Given the separate “First Class” section, check-in was quick and efficient. My carry-on luggage was marked with a yellow ribbon indicating special first class handling. At security, I went through the “fast track” check point for premium travelers. No long lines, no hassles, quick and easy.
From there I was escorted to the Star Alliance lounge, which featured comfortable seating and a choice of snacks, sandwiches, soft drinks and other assorted beverages. BOARDING I left the lounge just 15 minutes before scheduled takeoff, knowing the premium passenger departure gate would allow me to bypass the main boarding area. Not only was this relaxing, it allowed me to spend more time in the lounge finishing up work. Less time on lines is always good in my book. SEATING Having just come off a 3-day conference, and being a bit sleep-deprived, I was especially looking forward to my first experience in this First Class Suite. The seating arrangement on the Boeing 777-200 was two rows of 1-2-1. The suite was private, but not isolated, set apart by 5-foothigh walls, with a double-door louver system that easily slid open or closed. Opposite the wide and cushy lie-flat seat was a companion jump seat and table with room for a guest. Each suite had its own lighting, personal A/C controls and accessible power outlets, USB and serial ports.
Within moments, flight attendants stowed my suit jacket and carry-ons. They explained the entertainment center, and delivered some snacks with a Johnny Walker Blue to boot.
Dining service began promptly after take-off. Each meal included several options, from traditional Korean (one option) to Western selections (three options), with something for everyone. In addition, the serving sizes were substantial and everything was fresh. As a first class passenger, I enjoyed watching the onboard crew chef prepare my beef tenderloin steak to order, complimented by Chateau Gruaud Larose 2008, aka “The King of Wines ”served at Buckingham Palace.
Next, I turned my attention to the entertainment system. Now, this is where it gets exciting. I was blown away: In my own private suite, with my very own 32-inch highdefinition TV and the provided Bose noise-canceling head set – this was better than most top-of-the-line home entertainment systems.
The 3-by-4-inch touch screen control pad was easy to use and controlled everything, including your own mini-bar that magically appeared from inside one of the panels, as well as your personal “Do Not Disturb” sign.
After lunch and several movies, it was time to catch up on some much needed sleep and get synchronized to a new time zone. Once fully flat, you can appreciate the generous size (I’m a six footer). With the addition of a comfortable mattress pad, my shot of Dream Water, and the closed door, I was now in the privacy of my own space, and well on my way to many hours of sleep. This Boeing aircraft also had “mood lighting” for better rest and relaxation: no big bright fluorescents, just hundreds of little sparkling lights, which provided a soothing starlit night effect.
The cabin crew members were all courteous and attentive, but not intrusive. Everyone took pride in their role in customer service striving to make my flight enjoyable and memorable.
The only challenge (not with Asiana) was the luggage I checked on the connecting flight on another carrier didn’t make it to O’Hare by the time of my departure. Not to worry, as the Asiana staff reassured me several times that they’d take care of it. True to their word, when I landed, I was told that my luggage would be forwarded shortly.
They even noticed that it was my birthday. Somebody must have alerted the cabin crew and at the end of the flight, I was presented with a special scroll inscribed in Korean, loosely translated, “It is a pleasure serving you. ”We’ve all been away from home and family on special days, so I got a kick out of having my birthday noticed. ARRIVAL The best part about landing at Incheon is the personal service of Asiana staff. I was escorted off the flight, quickly whisked through customs and greeted by my driver – all in less than 20 minutes. BT