Review of Asiana Airlines flight Seoul Manila in Economy

Airline Asiana Airlines
Flight OZ 701
Class Economy
Seat 15K
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 03:50
Take-off 02 Sep 16, 08:15
Arrival at 02 Sep 16, 11:05
OZ 100 reviews
NGO85
By 2337
Published on 28th September 2016
Background:

This series covers a trip to Manila over Labor Day weekend. Please refer to Part 1 for the background. As a reminder, the routing is:

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – ICN-MNL [OZ 701, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – You are 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 ICN to MNL with a stop in the Asian Business Class Lounge. OZ has a heavy presence on the ICN-MNL route with 3x daily service, I picked the flight that had the shortest layover in ICN.



Pre-flight:

After clearing transfer security, I made a quick beeline for the OZ Business Class Lounge.

photo 1

Upstairs, the agents check me in. I enquire about the showers and they say that there are 2 people in front of me in line so hand me a buzzer in exchange for my boarding pass. At this hour (~5:30am), the right side of the lounge is closed so everyone is shown to the left.

photo 2

More bad news, no hot food items until 7:00am.

photo 3

My cold food offering of yogurt and coffee.

photo 4

The behavior of some people just baffles me.

photo 5

After 45 minutes, my buzzer finally went off and exchanged it for a shower key. The shower room is not too fancy and fairly small, but has a bidet toilet (how I’ve missed these^^). I love the prominently displayed Dove shower products, so fancy^^

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After my shower, the right side of the lounge opened and the hot food items were out. There was also a chef cooking some sort of Korean omelet. I grabbed a piece of the omelet and some fried rice.

photo 9

About 45 minutes before my flight, I left the lounge and stretched my legs.

FIDS.

photo 10

The gate areas at ICN with their hardwood floors and large windows.

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KE A332 in ST special livery.

photo 12

OZ B763.

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OZ tails on a rainy morning.

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OZ A321.

photo 15

OZ A321 in *A special livery.

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OZ B744.

photo 17

At the boarding time, I went over to my gate and joined the queue for priority passengers.



————————-

Asiana Airlines, OZ 701
Equipment: Boeing B777-200ER [HL7756, delivered August 2007]
Departure: 08:15 (ATD: 08:32)
Arrival: 11:05 (ATA: 11:27)
Flight time: 3:55


My boarding documents.

photo 18

My B772 waiting outside.

photo 19

Boarding was organized and priorities were respected with thorough document checks. Heading downstairs, it will be right for me.

photo 20

Approaching the beast. There was a rack with newspapers on it at the end of the jetbridge. I grabbed a paper and entered where 3 FAs greeted me and inspected my boarding pass before directing me through the galley and to the right.

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My seat in Row 15, which is missing one of its two windows.

photo 22

This plane has the old Y cabin, but had Business Smartium seats in J, which is a quite unusual combination of old and new. This plane had done ORD-ICN, so I feel bad for those poor people that got stuck in this old Y cabin on that long of a flight.

photo 23

Upholstery details.

photo 24

Preplaced on the seat were a pillow and blanket.

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The window seats are marred by a huge entertainment box that takes up nearly 40% of your underseat storage space.

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Seat pitch is the same as before with ~34”.

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The IFE on the other hand is not so generous in size or quality. This screen is about the same as what B6 offers. The screen is not touch screen.

photo 28

The remote for the IFE is in the arm rest.

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Seat back contents.

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The massive Duty Free catalog boasting 316 pages^^

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Route map in Asia.

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Fleet information.

photo 34

Safety card for this B772.

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My newspaper.

photo 36

As boarding continues, I can see the OZ A321 in *A special livery next door.

photo 37

We push back on time. The load is about 80% in Y and interestingly, there were 2 Korean air marshals on the flight. I wonder if they deadhead to MNL in order to do document checks for the return flight.

OZ A333 at a remote stand.

photo 38

KE B777.

photo 39

ICN needs the new terminal to open up soon, the number of planes at remote stands is astonishing.

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OZ A321.

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We align and quickly lift off to the East.

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Lots of moisture in the air on this rainy morning in Seoul.

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Leaving Incheon.

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Our route for today.

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The IFE is prehistoric with the quirky interface. The content is even lighter than on the newer IFE systems.

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As soon as the FAs are released they prepare for meal service. There are no oshibori or aperitifs, the carts immediately come out (2 per aisle per cabin). The FA (must have studied in America with her accent less English) asked if I wanted the bibimbap or chicken and rice. I went for the bibimbap with a beer.

My tray as delivered. Clockwise: bibimbap ingrediants, rice, fruit, died Pollock soup, and kimchi.

photo 51

The metal cutlery along with the condiments/instructions for the bibimbap.

photo 52

The meal mixed.

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The fancy china they use for the bibimbap.

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The kimchi that wasn't even served with the bibimbap on the LAX-ICN sector.

photo 55

After the meal, coffee/tea service is done twice.

There was a lot of turbulence and the seat belt sign was left on for most of the flight. Flying along the eastern coast of Taiwan.

photo 56

Immigration forms are handed out.

photo 57

About an hour to arrival, drinks are offered from a tray (juices and water).

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I went to the rear to use the lavatory. It was still in acceptable condition, but there are no amenities (mouth wash and toothbrush) like on the long-haul flights.

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The rear Y cabin.

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The front Y cabin.

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Our final route.

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Luzon is below us now.

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Swinging into Manila Bay.

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Approach over Pasig.

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Suddenly, the engines are switched to full throttle and we are struggling to gain altitude instead of coasting into the airport. Never a good feeling with OZ’s track record, but we soon were coasting up and into Manila Bay.



The pilots quickly came on and announced that we aborted our landing and will make another loop. The reason they gave was that they saw a plane on our runway. I guess I can't argue with caution in this instance.

Approach #2 over Pasig.



My neighbor started talking to me so I have no more pictures for the arrival. He was an American heading to the Philippines for a 3-week vacation so was shocked when he found out I was only staying for 3 days. We talked until we deplaned. We ended up arriving late due to the aborted landing, we would have landed ahead of schedule otherwise.

Arriving on a hot and humid day, it was a quick walk over to the immigration checkpoint.

photo 79

There was little wait for immigration. I waited for one person before being waved up. The agent didn’t say a single word to me, just scanned my passport, stamped it, and handed it back to me.

photo 80

By the time I got out of the bathroom, the bags already started circulating. Mine was the 3rd one off and I was quickly out of the customs checkpoint to stop by an ATM. I grabbed some pesos and took one of the white metered taxis to my hotel. The meter read ~280 pesos (~$6) for a long 1-hour ride up to Ortigas because of the heavy traffic around the airport.

I’ll leave off this series as I begin my stay in Manila.










***BONUS***

The bonus for this report will be of the Marco Polo Ortigas, where I spent 3 nights. It’s not the best of locations being out in Ortigas, but since I was meeting a friend in the area, it made more sense to stay in this part of the city. I had a Superior Suite, which was large enough for me with a nice bathroom. The Continental Club was rarely crowded and had a decent breakfast.


See more

Verdict

Asiana Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering8.5

Asiana Airlines Business Lounge

6.9/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services8.0

Seoul - ICN

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Manila - MNL

5.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access4.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

A pretty standard regional flight. Nothing really special from what I've seen on other carriers. The catering was good, but IFE is outdated and the old Y cabins are not the best available. MNL is not the most premium of destinations so I can't see PR offering a better product on this route, but I could see KE offering a better hard product with their B777s.

Cabin comfort: Another spin of the OZ B772 wheel^^ This is one of their newer B772s, but it has the old Y cabin and newer J cabin (Smartium). This cabin was comfortable enough for a 3 hour flight, but definitely would be an issue on TPACs where it routinely operates. The seats are not as comfy and the armrests are very hard.

Crew: Another good OZ crew overall. The English ability was excellent as expected on a route to a country that has English as a national language. They weren't overly present mid-flight, but they were efficient and friendly during the service and were always looking after special needs passengers.

Meal and catering: The meal quantity and quality are both good, but there is no diversity in the meal offerings. I didn't really want Bibimbap again, but it is much better than the other meal option so I took it. A long-haul meal offered on this 3-hour regional flight.

Entertainment: Newspaper available on the jetbridge, magazine rack on the bulkhead, and the standard seatback literature. OZ’s IFE in the old Y cabin is outdated and the content is even worse than on the newer IFEs (50% of the titles). At least it has a moving map...

Related

8 Comments

  • Comment 368441 by
    Numero_2 10003 Comments

    Thanks Michael !

    The OZ lounge at night is even worse than usual !

    "This plane had done ORD-ICN, so I feel bad for those poor people that got stuck in this old Y cabin on that long of a flight." -> What about a ICN-CDG ? Lol

    Any difference between the two bibimbaps you had from LAX ? :P

    "He was an American heading to the Philippines for a 3-week vacation so was shocked when he found out I was only staying for 3 days." -> I have seen the same when I told somebody I went to Singapore for the weekend. ^^

    • Comment 369470 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "The OZ lounge at night is even worse than usual !"
      - Doesn't make sense for it to be so bad at this hour. All of the flights from the US arrive around 5-6am, there should be more focus on catering to those passengers since that is where there largest international footprint is.

      "What about a ICN-CDG ? Lol"
      - ORD is over 1000km farther than CDG ;)

      Any difference between the two bibimbaps you had from LAX ? :P"
      - The bibimbaps were the same, but the LAX-ICN flight had a Kit-Kat bar and no kimchi. This flight had kimchi and no Kit-Kat bar^^ They know their target audiences ;)

      Merci Clement^^

  • Comment 368687 by
    757Fan 607 Comments

    Another great report, Michael!

    "The behavior of some people just baffles me." - I was thinking the same thing when I saw this photo. I notice stuff like this as well when I travel as often as I do.

    It looks like you had a nice flight to Manila. I was amazing by your bathroom shot with the paper cups ... Do people really drink the water from the lavatory? That is crazy - That water is not often good at all to drink.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Matthew

    • Comment 369471 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by Matthew!

      "I notice stuff like this as well when I travel as often as I do."
      - Makes you a little bit more cautious when touching things in the lounge :)

      "Do people really drink the water from the lavatory? That is crazy - That water is not often good at all to drink."
      - I think all lavatory water is labeled as "non-potable," I think the cups were just left there from the previous flight. Normally there is mouthwash and toothbrushes in the metal tray, so the cups are there for rinsing and not drinking. But I agree, they shouldn't be left there since unaware passengers (such as children or non-regular travellers) can potential use them for drinking.

  • Comment 368782 by
    Rl 777 809 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Stunning spotting shots at ICN, I'm happy to see you where able to get a great shot of your ride.

    "This plane has the old Y cabin, but had Business Smartium seats in J"
    - Not a big fan of these situations where some airlines have aircraft with a new cabin in one class, but an older one in another class in the same aircraft.

    "This plane had done ORD-ICN"
    - I'm glad this isn't ORD-ICN.

    Great spotting shots on the way to the runway, seems like the weather improved by the time you made it to departure.

    Meal looks good for a flight like this one.

    Absolutely fantastic aerial shots!

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 369472 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      " I'm happy to see you where able to get a great shot of your ride."
      - ICN is fairly spotter friendly, you have to crouch a little for good shots (at least for my height) because there is a beam at eye level.

      "Not a big fan of these situations where some airlines have aircraft with a new cabin in one class, but an older one in another class in the same aircraft."
      - I mislabeled that a little. The Smartium seats in the B777s is older than the one in the A380s. So, I guess there are 3 versions of J and 2 versions of Y (I think the A380 has the same new Y seats, I can confirm this next month). Either way, yes, there are too many combinations of cabin configurations in the OZ fleet and there needs to be some homogenization because you can easily get screwed by aircraft rotations.

      "I'm glad this isn't ORD-ICN."
      - Me too, I don't like ORD ;)

      "Meal looks good for a flight like this one."
      - It's standard catering for a regional flight over 2 hours, these normally get a full long-haul meal. The only downside is that OZ doesn't do an aperitif service first. I'm not a huge fan of packaged peanuts, but it's still an aspect of catering missing.

      "Absolutely fantastic aerial shots!"
      - MNL was a mix for weather, half the time was sunny and half the time was monsoon rains.

      Thanks for stopping by and for all of your comments!

  • Comment 369015 by
    jish.b SILVER 285 Comments

    Another great report, thanks for sharing!

    Lovely spotting pictures from ICN - kinda reminds me of AMS because of all the blue planes :P

    Wow, I wonder if OZ send these older birds to the USA on a regular basis! If so, that is quite a shock!

    However, you did have a pretty decent flight it seems, which is always nice!

    Awesome shots of MNL!

    Regards
    Jish

    • Comment 369473 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "Lovely spotting pictures from ICN - kinda reminds me of AMS because of all the blue planes :P"
      - It's incredible how much bigger KE is than OZ, OZ has its little corner of ICN and even lets KE use their gates.

      "Wow, I wonder if OZ send these older birds to the USA on a regular basis! If so, that is quite a shock!"
      - This plane even can end up on a flight to LAX (their most important international route) since it has the Smartium J cabin. A plane with this old Y cabin actually did ICN-LAX the day before I flew Part 4 so it could have happened to me. OZ has a lot of work to do, but I think they are moving in the right direction having found some financial stability following the crash at SFO.

      "Awesome shots of MNL!"
      - The shots leaving MNL were a little better^^

      Thanks for stopping by Jish!

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