One of my latest flights included a short hop from Osaka Kansai to Seoul Incheon – on board a Boeing 747-400 of Asiana Airlines!
Osaka Kansai Airport is quite far from the centre of the city and it took us as about 40 minutes to get there. The drive took us past a huge industrial area that was not appealing to the eye, but reaching the long bridge from the mainland to the airport, I had a wonderful view over the water. Kansai airport was opened in 1994 and expanded over the years, but overall it is still quite modern and efficient. Check-In was quick and the funny thing was that one lady would do all the computer work and print the baggage tag, but another lady would then put the tag on our bag (it seemed that this was all she did there). After passing security control we had to take an automatic people mover – 80 seconds waiting time for a 20 second ride. The northern pier handles many flights for Star Alliance partners and I saw a United Boeing 777, some ANA aircraft, a Shenzen Airlines 737, but also a Cathay Pacific Jumbo and a Jetstar A320. Once past the duty-free shops, there is not much to do, but we could pass the time watching the Paralympics.
As the boarding time got closer, there was still no airplane to be seen at our gate and soon an announcement was made that the flight would be delayed. Some minutes later, an Asiana Airlines plane landed, but it was not the Airbus A330 that should have operated the flight, but a big Boeing 747-400! Once ready, boarding was done within 20 minutes, which is amazing as it usually takes much longer in other countries… At the gate were about eight beautiful young ladies and one gentleman and once on board I was again greeted by some extremely nice stewardesses. My seat 1K was located right in the front of the nose on the right side and for a short-haul flight it was extremely comfortable!
The seat could be put in a fully flat configuration, but I was a bit too tall for that… I suppose they only planned it with some smaller Asians in mind. The in-flight entertainment was only started half-way into the flight, which meant I could not watch a movie, but I played some classic games like Tetris and Streetfighter from the early 90’s. Even before take-off, I was asked to choose a dish from the menu and with halibut and Teriyaki steak available, I went for the meat. Drinks were available all the time and my glass of coke never went empty! Once airborne it only took a few minutes before the flight attendants served dinner and it was very tasty. Besides the meat there were also some vegetables and rice and a red Korean pepper sauce, which was nice and spicy, but not burning hot! But see for yourself:
Time literally flew by and as I had some more Coke and played a little more Tetris, we started our approach into Seoul Incheon. Unfortunately the sky was very cloudy that day and there was not much to see. I finally figured out how to put on the airshow on my screen, but understood only half of it, as I don’t speak any Korean…
The cabin never really had to get prepared for landing – it was neat and tidy the whole time! The pilot (don’t know if the captain or first officer actually steered the plane) put down the light Jumbo jet gently on runway 34 and it only took a few minutes until we reached the gate. Deboarding was as quick as boarding – the locals are really quick and I barely had time for a quick Economy Class photo.
I had filled in the arrival form before take-off already (the stewardesses were really well prepared) and was lucky as a new row of counters just opened. So about ten minutes after arriving at the gate, I was standing in front of the baggage belt. Taking into account that they had to get my bag out of a Boeing 747, I received it within a short time-frame and as my driver was already waiting outside for me, the whole flight ended as seamless as it started. So to sum it up: Great service and food, inflight-entertainment a bit out-dated, but overall a pleasant experience!