Hello, and welcome to a series of flight-reports chronicling a quick trip to Hong Kong in business class with Delta and Korean.
Here’s the rundown of what’s already happened, and what comes next.
DL2551 YYZ-ATL 1/29/2017 - Right here KE36 ATL-ICN 1/29/2017 - Right here KE607 ICN-HKG 1/30/2017 - You are here KE608 HKG-ICN 2/1/2017 - Coming soon DL158 ICN-DTW 2/1/2017 - After the previous one DL6197 DTW-YYZ 2/1/2017 - And then, finally, this one.
When last we saw each other, your humble flight-reporter had just arrived airside at Incheon after the long flight over from Atlanta, and was in search of the Korean Air lounge to chill for a couple of hours until his flight to Hong Kong.
Turns out, it was easy to find.
Up the escalator I went, where I was greeted by a woman whose sole job appeared to be to point new arrivals towards the check-in desk. That must be a very exciting job. Boarding pass scanned, I headed to the left of the check-in desk and into the lounge.
It’s a decent size space, and strikes me as similar in concept (if not in execution) to rival Asiana’s lounge here. It’s the usual drill — a few different types of chairs, broken up by other features, such as bookcases. It’s pretty busy as I arrive, not really that surprising for KE’s main lounge at its main airport.
As one would expect with ICN, the airside views are great.
The buffet is in this little alcove, and was pretty much always packed, so I won’t even try to get shots of individual offerings. There are a few hot dishes, some salad fixings, muffins and bread, snacks such as pretzels. The bar is pretty meager, consisting of just a couple of bottles of booze, and automatic beer-pouring machines dispensing Bud and Max. Soft drinks and juices are also available.
Here’s my snack. The pumpkin soup was quite nice, obviously a bit on the sweet side. The beef fried rice about as expected, and the chicken balls in chilli sauce were quite good. The pizza was surpassingly enjoyable, cheesy and nicely topped with olives, mortadella, and jalapenos.
A while later, on a trip to find a washroom — a mission o which I ultimately succeeded — I discovered there’s a whole other side to the lounge, to the right of the check-in desk and down a hallway. Again, this is similar to OZ’s lounge layout here. This side has a slightly different feel to it, but is conceptually similar.
It has a more open buffet area, although the offerings are exactly the same.
On my way back, I notice there’s one new hot item out in the buffet — a chicken stir fry with peppers in doubangjiang sauce. I take a sample, and pour myself a Max to go with it. Well, more fairly, the pouring machine pours it.
I kill the rest of my time there catching up with the world online. Internet speed was perfectly acceptable.
About 7:20, I leave the lounge and make the short walk to Gate 12, from which we will be departing this evening. Unfortunately, boarding is showing a 20-minute delay due to late inbound aircraft.
Well, we may be running late, but at least the bird is here. That’s an important first step.
The gate lounge areas at ICN are so nice, with their wood-style floors and relatively comfortable seats. The area isn’t swarming, either, which leads me to believe that perhaps the big bird on the late night run to Hong Kong is not exactly going to be standing room only.
As the revised boarding time approaches, there’s a lineup starting for economy. I mosey my way towards Sky Priority, and there’s no lineup at all. Not a soul to be seen. True to their word, at the revised 8:20 boarding time, the gate agents line up, bow, and open the Sky Priority queue. Not only am I first to be scanned — there’s no one behind me.
The glassed-in entrance to the jetway provides me a great look at the nose of my ride before I make my way down to door 1L.
Flight: KE607 From: Seoul Incheon (ICN) To: Hong Kong (HKG) Date: 1/30/2017 Aircraft: Boeing 747-8i Registration: HL7638 Seat: 8A ATD (STD): 20:49 (20:00) ATA (STA): 23:16 (22:55)
On board, I’m shown to the second row of the main deck business class cabin, where I’m seated in 8A. While this is a 2-2-2 configuration, the window seats do have aisle access by way of a little alleyway, making these a very interesting setup.
KE-standard blanket and pillow are on the seat.
A look around the cabin whilst I have it to myself. First forward.
On the main deck, the side pairs are slightly offset to the middle pairs, enhancing privacy a bit. Of course, there’s still the divider that can be put up should the aisle seat on the window pair be occupied.
Legroom shot. Straight forward lay-flat seat, so you know it’s not going to be a problem.
The screen size is decent. Literature, and (as I would later find out) the menu are located in the pocket beside the screen. These downstairs seats don’t have the huge windows-side bins like upstairs, but they do have a fairly large, and fairly deep, bin immediately above the ottoman.
Slippers are located in the small cubby on the aisle side of the seat.
USB and head phone ports are located in the front wall of said cubby.
Wired IFE remote is stowed in the aisle-side armrest of the seat.
With seat controls above it. I like that the “you’re in the fully upright position” lights up for the passenger, as well as the tattle-light on the aisle for flight attendants.
Once again, it’s always very exciting to be on the port side between doors 1 and 2. I do like the jetway enclosures at ICN, though.
Almost as soon as I’m seated, I’m greeted by a flight attendant, who presents headphones and the Hong Kong arrival form. It’s always nice to get these before departure, allowing me to fill it out and have it over with during the “downtime” of boarding.
Pre-departure beverages and peanuts are then offered. OJ, water, and champagne. I grab some champagne, but I’m also quite thirsty, so I grab some water too.
The headphones unwrapped. I found these quite comfortable and the sound quality is good. I don’t feel compelled to break out my trusty Bose.
The IFE is equipped with the same set of movies as on my ATL-ICN sector before this. So while we’re still at the gate, I start the movie I fell asleep during on that flight. It’s slow, but interesting, and this time I get through it without napping.
During boarding, a flight attendant hands me the menu, immediately takes my order, and then takes the menu with her. No chance to get a photo. What’s with these airlines treating their menu like it’s some sort of top-secret intellectual property? Fortunately, the menu is shared with the return flight, and I was able to keep the menu on that flight. (Yay!) I’m not exactly starving, so I decide the beef noodle soup seems like a good idea.
Boarding is pretty quick — and in the end, the downstairs J cabin ends up being maybe one-quarter full. A second consecutive KE 74H sector with a very light load. Surprising. Th safety video rolls, and we push back from next to our friend.
In the dark, but with some lights on in the cabin, attempts to take takeoff shots out the window produced a nightmare of a mess. So we’ll just skip them for now. You’ll just have to trust me that we did, in fact, take off. Once we start to level off, I put my seat back into a lounge position, relax, and watch my movie.
Service begins quickly with hot towel service.
Then the table is set, and a juice service is offered. OJ it is. Weird that it’s not a full-fledged drink run.
The dinner tray is then presented with the appetizer and accessories for the soup.
The salad, dressed with a sun-dried tomato and olive oil dressing, is pretty good, with three shrimp and some grilled eggplant lurking underneath.
Once it’s complete, my main course of soup is quickly presented, along with some rice. I choose a syrah for wine to accompany it.
The soup itself is pretty uninspiring, but the beef and noodles in it are good. With a little salt, the spring onions, and some spice in it from the condiments, it livens up substantially.
The rice. It’s pretty much rice.
And the side dishes. Both are pretty good.
After dinner is cone, ice cream is presented for dessert. There’s Hagen Dazs vanilla or chocolate, or this Red Carpet Cheesecake ice cream, which is very good indeed.
Tea or coffee is offered, and I take some green tea.
Dinner service is very quick, and by the time it’s done, we’re headed south over the East China Sea, just off the shore from Shanghai.
My movie comes to an end shortly afterwards, and I’m feeling pretty tired, so I put my seat down and see if I can’t get a little bit of sleep. Indeed I can — I sleep very comfortably for about 90 minutes, and by the time I wake up, we’re getting pretty close to Hong Kong.
Time for a quick trip to the lav. There are a pair of business class lavs downstairs, located at the back of the cabin back-to-back in the middle section of the plane just in front of doors 2. Like the upstairs J lavs, they’re clean but small, and not particularly interesting.
Back at my seat, and we’re less than half an hour out of Hong Kong. An FA comes around with ware and juice, and I’m quite grateful to get a drink of water at this point.
Again, it’s very hard to get good pictures out the windows, particularly with some cabin lights on. But on the way down, it occurs to me that there’s a nose camera equipped on this 74H, and it does a little bit better.
We taxi around HKG a little bit, eventually setting down at the end of this row of hometown heroes.
It doesn’t take long for the handful of J passengers downstairs, and the one passenger in F for this flight, to be let go via door L1, and into the arrivals corridor at HKG. It takes a minute to figure out which way is which, but spotting The Bridge upstairs tells me we’re right at the joint of the Y-shape of HKG’s T1 main building.
That means the official recommendation is that you take the tram back to immigration and arrivals. But I never do. It’s a bit of a long walk back to arrivals, but it’s not that hard, and it’s always worth doing, in my opinion.
There’s no lineup for immigration, even for arriving foreign nationals, which is rare at HKG, but it is almost midnight. So less than twenty minutes after getting off the plane, I’m landside at HKG. From here, it’s a short walk across the hall to the Airport Express, and I’m on my way into Hong Kong before midnight, which is not bad at all.
That’s where we’ll wrap up this journey. From here it’s just off to the hotel, a half-decent night’s sleep, and then off to work the next day. After that, we’ll pick this back up with the return trip to Toronto.
Thanks for joining me for this flight-report, and I hope to see you on the return sector for this flight, which will be up next.
Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge - Terminal 1
Seoul - ICN
Hong Kong - HKG
The catering was a little bit of a letdown on this flight, and the seat downstairs is definitely not quite as exclusive/private/nice as the seats upstairs.
But other than those quibbles, the service was once again solid and the seat quite good.
Still, I'm glad I'll be back upstairs for the reverse of this segment on my trip home.
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