ICN to HKG, Korean Air 613, May 2016
This was the return leg of a Hong Kong to Incheon ticket in business class (I class) at a cost of HKD5,962 all in.
I took the airport bus to Incheon, which I always find to be a fairly painless way of getting to the airport from central Seoul. At checkin the ground agent informed me that there had been an aircraft swap from a Boeing 777 to a 747. As I love the “Queen of the Skies” but hadn’t flown on one for a while, this suited me fine. I asked to be seated in the upper deck and was assigned a window seat.
This was operated by a Boeing 747 (registration HL7460).
The flight was scheduled to depart at 10.05 and pushed back shortly after that. I had originally wanted to book the next flight but had been told that it was fully booked, so I was a bit surprised at how empty the cabin was on this flight – only about a quarter full.
The flight proceeded with occasional turbulence and then, west of Taichung, I noticed a couple of other vapour trails from my window. One of the aircraft producing these peeled away but the other, a Cathay 777, remained and we got closer both in terms of altitude and distance.
Despite flying often, I remain a nervous flyer when provoked. I have never been conscious of being so close to another aircraft mid-flight and I felt uneasy, as we simply seemed to get closer and closer. By the time that we were west of Kaohsiung, the aircraft was for me uncomfortably close – this picture is without zoom, although in reality the plane felt closer than it appears in the picture. Finally the Cathay plane ended up over us at such a steep angle that I could no longer see it. I was surprised not only at how close we were, but that we had been getting closer and closer and so, after a stiff cognac, was looking forward to getting back onto terra firma.
The flight attendant and purser both came to welcome me personally and the service was spotless throughout the flight.
There was a drink on the ground followed by hot towel service, and once airborne a drink and nuts service followed by the lunch service.
Food and Drink
The seafood salad appetiser was a bit weak in terms of the seafood to salad ratio but tasted good. The bulgogi was fair, although I think that it’s harder to do a good bulgogi midair than other Korean staples like bibimbap, as good bulgogi needs to be freshly barbecued in my experience.
This flight timing was actually fairly pleasant and I enjoyed the lunch service in a quiet cabin. I didn’t like how close we came to the other aeroplane, despite having high confidence in the pilot, and that meant that the latter part of the flight was a bit less enjoyable for me.