The airline with the best average rating is Asiana Airlines with 7.9/10.
The average flight time is 12 hours and 55 minutes.More information
Welcome to my latest flight report where I will travel from LAX to Taipei with a transit through Seoul Incheon with Asiana Airlines. My final destination will be in the Philippines for my cousin's wedding. I hope you will enjoy this report along with several other reports I will post in the days to come. If you wish to watch the video, I have attached it below.
I arrived at LAX four hours before the flight. This is because there was no traffic coming in on this Wednesday evening. The check in for Asiana was already open and there was a line already for economy passengers. Because of my Asiana Diamond Status, I have access to a special line with business and other Star Alliance Gold passengers. I was the only one in that line and was checked in with bag tagged priority all the way to Taipei. This took about 5 minutes from queue to receiving my boarding pass.
Asiana and several other International airlines recently were approved to participate in TSA Precheck. It's really nice to be a part of it due to having less hassle taking off shoes or laptops or other things already packed in my carry-on. You may add your TSA Precheck number by calling Asiana reservations, or add it if you use the kiosk or web check-in. I suppose you can show your credentials if you check-in at the desk too.
I was through the security in about 10 minutes and now had plenty of time to lounge around in the Star Alliance Lounge.
Tonight, we will board at Gate 154, right next to a Philippine Airlines flight to Manila and a Qantas A380. In my opinion, Asiana's boarding seems hectic. You line up where you see staff carrying signs. It all seems like when they start announcing people just start getting into place. It is much different if you are used to boarding groups, or lines, like say Southwest or the U.S. Big three. However, none of that really matters for me since I get to board with Business class, even though I'm flying economy.
For tonight's flight, there are a high number of Filipino senior citizens. Many with family will transit through Seoul heading to Manila and possibly Cebu or Clark. They all get lined up ahead of time, and if they are with family, they all get to board first. I saw at least 10 in wheelchairs. Even though there is a nonstop flight to Manila from LAX, many will take Asiana, or EVA or other airlines with a stop because of the price difference, as much as $300. I'll always choose this option compared to Philippine Airlines.
It's really nice to board before the masses and get settled in. Even though at the gate it might seem hectic, once on the plane it is very calm and orderly and we finish boarding within 30 minutes. Once seated, I am approached by a flight attendant confirming that I had ordered a Vegetarian Oriental Meal, VOML from this point forward. I confirmed it and was good to go.
For the third time flying an Asiana A350, I am thankful there is no one seated in the middle. It definitely makes the flight a lot more spacious and comfortable. Looking at the seat map, there were many middle seats open. One of the things I noticed and really like about the A350 is how quiet the cabin is. I did not need to use my noise cancelling headphones to block out the noise. In my opinion, I think the A350 is quieter than the 787 and does feel a bit more spacious. I was also able to catch a few hours of sleep. The A350 is comfortable and I would consider it for my future travels.
No real amenity kit is given, but we are given a small pouch that has toothpaste and a toothbrush. I use the small pillow for lower back support. For the first time, I notice how warm the cabin of the plane is. I know a lot of people complain about it. I have flown Asiana and other Asian airlines many times, but for whatever reason, this is the first time I noticed the warmth. It got noticeably better once we were in the air, but still it felt a bit warm.
If ordering a special meal, unfortunately, you have to call. And depending on when you call, you might have to wait. It took me 10 minutes to place my order. Some airlines allow you to place special meal orders in the reservation page. I wish Asiana did that too. As much as I love bibimbap and ssambap and not look forward to the Western options, I smartly ordered a VOML this time. It was the perfect amount of food and had a nice flavor. The dinner main consisted of rice with different grains and vegetables, steamed vegetables and vegetables wrapped in tofu skin. It was filling, but I felt good after.
After watching Elon Musk build a rocket and send a Tesla to space, I fell asleep for three hours. I slept a bit and woke up a few times to walk, get water or use the restroom. Lights came on about two hours before landing.
VOML breakfast was rice porridge. I'm not usually a fan and this was flavorless, but I ate it. I hope in the future Asiana would also provide salt and pepper packets to add some flavor. But since I knew I could access the Asiana Business Lounge, I would be able to get a more filling and appetizing breakfast. I had a cup of tea along with water. Service was completed about 45 minutes later and shortly thereafter, landing.
Landing was very quiet and smooth. Once again, I was amazed how quiet the plane was as we landed. Great flight and plane. We got in about 3:30 am and I had to wait a couple more hours before the Business Lounge opened. My flight to Taipei was not until 10 am.
Asiana Airlines has a good product in the A350. The plane is comfortable, spacious, quiet and was a smooth ride. Part of the problem is logistical, but it was so difficult to land in Seoul at 3:30 am. It leaves you with a long layover. Thankfully the airport has lots of amenities and I had access to the Business Lounge which made this layover more bearable.
FYI, the regular meal was bibimbap and chicken and potatoes. The breakfast was the omelette and rice porridge, with meat. Bibimbap is nice and filling and I always love getting it. But I think it was wise to change it. I usually try to get a special meal when possible and would probably get that meal again for future flights on Asiana. The difficult part is that you have to call and can't do that at booking or on-line. Other than that, no complaints there.
The flight attendants are great at showing hospitality. They are attentive. The overall experience is pleasant from check in to landing. But again, it certainly helps having status and the perks that come with it. Stay tuned for my next review of my flight from Seoul to Taipei. Thanks for reading!