Review of Asiana Airlines flight Fukuoka Seoul in Economy

Airline Asiana Airlines
Flight OZ131
Class Economy
Seat 41K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 01:03
Take-off 17 Sep 19, 11:41
Arrival at 17 Sep 19, 12:44
OZ   #21 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 91 reviews
Manbou
By 688
Published on 25th September 2019

Hello there and welcome to my very first flight report. Today I'm taking you on Asiana Airlines flight 131 from Fukuoka to Seoul-Incheon. This flight is part of a trip to Japan and Korea; however, I accidentally formatted my SD card upon arriving in Tokyo, which means that this will be the first report instead. The complete itinerary was as follows:

September 5, 2019: OZ542 A380-800 FRA-ICN
September 6, 2019: OZ106 B777-200ER ICN-NRT
Transfer between Tokyo and Fukuoka by Shinkansen
September 17, 2019: OZ131 A330-300 FUK-ICN [THIS FLIGHT REPORT]
September 21, 2019: OZ541 A380-800 ICN-FRA

This trip was a mixture between vacation and family/friends visit, together with my parents. I'd flown on Asiana before, and had the impression that they don't really deserve their 5-star rating. Still I found them to be a perfectly adequate way of travelling in Y; thus, when I saw the airline's offer at a very cheap price point, we couldn't say no. A major plus point was that we were able to add a stopover in Seoul for a low extra price. So it was decided to take OZ.


The aircraft:
Airbus A330-323, HL7793, built date: Sep/2009.


Fukuoka airport international terminal and boarding


This day's flight began with a taxi ride to Fukuoka airport's international terminal. Getting there is not as easy, especially with luggage. You can either take the taxi, try to look for a direct bus (there certainly are some, but Fukuoka's bus system is ridiculously confusing - so good luck with that) or go by subway. The issue with the subway is that it only goes to the domestic terminal(s), and it's connected via a shuttle bus. The taxi certainly is the "cleaner" solution, even more so as they are quite cheap, reliable and quick.

The terminal itself is quite new, rather small and compact and easy to navigate. Plus, security and immigration is quick and efficient. A minus point is that there aren't as many shopping opportunities as in other international airports, if you're into that kind of stuff. I'm not, so it was perfectly alright with me.

What wasn't alright though was Asiana's check-in procedure. As it is typical in Japan, your checked baggage is scanned before check-in/drop-off, which means that a line will be forming. This was worsened as they only opened check-in two hours before departure, and there were two lines for the one baggage scanner available: Priority (status, business class) and regular. While I understand that it makes sense to allow priority customers to go through the checks faster, Asiana always let priority passengers through faster. This meant that the regular line was very slow and the staff at the priority check-in counters were completely busy, while us regular Economy folks were stuck waiting while the Economy check-in queues were empty for a long time. This could definitely be improved.

Once you're inside the gate area, you will find ample seating space and clean bathrooms in sufficient quantity. One thing that wasn't so nice was that due to the construction of the building it's not very easy to get good photos of aircraft (not as bad as some gates in FRA, though).
There was a lot going on in the terminal on the day of my flight. This was because a K-pop group seemed to be flying on the same plane, which in turn attracted a lot of fans attempting to take photos with their stars.



Boarding


Boarding was quick and efficient, although we pushed back later than planned (I don't know why). As the aircraft was an A330, it was configured 2-4-2 and came with long-haul seats and IFE. Legroom was ample, even though there are better people to judge this than me as I have very short legs. The display was dark and could be more responsible overall. As the flight was very short, the only thing I did use was the inflight map. Otherwise, there was nothing special about these seats or the seat pocket content. The typical Asiana old-school safety video was played, and we were ready to go.
On a side note, Asiana perhaps should think about their interior design. It looks boring and makes even new planes look old. Maybe take some inspiration from the colorful exterior?

Load factor in Y was about 95%, no idea about C.



In-flight


After letting a Peach A320 land, we took off towards the North. Soon, the sight of Kyushu gave way for an ocean view.



Shortly after take-off, a meal was served. There were neither a choice of meals nor was there a printed menu of any kind. The meal consisted of a main dish of "Chicken Breast with Kkan-pung Sauce and Rice", as well as an 85ml cup of water. It was served with a (packaged) refreshment towel, a paper napkin, a plastic spoon-fork as well as a packet of Gochujang (Korean pepper paste).
Though I appreciate being served a hot meal on a one-hour flight, I see room for improvement. First, I found the meal itself to be somewhat mediocre, but this could be down to my personal taste. Second, there were no drink rounds and 85ml of water just isn't enough. Third, some people don't seem to appreciate the meal and declined it, with the consequence of the meal being thrown away. I personally would have found it better to have one or two drink rounds with a selection of at least some drinks but to have a smaller meal, like a (hot) sandwich or something like that.



I didn't use the bathroom during this flight, so I can't tell you anything about that.


Approach into Seoul incheon


Trash was collected somewhat hurried, as the airplane was already descending over the Korean peninsula. We flew South of Seoul, which was a good opportunity to shoot some photos, then over Seoul Incheon airport and then towards the North. Before reaching the North Korean border, we (thankfully) made a 180-degree turn back to Incheon Airport to land there. Sadly, my camera battery suddenly died during the landing - technology obviously didn't like me a lot during this trip.



To finish this off, here are a few photos of our aircraft arriving at the gate, and a shot of HL8264, Asiana's first and (at the moment) only A321neo.



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Verdict

Asiana Airlines

7.2/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering7.0

Fukuoka - FUK

7.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access5.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Seoul - ICN

8.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

Asiana: Overall, I was satisfied with the flight. It arrived on time, service was great for that short flight. I can't say anything negative about the cabin crew either. However, I would suggest overthinking the catering concept - it's very nice for a one-hour-flight, don't understand me wrong, but I think the priorities could be revised.

FUK: The weakest points were the check-in experience and the access. The latter might improve in 2021 (I think?), when the Nanakuma subway line extension will be ready to connect the international terminal with the Hakata and Tenjin areas. Due to the terminal's relatively small size and the typical Japanese service mentality, everything else was quick and efficient. Cleanliness was superb as well.

ICN: Incheon Airport was a pleasure to use. Immigration and baggage claim worked fast and efficient, even though there was a queue at immigration. The airport is quite far from the city (in fact, it's closer to North Korea than to Seoul), but it's well-connected via rail and airport buses/limousines. The AREX express is especially recommendable, as it's fast (43 min) and affordable - 9000 Won for a one-way ticket, 7500 if you have an Asiana boarding pass. However, I think adding a stop at Gimpo airport would make it easier to connect there.

PS: This is my very first review here. I would love to know what you think and how I can improve. I have to admit that I still am somewhat confused by the possibilities on here, so I'm thankful for any (constructive) criticism, advice - or praise ;)

Information on the route Fukuoka (FUK) Seoul (ICN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 8 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Fukuoka (FUK) → Seoul (ICN).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 1 hours and 24 minutes.

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