Flight Review: Korean Air First Class HKG – ICN

We flew this flight in July 2017 as part of our trip around the world. This flight was in Korean Air’s First Class on a Boeing 777-300ER.

Boarding and Initial Thoughts

We boarded the plane and were greeted by the three flight attendants who would be taking care of us during our flight.

My wife and I were the only first class passengers, which honestly wasn’t surprising considering HKG to ICN is only a 3 hour flight. You’d have to be pretty “baller” to pay for first class ($1k+) on a flight less than 4 hours long. For us, we were able to add this additional leg to our first class tickets from ICN to LAX, which meant it didn’t cost us any additional points and we just had to pay a little bit extra ($25-30) in taxes/fees.

As we took our seats, the flight attendants offered us some water and warm nuts. They also passed out Bose headphones for use with the in-flight entertainment system.

This aircraft had three different cabins: First, Business, and Economy. I was actually kind of shocked that Korean Air flew such a large aircraft on this short route, but hey I wasn’t complaining. It essentially felt like we were on a private flight.

The Seats

The first class cabin configuration consisted of six seats. We were situated in the two front middle seats. Korean Air calls these seats are called Kosmo Suites, but they didn’t offer much privacy for a “suite” in my opinion. I was able to take quite a few pictures without feeling weird since there was no one else in our cabin.

They offered a ton of legroom and felt very spacious. I was a little confused by the power seat controls. They weren’t quite as intuitive as I would have liked.

In-Flight Entertainment

I mentioned this in my longer review of the ICN – LAX flight, but the in-flight entertainment system was mediocre at best. Not that we really needed entertainment for a three hour flight, but our longer flight had the exact same selection.

In-Flight Meal: Dinner

I was surprised when we first took our seats that the flight attendants showed us the menu and told us to feel free to select what we would like to eat. I had pretty much filled up on dinner at the airport lounge prior to boarding. However, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to experience a first class dinner.

They laid out a white table cloth on the tray table. They then proceeded to lay out our silverware, salt & pepper, butter. It actually felt like a fine dining experience 30,000 ft above the ground.

They served us SIX courses! The amount of food was ridiculous.

They offered us some Perrier-Joet Rose Champagne to go with our meal. I actually really liked this wine. I was kind of curious how much a bottle of this would cost and turns out it’s a $75 bottle of champagne. Not sure I’d ever pay that much to drink it again, but it true champagne since it comes from Champagne, France.

The first course was some grilled beef on a skewer, which was delicious.

The second course was feta cheese and a crab meat stuffed tomato. This course was my least favorite.

The third course was a butternut cream soup.

The fourth course was a mixed green salad.

There were three different options for the fifth (main) course: Korean bibimbap, stir fried chicken, and roasted fish. My wife and I both choose the Korean bibimbap.

The final course was dessert, which was either ice cream of fresh fruit. I chose some fresh fruit, which was watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi.

Overall, the meal service was wonderful! I was super full by the time it wrapped up.

In-Flight Experience

The flight attendants were attentive and friendly. We were only in the air for 2.5 hours so we didn’t sleep at all. I did appreciate the blanket and pillow that was provided as it made the flight more comfortable. The table cloth for dinner definitely made the experience feel more luxurious. I always appreciate the noise cancelling headphones, but these are typically a given for premium class flights.

Overall Thoughts

In these flight reviews, I’ll typically rate the hard and the soft product. The hard product is primarily anything that is attached to the plane itself. Examples of the hard product would be: the seat, in-flight entertainment system, on-board amenities. Whereas the soft product would include things that might be different from flight to flight. Examples of the soft product would be: food, service, amenity kits.

My rating (1-10, 1 being awful and 10 being awesome) of this flight would be as follows:

  • Hard Product: 7
  • Soft Product: 6.5

Hard Product: The seat itself was comfortable, but didn’t offer quite enough privacy in my opinion. However, this didn’t really matter since we were the only two people in the first class cabin.

Soft Product: The meal service was delicious. The flight attendants were well trained and provided excellent service.

Overall, I would rate our experience as a 7 out of 10.