Review: Asiana Business Class B747-4, Tokyo Narita – Seoul Incheon
Asiana Airlines is like an old friend to us. They offer generous award availability to its Star Alliance partners and they offer a pretty reliable product between North America and to cities too and from South East Asia. We were able to get seated in the Asiana First Class cabin for our short international flight from Japan to South Korea where we experienced the usual excellent Asiana Airlines service.
This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: The Khors of Oman, Cherry Blossoms in Japan, & Pirogies in Poland. Round the World #2 via Star Alliance Business Class on ANA, Thai, Etihad, Turkish & Lufthansa.
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Trans-border
- Air Canada Express: Vancouver – Seattle
- United Club Lounge Sea-Tac, Seattle, Washington, USA
- The Club at SEA Lounge, “S” Concourse, Sea-Tac, Seattle, Washington, USA
- ANA Staggered Business Class: Seattle – Tokyo Narita
- ANA Arrivals Lounge – Tokyo Narita
- The Westin Tokyo
- Meiji Jingu Shine & Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan
- The Imperial Palace and Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan
- Tsukiji Fish Market and Ginza Shopping, Tokyo, Japan
- Cherry Blossoms and a Night out in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
- ANA Lounge, Narita Terminal One, Tokyo, Japan
- Asiana Airlines Business Class, Tokyo Narita – Seoul Incheon
- Hyatt Regency Incheon
- Asiana Business Lounge, Terminal One Concourse, Seoul Incheon
- Thai Airways Business Class: Seoul Incheon – Bangkok Survharnabhumi
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa, Bangkok Survharnabhumi
- Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge, Bangkok Survharnabhumi
- Thai Airways Business Class: Bangkok Survharnabhumi – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House Apartments, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- At the Top, Visiting the Worlds’ Tallest Observation Deck, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Trading at Old Markets of Dubai, Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Etihad Pearl Business Lounge, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Etihad Pearl Business, Abu Dhabi – Muscat
- Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa, Muscat, Oman
- Shopping at Mutrah Souq & The Corniche at Muscat, Oman
- Spotting Underwater Turtles in Bandar Jissah, Yiti, Oman
- Plaza Premium Lounge, Muscat, Oman
- Etihad Airways Pearl Business Class, Muscat – Abu Dhabi
- The Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Dubai International Business Lounge, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Turkish Airlines Business Class, Dubai – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
- Swiss Airlines Business Class, Istanbul – Zurich
- Swiss Airlines Senator Lounge “A”, Zurich, Switzerland
- Swiss Airlines Business Class, Zurich – Warsaw
- The Hotel Bristol, Warsaw, Poland
- Strolling Old Town Warsaw, Poland
- Visiting the Remains of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Parks of Warsaw, Poland
- LOT Business Lounge, Warsaw, Poland
- Lufthansa Business Class, Warsaw – Munich
- Lufthansa Business Class, Munich – Vancouver
Review: Asiana Business Class B747-4, Tokyo Narita – Seoul Incheon
“Asiana offers seating in its First Class Cabin for the price of business if you happen to be flying Asiana’s Boeing 747 product. While the seating is first class, the Business Class service is also excellent“
We ended up traveling to Dubai via Seoul, via Bangkok in a case of “You can’t get there from here”. There were limited flights to Dubai from Narita if you weren’t flying with Emirates or Etihad, making the Star Alliance connection points Bangkok on Thai Airways, or Beijing on Air China. We opted for Bangkok as we had been through China previously and found the Air China service and catering a little lacking. For some reason, there was no nonstop Thai Airways availability from Japan to Thailand on offer- likely due to it being high demand Airbus 380 service between Narita and Bangkok. So that brought us to a flight to Incheon Seoul, an overnight at the Hyatt Regency Incheon, then a another flight down to Bangkok, a visit to the Royal Orchid Spa and a last Thai Airways flight onto Dubai.
A trick of the book today. For some reason, Asiana is operating a three class aircraft on a two class route. We had last flown in this cabin on our Asiana First Class Los Angeles – Incheon flight. For today’s flight, we self assigned ourselves seats in the Asiana First Class nose of the Boeing 747-400. The service was usual business class service along with business class menus. It’s a bit of a trick as without knowing, you could also book an Airbus 321 with traditional barca-lounger seats on this route as well which would be a substantial difference and downgrade in comfort. Obviously, not everyone knows or asks about first class seats as there were as 3 empty seats up front tonight (5/8 load). One of the passengers was uniformed staff (male). Unfortunately, it’s also likely the last flight I will take seated in first class in the in the nose of a 747 as most carriers are retiring these aircraft in favor of more efficient models.
NRT-ICN (Narita International Airport, Tokyo – Incheon Airport, Seoul)
OZ 105 – Business Class (I)
6:50 PM – 9:30 PM
April 16, 2014
Booked: Boeing 747-400
Flown: Boeing 747-400 Combi
We left the ANA Lounge at Tokyo Narita Terminal One. We boarded through Gate 41. Today’s flight started with double jet bridge boarding between business and “travel” class.
On Board Asiana Business Class, in Assigned First Class Seats:
We settled into the familiar OZ first class seat. It’s getting a bit dated now but it’s still a very comfortable set up. It’s not showing any wear and tear at all on the suite product itself.
This time we opted for the center seats 4E/F instead of the outer seats of 3A/4A as we had previously experienced.
The monitors were controlled by the old school wired remote. The wired remote was once a common feature but it’s slowly disappearing or being upgraded to better models.
The cabin itself is pretty spacious, if not a little dated in color.
Pre Departure Service:
While we were at the gate at Narita, business class menus were presented, along with a towel service. A pre-departure beverage of water, juice or champagne was offered. Dinner orders were also taken while on the ground in Narita.
Like other shorter Asian Business class flights, no amenity kits were offered. The usual Asiana branded slippers in a transparent case were made available.
Time to Take Off:
On take off, the difference between the ANA Boeing 787 and our Asiana Boeing 747 aircraft became apparent. The B747 transmitted bump and quivers throughout it’s frame as the plane climbed to altitude. These shakes, rattles and rolls were notably present compared to our last flight on the 787 which was shake and rattle free.
Tonight’s flight from Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon was a short one. In addition to the groans of the cabin on the climb, there were a substantial amount of bumps and turbulence on the flight. The seat belt sign remained on for almost entire duration of flight. The divider between 4E and 4F has a privacy screen – but it can only be left in place with smooth flight. It has to stay down for most if not all of the flight. Given the bumps, I didn’t get the opportunity to get up to talk to the back to see whether the regular business class section upstairs or on the main deck was being sold. My guess was that at least one section was out of service for this short international flight.
The Meal Service: Dinner
A short full service meal was provided on this flight. The menus were presented on the ground at Tokyo Narita. The wine lists on Asiana Business aren’t all too spectacular, with one white, one red and one champagne offered. It’s a little more limiting than other carriers, but for a less than two hour flight, I’m certainly not complaining.
The dinner of beef tenderloin seasoned with red wine sauce, with carrot, potato and saffron risotto presented all at once with prosciutto ham with mixed greens.
You can tell how bumpy the flight was by the state of the red wine in the photograph.
There were regular refills of champagne throughout the flight. The glass was never less than half full. I’m happy to report that it was classic, reliable, attentive Asiana service.
Dinner was followed by mixed nuts- in a pouch instead of a ramkin. This was a little entertaining as, at the time of the flight, a Korean Air Executive had just berated the competitors flight attendents for failing to serve the nuts appropriately in a ramekin, resulting in substantial negative publicity.
Entertainment on Board:
The plane had Video on Demand. I didn’t get too into it given the short duration of the flight. I did check out the flight path, which was straight across the water.
Before we knew it, we were on approach into Incheon. After landing, we had a long 15 minute taxi to the terminal. This was followed by a long line at immigration with no option for fast track. We had another 15 minutes here since several large capacity jets from China appeared to be unloading at this hour. Thankfully, the bags were already on the belt on arrival to the carousel.
Exiting into the public side of the arrivals hall, we were accosted by taxi driver touts like never before. We were approached by four separate taxi drivers at separate times looking for fares on our walk to the Hyatt Regency shuttle bus. The touts were super aggressive. We had just come off a trip across Africa without any troubles similar to this. I actually had to tell one guy to bugger off and leave us alone. He actually followed us for about 5 minutes and wouldn’t leave until we took his business card. It was a bit surprising since I certainly wasn’t expecting this in Incheon!!
Asiana Business Class Impressions:
Asiana Airlines offers a pretty reliable product. The service on board, whether in Asiana First Class or Business Class is typically excellent. The food is often reliable and straight forward. The wine list is sometimes a little limited compared to other carriers but for a short flight of less than two hours, this becomes less of a point of concern. The best trick is to see if you can score one of the First Class Seats if you are flying on a Boeing 747 when First Class is not typically offered as you can get quite a nice free upgrade by just asking for a specific seat assignment.