January 24, 2013 ICN-LAX, KE F Lounge, ICN, KE F, LAX
Sure I was on Asiana Business, but that’s not why I am here. I am here to fly to Korean Air currently one of the most dangerous carriers in the world. I arrived in ICN feeling dazed and confused. It seems to be the only way I arrive in ICN. ICN is consistently voted one of the world’s best airports, and with good reason. It’s clean, has a ton of amenities, easy to get around, and great looking. In fact the only bad thing I could say about it is, it is a huge airport. So ICN has a main concourse and a satellite concourse. The main concourse is divided right down the middle, the south side belongs to Asiana and the north side belongs to Korean Air. This is nice but it makes it impossible to transfer between the two in arrivals. Well maybe there is a way, but I had to pick up my bag anyways. Korean customs and immigration was as efficient as ever and as soon as I got there I was landside. I made my way back up to check-in and collected my boarding pass. There was no KE premium security line or immigration line, so I hustled through both with the unwashed masses on my way to the KE F lounge. Oh the KE F lounge….
KE’s F lounge was underwhelming at best.
Well maybe mediocre would be a better word. The food was ok, there was not a large selection of what they did have. There were maybe three bottles of non-premium booze if you into well-drinks in the F lounge. I went to get a shower, but there was no attendant. I hit the button to summon an attendant and nothing happened. I waited and waited and still no one. Finally some attendants walk by and discover me and get me into a shower. The shower was nice enough, maybe I was just happy to be in a place where I didn’t have to throw used toilet paper into a waste can or actually pour water over my body which hadn’t seen it in over 24hrs. The food in the lounge showed little improvement as lunch replaced breakfast. Though there was a guy would give you a quick bowl of noodles if you asked.
I got bored and decided to wander ICN before my flight. Here are some of the pictures from that adventure. I really like the fact that ICN themed their piers to look like miniature golf holes. I tried to get some shots of the more human aspects of the airport, I just felt creepy doing so.
I arrived at the gate just in time for boarding to start. There was one line for coach passengers and one line for premium passengers. There were already about 15 or so business class passengers in line and I stood at the end of the line like the good person I am. There was an agent checking boarding passes against passports and kicking coach passengers out of the premium line. He got to me, saw my first class boarding pass and dragged me to the front of the line. I felt like a heel, oh well I got on board first.
Korean Airlines decided to put their F class on the main deck of the A380. The design of their seat was basically the same as Thai with small tweaks. Dinner service would be basically the same as my other two flights in KE F. I had the chili prawns which were good, but not exceptional. If you read the menu for this flight you’ll notice the description of Korean beef on the inside front cover of the menu. Ok great, Korean Air uses organic locally sourced meat, that’s nice I like that. I turned the page to dinner selections and BAM there at the bottom of the page was “all beef comes from Australia or New Zealand.”
Yo Homer tell me.
Service was not impressive at all. It seemed like enhanced business service from start to finish. It is about what I would expect in United Global First, maybe a touch better than businessfirst but not exceptional. In one of the pictures below you see a terrine of fois gras. This the same started that was on my Thai flight to BKK. On the Thai flight it was in a pyramid shape with some lobster. Here it was just a slice dumped on a plate. These are the touches that make the difference between First and Business.
In addition to lackluster service and food, there were not any duvets and turn down service was not offered. All we got for a red-eye flight was the business class blanket. To be honest that was fine with me because KE keeps their cabins somewhere north of blisteringly hot. What was impressive about this flight was the tailwind. We had something like a 200mph tailwind. I did the math we were about 15mph off of breaking the speed of sound. Breaking the sound barrier in an A380 = awesome*.
*Due to physics while we were almost exceeding the speed of sound according to true ground speed, the tail wind would have prevented actually breaking the sound barrier.
Breakfast was an entirely unmemorable affair. We landed early in LAX and we got in behind KE 001 from Honolulu and LAN I think. There was a huge line in Customs and Immigration but thankfully due to Global Entry I was able to speed through both customs and immigration on my way to the street. I hopped the shuttle to the hotel with Robert Horry, an American Basketball player, was staying. I dumped my stuff, relaxed, and headed out. I went to my favorite spot the In-and-Out to get a double-double and snap some pictures of planes.
After in-and-out I loitered in and around LAX. I again tried to grab some people shots from inside TBIT, with limited success.
Finally, I headed out to a local restaurant with a couple of Flyertalkers for beer and burgers. The place was a little too hipsterish for me, but the food was good and the beer list was expansive. Tomorrows exciting adventure takes back to BKK and it will have Russians.