This series covers a trip to Manila over Labor Day weekend. Preferred *A carriers on this route would be OZ and NH. OZ got the nod with a $560 fare, flight times that better fit my schedule, and better hard product (the 10-abreast NH B77Ws are no stranger to LAX). The routing is very simple:
Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – You are here Part 2 – ICN-MNL [OZ 701, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – Here Part 3 – MNL-ICN [OZ 702, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – Here Part 4 – ICN-LAX [OZ 204, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – Here
This report will cover the flight from LAX to ICN. The midnight departure is still operated by a B772 for now, but will switch to an A380 later this year when OZ takes delivery of its 5th and final plane from Toulouse. I’ve previously covered this flight in J (Here), so this will give the analogous look at their Y service. Not a lot of OZ Y reports out there, so hopefully this series will fill in some gaps on the site.
After work, I headed to Santa Monica for a dinner with the Ms. before continuing on to LAX. Knowing the OZ counters open 3h 40m before departure (20:40), I planned on arriving at around 21:00. Reaching TBIT, the OZ lines were hammered. The Y line had nearly 100 people queued, but the priority check-in lines were empty and I was quickly greeted by an agent. He tagged my bag to MNL and confirmed my seats for both segments making sure that I wanted an aisle for the first flight and a window for the second flight. He gave me detailed directions to the *A Lounge and sent me on my way. Security was a little heavy, but only took ~20 minutes to clear.
The first stop will be the *A Lounge.
I scan my BP and the agent greets me with a “Good evening, Mr. NGO85” as I enter the lounge.
Despite its size, the *A Lounge is really crowded from 21:00-23:00 due to the large number of Asia and Oceania bound planes. Having already eaten, I just took a look at the dessert offerings. There were some mango smoothies, angel food cake, and fresh fruit/cookies out.
After my snack, I stopped by the showers to freshen up. There was no line so I was quickly ushered into my shower room. Not as nice as the shower rooms in the OW Lounge at LAX, but acceptable for US standards.
After my shower, I went out to the empty outdoor terrace to drink some prosecco until we neared the boarding time.
Nearing the boarding time, I left the lounge and did a quick sweep of the planes lined up at the adjacent gates.
QF B744 Wunala sporting an Olympics livery.
BR B77W waiting for its departure to TPE.
TN A343 about to push-back for PPT.
KE A380 that will race us to ICN.
My steed, an OZ B772, is getting her belly filled in preparations for our departure.
Our pilots in the cockpit preparing for the 12-hour haul home.
Asiana Airlines, OZ 203 Equipment: Boeing B777-200ER [HL7700, delivered May 2002] Departure: 00:20 (ATD: 01:02) Arrival: 05:10 (ATA: 05:06) Flight time: 12:04
My boarding documents.
Boarding was very organized. All the priority passengers were queued on one side and the others on the other side by row. An agent went down the row of priority passengers to check passports and to confirm they were in the correct line prior to boarding.
Down the jetbridge we go.
A Korean butt and the newspapers at the end of the jetbridge for priority passengers.
Entering the cabin, 3 FAs greet me. They check my BP and direct me to the right towards my seat.
My seat, located in Row 25, near the rear of the first Y cabin.
Settling in, a look down the empty rows. These seats won’t be empty long, the load was very close to 100% suggesting that a 2nd A380 to LAX probably has the necessary demand for a small carrier like OZ.
Seat pitch is probably around 33-34” on these planes. Plenty of knee room for my 180cm frame
There is a power outlet between the seats (2 outlets per 3 seats) and a fold down leg rest, which I will not be using.
The IFE is a good size and of above average clarity. A remote and USB charging ports are also on the seat back.
Pre-placed on the seat are a pillow and blanket.
There was also a pair of slippers and headset in the seat.
Safety card for this B772.
We left behind schedule, as expected. We lifted off just after 1am.
As we ran up towards San Francisco, meal service quickly commenced. No hot towels or aperitifs offered.
The two-fold tray table. The only thing it lacks is a fold-down cup holder for use when the tray table is up.
2 carts per aisle were released starting at the front of the cabin and mid-cabin and working backwards. Reaching my row, the FA knelt and asked if I wanted the Korean bibimbap or chicken. The two guys to my left took the chicken option while I went for the Korean option. She then took drink orders.
My tray as received along with a glass of water and a can of Cass.
The bibimbap before mixing. This is served in the same china that you get in J, just a smaller version.
The starter with omelet and ginger.
The dried pollock soup that comes with the bibimbap.
The bibimbap after mixing.
After the meal, the FAs came through with coffee and tea service.
The lights were quickly turned off and the cabin was plunged into darkness for the entire flight.
I slept for most of the flight. The FAs would come through every 30-45 minutes with trays of water and orange juice. No snacks were offered, perhaps you can request something. I never wandered to the rear galley to see if they had anything laid out. I am rarely hungry mid-flight so didn’t bother checking.
The lavatories were clean, even midflight. Mouthwash and toothbrushes were well stocked throughout the flight.
About 2.5 hours before arrival at 2:30am Seoul time, the second meal service started. This is way too early IMO. Again, 2 carts were dispatched per aisle, but they operated in the reverse direction. One cart started at the rear of the cabin and one started mid-cabin and both worked forwards.
The FA again knelt and asked me if I wanted eggs or fish and rice. I went for the eggs, which is never a good option, but fish pre-arrival didn’t sound appetizing at the time. I requested coffee with my breakfast.
My tray as delivered.
The Western breakfast. It is about what you would expect. The potato was soggy, the eggs were tasteless, and the mushrooms were on the rubbery side.
The cutlery, napkins, and oshibori.
More coffee and tea runs were made after the meal. I chose to sleep for the last 2 hours of the flight. I awoke as we were descending into ICN. Our route for today:
After we touched down at ICN, we had a short taxi to our gate. Deplaning was very quick and I was on my way towards the security checkpoint for transfers.
I'll leave off this series here as I begin my layover in ICN.
Star Alliance Lounge Business Class Section
Los Angeles - LAX
Seoul - ICN
This is my first time taking OZ in Y. OZ has a little bit of personal sentiment to me since it is my FFP carrier, but it's obvious that they don't sit in the same tier as NH/SQ for Asian carriers into the US. That said, they are still a great improvement over any of the US carriers (DL isn't that far off) and more competent than most of the other Asian carriers. I find the OZ crews to be quite good (on average), the catering to be above average, but a common problem is the complete lack of a consistent hard product. How can a carrier have only ~10 B772s, but have 5 different versions? Hopefully the arrival of increased A380 and A350 service will help clean up some of their older fleet inconsistencies.
Cabin comfort: Never as nice as a B77W, but these older B772s are still well maintained by OZ and the cabins are clean. The seat pitch is very good for long-haul standards and the seats were overall comfortable for a 12 hour flight. Only complaint is that the aisle seat has no functional overhead light since it points at the middle seat (this is a Boeing flaw not an OZ flaw). And I don't like the sliding seats (where the recline also moves the seat forward), always seems to make my back more uncomfortable. Offering slippers in Y is a very nice touch.
Crew: The OZ crew was good. Their English ability is good, but they aren't the most outgoing. They do their jobs very well and are very professional always offering smiles. They pay a lot of attention to the elderly and those with special needs. Kneeling for orders in Y was a very nice touch.
Meal and catering: The meal quantity was enough for me. The presentation is not as nice as on NH. The quality of the meals was varied: I feel like the bibimbap is a far superior meal in quality than the other option they give, which is a little disappointing since bibimbap is almost the only Korean meal they offer. The metal cutlery is a nice touch, but the lack of oshibori before/after meals is a glaring omission for an Asian carrier. The pre-arrival meal was pretty lackluster in taste.
Entertainment: Newspaper available on the jetbridge, magazine rack on the bulkhead behind my seat, and the standard seatback literature. OZ’s IFE has a mediocre selection, I'll discuss it more in later reports since I didn't really watch anything on this flight.
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