Review of Asiana Airlines flight Los Angeles Seoul in Economy

Airline Asiana Airlines
Flight OZ 203
Class Economy
Seat 21H
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 13:20
Take-off 23 Nov 16, 00:30
Arrival at 23 Nov 16, 06:50
OZ   #24 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 94 reviews
NGO85
By 2982
Published on 30th November 2016
Background:

This trip was an evolving process. It started back in May when I saw OZ was having a fare sale to SE Asia and I snagged a round-trip to HKG for $415 over Thanksgiving weekend.

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Airbus A380-800, Economy]
Part 2 – ICN-HKG [OZ 721, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Economy]
Part 3 – HKG-ICN [OZ 722, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Economy]
Part 4 – ICN-LAX [OZ 204, Airbus A380-800, Economy]

In July, some plans changed when my friend that I planned on visiting in HK told me he was heading up to Korea that weekend. I did some searching and decided to buy a round-trip ticket on CI to KHH from HKG. CI was about $30 cheaper than KA on this route and provided the chance to try both CI and AE (2 new carriers for me).

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Airbus A380-800, Economy]
Part 2 – ICN-HKG [OZ 721, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Economy]
Part 3 – HKG-KHH [CI 948, Airbus A330-300, Economy]
Part 4 – KHH-HKG [AE 981, Embraer ERJ-190, Economy]
Part 5 – HKG-ICN [OZ 722, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Economy]
Part 6 – ICN-LAX [OZ 204, Airbus A380-800, Economy]

In October, I started planning my visit to Kaohsiung and noticed that 3-days was a little excessive to spend there (having already been to Tainan before). I was intrigued by Kinmen so decided to do a daytrip to KNH on a GE ticket (cue ominous music…).

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Airbus A380-800, Economy]
Part 2 – ICN-HKG [OZ 721, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Economy]
Part 3 – HKG-KHH [CI 948, Airbus A330-300, Economy]
Part 4 – KHH-KNH [GE 207, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-600, Economy]
Part 5 – KNH-KHH [GE 2084, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-600, Economy]
Part 6 – KHH-HKG [AE 981, Embraer ERJ-190, Economy]
Part 7 – HKG-ICN [OZ 722, Boeing B747-400(Combi), Economy]
Part 8 – ICN-LAX [OZ 204, Airbus A380-800, Economy]

Of course things never go as planned and I got an e-mail from GE the day before I left on this trip with the discomforting information that their operations were terminating with immediate effect and I’d be issued a refund for the ticket. I scrambled to put together a make-shift daytrip on short notice that resulted in a B7 flight from KHH-KNH, with the closest return being an AE flight from KNH-RMQ (no seats were available on flights to KHH). I wasn’t too thrilled with this proposition, but I just tried to piece together the best trip I could with no Mandarin knowledge (FYI, only AE has an English website). There were a bunch of aircraft swaps during this series and an op-up in Part 7, but as the dust cleared the final routing for this series will be:

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – You are here
Part 2 – ICN-HKG [OZ 721, Airbus A330-300, Economy] – 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:

Doing online check-in, I noticed 2 things. First, the only seat available on the flight was the middle seat in my row, so I kept a glimmer of hope throughout the day that it would stay free (it wasn’t, but a small Korean grandma was an acceptable consolation prize since she slept the entire flight and didn’t hog the armrest). Second, this was not an A380 seating configuration and it looked set in stone that it would be a B772 tonight (confirmed by the departure of OZ 204 operating the inbound flight).

photo 1

OZ has been heavily advertising the fact that they send 2 A380s daily to LAX, but the “subject to change without prior notice” is still freely used as they see fit with B772s making appearances about half the time.

photo 74

Driving to LAX after dinner in Santa Monica with Ms. NGO85, I see the OZ billboard as I’m stopped at the corner of La Tijera and Airport also advertising the twice daily A380 service at LAX.

photo 2

I got to TBIT at 21:30 and went to the check-in counters to pick up paper boarding passes.

photo 3

Heading into the priority line, I’m immediately helped by an OZ agent that was training 2 other employees so it took longer than normal since she was explaining things to them in Korean. She weighed my carry-on and tagged it as approved cabin luggage before sending me on my way with my 2 boarding passes.

photo 4photo 5

Security wasn’t too bad and I made my way up to the *A Lounge. It was crowded as always at night so I went outside to enjoy the terrace by myself.



BR B77W down below.

photo 11

F9 A321 in their new livery.

photo 12

My boarding documents.

photo 13

I went back inside to take a shower before taking a look at the buffet offerings.



My simple dessert offering.

photo 18

At 23:30, I got up and did a loop of TBIT to do some spotting and stretch my legs.

CI B77W.

photo 19

NH B77W.

photo 20photo 21

Pair of QF B744s.

photo 22photo 23

CA B77W.

photo 24

AA B772.

photo 25photo 26

My OZ B772.

photo 27



————————-

Asiana Airlines, OZ 203
Equipment: Boeing B777-200ER [HL7700, delivered May 2002]
Departure: 00:30 (ATD: 1:00)
Arrival: 6:50 (ATA: 6:39)
Flight time: 12:39


At 23:55, the agents announced boarding would commence soon and started organizing the boarding groups while performing the passport checks. At 00:00 on the dot, boarding commenced.

photo 28

I hand my boarding pass over, and the same trainee employee from check-in points at the “Economy” on my boarding pass and tells me I’m in the wrong line. I point at the Diamond/*G at the bottom of my boarding pass. She is visibly embarrassed and just hands me back the stub without an apology. Newspapers at the entrance of the plane with English and Korean selections.

photo 29

The cabin manager and 2 FAs are there to check boarding passes entering the plane. I’m gestured through the galley and to the right. The main Y cabin turning in, which will feature the middle-generation Y cabin. Lots of families with babies filled the first several rows.

photo 30

The view from my row.

photo 31

Row 21 is not recommended if you want a window seat ;)

photo 32

View down Row 21.

photo 33

Seat pitch is 33-34” and there are fold-down legrests.

photo 34photo 35

The middle-generation IFE screen.

photo 36

Pre-placed on seats were pillow and blanket.

photo 37photo 44

Headphones were pre-placed in the seatback pocket.

photo 41

Seatback contents.

photo 38photo 39

The seatback also features a coat hook, USB port, and a remote.

photo 40

After boarding completed, the FAs came through and handed out slippers and immigration documents for Korea.

photo 43

Safety video plays as we push back and head out to take-off.

photo 52

We take-off at 1:00am on the nose. After leveling off, the FAs quickly get to work. 4 carts are deployed starting from the front and middle of the cabin and working backwards. Row 21 is right behind the split so I’m served quickly. The bi-folding tray table.

photo 45

The meal options were Korean bibimbap (surprise!) or chicken. I went for the bibimbap. The bibimbap tray is the same as always: an omelet starter, a soup, and a Kit-Kat bar. A beer and water were my drink selections.

photo 46photo 47photo 48

The bibimbap chinaware and metal cutlery.

photo 49

Coffee and tea service is done after the meals are delivered.

photo 50

The meal service finished as we left the Oregon coast and the lights were turned off for the remainder of the flight.

photo 51

The IFE is decent in size and quality; the content however is quite poor. To make things worse, the TV series were the exact same as they had when I flew OZ to MNL in September…



I tried to watch a movie (Ghostbusters), but turned it off after 5 minutes when I decided sleep was a much better use of my time.

photo 57

I woke halfway across the Pacific.

photo 58

The lavatories were in okay condition mid-flight with plenty of amenities still present (mouthwash, tooth brushes, combs, and skin toner).

photo 59photo 60photo 61

I slept again until we were about 3 hours from Seoul.

photo 62

Water and orange juice were periodically handed out from trays during the flight. If you wanted anything else, you’d have to hit the call button.

photo 63

Meal service started 2 hours before arrival, which is an improvement on the former practice of doing the 2nd meal service 2.5 hours before arrival. I’d still prefer 1.5 hours, but at least OZ has changed it a little bit.

photo 68

The options were either kimchi pork or pancakes and sausage. I decided to go Korean again since I feared the state of those pancakes. The trays are identical with only the main differing. There is yogurt, a blueberry muffin, and a fruit bowl on the tray. The kimchi pork with rice was actually quite good tasting so I was happy with my choice.

photo 65photo 66

Drink service again happens with meal service, but I stick with water and coffee.

photo 67

We didn't do the normal approach into ICN. Instead of flying towards Tokyo and then heading due west, we took the long-way around, which led us all the way to Dalian before circling around into ICN. This detour probably added an hour to our flight time bringing the total up to 12 hours and 40 minutes.

photo 69photo 70

The cabin as we prepare for arrival.

photo 64

We landed on-time and taxied towards our gate. Deplaning was very quick and I was out heading towards transfer security. There was no one in the security line so I was quickly back into the terminal.

photo 71photo 73

I’ll leave off this series here as I begin my layover in ICN.




***BONUS***: LAX Spotting.

photo 101

NH B77W.

photo 102photo 103

DL B763.

photo 104

AA B738.

photo 105

MU A332.

photo 106photo 107

AA A321.

photo 108

JL B77W.

photo 109

NZ B77W.

photo 110

JL B788.

photo 111photo 112

UA B789.

photo 113photo 114
See more

Verdict

Asiana Airlines

7.6/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering8.0

Star Alliance Lounge Business Class Section

8.6/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services9.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Seoul - ICN

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

Conclusion

OZ is a strong option for routes into Asia. Not as glamorous as some, but still better than most. They often have good fare sales ex-LAX and I've been happy with their FFP program, so I'll continue to target them as my main option into Asia. Their crews are better at English than NH and as they offer some of the best combinations of cabin configurations and seat pitch in Y. Their IFE is not very good, but I usually opt to sleep on TPACs.

Cabin comfort: The B772s are the most comfortable seats in the OZ fleet, but the older B772s come with certain discomforts (old and creaky).

Crew: The OZ crews are consistently good and have excellent English ability compared to NH. They are very responsive and generally appear professional, just not very outgoing (you need to use your call button to get stuff done, which the quickly attend to with a smile).

Meal and catering: The meal quantity/quality was good on this flight, but the lack of mid-flight snack like they offer on routes to Europe is a disappointment. This flight is nearly 13 hours, some sort of mid-flight snack should be offered even if we never seen daylight on this flight.

Entertainment: Newspaper available on the jetbridge, magazine rack on the bulkheads, and the standard seatback literature. OZ’s IFE has a mediocre selection (worsened by repetitive content from previous months). IFE is probably the smallest factor when picking carriers so it doesn't bother me that it is not very good.

Information on the route Los Angeles (LAX) Seoul (ICN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 5 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Los Angeles (LAX) → Seoul (ICN).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Korean Air with 8.0/10.

The average flight time is 12 hours and 54 minutes.

  More information

16 Comments

  • Comment 376524 by
    JW19 119 Comments

    Flying Korean airlines( Both OZ and KE still presents one of the most compelling case for flying Y. They don't do 10 abreast in 777s, seat pitch is almost always correct and meals (especially the Korean option) are always quality and substantial enough to make the fare worth it's every penny. However in J it's a whole different story for both airlines, they are among to worst compared to the Apac big guns.

    Great review yet again.

    • Comment 376649 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my report. I couldn't agree more with your assessment, spot on analysis. The easy transfers at ICN are also a big reason to pick KE/OZ on routes with connections. It'll be interesting to see what OZ does with their A350s since it will mark a chance for them to possibly introduce a next generation J product.

  • Comment 376526 by
    757Fan 583 Comments

    Another great report, Michael. Looks like you had another good flight with Asiana in Y. The bibimbap looks good as well too.

    Awesome photos from LAX and your spotting shots around TBIT as well too at night.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 376650 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "Looks like you had another good flight with Asiana in Y. The bibimbap looks good as well too."
      - I've had some run-ins with OZ crews, but the overall quality of flights on OZ has always been consistently good. They've had a rocky recovery from the SFO incident, but I hope they regain traction.

      Thanks for stopping by Matthew!

  • Comment 376538 by
    Razza_Pr 212 Comments

    Hello, NGO85, and thank you for posting this FR!

    A bibimbap on a Korean carrier.. I wonder why they always go for the bibimbap and not do something fun with Kimchi. I understand Asiana's bibimbap is award-winning, but surely a different option can't hurt (I'm looking at you, KE).

    Whatever happened to QF's whalejets I wonder? Where have they gone?

    You were able to sleep comfortably whilst overflying the Pacific? I hear it can get really turbulent - hence the question :p.

    LA was good to me on my recent visit, so I hope East Asia will be good to you as well :)

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Comment 376651 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "I understand Asiana's bibimbap is award-winning, but surely a different option can't hurt"
      - Don't forget the ssambap^^ I've had an octopus bibimbap on KE once that was actually quite good at least a nice spin on the classic dish with ground beef.

      "Whatever happened to QF's whalejets I wonder? Where have they gone?"
      - Not sure about this night. Normally there are 2 A380s (SYD and MEL) with a B744 to BNE. One of the A380s must have been swapped out to a 2nd B744. The traffic from Oceania at LAX is excellent with 4 B77Ws from NZ and VA too.

      "You were able to sleep comfortably whilst overflying the Pacific? I hear it can get really turbulent - hence the question :p."
      - I find westbound flights to be fine. The eastbound flights take flatter routes to take advantage of the 150mph tailwinds and that's when you really start to get bumps. The return was quite bumpy, but they are usually short pockets that barely wake you before fall asleep again.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my report!

  • Comment 376607 by
    Numero_2 GOLD 9840 Comments

    Thanks Michael !

    "I point at the Diamond/*G at the bottom of my boarding pass." -> I would have added "Don't you remember me ? I am Dr. NGO85". lol

    "The bibimbap tray is the same as always: an omelet starter, a soup, and a Kit-Kat bar." -> Where is the gochujang ?

    "Not as glamorous as some, but still better than most." -> Is UA so glamorous ? lol

    • Comment 376652 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "I would have added "Don't you remember me ? I am Dr. NGO85". lol"
      - She didn't need too much sass like the photo-gate incident on NGO-ICN ;)

      "Where is the gochujang ?"
      - In the silverware packet with sesame oil and directions ;)

      "Is UA so glamorous ? lol"
      - I was referring to CA, but UA is also up there^^

      Merci Clement^^

  • Comment 376645 by
    MrMax 144 Comments

    *A lounge looks great -- especially catering. All aspects of OZ seen good too. How was the IFE? Screen size looks good -- like the EK cabin c. ~ 2010.

    • Comment 376653 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "How was the IFE? Screen size looks good -- like the EK cabin c. ~ 2010."
      - Content is poor, but there are a good number of new releases. This is the mid-generation IFE. The A380s have the larger IFE that looks like the one in the new SQ cabins at around 12-13" Not too much smaller than the 15" IFE in J.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 376670 by
    aussenrist 218 Comments

    Thanks for sharing a new series with us Michael! OZ looks as good as NH. I should consider it for future trips to SF…

    For OZ 721/722 are you taking the Combi-configured Queen? IIRC OZ uses this for HKG-ICN route.
    It is nice that OZ provides slippers and a lot of toilet amenities in Y.
    Bibimbap is always the best^^ For the 2nd meal, there is an improvement compared with your last time flight. It provides a full meal (not breakfast) and the entrée looks very tasty (I am watering :P). Portion is better than NH with the additional muffin.
    Superb plane spotting in LAX! The weather in SoCal is always good! The AA tail is stunning^^

    Looking forward to next report!

    • Comment 376722 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "OZ looks as good as NH."
      - Most would probably disagree, but I think OZ has a smaller niche presence at LAX that suits my needs well.

      "For OZ 721/722 are you taking the Combi-configured Queen? IIRC OZ uses this for HKG-ICN route."
      - The plane in Part 7 was a Combi. I'd imagine the actual cargo may be more profitable than human cargo^^

      "It is nice that OZ provides slippers and a lot of toilet amenities in Y."
      - They also have eye shades and ear plugs on demand (most people don't know this), you just have to ask an FA and she'll bring them out. OZ does a lot of little things that most carriers just don't do; I really don't think any other carrier does this in Y.

      "Portion is better than NH with the additional muffin."
      - We had a croissant last time, so the muffin is not guaranteed^^ The kimchi meals are usually really good on OZ, we had an even better kimchi meal on the return flight. Their western meals are average at best, you just need to make sure you pick the Korean ones.

      Thanks for stopping by! I thought about e-mailing you to see if you were around, but my layovers were at most 4 hours in HKG this time.

  • Comment 377009 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you för sharing this FR with us!

    Wow, a lot of things can change before something actually happens. This was a good reminder of that.

    Wonderful spotting shots at LAX.

    I'm glad you got the 380 on the return at least.

    Seat pitch looks great, good to have it on a flight of this length. IFE looks alright, just hope they get some work done in the content department.

    Slippers and all those extras are great touches in Y, hardly see that nowadays.

    Meals look good but a mid-flight snack would have been appreciated on a flight of this length.

    Absolutely fantastic spotting bonus from LAX.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 377219 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      "Wow, a lot of things can change before something actually happens."
      - Have to take advantage of when cheap fares available so I just buy the tickets and plan later, lol.

      "I'm glad you got the 380 on the return at least."
      - The routing actually meant I got 4 different wide-bodies, so no repetition like the trip to MNL that was all B772.

      "just hope they get some work done in the content department."
      - If you are Asian, maybe the content seems better. They have a ton of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese content, but not very much Western content. They also have a "Learning Korean" audio program, lol.

      "Slippers and all those extras are great touches in Y, hardly see that nowadays."
      - It's what I like about OZ, they have a subtle elegance that separates them from their competitors.

      "Meals look good but a mid-flight snack would have been appreciated on a flight of this length."
      - They don't even have anything in the galleys mid-flight. I guess they assume people just want to sleep, but they should at least walk through and offer something to the people that are awake.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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