As people interested in Korean culture, our ultimate goal is probably all the same – to one day visit South Korea. Luckily for us at Korean Class MASSIVE, we’ve been given the opportunity to make our dreams come true, with two of us having gone in September and our maknae only recently returning to us after a magical 10 days braving the winter cold of South Korea. And who did we decide to fly with to begin our amazing adventures? Asiana Airlines! (If it’s good enough for EXO-K it’s good enough for us!)
Asiana began their non-stop service between London Heathrow and Seoul Incheon airport back in October 2011 and currently have one schedule each way, everyday between the two cities. Asiana operates over 14 domestic and 90 international passenger routes throughout Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Established back in 1988, they have since won numerous best airline awards including the Air Transport World’s Airline of the Year award, the most honourable award in the airline industry. It’s also recognised as the “first environmentally friendly company within the service industry” by the Ministry of Environment for the Republic of Korea after becoming an industry leader when it choose to focus on the being an environmentally friendly company back in the mid-90s. We have spoken about Asiana before when it signed a partnership with CJ E&M to bring Kpop stars to their international fans, so how can we not fly with this fabulous airline?
Firstly, with Asiana there is no crazy rush to check in online 24 hours beforehand, once your reservation goes through, you can call up or go online and instantly book your seat. It is quick and simple and when we turned up at the airport, we were assigned the seats we booked and had no problems. Windows seats for the win! This is also great if you are going with friends but all booked separately as it allows you to co-ordinate your seats to ensure you all get to sit together for that long haul flight.
Airport Check-in and boarding
When we checked in at Heathrow there were plenty of staff on hand so we never stood in the queue for too long. There wasn’t much chit chat during check in but the staff were so quick and efficient that it wasn’t even noticeable. And if you did have any queries or needed anything, say luggage tags, the staff were swift and very attentive when approached. All staff at both Heathrow and Incheon spoke good English and we were very quickly set on our way to allow ample time for some duty free shopping!
Boarding was quick with a lot of staff on hand to check passports and get us all on the plane. Once through the gangway, you were greeted by many cabin crew at the entrance, all on hand to direct us to our seats, and when locating your seats, air hosts were again nearby and ready to assist and even help you get your luggage into the overhead compartments.
The Plane (seats and amenities)
The plane did not feel as modern as some of the other airline’s newer fleets, but the plane was very clean and well maintained. The seats were very comfortable with a decent amount of leg room compared to other airlines. Kept in very good condition, they were nicely upholstered and clean, and even when the seat in front of you reclined, it did not recline straight onto your face, giving you enough space to breathe and avoid being too uncomfortable.
When we settled into our seats, we found the usual blanket and pillow, but also SLIPPERS! We’ve never had this on a plane before (in travel class) so it was a very nice touch. There were also plenty of magazines available and a very extensive and popular on-board shopping service which everyone was taking advantage of. When nature called, we found the toilets very clean and regularly serviced. We also discovered toothbrushes and some posh creams before bedtime, because dental and skin care are important even when you are miles up in the air!
We love flying, and one of the main reasons for this is the huge array of films that are normally on offer! The system was not on demand so you would have to pick your entertainment and stick with it, otherwise all programs were on a loop that was synchronised to all restart at the same time so you can switch over to a new film. When we flew, there were a number of latest releases available including Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises and the newest Ice Age, as well as popular current movies such as Avengers, although the sound quality was not very good. But do not worry, we hear that Asiana are currently upgrading all their entertainment systems and this upgrade should hopefully be completed by 2014. Along with Hollywood films, there were also a few Chinese, Korean and Japanese films, as well as some variety shows (although not subbed) and a travel documentary to get you ready for your trip to South Korea. Or if you just wanted to chill, there was a range of radio channels for you to enjoy and a few basic games for the kids.
Asiana Airlines often talks about the importance of customer service and we were not disappointed We’ve flown with many other major airlines before but the experience we had with the Asiana Air cabin crew was way above par. Although not as glamorous as other airlines, their uniform was very modest and had elements of traditional Korean dress and a cute little apron when serving food. They were all very friendly, attentive and efficient, always smiling and willing to help. You might expect this on all airlines but Asiana cabin crew were genuinely helpful, and sometimes you didn’t even need to call them over for help as they were constantly walking up and down aisles just making sure people were ok. Throughout the flight, even when it was lights out sleeping time, cabin crew regularly walked up and down with a nice variety of refreshments. Compared to other airlines, Asiana’s cabin crew presence was prominent which made us feel extra safe and taken care of.
On-board Food & Drink
One thing we loved about Asiana was the food service. They had a lot of people serving food which we found very impressive. On other airlines you normally see one food trolley per aisle going up, and not getting to you till an hour later. But on Asiana each section of the plane had a trolley on each aisle rather then just one trolley on each aisle that serves the whole length of the economy section. They were also very attentive and collected waste up very quickly. Some airlines leave you sitting there with your empty tray for ages; Asiana had the best service we have ever experienced. Another thing that Asiana cabin crew get top marks for was the fact that they would automatically ask the passenger in front to lift their seat up without you needing to ask. Maybe it’s a British thing, but this whole asking the passenger in front to lift their seat up is always a bit of an awkward situation.
Asiana Airways was also not stingy with drinks and gave you a whole can of soft drink. (Seriously, some airlines can be so cheap!) We got a menu beforehand so we could see what kind of food was on offer and Asiana meals were specially planned by top international chefs! The food choices on board were a Korean or Western themed meal to ensure there was something for everyone. If you have any special dietary requirements then make sure you let Asiana know as they have some of the most extensive alternative lists of any airline, but you are required to let them know in advance. Our meal flying to South Korea was bibimbap which came with instructions and a super cute tube of gochujang (which we got a bit too over excited about). Then before we arrived we were served breakfast again with two different choices. On the flight from Seoul to Heathrow after our afternoon tea/dinner, we had lights out time, but half-way through we were all served a burrito. Yes it was rather random but also very delicious and we never knew it before but it was just what we needed! We were very well fed on the plane so we don’t know what other snacks were available on the plane should you feel hungry but air hosts were always on hand with drinks and little packs of rice bites and peanuts should you fancy a nibble.
Overall, we all very much enjoyed flying with Asiana Airlines. It has been one of the best flying experiences and the perfect way for us to prep ourselves for our trip. The service and attitude of the cabin crew was always top notch, they were all so efficient and we were always made to feel welcome and comfortable. The food and facilities were very good, making for a comfortable and relaxed journey. We’d definitely fly with Asiana again and if you’re pondering who to fly with, we hope we helped you come to a decision!
Before you book your seat make sure you check out Seat Guru to ensure you get a good spot.
*** This is not a sponsored post, flights were booked and paid for by ourselves