Incheon International Airport (ICN) – John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
STD: 10:00 AM ATD: 10:23 GMT+9
STA: 10:37 AM ATA: 11:01 GMT-4
Flight Number: KE 81
Aircraft: A380-800, HL7622
Flight Date: June 4, 2017
Class of Service: Prestige Class (Business Class)
Seat Type: Flatbed Seats
Seat Pitch: 74 inches
Seat Width: 21.6 inches
Meals: Lunch after take off, light meal mid-flight, complimentary alcohol (including at bar)
In-Seat Outlets: Yes
IFE: Yes, Personal TVs at every seat
Our last leg of our trip back home. At this point, I was exhausted from our trip, and eager to New York, but was also looking forward to the flight, given the great experience we had on the flight over.
We’d landed in Seoul early Sunday morning. After going through security, we’d made our way to the KAL Prestige Lounge (which I reviewed based on our experience on our way to Bangkok). Though our inbound flight had been delayed, our layover still felt way too long. The KAL Prestige lounge isn’t particularly luxurious, even in its home airport, unfortunately, so by the time it was time to board our JFK-bound flight, I was all to thrilled to find my way to a comfortable seat.
We arrived at the gate about an hour before boarding and were surprised to find long lines snaking around the area. Boarding had been delayed by a few minutes, and people appeared to be antsy about it. To get things going, the gate agents started checking everyone’s tickets and passports, to ensure once the boarding process started, everything would flow quickly.
As expected, once boarding started, our tickets were quickly scanned and we made our way to the aircraft.
As on the flight from JFK-ICN, the cabin was set up in a 2-3-2 configuration on the A380-800. With a generous 71 inch pitch, there was plenty of room to stand between your seat and the one in front of you.
And not to forget my favorite feature on these seats – the three windowside storage bins! Perfect for keeping things like your purse nearby so you don’t have to go digging through the overhead bin mid-flight for that one thing you left in it.
As with the other Korean Air Prestige Class seats, this aircraft featured the same amenities – shoe holders, international outlets, USB outlets and personal TV controller. Read more about the seat details from the JFK-ICN flight here.
The menus were tucked into the magazine holders, and I flipped through them as I noticed the Flight Attendants walking around taking orders. I opted for the salmon filet over pasta, while Brian ordered the sauteed beef tenderloin served with potatoes for our post-take off meal.
Afterwards, some FAs came by with orange juice and water before take off.
We pushed back at around 10:25 AM, and shortly after, the purser came by to greet everyone in the cabin. We took off about 10 minutes later, beginning our 14 hour flight to New York City.
Thirty minutes into the flight, the FAs came by with hot towels to start the meal service. They brought out the starter shortly after – a crabmeat dish with mango puree. This ended up being my favorite part of the meal – a great mix of sweet and savory.
The appetizer was brought out next, slices of herb encrusted seared tuna. The dish was fine – not fantastic, but alright for airplane food. The tomato salsa it was served with added a much-needed burst of flavor to the fish.
Since we ordered the western dishes, our meals came with the tomato basil cream soup, which tasted a bit like watered down tomato sauce, which sounds terrible, but I couldn’t stop myself from continuing to eat it.
I had considered ordering the Bibimbap again for my main course, but for some reason I chose to go with the salmon dish served over pasta. The salmon was overcooked – tasted a bit gummy. The pasta wasn’t fantastic either – was smothered in a cream and cheese sauce (which, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy), but was nothing extraordinary. This dish left me wanting more, and I sorely regretted not having the Bibimbap.
Brian had the beef tenderloin, which was good and cooked well. (I was a little jealous his dish was better than mine.)
Since my main course was so lackluster, I decided to have both the cheese plate to top off my meal, and dessert, which was Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate ice cream – one of my favorite flavors. The cheese plate really hit the spot for me, and filled the void that the salmon dish did not.
After dinner I decided to pop up to the front of the plane to stop by the lavatory and check out the bar.
There are a couple lavatories in the front of the plane, I stepped into the wheelchair accessible one – so it was particularly large. Larger than the lav at the back with the changing table. As expected, the sink area came stocked with lotion, razors, and mouthwash.
The back of the plane has a large bar space with a bar, where drinks are served to passengers by a flight attendant (which I had a drink at on our flight to ICN from JFK), but the bar at the front of the aircraft is unmanned , but a bottle of Absolut vodka was left out on ice, in addition to some juice and mixers, plus some snacks. Unlike the back bar, this area seemed notably less busy, so if you’re looking to find a seat to chat (outside of your own seat of course), this might be your best bet.
I had several hours to kill before we made it anywhere near New York, so I decided to flip through the movies and TV offerings. The movies were the same as those on the flight over, so I decided to catch up on sleep instead.
Five hours later, at around 5:30 pm Seoul time (6:30 am in New York), I was awoken by some light noise in the cabin. The light meal was being served. I found the timing of the meal to be a little odd – while this was around dinner time in Korea, we were nowhere near landing and I would have much preferred to have had my meal served closer to landing.
Brian and I both had the stir fried seafood with fried rice and mixed vegetables. I enjoyed the fried rice the most – the seafood was a lot of scallops which is not really my thing, though it was tasty.
For the most part, I enjoyed our flight. I do think they serve the meals at odd times – waking people up mid-flight with several hours left just to eat. On flights this long, I do wish there was more flexibility with timing of dining. Otherwise, a solid flight. Would definitely fly Korean Air again (though hopefully on their new apex suites next time!)
Check in & Boarding: 8/10 – While check in back in Bangkok was easy, boarding felt oddly stressful (but for no real reason).
Food: 7/10 – Food was less great than it was on the way over, I’m disappointed to report. Salmon was gummy, although maybe I should have ordered the bibimbap.
Seat: 8/10 – Comfortable seat, plenty of legroom, but terrible pillow and blanket!
Crew: 9/10– Fantastic and attentive service, as expected
Flight Experience: 8/10 – A nice, relaxing flight – couldn’t imagine a better way to end our trip
Overall: 40/50 (80%) ★★★★★