Asiana a380 Seoul to Los Angeles
Visiting Thailand and the island of Koh Samui
Our trip was sadly almost over we had “enjoyed” a week in Koh Samui and had made our way back to Bangkok and now had time to kill in BKK before we headed home to San Francisco via Seoul and Los Angeles. We were to take Asiana from BKK to Seoul at 11:30 PM, and had arrived from Koh Samui on Thai Airways around 6:00 PM. We flew in on Thai in their domestic Business and were leavening in Business Class on Asiana (so much for getting access to the amazing ground service at BKK). In Koh Samui, we were unable to secure our onward tickets, I have no idea why. We had booked this whole return ticket via United Airlines and should have had no issue with this. But Thai was confused why we were connecting and would not provide us with our boarding passes, although they were able to check our bags all the way to LAX. Once we arrived in BKK we were unable to use any transfer facilities and were told by security at the transfer door that we must exit baggage claim and secure our boarding passes from the Asiana check in desk. We tried to sneak through the transit area, but we didn’t have a transit sticker and without onward boarding passes they would not let us though. Damn!!
So we left via baggage claim and went up to the standard check in desk, as if we were originating passengers in BKK. Unfortunately, sine Asiana only has one flight a day to Seoul, they didn’t open till 8:30 PM so we now had two hours to kill. Damn again!! We checked with Thai and Singapore Air (also Star Alliance members) to see if they could print our boarding passes, but none could although both desks tried. On further review, because of this little hassle I should have booked Thai to Seoul, they have three flights a day there and because this is their home airport, we for sure would not gone through this hassle. My reasoning behind booking Asiana, was to try a different airline it would be our first time flying Asiana. Since we had flown Thai from Frankfurt to Koh Samui and back to BKK I thought a change of pace was needed. Serves me right for being different. This ultimately, forced us to kill time in a very very busy terminal and wait it out, plus this meant we missed out on one of the coolest features of Thai Airways home airport customers, their complimentary massages for international passengers flying in First or Business (I thought any Star Alliance guests) got this service. Damn again!!! In any event by the time we got through security and were back in the terminal we were exhausted, hot and sweaty. Our travel day had started at 2:45 PM and it was now close to 10 PM, and we still had about an hour before boarding and a five hour flight too. We ended up hanging out in one of the Thai Silk Lounges, took showers and had a light snack. Sorry no pictures, we were just tired and ready for our next left of the journey.
Finally it was time to head to Seoul.
Asiana flies an Airbus a330-300 on this route which features 30 Angled Flat Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and either 245 or 260 Coach seats in a 2-4-2 depending on the configuration, I have no idea which one we flew all I knew was that I needed to get some sleep it was late and I was exhausted. Upon entering the aircraft I was immediately struck by the staff. They were all so courteous and friendly the chief flight attendant in the Business class cabin made a point to go to each row kneel to get at eye level and welcome us on the plane. She did this row by row section by section. It was pretty incredible. She went on to make sure to tell us that if we needed anything to ask. She also came by and provided eye shades, slippers and the dinner menu. I was immediately impressed with the carrier and the service so far. On all accounts I’ve read about Asiana, this is the type of product they offer. Incredibly courteous staff and very polished service.
I stayed up as long as I could, but frankly that was as long as it took for us to get wheels up. As soon as we took off I put my chair in recline put on my eye mask and hit the sack. Regardless of whether this seat reclines or not I would have been asleep in no time. I was tired and just needed to get some shut eye. During our vacation I can’t think of a night I had stayed up later than 10 PM and since it was way past midnight, it was bedtime. That being said in this case the seat was not lie flat it was angled flat. I know does it really matter when you’re talking about a seat with lots of legroom and some sort of lie flat component, but yes there is a difference. In this case it’s a comfortable seat and would do just fine for a five hour flight, even for a redeye. Now if this was a longer trip, I would want a more comfortable seat, but for what I needed it was just fine.
Because I slept and boy did I, my wife said I was snoring like a freight train to boot. Sorry to all the other passengers. I never woke up for any drink or meal service, in fact I didn’t wake up till we were on descent, and the pilot came over the PA to ask the flight attendants to secure the cabin for landing. What was so incredible about this, was that even though we were about 20 minutes to landing the attendant came buy asked us if we wanted a drink and provided us with a hot towel. Plus they were still serving cocktails to other guests. I have yet to find a US carrier that would so quickly oblige such a request or even offer a hot towel and drink unsolicited that close to landing. Again nice touch Asiana.
I wish I could say more about this flight but when you’ve slept through the whole thing what can I say? I’ll have a much more extensive review of Asiana on our long-haul First Class flight on their new a380 to LAX soon. The interactions I had with the staff were perfectly pleasant, I was impressed with how nice they were and how friendly. The seat was not innovative in any way, very similar if not the exact seat that ANA and Singapore use on their regional business class product too. But it was comfortable and the TV was big enough too.
All in all a good flight.