TESTED BY Freddy Sherman
PLANE TYPE A380-800
SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2-2
SEAT PITCH 74 in/188 cm
SEAT WIDTH 21.6 in/201 cm
SEAT LENGTH 79 in/55 cm
SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees
PRICE Internet fare for a midweek, flexible, round-trip flight for travel in April or May 2016 is $4,016.67.
VERDICT: Korean Airlines provides a comfortable Business Class experience that compares favorably with other international carriers serving the same routes. Service was formal yet attentive, and the cuisine really shines with both Western and Korean meal choices, along with a strong wine list.
CHECK-IN AND BOARDING: Upon arriving at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal, I checked in at the dedicated Prestige Class (what Korean Air calls their Business Class) desk with no waiting. Security was also quick with a dedicated Business / First Class line. At LAX, Korean Air’s Prestige Class passengers have access to the stylish and spacious SkyTeam lounge. I found the lounge geared more toward leisure travelers with limited food selection and few work spaces. However it does have a large indoor patio seating area with nice views over the new terminal.
The boarding process was fast with a dedicated line for First and Business Class passengers. Prestige Class passengers have their own boarding door on the upper deck of the A380.
THE SEAT: Prestige Class seats take up the entire upper cabin, arranged in a spacious 2-2-2 configuration 74 inches apart. The seats are what I would call standard international long-haul biz class shell seats, offering a flat bed, good personal space and reasonable privacy. On the downside, while the seat does become fully flat, it’s not quite parallel to the floor, reclining maybe 175 degrees.
All the seats controls worked properly and the 15.4 inch seatback monitor had a variety of Western and Korean programming. Views from multiple cameras mounted on the A380 provided some amazing perspectives especially during takeoff and landing.
THE FLIGHT: With attentive, professional service, delicious food, fine wine and a long list of IFE options, the 13 hour and 40 minute flight was quite bearable. There were two main meal services, lunch about two hours in and dinner served about three hours prior to landing. Service was formal, with linen tablecloths, glass wine goblets and full-size metal silverware, and elegant Korean porcelain plates and bowls. Throughout the flight a crew member was always available for any request.
Western main courses included grilled beef tenderloin in a thyme red wine sauce or roasted cod with a chive cream cheese sauce over angel hair pasta. I went for the Korean option, Bibimbap – minced beef and seasonal vegetables, served with sesame oil and an extremely hot add-it-if-you-dare Gochujang chili sauce. A Chinese and Japanese selection were also offered. A cheese tray followed, and the meal finished with dessert.
Dinner was another taste of Korea, as I went with the braised chicken thigh with spicy Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) sauce, served over steamed rice. It was a great introduction to flavors I would soon experience in Korea. The wine list offered wonderful pairings with the gourmet food.
One unique feature aboard the A380 is Korean Air’s Celestial Bar, a stylish space at the front of the Premier cabin, created in partnership with ABSOLUT VODKA. With large-screen monitor and several comfortable couches, the bar staff serves specially crafted cocktails along with snacks.
ARRIVAL: Our arrival at Seoul’s Incheon Airport was uneventful, with access to a priority lane for immigration processing. Incoming Prestige Class passengers have the use of showers and saunas at the Grand Hyatt Incheon Hotel.