Korean Air 777-300ER business class feels a lot better than it looks

Korean Air 777-300ER business class feels a lot better than it looks

I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive about this one. I follow the airline industry closely, but it’s rare that I ever hear anything about Korean Air 777-300ER Prestige Class.

On one hand, I’ve never once heard anyone complain about the staggered 2-2-2 layout. On the other hand, I’ve never once heard anyone tout it as one of the best long-haul international business class products in the world either.

In the spirit of science and experimentation, I decided to give it a try on a 9.5 hour flight from Seoul to Seattle. The verdict? 외모는 속일 수 있습니다! Like, seriously.

KE041
Seoul, South Korea (ICN) – Seattle, WA (SEA)
Sunday, May 5, 2024
Aircraft: 777-3B5/ER
Registration: HL8007
Duration: 9 hours 24 minutes
Seat: 7E (Prestige Class / Business Class)

Korean Air 777-300ER (HL8007) side view
Korean Air 777-300ER (HL8007) side view illustration by NorebboStock.com.
KE041 flight track
Our route from Seoul / Incheon to Seattle tonight as KE041.

My full review of Korean air 777-300ER Prestige Class (business class) from Seoul to Seattle

Did you happen to read my Korean Air A380 business class review? That was my only other KE experience prior to this flight. Honestly, it was nice, but not that nice. Hence yet another reason to be apprehensive I guess.

Arrival at ICN Terminal 2

Korean Air operates out of Terminal 2 at Incheon Airport. It’s a place I’ve been to a handful of times before, and yeah – it was good to be back. It’s always a pleasure hanging out in this clean and very well organized airport.

SANspotter arriving at Seoul incheon airport
That moment of disappointment when you show up to the airport and there’s nobody around to notice that you’ve coordinated the color of your shirt to the airline you’re flying today.
Terminal 2 departures hall ICN airport
That’s more like it! The departures hall here in Terminal 2 looks to be an excellent place to show off a Korean Air colored shirt.

The preflight experience

I arrived approximately 2 1/2 hours prior to departure for this flight to Seattle. Much of that time was spent stuffing my belly with delicious food in the Korean Air Lounge. Some of that time was spent loitering around Terminal 2 plane (and people) spotting.

Inside terminal 2 departures area Seoul Incheon airport
Even the windows are tinted in Korean Air colors here in Terminal 2. See? I wasn’t the only one trying to be clever.
Korean Air 777-300ER parked at the gate Seoul Incheon airport
My ride to Seattle today! The question is: does my shirt match the plane? Or does the plane match my shirt?
Korean Air business class mobile boarding pass Seoul to Seattle
A double check of my boarding pass reveals that…the shirt jokes are stupid (and I’ll stop now).
Gate 267 waiting area ICN
The fact that the waiting area here at gate 267 was filling up fast was of no concern to me. If everything goes to plan, the privacy of my business class seat will keep me from having to intermingle with any of these people all the way to Seattle.

The boarding process for flight KE041 to Seattle

I was very happy to see that they started the boarding process exactly on time. I was not so happy to face the onslaught of what seemed like hundreds of anxious people rushing the gate soon as they made the announcement. I thought that sort of thing only happens in the US? So much for an easy and breezy boarding process…

Boarding Korean Air flight to Seattle gate 267 ICN
Is it time yet? How about now? How much longer? Can’t we go a little early? – My brain (as I stood here waiting for boarding to start)
Walking down jet bridge at ICN to board Korean Air 777-300ER
I distinctly recall practicing my pronunciation of “bibimbap” as I was walking down the jetway to the boarding door. God forbid I screw it up and get served spaghetti and meatballs instead!

Seat (and cabin) overview

I had seat 7E for this flight. I didn’t know it at the time of making my reservation, but row 7 is arguably the best row of business class on the Korean Air 777-300ER. The bulkhead walls directly ahead and behind these seats makes it a very private mini cabin. Score!

Korean Air 777-300ER row 7 business class
I have arrived. This is row 7, which is the first (bulkhead) row of business class on the 777-300ER.

Note that there are two versions of Korean Air 777-300ER business class: the regional version (2-2-2 configuration), and the international version (featuring a more private 2-2-2 configuration). This was obviously an internationally configured aircraft.

Korean Air 777-300ER row 7 business class center section seats
Uh oh. There ain’t nothin’ that’ll kill giddy excitement faster than the realization of sitting shoulder to shoulder with a complete stranger. For 10 whole hours.
Korean Air 777-300ER row 7 prestige class middle seats
The f**k did I just get myself into?
Korean Air 777-300ER prestige class blankets and pillows
Spoiler alert: there’s actually a privacy panel which raises from the center console (which completely shuts you off from the person sitting next to you). Of course, I didn’t know that as I was rummaging through the blankets and the pillows. “What’s the point of fluffy blankets and pillows if I can’t enjoy them in complete solitude?!”
Korean Air 777-300ER business class seat control buttons
“I should’ve flown Asiana Airlines instead!” Little did I know that I was actually taking a picture of the control panel which contains the button for that privacy screen.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class bulkhead aisle seat space
Then again, you’re not gonna get this kinda room to spread out in Asiana A330-300 business class. I was feeling a bit conflicted.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class seat storage compartment
Down by my left elbow was this little storage compartment containing the amenity kit, menu, and a pair of slippers. Just the sort of thing I needed to take my mind off the competition.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class leg room
Based on how good those slippers looked, my tired feet have no idea what’s in store for them. BTW, how about that leg room?
Korean Air 777-300ER business class aisle seat space
Here’s a wide angle view showing how spacious these seats are uncomfortably close I am to my seat mate.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class electrical outlets
Electrical outlets and reading material (the latter of which will keep you occupied as you desperately try to avoid small talk with your neighbor).

Amenities

As expected, a full amenity kit was at every seat during the boarding process. Champagne, orange juice, and water was also offered, but I declined all 3. I know. I’m so boring.

Korean Air 777-300ER business class amenity kit
Oh, and the amenity kit? It was well-stocked with the usual mix of stuff. Not gonna lie though – that brush felt like an insult to this middle aged baldheaded bro.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class bottled water, noise canceling headphones, and slippers
Also included is a bottle of water and noise canceling headphones. And a detailed picture of the slippers that I mentioned earlier (because my dogs were barkin’).

The departure out of ICN

Despite the on-time boarding process, we were 28 minutes late getting pushed off the gate. The gloomy weather likely had a lot to do with it, but I could only make assumptions. The pilot wasn’t very talkative. 

Korean Air 777-300ER business class middle seat experience
We’re pushing off the gate 28 minutes late, I can’t see anything from my aisle middle seat, and the awkward silence between me and my seat mate is deafening. I don’t want to give too much away to soon, but – things will be improving shortly.
Korean Air 777-300ER taking off into thick clouds
No. Things haven’t improved yet. Have some patience!

In-flight entertainment

I have nothing bad to say about in-flight entertainment on these internationally configured Boeing 777-300ERs. It’s good, but not great. Half of the TV shows and movies are from the US. The other half are from Asia and other parts of the world.

At the very least, the choices were a lot better than what you saw in my Aeromexico 787-8 Business class review.

Korean air business class slippers
I do believe this is the first time that I’ve ever put a “slippin’ on the slippers” pic in the in-flight entertainment section of an airline review. It only makes sense considering how much I enjoyed this moment. #aahhhhh
SANspotter testing the noise canceling headphones in Korean Air 777-300ER business class
In the most introverted move possible, the noise canceling headphones became attached to my head within minutes of taking off. Anything to avoid direct communication with another human being!
Korean Air 777-300ER business class noise canceling headphones
Sound quality and noise cancellation was decent. Human conversation avoidance was excellent.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class privacy panel and video screen
Figures. It wasn’t until after I got myself into full antisocial mode that I discovered the privacy panel button. Oh well. Now this is what I’m talkin’ about!
Korean Air 777-300ER business class remote control for video entertainment system
Due to the amount of space between the video screen in the seat, the use of the remote control is pretty much mandatory. Unless you’re blessed with unusually long arms (or the dexterity of your toes is monkey-level awesome).
Korean Air 777-300ER business class video entertainment main menu
Content wise, it’s a fairly standard in-flight entertainment system with the usual mix of movies and TV shows from the US and Asia.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class video entertainment screens
Isn’t there a popular Korean TV show called “Hungry Challenge” or something? I couldn’t find it. So I watched the moving map instead.

The first meal service

There were many advantages to having a seat in the very first row of business class. The main advantage, of course, was being the very first business class passenger to be served during the meal service. 

Korean Air 777-300ER business class menu
The menu! No need to squint – this is a very high resolution image. Click on it, zoom in, and salivate.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class pre-drink service snack
The appetizer? Nope! This seared shrimp with red pepper aioli is actually part of the “pre-drink service.”
Korean Air 777-300ER business class wet wipe
Pro tip: Unless you want to end up looking like you just ate an entire bag of Cheetos, I highly recommend wiping your paws (and shrimp hole) with the wet wipe they provide.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class dinner appetizer
Now it’s the appetizer (grilled tuna salad). You like seafood, right?
Korean Air 777-300ER business class bibimbap
The main course! Shoutout to the kind flight attendant who (after watching me take this picture) asked me if I knew how to eat bibimbap. Gee, was it that obvious? lol
Korean Air 777-300ER business class bibimbap ingredients
Food quality was excellent. My chopsticks skills? Not so much.
SANspotter eating dinner in Korean Air 777-300ER business class
Not only was she kind enough to demonstrate the bibimbap thing, she proactively ran to the galley to retrieve a fork after she saw me struggling with the chopsticks. I mean, I knew I was white, but I didn’t know I was that white.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class fruit and cheese plate
“Sure, I’ll have the fruit and cheese. I’m really full, but that sounds good!”
Korean Air 777-300ER business class ice cream
“Sure, I’ll have the ice cream. I’m really full, but that sounds good!” (RIP SANspotter)

Long story short, the quality of the food was very good. Nothing I would consider to be excellent (or spectacular), but I’ve certainly had worse. It was the professional and courteous service from the flight attendants that made it a meal to remember.

Seat and cabin comfort

I’m happy to report that these lie flat seats are a lot more comfortable than what are currently on the A380s. They’re a lot more private too. I found them to be decently firm, wide enough, and plenty adjustable to set yourself up for a few hours of quality sleep.

Korean Air 777-300ER business class passengers
Status update on my fellow business class passengers: Ms. 7J has gone barefoot. At least had the decency to remain slippered.
Korean Air 777-300ER row 7 business class passengers
Ms. 7A appears to be in possession of Mr. Marcellus’s briefcase (you remember Pulp Fiction, right?). Mr. 7D has either slithered all the way down into his seat, or has ran off to take a poo.
SANspotter selfie Korean Air 777-300ER business class
As for me? I’m still having trouble reaching the video screen.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class blanket
Blanket review: Dense and plush, offering a sumptuously soft and enveloping embrace, providing unparalleled coziness and insulation from the dry cabin air of this Boeing 777-300ER.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class lie flat seat
Sh*t. All that mental energy used to create an epic blanket review, only to have it rendered useless by the fact that they kept the cabin temperature warm enough to not even need a blanket at all.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class footwell
Speaking of warm, the footwell was toasty! At least now we know why Ms. 7J went au naturelle.

My only criticism about overall cabin comfort was the activity of the flight attendants. They were constantly going up and down the aisle for the entire flight (like once every few minutes), and it became slightly distracting.

Korean Air 777-300ER business class bathroom
It’s a little too warm to sleep, so… here’s some pics of the lavatory.

The pre-landing meal

In order to compare the pre-landing meal to what other Korean airlines are offering, I went back and looked at my Asiana A380 business class review. I shouldn’t have done that. I mean, if Asiana still serving food like that, it’s safe to say that Korean Air missed the mark here.

Korean Air 777-300ER business class mood lighting
Purple mood lighting, eh? Easily cool enough to get even the heaviest of sleepers to rise from their deathbed.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class breakfast
Breakfast is served. I chose a croissant to go with my mushroom rice, because…what the hell kind of bread goes with mushroom rice anyway? It seemed like a “breakfasty” choice.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class pre-order breakfast
For the record, I chose this meal when making the reservation several months prior. Those of you with eagle eyes (and the detective skills of Sherlock frikin’ Holmes) will have already noted that this wasn’t one of the options on the menu.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class breakfast fruit
And fruit too! There’s always fruit.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class bottled water
It also worth noting that there was no shortage of water on this flight. As soon as I finished a bottle (or a glass), a flight attendant appeared with another. If only it was like this every day of my life…

The descent and arrival into Seattle

We were 53 minutes late by the time we touched down in Seattle. Honestly, the service (and seat) were so good that I didn’t even notice. This was far from a perfect long-haul international business class experience, but it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t sad that it was ending as we taxied to the gate.

Korean Air 777-300ER business class exterior camera view
Why is it that I never discover the exterior camera until the very end of a flight? Apparently the Korean Air 777-300ER features two exterior cameras (one facing forward, and one facing down). Can I get a do over?
Pulling up to the gate at the Seattle Tacoma airport
Welcome to Seattle! (said nobody here at the gate, because… there’s nobody here at the gate yet to guide us in).
Korean Air 777-300ER business class middle seat
Are we there yet? Asking for a friend.
Korean Air 777-300ER business class seat with privacy panel raised
Thanks for the ride good buddy! These seats look a lot better with that privacy panel raised, don’t they?
SANspotter walking up a jetway at the Seattle Tacoma international airport
I’ll admit it. That was a lot of fun. Now…who wants to see a super nerdy SANspotter-style Korean Air 747-8i business class review (besides me)?

Pros and cons of Prestige Class on the Korean Air 777-300ER

Thinking back on it, I kinda wish that I had hadn’t flown EVA Air 787-9 business class prior to this flight. The quality of the food was similar, but the EVA seat was so much better. Korean Air so close to being the best airline in Asia. They just need a better seat IMHO.

Pros

  • As always, Korean Air cabin crew is world class. Proactivity to the max!
  • Privacy is surprisingly good for a 2-2-2 layout. Not quite as good as JAL 787-8 business class, but good enough.
  • Row 7 FTW. This is the only row of business class secluded from the rest of the cabin.

Cons

  • The seats are a bit narrow due to the dense 2-2-2 configuration.
  • The food is OK. This is not the airline for you if you demand nothing less than 5-star dining in business class.

Comments (2)

  1. Stuart in GA

    July 6, 2024
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      July 7, 2024

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