Asiana A380-800 first class Los Angeles to Seoul

Asiana A380-800 first class Los Angeles to Seoul

Now this was a flight that I had been looking forward to! Most of my traveling this year has been on ultra low cost carriers such as Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant, so I think I’ve earned the opportunity to be pampered on a long haul first class international flight! I was also very much looking forward to getting a ride on my first A380, as well as checking out the newly rennovated Tom Bradley International Terminal. So yeah – this was a pretty exciting moment for me.

Tom Bradley International Terminal entrance
Tom Bradley International Terminal entrance
Asiana check in counter lax
Asiana check in counter
Asiana First Class check in queue lax
Asiana First Class check in queue
Departures board lax international
Departures board

After coming downstairs from the Star Alliance Lounges, I took a bit of time to check out the new terminal. Bottom line, LAX now has a world-class international departures hall, rivaling some of the best in the world. It’s relatively small compared to the behemoth airport structure in Beijing, but it’s a very nicely designed terminal with loads of good restaurants, shopping, and places to sit.

Tom Bradley International Terminal lax
Interior of the newly renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Seoul, South Korea (ICN)
Friday, September 18, 2015
Aircraft: A380-800
Seat: 1A (First Suite Class)

Asiana Airlines A380 illustration
Asiana Airlines A380-800 HL7626 side view illustration by
lax to icn route map
Our route to ICN today: VTU5 RZS LIBBO BRINY ALCOA CEPAS COBAD 4100N 14000W 4100N 15000W 4300N 16000W 4500N 17000W 4600N 18000E 4600N 17000E 4300N 16000E KALNA OTR5 ADNAP OATIS SDE GTC L512 TENAS B467 KAE G597 KARBU KARBU1P
asiana 201 flight information board
Flight information board for OZ201 at the gate

I was starting to feel a bit rushed due to the fact that I decided to exchange currency right before boarding, but I timed things just right – I arrived at the gate just a few minutes before the scheduled boarding time. But as I was looking out the window at that big Asiana A380, I noticed a large gathering on mechanics (plus a CSR with a walke-talkie) huddling around the front landing gear pointing at it and talking a lot like there was some sort of debate going on.

This didn’t look good. Two minutes later, they announced a 1-hour delay due to a last-minute tire change. Ugh – can they really do that in an hour? I was slightly pessimistic about thier time estimate, which then led me to worry about my connection in Seoul. If we were delayed too long, there would be a strong chance of missing my A380 connection to Hong Kong. Praying to the aviation gods I was…

Luckily they held true to their one hour estimate and boarding was called in a way I’ve never seen it done before. They basically lined everyone up into separate groups (premium cabins, Asiana Club status holders, and economy) in the central walkway of the terminal. I’m not going to lie – it felt good to stand at the front of that first class line!

boarding asiana a380 lax
Here we go – time to start boarding!

First class passengers boarded though the forward door on the lower level, and once onboard I was escorted to my seat. I wasn’t offered a drink or even an explanation of the features of the suite, but personally I didn’t mind. I like to get situated and settled when I board an airplane – before any service begins.

Asiana A380 First Class suites
Asiana A380 First Class cabin
Asiana A380 First Class cabin
Asiana A380 First Class cabin
asiana first class suites
The First Class suites are very spacious and private

It was difficult to tell how full the first class cabin was today due to the high walls of the first class suites. Even standing up and looking at the entire cabin doesn’t mean you will see any other passengers! That’s the kind of privacy I like on an airplane – I’m not very social onboard aircraft, so this was really great.

Seat 1A asiana a380 first suite class
Seat 1A – mine for the next 12 and a half hours!
asiana a380 first class seat
Slightly wider angle view showing the entire seat
asiana a380 suite walls
The walls of the suites are really high, which is great for privacy
asiana a380 first class seat details
Next to the headrest is a magazine pocket, reading lamp, and removable touch-screen display for controlling the seat
asiana a380 first class seat storage
Close up of the small cubby next to the headrest
asiana a380 in seat power
Immediately to the left of the seat was a deep storage unit with a USB power port and headphone jacks
video controller asiana a380 first class
Immediately forward of that was the touch-screen control unit for the video display
asiana a380 first class storage bins
And all the way towards the front was a very deep storage bin for larger items

The lead flight attendant eventually came by with the amenity kit and introduced herself to me, and we chatted a bit about how this was my first time in Asiana first class – she seemed eager to make sure I was going to have a great flight, and that left me with a pretty good feeling. I can get used to this first class stuff.

noise canceling headset, amenity kit, and thick duvet
Here you can see all the “freebies” that come with first class: noise canceling headset, amenity kit, and thick duvet sitting on the foot rest in the forward section of the suite.
large video display screen asiana first class
Looking forward towards the front of the suite
asiana a380 first class leg room
Do I even really need to post a leg room pic? Sure, what the heck. A little bit better than Allegiant Air, don’t you think?
Asiana First Class amenity kit
Asiana First Class amenity kit
asiana first class amenity kit contents
Contents of the Asiana First Class amenity kit

Warm peanuts (not macadamia nuts) were served just before takeoff, and I held off on the urge for a glass of champagne to go with it. I know, I know – champagne and warm nuts are a first class pre-departure tradition but I just couldn’t do it. I’m not a fan of drinking on airplanes!

Asiana first class warm nuts
Warm nuts served before departure
asiana a380 lax
Pushing back from the gate – here we go!

We departed runway 24R just under an hour behind schedule, and I was still petty giddy about the next 12 and a half hours. I knew there was some good food and comfortable sleep coming, and it was hard not to take pics of everything for this stupid blog! Chilling out and soaking up the experience was tough, but I did the best I could.

Departing runway 24R at LAX
Departing runway 24R at LAX
asiana video control unit main menu
Close up of the touch-screen video display control unit (main menu)
asiana a380 first class video remote
The screen on the remote was a mirror copy of what was on the larger display – the screen sensitivity wasn’t very good though, so it was a bit difficult to use.

Lunch service began shortly after departure, and I opted for the Korean style meal (of course). Do I even need to say how excellent this service was? The food was fantastic and the professionalism of the flight attendant was top notch – hands down the best service I’ve experienced on an airplane thus far. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of the menu! Oh well – here is what was served:

Appetizer number one
Appetizer number one
Appetizer number two
Appetizer number two
Pumpkin soup asiana first class
Pumpkin soup, which was fantastic!
Korean Bibimbap asiana first class
The main course: Korean Bibimbap
Fruit plate
Fruit plate
little Korean candies asiana first class
Finally, the end: little Korean candies

I was pretty much stuffed after lunch, but I wasn’t quite ready for a nap yet so I watched a bit of “Furious 7” to pass the time. All I could think about was how cool it was to be in first class so I wasn’t really paying attention to the movie that closely.

asiana a380 window view
Looking out over the Pacific Ocean after lunch
asiana a380 first class bathroom
First Class lavatory
asiana a380 first class bathroom
The toilet was integrated to the bench, which was a really nice touch – it greatly increased the efficiency of the space.
asiana first class lavatory soap
The lavatory was well stocked actually – lots of nice lotions and soaps.
asiana a380 first class bathroom
Complimentary combs…and stuff
large asiana first class lavatory
Looking at the back wall of the lavatory – the use of mirrors (as well as the full size window) made it look quite spacious
asiana a380 stairs to upper deck
Stairs to the upper deck located near the first class lavatory

Earlier in the flight, the flight attendant told me to request turn down service if I wanted it, but when it came time for a nap I chose to pass on that and do it myself. And that was probably a good thing considering how warm the cabin was – I certainly didn’t need that duvet! It does take a lot to make me warm and uncomfortable, so the fact that I was a little bit warm meant that it must have been really hot for other passengers.

asiana a380 first class touch screen seat controller
Main menu of the large touch screen display which controls the seat
asiana a380 first class seat control
It’s essentially a touch screen tablet – and it was very intuitive and easy to use
asiana a380 first class seat function
As you can see, this seat is highly adjustable and it’s not difficult to find a comfortable position
asiana a380 first class lie flat seat
What the seat looks like in the fully flat position
stars in the ceiling asiana a380
One of the things I liked the best about the first class cabin was the ceiling and the twinkling stars that looked awesome in complete darkness

I ended up getting about four hours of solid sleep before waking up and just tossing and turning for the next few hours before the second meal service began. I wasn’t even hungry at all, but who am I to pass up another great first class meal? Once again I chose the Korean option – a fine choice it was, mostly because it was probably lighter than the western omelet.

Korean breakfast asiana first class
Korean breakfast
getting close to seoul
Almost to ICN…
View from the forward facing camera a380
View from the forward facing camera

The sun began to drop to the horizon as we descended into Seoul, and I did the best I could taking as many pics outside the window as I could. I was sitting too far forward in the aircraft to get a decent pic of the engines and wing, but it really was turning into a beautiful evening out there.

asiana a380 wing view in flight
About 10 minutes before the start of the descent into ICN
arriving at ICN
Gliding into Seoul as the sun sets

We hit runway 34 at ICN with a gentle nudge, and spent the next 10 minutes taxiing to our gate. It certainly was a fantastic flight, with a phenomenal crew and outstanding service, and truth be told I was a bit sad to have it come to an end.

pulling up to the gate at ICN
Pulling up to the gate, concluding the best flight I’ve ever had

However, my Asiana A380 First Class experience wasn’t totally done yet. There was one more A380 waiting for me today…

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