night with an endless list of nighttime departures so this was an appreciated feature.
Hanging artwork above the security checkpoint. So a candid shot to avoid TSA scrutiny.
Clearing TSA, the main lobby of TBIT is very easy on the eyes and starts to mirror the more progressive airports in Asia in style.
Mogoy even set up his own shop at TBIT.
The nighttime spotting at TBIT is good with a bunch of heavies preparing to head to Asia and Oceania.
There are 4 flights a night that leave for TPE, each BR and CI send a pair of B77Ws.
The first CI B77W.
One of the two BR B77Ws (the second one’s tail is visible at the adjacent gate).
The second CI B77W.
The KE A380 that we will give a head start to in the race to ICN.
After making a loop of the airport spotting, I head to the *A Lounge which is accessed through the elevator right after security.
My boarding pass was scanned and I was allowed in without a word said.
The lounge was jam packed given the heavy traffic at night. The lounge looks nice on the interior and I thought the food offering was excellent for a US lounge. There was bar in there as well. I didn’t take photos given how crowded it was so I suggest you check out some other reports ex-LAX for photos. I found a table in the corner and ate a light snack while I waited.
The lounge slowly thinned out as the flights departed, we were one of the last to leave since the NH flight to HND was a delayed departure. The view of the buffet from my seat.
When the announcement was made in the lounge that boarding would start soon, I packed up and headed down to the gate.
Asiana Airlines, OZ 203 Equipment: Boeing B777-200ER [HL7739, delivered August 2005] Departure: 00:30 (ATD: 01:15) Arrival: 06:50 (ATA: 07:10) Flight time: 12:55
My stead now at the gate (this gate originally had the CX B77W before mine was towed in from a remote stand). You can see the KE A380 leaving in the background.
Boarding was called on time and priorities were strictly enforced. ID/document checks were done through the Business class line.
Reaching the plane, the purser and 2 FAs greet me and check my boarding pass. One of the FAs walks me through the galley and directs me left. Entering the cabin on this B772, you can tell it’s an older style seat that closely resembles the old EY cabin. Everything is a little too yellow for my taste. I think a brown like the FA uniform would be easier on the eyes.
My seat for this flight. Pre-placed on the seat are the pillow/duvet. The headphones and slippers are on the side table. There are no amenity kits on flights not originating from ICN (I asked the FA and she confirmed this information).
The seat pitch is excellent of course.
Welcome screen. The IFE is not as crisp resolution as on the A380s and the moving map is older.
It is about 6000 miles from LAX to ICN and we will do it in just under 13 hours.
The ottoman has this weird flip-up section, which I can’t rationalize a function for.
This seat also has the world’s longest seatbelt/whip.
There were papers on a trolley at the end of the jetbridge, but I didn’t grab one. One of the FAs noticed I didn’t have one and offered me a LA Times.
As boarding continues, I’ll continue the seat tour. The yellow antimacassar
The reading light above the side table.
Fold-down tray table.
The safety card is below the tray table.
The safety instructions mention the over-shoulder seatbelt.
The safety card for this B772.
Below the side table is the slot for the “literature” and a power outlet.
On the side of the seat is located the seat controls, IFE remote, a flip-up armrest (I guess this function is to allow more shoulder room when sleeping), and a USB port. The material in this area is really weird and makes the plane look ancient.
Below the flip-up armrest is a cubby for the storage of personal items and around the corner is the headphone jack.
The other armrest is retractable when the seat goes full-flat.
And now for some amusement. When taking these pictures, I accidentally knocked my jacket behind my seat. I got up to go reach back there to pull it out. Instead, I find some gold! And by gold, I mean this yellow pillow. Who knows how long it has been wedged back there, but it looks like it must be from when this plane did a regional sector.
Pre-departure drinks were offered. No champagne on the tray. So I took water and orange juice.
The FA then came down the aisle offering Korean immigration documents and an OZ pen.
The J cabin was about 75% full.
Business Smartium sign on the bulkhead.
The cabin manager came through, introduced herself, addressed me by name handing me the menu for this flight. She thanked me for flying and asked me to let her know if there was anything throughout the flight she could do to improve my experience. A couple minutes later, a FA comes and kneels at my side to take my dinner order. Nothing really excited me from the western menu, so I settled on the boring bibimbap option. For breakfast, I’m going to be very bold and go for the omelet. The drinks menu was identical as to what was offered on the previous flight (recycled photos).
We are nearly 30 minutes after our departure time when Y finally finished boarding. I guess this is the issue with the B772 when only one jetbridge is engaged. The safety video comes on as we get pushed back and taxi out at 1:10am.
Not much to see at LAX at this hour, the only thing I catch out the window is this AS B737 taxing by a K4 B744F.
No traffic at this hour, so we turn on the runway and go. We lift up over the airport and then disappear into the blackness of the night.
We do the standard route out of LAX.
As soon as we level off, the service starts with distribution of oshibori.
There is no aperitif or amuse bouche service and the linens are immediately laid for dinner.
The table is then set for dinner and my Makgeolli is delivered.
I made my own OZ hashioki from the napkin ring.
The starter was presented. I think it is interesting that there are different starters for the Western and Korean meals. As described, it is shrimp and pine nut dressing. Presentation is nice and I like how the dressing was served inside of the little tomato cup.
The beautiful OZ tableware.
After finishing my starter, my table was cleared and the bibimbap was served on a tray. It is served with condiments and kimchi. It’s not a fancy meal since it's essentially the same as that offered in Y, but it’s a good, filling meal.
The FAs in action. They deliver food and then kneel to explain the dishes.
Drinks were always carefully monitored.
You could probably request a cheese plate with the Korean meal, but I just stuck with a fruit plate for dessert.
For the Korean meal, there is no dessert. Instead, you are served Korean cookies with your tea/coffee.
Water bottles are distributed and the cabin lights are dimmed after dinner.
I fire up the IFE. The interface is presented in a very quirky Asian way that made me chuckle. The interface is old, but the content is the same as what was on the A380.
The rest of the cabin goes to bed, but I decide to watch Jerry Maquire. The FA offers more coffee and Bailey’s while I watch my movie. I accept the proposal. She returns with my drinks and a small ramekin of nuts for me to enjoy.
I go to the lavatory to change for bed. The lavatories are clean mid-flight. They have the full line of L’Occitane products as well as combs, toothbrushes, and mouthwash.
Maybe you noticed in that last photo, but there was a cup with the amenities. It’s a cup of coffee grounds to help absorb smells. Very practical, but a little bizarre to see in a lavatory? Hopefully that’s not the same coffee grounds they’ll use for my breakfast coffee…
The FA keeps me pampered as I watch my movie. She came out periodically to check on me and make sure my drink wasn’t empty.
The pillow and duvet.
The bed in full-flat mode.
I lay in bed as I watch Tom put the moves on Renee.
A cup of chamomile tea before taking a nap.
I wake up a couple of hours later as we approach the date line. It’s morning in LAX, so I press the call button. Within 8 seconds, there is a FA knelt at my side. I ask for ramen. This time, I request the mild version.
She lays a tablecloth and brings out my tray 5 minutes later. It’s served with kimchi and pickled vegetables.
After eating my ramen, I go back to bed and get another good 4 hours of sleep until here.
2 hours prior to arrival, the FAs come through and offer orange juice as an aperitif as well as oshibori.
Linens are laid and the table is set. Strawberry preserves again.
Pastries are offered.
Fruit plate and yogurt.
Coffee and tea service was done by trolley.
My main was presented. The omelet had vegetables cooked into it. It was pretty bland (nothing salt and pepper can’t fix), but thankfully wasn’t rubbery. The omelet was fine. The sausage was pretty flavorless and the potatoes were average. The best part was the tomato and vegetables. For a dreaded Western breakfast, it was okay.
More pastries were offered during the meal and my coffee was always topped off.
Meal service ended as we crossed the Sea of Japan.
I got dressed, filled out my immigration documents, and sipped coffee with another oshibori.
Exactly 30 minutes to arrival, we had the UNICEF and Incheon ads followed by the exercise video. Massage those temples…
The lights of Seoul are now visible outside.
The cabin manager comes through and thanks me for flying. The FA then comes through and offers water bottles for arrival.
We are in final descent to ICN. Our arching flight path.
The arrival information pops up on the IFE.
The sun is starting to peek up on the horizon.
The bridge to ICN.
We touchdown about 20 minutes late on a chilly morning in Seoul (-4C).
As we begin our taxi back to the terminal, the thank you message pops up.
Our taxi brings us past the sea of KE wide-bodies sitting at remote stands overnight. There must be a huge gate shortage at ICN.
Taxing past the “others” terminal.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you; there really are 4 PR planes here this morning.
OZ B772 and A321.
Another OZ B772.
I’ve never seen an OZ A321 with sharklets before. I wonder if this is one of their new NEOs.
We pull into a gate next to another OZ A321.
Deplaning, the FAs thank me for flying.
Our plane taking a breather after the 13h journey from LAX.
Immigration was a long walk. Arriving, the first immigration checkpoint had all the foreign passport lanes closed. All foreign passport holders were sent to the checkpoint closer to the KE gates. Arriving there, it is a mess. There is a constant stream of people and the line just inches along. It took 30 minutes to queue the line. By the time I made it into the baggage claim, I couldn’t even find our carousel since the number had been taken down. Me and a Singaporean family that was also in J wandered around together looking for where the bags were coming off. We eventually noticed that they were already removed from the baggage carousel and were roped off in the corner. It took so long to clear immigration that they had already finished delivering bags for our flight. What a mess. ICN may be very efficient for transfers, but immigration is a disaster. With my bag finally in hand, I pick up a T-money card and charge it before taking the train into the city where I checked into the Conrad Seoul, showered, and started exploring the city.
I will leave off this series here as I begin my stopover in ICN before the final leg into KIX. Thanks for reading this report and please stop by for the end of this series!
Star Alliance Lounge Business Class Section
Los Angeles - LAX
Seoul - ICN
A satisfactory flight on OZ. Nothing bad happened, but there was also not much memorable about this flight. The seat was comfortable for sleeping, but not very pretty to look at it. The food wasn’t exciting, but tasted good. The crew was excellent and we got where needed to go with a slight delay. I guess OZ did everything they were supposed to do, but nothing special and nothing really stood out. OZ is a very solid carrier, but just lacks the wow factor (kind of like their FA uniforms).
Cabin comfort: The B772s are not as nice as the B77Ws. The plane felt old because of the colors they choose for the cabins. I prefer the Smartium seats on the A380, but these were just as comfortable for sleeping (just keep your eyes closed so you don’t have to look at them). The smaller J cabin feels more intimate. Plenty of privacy in the window seat. No amenity kit.
Crew: Excellent crew. The OZ crews are very professional. They aren’t a real sociable bunch, but on an overnight flight like this, I don’t really need a chatty crew. They were very attentive, polite, and thoughtful (anticipating needs and offering things).
Meal and catering: I wasn’t overly impressed by the menu on this flight. The mains didn’t really stand out to me. The bibimbap is good tasting meal, just not fancy. The snack was good. Breakfast is never great, but I though this breakfast was above average. Not the best of meals, and maybe not up to what I would have liked on OZ, but good nonetheless.
Entertainment: Newspaper offered and the standard seatback literature. The IFE was older and not as crisp and the content was just as limited as before. There are some good older movies that kept me entertained.
On-time performance: Left 45 minutes late and arrived 20 minutes late on a 13 hour flight, minor infraction.
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