At the Airport
I arrived at checkin aisle E an hour and a half before departure time. There were no passengers there and staff looked a bit surprised to see me, so I wondered if I was in the right place, but they checked me in.
Although I was travelling in economy, on account of my Star Alliance status I was offered a lounge invitation for either Hong Kong Airlines’ lounge or that of Singapore Airlines. I chose the former as it is right by the gate (23) from which the flight was scheduled to depart. In the lounge, the hot food was all cleared away and a limited a la carte noodle menu was on offer. It felt very much like a lounge winding down for the night and I suspect that the Singapore lounge would have been a better choice.
The flight was operated by an A380 (registration number HL7625 – the aircraft illustrated in the onboard safety video).
There was a blanket and sizeable pillow at the seat upon boarding. The seat had an adjustable headrest and felt like it was decently spacious. I found it fairly comfortable. There was a USB and a plug socket between seats. The seatback screen was generously proportioned and had good resolution. It was touchscreen and there was a controller. The inflight entertainment options were limited and skewed towards Korean language ones.
I was in the second row of economy on the upper deck, and the first row with extra legroom was empty. Cabin crew came by to put stickers on those seats saying that they were not to be used.
The economy cabin was perhaps two thirds full. I had an empty seat beside me. The flight pushed back from gate 23 ten minutes before its scheduled departure time. I am always amazed that something the size of an A380 can fly, but it is the smoothest plane around and this flight proved that again. We headed south out of Hong Kong, then up the west coast of Taiwan, over Jeju island and the Korean peninsula before coming into land at Incheon.
Incheon airport’s large size means that we taxied for ten to fifteen minutes before parking at gate ten in terminal one, where the welcome screen displayed a Chinese not Hong Kong flag.
The crew was as always on Asiana well attired. I particularly like the floral pinnies worn for food service. The flowers are so delicate they look almost hand painted.
At 12,000 feet, the seatbelt sign came off and the crew distributed immigration and customs forms. Meal service started only half an hour after takeoff, which I felt was late for a three hour flight leaving at nearly two in the morning. The cabin crew was proficient.
Throughout the flight announcements were in English, Korean and Mandarin but not Cantonese.
Food and Drink
The meal choice was between chicken and rice and mushroom congee. I found that an odd selection for dinner and was disappointed that there was not a more ostensibly Korean dish.
I chose the chicken, which was tasty. The dessert was fruit bits in jelly which reminded me of primary school. For a Korean airline, the meal though decent in itself was a disappointment – I would have liked proper Korean food.
This is a horribly timed flight but still I hoped for a more Korean meal. That aside, it was enjoyable and smooth.