FX Excursions

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Review: Korean Air | Prestige Class

by Francis X. Gallagher

Mar 8, 2024

PHOTO: © KOREAN AIR

March 2024

ON THE GROUND: I arrived at JFK with plenty of time to check in and go to the Korean Air lounge. As I was bringing gifts for my Korea representative and his family, I also checked a bag, something I seldom do. The Korean Air lounge has two sides, one for first-class and one for business-class passengers. The lounge was busy, and guests were enjoying the selection of sandwiches and hot items as well as an ample supply of drinks of various types. I found a work station where I could charge my laptop and sent out a few emails while waiting for my boarding time.

At the gate, as you can imagine with an Airbus A380 flight, a great number of people were ready to board. The business class on Korean Air’s A380 has 94 seats, and first class has 12. The line was long for business class, so I stood talking with a fellow passenger toward the front. He informed me there was no need to line up, as the boarding feathers in wherever you are standing. I also chatted with the gate agent about the aircraft and the boarding process, so I felt like one of the family.

PRE-FLIGHT: Boarding went smoothly, and I was able to board through the Prestige Class gangway to the upper level of the massive A380. My seat, 22E, was toward the back, two rows from the last row, on the starboard inside aisle seat. Flight attendants were helpful and offered to lift my luggage, which was unnecessary but kind for other passengers who might need help. Attendants served preboarding drinks of Champagne and also distributed amenity kits while other passengers boarded.

In no time we were taxiing down the runway and in the air — the enormous power of the A380 makes for a comfortable lift-off to cruising altitude.

IN-FLIGHT: On the flight to Seoul I enjoyed the lunch of seared tuna and bibimbap, a traditional Korean favorite. The flight attendant offered to explain the preparation and mixing of the bibimbap, but, of course, I am a seasoned professional. I ordered a scotch as a cocktail with my appetizer, and I could choose and taste two different offerings of my liking — a Glenfiddich and Johnnie Walker Gold, which caused some laughter and a funny picture. The flight is long, so we were also offered dinner; I selected beef Bourguignon, which was tasty.

On the return I chose the vegan meal at the encouragement of the Korean Air team, and I have to say it is a refreshing treat after many Korean meals (which I love) — like a detox for the return voyage. The service started with an amazingly diverse and fresh salad with mushrooms and greens, followed by a vegan smorgasbord of soup, rice and other veggie items, mixed and matched and consumed much like bibimbap. My seatmate seemed quite interested in my special meal.

The Korean Air Prestige Class seats on the A380 feature a 2-2-2 configuration, so four seats in each row have direct access to the aisle. Both my seats on the roundtrip were on the aisle, with the return seat on the same side but in the last row. I found this location ideal, close to the lounge in the rear and the bathroom. Rather than the cocoon most business classes operate, Korean Air employs a more open concept. The seats lie flat and are comfortable; I took advantage of getting some z’s, as I would be picked up for dinner upon arrival in Seoul and also would hit the ground running on my return to JFK. Easy access to charge computers and phones was helpful.

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

  • The lounge in Seoul is worth visiting. I had limited time due to Christmas shopping at Incheon.
  • Vast onboard entertainment allowed me to catch up on movies I had missed.

KOREAN AIR
koreanair.com

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