Asiana Airlines A330-300 business class Seoul to Hong Kong

01. Introduction: One…I mean…two final rides on the United Airlines 747
02. United Airlines 737-800 economy class San Diego to San Francisco
03. United Airlines 747-400 upper deck Polaris business class San Francisco to San Francisco
04. United Airlines 747-400 upper deck Polaris business class San Francisco to Seoul
05. Asiana business class lounge, ICN
06. Asiana Airlines A330-300 business class Seoul to Hong Kong
07. Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers
08. The Bridge – Cathay Pacific business class lounge, HKG
09. American Airlines 777-300/ER business class Hong Kong to Los Angeles
10. American Airlines ERJ-175 first class Los Angeles to San Diego

All in all, I still felt pretty good when I went to bed just after arriving from San Francisco the night before. Of course I was dead tired from all the delays, but I think I was just so happy to have a convenient place to stay (paid for by United) that it overpowered the massive amount of jet lag that was starting to creep up on me without even realizing it. I even woke up feeling halfway OK, but by the time I left the lounge and was walking down to the gate to catch this flight to Hong Kong, reality came on hard and I felt the jet lag hit me from every direction like a ton of bricks. It came out of nowhere, and it was a stark and sobering reminder that I wasn’t as young as I used to be. International travel definitely gets harder as you get older!

OZ721
Seoul, South Korea (ICN) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Aircraft: A330-323
Registration: HL7746
Duration: 3 hours 26 minutes
Seat: 4A (business class)

Asiana A330 side view

Asiana A330-300 (HL7746) side view illustration by norebbo.com.

Seat map of this Asiana A330-300

Seat map of this Asiana A330-300 (courtesy of seatguru.com showing my seat (4A) for this flight to HKG.

Our route from ICN to HKG today

Our route from ICN to HKG today.

ICN departures hall

ICN is one of my favorite airports by far, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the inside of the departures hall looks a lot like the Pontiac Silverdome near my boyhood home in Michigan. Go Lions!

I still had about 45 minutes to wait once I reached the gate area, which for an AvGeek like me, isn’t such a bad thing. I spent some time meandering the terminal a bit and was enjoying the moment of being in one of my all-time favorite airports. I love ICN, mostly due to the fact that nearly every flight in and out of this place is of the international variety – something which is completely opposite of what I see back home at SAN. Despite the crippling feeling of jet lag, I was very content to sit and watch this amazing airport at work. I also saw two Asiana 747-400’s parked at the terminal in the distance, reminding me of what I missed out on the night before. It’s too bad that I didn’t get a ride in one of those things, but at least I was on my way to Hong Kong this morning.

ICN gate area

Wow, full house here the gate this morning. No way I’m sitting in that crowd, so I might as well walk around a bit to kill some time…

SANspotter selfie ICN

Your’s truly enjoying the solitude of a rare quiet spot here at ICN.

Asiana A330 ICN

While I was waiting, I noticed that they towed in the A330 that would take me down to Hong Kong this morning. Perhaps they were busy giving it a wash, because that thing was sparkling clean!

Asiana A330 ICN at gate

It’s a good thing I got a shot of her being towed in on the other side, because there wasn’t much of a view looking straight into the sun like this.

The business class queue formed about five minutes before boarding was set to begin, and while I was waiting I ran into one of the guys that was on my flight last night from San Francisco. It turns out that he was given a voucher to the same hotel that I stayed at, and we laughed about how overbooked it was and how lucky we were to get a room at all. It’s always weird running into “familiar” people like this while traveling, because it’s awkward having a conversation with a complete stranger who is also the only person you know within a 2,000 mile radius. It’s also a bit awkward having an intelligent conversation with somebody while I’m trying to get pics for a trip report…

Gate 50 Incheon Airport

Looks like I’m one of the first in line! I guess that’s not surprising considering how badly I wanted to get down to Hong Kong.

ICN jet bridge entrance

The jet bridges here at ICN are ridiculously cool, and walking through them is an event in itself. Heeeere we go…

Incheon Airport jet bridge

The early morning light beaming through the glass made this experience all the more dramatic. You probably think we’re almost to the plane by now but…

Gate 50 ICN jet bridge

… you’d be wrong. That was just the first section!

 Boarding Asiana flight at ICN

We’re almost there now. Just a little bit more to go.

 Asiana A330-300 boarding door

“Oh shit, it’s SANspotter.” I tend to have this effect on women…

I was one of the first passengers on board this morning, which gave me plenty of opportunity to take pics of the somewhat outdated Asiana A330-300 business class product. It’s not bad by any means, and I found it to be perfectly acceptable for shorter regional routes such as this one from soul to Hong Kong. I’m not so sure I would be happy with it on a flight from, say, San Francisco to Seoul however – it’s simply not competitive for a market such as that.

Asiana A330-300 Business class cabin

Asiana A330-300 Business class cabin.

Asiana A330-300 Business class seats

Asiana A330-300 Business class seats, which just so happened to be very similar to the ones that were in the A321 I was on from PEK to ICN a couple years ago.

AsianaBusiness class video screens

This is the old Asiana business class product, and while I wouldn’t call it bad, it’s certainly not all that amazing either. Their new business class layout on the A380 is far superior to this!

Asiana A330 business class seat pitch

Decent leg room here, and check out all those storage bins in the lower part of the seat! It almost made me feel like I should’ve brought more stuff on board with me just so I would’ve got my money’s worth.

 Asiana A330 business class seat controls

Detailed pics like this close up of the seat controls show how old and worn this business class product is. However, the industrial designer in me is really digging some of the design details here. Star Trek Enterprise, or Airbus A330?

Asiana A330 business class entertainment system remote

Slowly but surely these old-school entertainment system remotes are being replaced with touchscreen devices in the newer business class products. They will be a rarity soon!

Asiana A330 business class seat lights

Is anybody else freaked out by these bug-like antenna lights? They give me the willies!

Asiana A330 business class interior

The view looking forward from my seat. From this view, it sort of reminds me of the old Northwest Airlines World Business Class product with the clamshell seats.

Asiana A330 business class seat backs

Here’s a wide angle view of the same thing – just in case you’re all missing Northwest Airlines as much as I am.

The flight attendants came around quickly offering water and orange juice during the boarding process, followed shortly thereafter by Hong Kong entry forms. Despite this very attentive service right from the beginning, the overall mood here in the business class cabin was calm and easy, which was absolutely perfect for my jetlagged brain.

Asiana A330-300 safety card

How’s your Korean? Mine’s pretty rusty, so let’s just hope that we don’t have to ditch into the sea today.

Asiana business class noise canceling headphones

Noise canceling headphones at every seat.

I thought for sure it was going to be a light load this morning, as there didn’t seem to be a mad rush of people boarding the aircraft. But slowly, one by one, the business class cabin filled up and every was seat occupied by the time they closed the boarding door.

Incheon airport jet bridge

The view of that amazing ICN jet bridge right outside my window. Who do we have to call in order to get some of these at SAN?

Asiana a330 wing and engine

Wait for it…

Push back and taxi Asiana A330 ICN

Boom! Pushback. I’m finally on my way to Hong Kong after all the delays of the trip so far.

Pushback and taxi happened right on time, and I was starting to feel pretty good thanks in large part to the beautiful sunny skies over Seoul this morning. It was really beautiful out there, if not a little bit cold. That didn’t matter to me though, as I was comfortably seated here in the warm business class cabin of this Asiana A330. If I had to complain about anything, it would be the fact that our entire taxi out to the runway was facing into the sun, so there was little to no opportunity for decent pics of all the interesting aircraft rolling about here at ICN.

Departing ICN runway

What you can’t see is me sitting there in the seat, fingers crossed with clenched eyes and butt cheeks hoping to God that nothing goes wrong before we get out of here.

Take off from ICN airport

No birdstrikes! Come to think of it, I didn’t even see a single bird out here this morning, so whatever the ground crew is doing to keep birds away, it’s working. Either that or the birds around here are really smart and they got out of town as soon as it got cold…

Take off and climb out was also directly into the sun, so I lowered my window shade in defeat as soon as we took off. I knew I was seated on the wrong side of the aircraft to get decent pics anyway, but it still hurt a little bit that I wasn’t able to get a single decent pic of the entire take off sequence. These are the struggles of trip reporting, folks.

Luckily for me (and you the reader), this is Asiana business class, so pics of the view outside don’t matter that much anyway. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, and I’d like to take this opportunity to show you a bit more of what that amazing Asiana hospitality is like.

Brunch menus and hot towels were distributed 10 minutes after take off, with the flight attendants returning shortly after that to take our meal orders.

 Asiana business class menu

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Menus have just been distributed, so let’s have a look.

Asiana business class brunch menu

I haven’t come this far only to eat western food. I’ll take whatever is on the Korean menu!

Asiana business class wine list

Why do I even bother looking at the wine list anyway? You should all know by now that I’m going to get water.

Asiana business class drink menu

Nope, this still hasn’t convinced me. I’m sticking with water.

This brunch, as it was with every meal that I’ve ever had on a Korean airline, was phenomenal. And I’m not just talking about the food either – I’m talking about the entire process, starting with the menu distribution. Asiana flight attendants are perhaps the best in the sky when it comes to customer service, and I literally felt like a king at every interaction. They are polite, cheerful, and courteous. Most of all, it’s easy to feel the effort they put into making sure that each passenger has the best flight experience possible (without coming off as being fake). Thank God I wasn’t flying an American or European airline after this one today, because I quite like savoring the feeling of an incredible flight experience which then lingers with me for days. It’s rare that I ever get that feeling flying anywhere else in the world.

Asiana business class lunch appetizer

Here comes the food! This is the appetizer, which is a shrimp lentil salad. It was also a stark reminder of how uncultured and unsophisticated I am with my dining habits at home. I’m not used to eating such fancy meals, and when they put this in front of me I wasn’t sure if that was only part of it – or the entire thing.  I waited a minute or two before digging in to see if they were going to bring the second half, but when they never came back I figured it was OK to go for it.

 Asiana business class lunch main course

The main course: Korean rice porridge with sea cucumber. Very tasty!

Asiana business class launch fruit plate

The post meal fruit plate. Thankfully they didn’t bring out ice cream and cheese – my stomach can only take so much of that stuff in a 24 hour period and I had my fill on the flight from San Francisco last night.

Despite their best efforts to serve me coffee and after-brunch sweets, I reluctantly declined the kind offer from the flight attendants. I’m not a coffee drinker, and I don’t much like sweets, but I’ve got to admit that I felt kind of bad saying “thanks but no thanks.” I was quite satisfied with the meal anyway, and I certainly didn’t feel like I needed anything more.

 Flying over the East China Sea

Post meal location check: slightly northwest of Okinawa, which still gives me plenty of time to sit back and relax before arriving in Hong Kong.

Asiana A330 business class comfort

Speaking of sitting back and relaxing, here’s a good pic of what sitting back and relaxing looks like in this older Asiana A330 business class product. Thanks for the demonstration, guys!

Asiana A330 business class lavatory

This forward lavatory wasn’t quite up to the same standards of the business class loo in their A380s. To be honest I don’t really care as long as it functions properly.

I spent the rest of the flight getting reacquainted with the Guns N’ Roses collection on my iPhone, which happened entirely by chance –  this wasn’t something I was planning on at all. I just so happened to be scrolling through the large list of songs in my Apple Music account, and I came across a GNR track that I hadn’t heard in years. 30 seconds into it, I was reminded in a very big way of how amazing the original version of that band was. I really mean it – those guys were truly musical geniuses, and I was having quite a good time jamming out to a mix of songs from Use Your Illusion I and II all the way into Hong Kong.

Listening to guns and roses in flight

OK, I’ll totally admit that this isn’t the perfect choice of music to get one in the mood for landing in Hong Kong, but damn! One of my all-time favorite songs for sure.

Landing soon in Hong Kong

Descending into Hong Kong with Axl Rose and Slash providing the soul-stirring soundtrack. Perfect!

Thankfully the sun had followed us all the way down, and we had some pretty nice views of the overall region on our way in. I’ve never arrived into Hong Kong during the daytime before, so this was kind of a treat for me. Except for the fact that I was still facing directly into the sun the entire way and I wasn’t able to get a single Instagram-worthy pic of the approach.

Approaching Hong Kong airport

OK, well, the angle of the sun isn’t all that flattering but it still sure is pretty out there.

Landing at Hong Kong airport

Oh how I wish it was 20 years earlier, and we would be skimming the rooftops of Kowloon on the checkerboard approach into the old Kai Tak. This approach over the water into Chep Lap Kok is a lot less dramatic!

Landing at Hong Kong airport

Welcome to Hong Kong! Finally!

Pulling up to the gate Hong Kong airport

It had been one hell of a journey, and I was dead tired, but still so happy to be here.

Dragon air Hong Kong airport

Someday if I ever win the lottery, I’m going to spend a few months in Asia and fly all of these cool airlines that we don’t see in the US.  Who wants me to write a Dragonair review?

Asiana A330 business class bulkhead

This right here is the worst part about flying Asiana. I love this airline, and I could’ve been completely content flying for another five hours today. This went by way too fast!

I wasn’t much in the mood for trip reporting by the end of this flight, so the lack of decent arrival pics didn’t deter me – much. The only thing that I really cared about was the fact that I had finally arrived in Hong Kong after a very long and eventful journey from San Diego. It was time to put the camera down, hop in a taxi, and head into the city. It felt so good to be back in Hong Kong again!

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