Monday, September 5, 2011

Almaty Adventure: ICN - FRA on Asiana First Class


I'd like to begin this part of the trip report that Asiana First Class lived up to the hype and expectations. It was definitely a WOW experience on our part. The service both on the ground and in the air was outstanding. The food in flight was one of the best we have eaten and being a lover of Asian food, it was comforting to be able to have a good warm bowl of rice in flight. The only slight disappointment was the quality of champange (no Dom here) but I did try a really good glass of Grand Cru.

As expected, there was no line in the first class check-in counters. We were promptly checked in and told that we would be the only ones in the first class cabin today. We were then escorted to the staff entrance of the security check point where again, there was no line. As this was our first time flying out of ICN, we browsed through the airport and duty free before proceeding to the first class lounge.

We liked the "library-ish" deco of the lounge which we thought gave a somewhat exclusive feel to the lounge. The lounge was pretty empty when we arrived but it did feel up about 30 minutes before our flight. The lounge itself wasn't too big - I would guess it would be about the same size of the Lufthansa FCT in Frankfurt. However, there were many facilities like a dining area, slumber room, showers and even a TV area with private TVs.

TV room
Since we didn't get breakfast yet, we grabbed some food to eat in the lounge. There was the standard hot and cold breakfast items and even better was having a Moet for breakfast. There was also an extensive selection of Haagen-Daz ice cream (even better than the selection in the Silverkris lounge in HKG and BKK!) - love the waffle green tea ice cream!

About an hour before boarding, we headed to take a quick shower since we did work out a slight sweat with the walking around the terminal. The showers were extensively stocked with amenities - shavers, lotions, moisturizer, hair products, etc.

We headed to the boarding gate right on the departure time listed on the boarding cards - there was no mention of an escort to the gate when we entered the lounge. Right on cue, of the attendants manning the lounge desk promptly walked with us and escorted us when we left the lounge right through to the plane.
OZ 747 to FRA
We were warmly welcome on-board by the pursuer followed by the standard pre-departure champange and nuts. At this point, amenity kits and pajamas were also offered. We were slightly dissapointed to see another passenger in the first class cabin which I guess to be a dead heading pilot when i caught a glimpse of his "pilot cap" in the overhead storage area.

View from our seats

Right side of the First Class Cabin

We both switched to window seats for take-off and landing for the views. This was when we caught glimpses of the age of the 747 where the windows of the plane were badly scratched. Some pictures during take-off:

Scratched Windows
We were fed REALLY well on this flight. Asiana offers a choice of Western, Korean and Chinese meal for the first meal on the ICN-FRA route. Thanks to flyertalk, we did learn that we did have to pre-book the Korean and Chinese meals which we found easiest to do by emailing the reservation office in Los Angeles.

Caviar was also offered for all the options:

Chinese Selection:
Duck wrap

Cold platter

Shark-fin soup


Crab and fried rice

Dessert - fruit and persimmon puree
Korean option:

Vegetable Buckweat Pancake

Korean Salad

Rice Porridge

Ssambap meal
If that wasn't enough, there's also a snack meal of noodles or a warm sandwich in the middle of the flight if one gets hungry. We ended up eating some noodles after a good 5 hour sleep/nap.

About 2 hours before landing, they feed you again with a "light-meal". Lydia went with the western option of veal cheeks while I chose the Korean option of spicy sea-breem soup.
Starter- Risotto Balls

Spicy sea-breem soup

Veal Cheeks
The IFE on this flight was mediocre with the controls slightly unresponsive. We did catch up with some movies that we missed out in the theaters and in addition, I enjoyed a war-time Korean movie I won't have watched if not for this flight.

A unique "feature" of Asiana is that it offers first class passengers a departing gift. This ranged from candles to iPhone covers and shopping bags that we were offered in this flight.


  1. iPhone as a gift?? for real??

  2. Oh Crap - not iPhone but just the covers :P My bad.

  3. Very nice report as always Calvin! Next time, we can meet up when you visit HKG again!

  4. Sorry but I keep reading you were disappointed when you both were not the only two in first class cabin in a few of your trip reports. It sounded a bit snobbish to me. If you wanted the entire cabin, then book it. I truly enjoy your trip reports but am really turn off every time you mention you were slightly disappointed or disappointed to see another passenger in the cabin...

  5. I totally agree with YL. Its not just you 2 that are capable of flying F. Others are also capable of being in the front of the plane just like you are. Otherwise get your own private jet. However a thumbs up for a v.good and extensive trip reports. I enjoy reading them all.