OZ601 J ICN-SYD

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Apologies for the bluriness of some photos – the majority were taken with my nexus 5 as I was too exhausted to pull out my Sony RX100 III
After a busy morning sightseeing and a yummy Korean BBQ lunch near the hotel, we headed off to the airport via the KAL coach from outside the front door of the hotel. Whilst more convenient than the train with all our luggage, it took around half an hour longer winding through city traffic.

Check in was quick, however security and immigration took a while with only 4 lanes open and no priority access.

The business class lounge was enormous and reminded me of the Sydney Qantas domestic lounge. After ascending the escaltor and ‘checking in’ with reception the lounge splits into 2 halves that were very similar. We settled into some chairs on the larger side and hopped onto the wifi for some catching up.

Food options were atrocious (cup noodles anyone?!) and unfortunately for Leslie there was no sparkling wine available. There was however draft beer for me!

I enquired about a shower but with 9 names ahead of me for a total of 3 showers I passed.

Apologies there aren’t more lounge photos – it was quite busy during our 2 hours there and I’m still at the uncomfortable stage of taking photos in crowded spots!

As the lounge was nothing special, we headed out for a wander around the terminal around an hour prior to departure. I found it was interesting to note that there were no western style fast food chains past security. In fact it seemed to be mainly high end duty free shops including a Louis Vuitton!

Boarding was delayed 15 mins due to a late inbound plane, however priority boarding worked well, and we soon had jackets stored, and champagne in hand.

Can’t say i was in love with the colour scheme of the cabin – the muted browns make the cabin feel like I should be flying in the 80s.

Asiana has a number of planes that have a newish seat installed, the quadra smartium, however unfortunately we were on an older A333.

I had booked this route with full knowledge of how this flight would likely pan out however this seat was probably the most disappointing of our longhaul flights during the trip:
– first and foremost, the seat does not lay fully flat, which is likely to be a big factor on overnight flights such as ours.
– the tray table was quite short, i guess being part of the middle portion of the seat.
– there was inadequate storage around the seat. Whilst there was plenty of space in the overhead bins (even with only one spare seat in the business class cabin), there was nowhere to stow headphones, cameras, phones etc, besides a shallow bin directly in front of the TV. This fit my macbook pro and the phone but nothing else.

Meal service began shortly after takeoff- Leslie took the Korean option while I took the Western option thinking it would be safer. Menus are set out below.
The salmon mousse had a rather bland taste and after giving it a second chance most was left. Leslie’s fresh ginseng salad was apparently refreshing and won round 1.
Soups followed – My cauliflower suited our western palates more than the black sesame soup, which i only recall having previously as a dessert, so the scores were even after starters.

The local catering out of a home port shone through with the main. Leslie’s ssamsap was visually appealing and had good flavour, whilst my steak was disappointing.

That steak photo looks appetising and a perfectly cooked rare right? couldn’t agree more, but it was cold in the middle, and not just lukewarm. I sent mine back, along with 3 others around me and whilst it returned slightly better (not sure if you can tell the difference in the photo), i only had a few bites.

Left – original serving, Right – after a bit more time in the oven

I found the remainder of the meal was unremarkable with the yuzu panna cotta too tart for my taste (i think i have a thing against yuzu as i had the same reaction to yuzu at Public Dining Room).

I do have a note that the ice wine was a delicious apple/honey-ish quaffer!

The formalities had been completed within 2 hours, and the cabin lights dimmed. Perhaps it was the anxiousness of realising the holiday was coming to a close but I felt very restless during the meal service. The warmth of the cabin, combined with some issues with the meal service, and a feeling of crowdiness (29 of the 30 seats were filled) created a tenseness I don’t usually experience when flying.

With the lights off the exhaustion kicked in and i passed out for around 3 hours. When i roused i took a wander up to the galley at the front of the plane and requested a snack of instant noodles. The ‘mild’ version just about blew my head off so i congratulate anyone who can devour the spicy version of what seems to be the #2 national dish to kimchi!

One slightly annoying part of the cabin was the lighting. Lights from the galley escaped into the cabin meaning row 1 were constantly being shone upon, while when the seat was in an upright position a little green light turned on, i guess giving the crew a better indication of who was awake and may need assistance. In both cases this was slightly annoying, and had me wearing the provided eyeshades for the first time in the trip.

Additionally, there was some mild turbulence around PNG (Wewak?) approximately 5 hours into the flight. Understandably the fasten seatbelt came on along with an announcement by the crew. What seemed unreasonable to me, were the additional 2 times an announcement was made in the following 15 minutes, but no attempts by the crew to check individual travellers seatbelts were actually fastened. I understand flight attendants main job is to ensure the safety of the passengers but this seemed like a half baked attempt to me.

Unfortunately this turbulence lasted at least an hour, not the most pleasant when you’re trying to get some shut eye, and perhaps something to consider if you’re ever travelling this route.

Verdict: I think the fact this was our flight home after a great 3 weeks made me more critical of this flight than perhaps was fair.

With a full business cabin the flight attendants did their best, albeit lacking ‘je ne sais quoi’. Their handling of the steak incident was a little weak, and requests had to be made for top ups of drinks etc, however they cheerfully fulfilled any requests that were made.

On the whole I didn’t think the food was as good as on Thai

In terms of the hard product, the lack of storage space was noticeable and irritating, having to jump up and down to grab something i’d forgotten, and i’m sure the passengers around me weren’t too impressed with the constant clatter.

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