ASIANA AIRLINES ACES IT
It's a girl-thing, I guess. Put me in the brightest, newest, highest performance car - and yes, priciest - and I'm mainly interested in deciding if the seat is comfortable, and what little seat-side cavities I have for stowing my trip necessities (in my case, notebook, maps, guidebooks). A good mirror on the back of that flap which folds down to block the sun is a must too.
Not surprisingly, I treat an aircraft in much the same way. Rolls Royce engine or something else, whatever; high-tech radar wizardry, great. Sometimes I even write down what we are flying in (777, 747, A300) as I know I won't remember. All I really expect is to be taken safely through the skies and deposited at the right time somewhere a long way from home.
That's the base-line. However, the moment I am seated, the girl-thing kicks in. My recent trip to Seoul, South Korea, on Asiana was like that. I haven't flown this airline before and I don't recall speaking to anyone else who has, so I was curious to see if it was more in the league of the other Asian airlines I have used and been impressed by (for the record, I am always happy to fly Thai, Singapore or Malaysia) or if it was one of the 'others'.
Hearing Asiana code-shares with Qantas was a plus. Rain Man-like I admire that airline's flying record and safety standards.
On the flight to Seoul I was lucky enough to be upgraded to Business Class. Don't ask, it's a travel-writer thing, and infrequent enough to always give me a buzz. The seats were reclinable - way-y-y back - and here they had an advantage over some other Business Class seats. They had just enough of a kick-up at the end of the seat before the leg-rest to keep me in place. OK, I'll spell it out, my backside needs support.
One other night I had my worst airline sleep ever in a supposedly almost-fully reclining Business Class seat on another airline. The catch was - that there was no catch. The seat reclined well but at still enough of an angle that I felt I needed a big patch of Velcro on the back of my head to keep me in place. I spent the entire time hitching my body back up again and of course, NOT sleeping.
Of course on the Seoul flight there were all the other goodies you would expect at the pointy-end, well-prepared and presented food (including bibimbap, perhaps my favourite Korean dish), individual video screens, the option of asking for a snack between the meals, attentive service.
But what I really want to exclaim over was my trip home when (at first disappointingly) I could not snare that elusive upgrade. That said, I am always quite happy to travel economy because after all that is where I (mostly) and 95 percent or more of my readers travel. You can learn a lot more about an airline at the back end of an aircraft than at the front, I believe.
Which explains why this is where I really fell for Asiana. OK, the seat did not recline the full bonanza like my previous flight, BUT it was wide enough, the pitch was excellent for me (I am not tall, but I watched a couple of much lankier passengers nearby who seemed to fit OK too) and I had my own video on the seat back with a full selection of movies - dare I say it? - just like the favoured few in front.
The sharply attired staff were attentive too. Smiles are not reserved for the rich and famous on this airline, I was happy to note, and my dinnertime bibimbap again (I told you I had a thing about this rice and vegetable dish spiced with a tube of pepper sauce) was every bit as good as the one I'd enjoyed on the flight across. The toilets stayed clean all flight and we even got a little pouch of toiletries for overnight, almost like - oh, well, you get the drift.
Don't get me wrong, I am not pitching for everyone to save their money if they would have been planning to fly at the front of the aircraft. My point is, I am impressed with Asiana, of course for their Business Class excellence, but just as much for the service and attention to detail and flier-comfort in the class that some airlines overlook.
(For the record, my ticket on Asiana Airlines was provided by Korea National Tourism Organisation, so there is no cash for profit, or anything like it involved here.
If you are interested in all the other important things, such as what aircraft Asiana Airlines flies and when and where it goes.....read more
In 2007 Skytrax in the UK selected Asiana Airlines as one of the '5 Star Airlines'. The Star Ranking Programme of Skytrax is in its seventh year, and is a leading quality assessment system of airlines industries worldwide.
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