Review of Korean Air flight Seoul Hong Kong in Business

Airline Korean Air
Flight KE607
Class Business
Seat 8A
Aircraft Boeing 747-8I
Flight time 03:25
Take-off 30 Jan 17, 20:50
Arrival at 30 Jan 17, 23:15
KE   #18 out of 124 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 114 reviews
hometoyyz
By 1722
Published on 24th March 2017
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.

photo 1

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.

photo 2

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.

photo 10

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.

photo 11

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.

photo 12photo 13

It has a more open buffet area, although the offerings are exactly the same.

photo 14

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.

photo 15

I kill the rest of my time there catching up with the world online. Internet speed was perfectly acceptable.

photo 16

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.

photo 19

Well, we may be running late, but at least the bird is here. That’s an important first step.

photo 17

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.

photo 18

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.

photo 20

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.

photo 21

KE-standard blanket and pillow are on the seat.

photo 22

A look around the cabin whilst I have it to myself. First forward.

photo 23

Then aft.

photo 24

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.

photo 25

Legroom shot. Straight forward lay-flat seat, so you know it’s not going to be a problem.

photo 26

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.

photo 27

Slippers are located in the small cubby on the aisle side of the seat.

photo 30

USB and head phone ports are located in the front wall of said cubby.

photo 31

Wired IFE remote is stowed in the aisle-side armrest of the seat.

photo 32

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.

photo 33

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.

photo 28

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.

photo 29

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.

photo 34

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.

photo 35

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.

photo 36photo 48

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.

photo 37

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.

photo 38

Service begins quickly with hot towel service.

photo 39

Then the table is set, and a juice service is offered. OJ it is. Weird that it’s not a full-fledged drink run.

photo 40

The dinner tray is then presented with the appetizer and accessories for the soup.

photo 41

The salad, dressed with a sun-dried tomato and olive oil dressing, is pretty good, with three shrimp and some grilled eggplant lurking underneath.

photo 42

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.

photo 44

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.

photo 45

The rice. It’s pretty much rice.

photo 46

And the side dishes. Both are pretty good.

photo 43

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.

photo 47

Tea or coffee is offered, and I take some green tea.

photo 50

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.

photo 49

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.

photo 51

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.

photo 55

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.

photo 57

We taxi around HKG a little bit, eventually setting down at the end of this row of hometown heroes.

photo 58photo 59

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.

photo 60

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.

photo 61

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.

photo 62

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.
See more

Verdict

Korean Air

7.4/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering6.5

Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge - Terminal 1

7.3/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment8.0
Services7.0

Seoul - ICN

8.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Hong Kong - HKG

8.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

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.

Informations on the route Seoul (ICN) Hong Kong (HKG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 15 reviews of 6 airlines on the route Seoul (ICN) → Hong Kong (HKG).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is Cathay Pacific with 8.4/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 48 minutes.

  More informations

9 Comments

  • Comment 391049 by
    Razza_Pr 203 Comments

    Hello, Hometoyyz, and thank you for this FR.

    A fantastic report on a fantastic airline!

    "As one would expect with ICN, the airside views are great."
    -I personally prefer ICN over SIN, not only because it's got more Seoul in it (excuse the pun), but also because it's more cultural, all the while looking and feeling futuristic.

    "Then the table is set, and a juice service is offered. OJ it is. Weird that it’s not a full-fledged drink run."
    -No amuse bouche? Or even a bowl of nuts?

    Thanks again for sharing this FR. Looking forward to reading your coverage on the return trip. Cheers!

    • Comment 392077 by
      hometoyyz AUTHOR 407 Comments

      Thanks for the feedback!

      "-I personally prefer ICN over SIN, not only because it's got more Seoul in it (excuse the pun), but also because it's more cultural, all the while looking and feeling futuristic."
      - BLASPHEMER! Oh, I kid. I like both. Although I'd give the edge to SIN -- especially once the new terminal opens -- as it's almost a destination unto itself, I can see the attraction to ICN. Except the lounges, maybe.

      "-No amuse bouche? Or even a bowl of nuts?"
      - Nope. For this shorter flight, it seems like you'll get the pre-departure pack o' nuts, and you'll like it.

  • Comment 391085 by
    JW19 92 Comments

    Catering is quite lackluster as typical of all Korean J class flights (KE and OZ).

    ICN looks decent but the lounge needs more "flighship" vibe to it. It just feel sufficient from the review. To me SIN is still a class different from ICN. Even HND betters it.

    • Comment 392081 by
      hometoyyz AUTHOR 407 Comments

      Thanks for the feedback!

      And yeah... I agree with you on the lounges -- both KE and OZ -- in ICN. They're fine, but for a pair of pretty world-class airlines, they underwhelm as the "flagship lounges."

      Although I have had some good eats on both KE and OZ. I wouldn't say they're exactly leading the way. But they're not bad either... this particular very mediocre meal notwithstanding.

  • Comment 391248 by
    757Fan 466 Comments

    Hi Hometoyyz,

    Thank you for sharing another great report from your trip. Korean Air's Prestige Class looks quite nice on the 747-800. I'm interested also as to why you were asked to hand your menu back - I wonder if they only stock a few on hand? Strange.

    The food looks ok, but I'm surprised why there was no full drink service?

    Best,

    Matthew

    • Comment 392078 by
      hometoyyz AUTHOR 407 Comments

      Thanks for the feedback!

      "I'm interested also as to why you were asked to hand your menu back - I wonder if they only stock a few on hand? Strange."
      - I know Korea borders China, but really, there's no need to pick up policies from the Chinese airlines! They did have enough for every seat -- as on this flight, there were menus at every seat when we boarded, despite the light load. Unfortunately, the FA had picked up the extras by the time I had the brainwave to try to scam myself a second menu. I guess they anticipated trouble from the likes of me!

      "The food looks ok, but I'm surprised why there was no full drink service?"
      - Yeah, me too... but in my few flights with KE, that seems to be the way. They kind of "guide you" towards what you should be drinking in their opinion. I'm sure had I asked for something else, it would have been brought around.

  • Comment 391364 by
    Rewardflying SILVER 414 Comments

    Hi Hometoyyz, So from your photos and comments the upper deck in business is the way to go on KE's 747. Downstairs looks to me like the claustrophobic seat I took on JL. But for a short flight it probably wasn't too bad for you. Nice report, and thanks for the subliminal plug for Rewardflying :)

    I look forward to your DL158 flight on the 747. Bad news for me today, I was ticketed on that end of year and they scheduled changed my flight off the 747 to 777 yesterday. Hope you sat in the upper deck.

    • Comment 392079 by
      hometoyyz AUTHOR 407 Comments

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Yes, definitely and strongly recommend the upper deck. Just fantastic. I liked it downstairs too, but the combination of it being six-across and the lack of storage makes upstairs a no brainer. Plus, it's upstairs on a 747. It's where you need to be.

      I suspect that comment may tip my hand on where I sat on the ICN-DTW flight on the way home. ;-)

      Bummer to have 158 downgauged to the 777. I suppose the good news, is that perhaps that 777 is a placeholder aircraft until they start booking revenue flights on the 359. You might get a shot at a very early Delta One Suites flight-report! (Pure conjecture on my part... but I could see DTW-ICN-DTW being a pretty early 359 flight, given that the 359s are being brought in as 744 replacements, and DL has said they'll be primarily focused on Asian routes...)

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