What can I say about flying on Korean Air’s beautiful Airbus A380 airplane in business class non-stop from New York to Seoul? The one thing that comes to mind is heaven – and that is no exaggeration. Koreans are known for their attention to detail and warm hospitality – especially when guests are invited into their space. Flying on Korean Air is no different.
Boarding the flight was seamless, with a separate boarding door for first/business passengers and economy passengers. I was escorted to the upper deck of the beautiful new airplane to find that my seat was large, comfortable and immediately put me at ease with the airline’s signature celadon blue color palette. Once seated, no less than two flight attendants hurried over to take my jacket, help me store my bag and offer me a pre-flight beverage. I knew this flight was going to be good.
The non-stop flight from New York’s JFK Airport to Seoul’s Incheon Airport is roughly 14 hours, give or take, depending on weather. Immediately after takeoff, the procession began. Like a well choreographed dance, the flight attendants went through safety measures and instructed those in the business class cabin how to properly use their chairs which rotated, reclined and swiveled into a variety of comfortable positions. Menus were handed out which included both Western and Korean specialties. I opted for the traditional Korean Bibimbap simply because I was interested in how the airline would serve a lunch that normally requires a hot stone pot and many ingredients – all at 37,000 feet. Sans stone pot, the meal was served flawlessly. And, it was very tasty.
After lunch, I wandered around the spacious business class cabin which included two lounges with bars for homemade cocktails, sofas and snack platforms where passengers could constantly pick at something if they happened to have a big appetite. I did. Around the corner, a bathroom big enough for cartwheels featured soft lighting and Jurlique skincare products. I was impressed. But, I hadn’t seen anything yet. As I made my way down the stairs in front of the lounge, I found myself inside an actual duty free store on the airplane. Everything from makeup, perfume and other items were offered with LED screens displaying Louis Vuitton ads behind the counter. Wow. If this was a snapshot of what I’d find in Korea, which it was, I was very excited.
After my rendezvous with the duty free store, I went back to my seat for a nap. A few hours later, I awoke to find dinner being served. I ordered the roasted chicken which, amazingly, comes from the airline’s own organic farm on the Korean island of Jeju. Aside from this rarity not typically seen with most airlines operating in today’s market, the company also bottles their own spring water from springs on the island. It’s obvious Korean Air has a strong commitment to every sector of their product, relying on no one but themselves to deliver the best for their customer.
After dinner and a few movies from the entertainment system, we were descending toward Incheon International Airport just outside of Seoul. As the plane touched down, 14 hours after it had lifted from the ground a world away, I didn’t want the flight to end. But, it was time to explore this exciting country. One thing I concluded after my journey, for myself, was that there really is no other way to get to Korea than Korean Air. The experience was one of the best I’ve had in the air in a very long time and would be hard to top. With safety and quality being their priorities, added to the fact that they have one of the largest route networks worldwide, any frequent traveler would easily make this airline their choice when passing through the Asian market and beyond.