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How To Redeem Korean Air SkyPass Miles
China Southern Los Angeles Airport First Class Check-In
Korean Air Lounge Los Angeles Airport
China Southern A380 First Class Los Angeles to Guangzhou
W Guangzhou Hotel
China Southern Lounge Guangzhou Airport
China Southern A330 First Class Guangzhou to Tokyo Narita
Korean Air Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport
Korean Air 777 First Class Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air First Class Lounge Seoul Incheon
Korean Air A380 First Class Seoul Incheon to Los Angeles
Korean Air 706
Tokyo (NRT) – Seoul (ICN)
Tuesday, February 11
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 2A (First Class)
I boarded through door 1L, where I was welcomed by two very charming flight attendants that directed me to my seat, 2A.
The first class cabin consists of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While the first class seats are fully flat, they’re angled slightly away from the aisle.
Per SeatGuru, here’s the seating chart for the first and business class cabins on the Korean Air 777-200:
It was a really solid “hard” product, especially for such a short flight to Seoul.
Frankly my biggest issue with the design was the color scheme they used, which is downright hideous.
I quickly settled into my seat and acquainted myself with it.
There was a fairly large pillow waiting at my seat, which I found to be the only thing in the cabin of a non-hideous color.
The seat had a large ottoman which could double as a “buddy seat,” and an open storage compartment below it.
Waiting in the storage compartment were some slippers.
To the left of the seat were the seat controls, along with the entertainment controls under a panel.
Below the entertainment controls was a small pouch where you could store books or newspapers. This is also where the power and USB ports were located.
Because the seats are at a slight angle to the plane, there’s a ton of “counter” space to the left of the seat, where you can easily store a bag during the flight. There’s also a fairly large compartment that pops up that could fit anything you might need during the flight.
I took a quick peek at the business class cabin, which was in a 2-3-2 configuration and looked comfortable enough.
Once settled in I was offered a pre-departure beverage. I was finally looking forward to having a glass of champagne, after being “deprived” for two flights in a row on China Southern. 😉
However, unfortunately Korean Air doesn’t serve champagne on flights within North Asia. Drats!
So I had still water instead, which was served with macadamia nuts. The crew couldn’t have been friendlier or more attentive and polished, which was a welcome change after two flights on China Southern. Once I finished my water and nuts I was offered a refill. Mmmm, macadamia nuts…
Boarding was efficient, and within about 20 minutes four other passengers took their seats in first class. In the end 1A, 1D, and 2E remained empty, meaning there was just one other person on “my” aisle of the plane. All the other passengers were Korean.
Around our scheduled departure time of 9:10AM the door closed and safety video started to play, though we didn’t move for a while. As the safety video began the crew “bowed,” which was entertaining because they had four flight attendants bowing for first class – one in each aisle for each row! That’s nearly a 1:1 bow to passenger ratio. Then again that doesn’t hold a candle to the bow to passenger ratio on my Seoul Incheon to Los Angeles flight — stay tuned for that. 😉
After the safety video the purser got on the PA to announce “we are removing snows from the plane for your safety.”
Nothing happened for about 30 minutes, at which point the deicing truck finally showed up. Given that the plane sat at Narita overnight, there was an unreal amount of snow and ice falling from the aircraft.
Eventually the captain came on the PA as well to inform us we should be pushing back shortly, at this point almost an hour late. One cool thing to note is that as far as I could tell the captain was actually American. At least he spoke it with “perfect” American diction and a corresponding accent, and did begin his announcement in English with “folks,” so…
He informed us we would have a “really fast” flight time of 2hr10min, and apologized for the delay.
I was impressed that during the delay the crew did a beverage service in first class and also turned on the entertainment system.
At around 10:10AM we commenced our pushback and began our taxi to runway 34L. There was some pretty cool traffic on the taxi over there, including a KLM 747, Air France A380, ANA 777-300ER, NCA 747-8, etc.
At around 10:30AM we began our really quick takeoff roll on runway 34L, and must have been airborne within 20 seconds.
Our climb out was smooth, and the views of the countryside covered in snow were awesome.
Once through about 20,000 feet the captain came on the PA once again to say “cabin crew this is the captain, please remain seated due to turbulence.” Not sure if they were expecting something or what, but it was actually a pretty smooth flight.
A few minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned off and service began. The crew first closed the curtains, and then came around with the menu.
The brunch menu read as follows:
And the wine list, which was in the seatback pocket throughout the flight, read as follows:
I ordered the bibimbap for my main course, and it was delicious. I love Korean food, and for a two hour flight I thought it was the perfect meal. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not actually an expert at eating bibimbap so I probably looked like an idiot, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it.
Then for dessert I was offered some fruit, and ordered some tea to go along with it.
The other four Korean passengers all passed on brunch. They slept the whole way, but what I found odd is that they didn’t recline at all, but rather slept in the upright position. Kind of reminded me of my dad… except they weren’t enjoying za ambiance!
About an hour into the flight the meal service was done, though the crew still came by every 10 minutes or so to see if I wanted anything else to drink.
I worked on my laptop for most of the rest of the flight, and about 30 minutes out we began our descent into Seoul Incheon. The views of the Korean countryside were pretty cool, and about 10 minutes before landing the seatbelt sign was switched on.
We did hit a bit of chop on our final descent, though had a smooth touchdown on runway 16 at 12:35PM, about 45 minutes behind schedule.
Our taxi to the gate took about 10 minutes, and at roughly 12:45PM we arrived at the gate.
I headed towards transit security and was looking forward to visiting the Korean Air First Class Lounge, given that I’ve only ever used the Asiana First Class Lounge in Seoul Incheon.
I was really impressed by Korean Air’s shorthaul service. The crew was spectacularly friendly, attentive, and professional, and the food was perfect for a two hour flight. While I had always heard that Korean Air is “stylish,” I never heard amazing things about their service, so was very pleasantly surprised. I was even more excited to see what was awaiting me on the transpacific flight to Los Angeles!
How you can redeem miles for Korean Air first class
The best way to book Korean Air first class is through their own SkyPass program. Earlier in this series I wrote a post about how to redeem Korean Air SkyPass Miles for travel on Korean Air.
Korean Air SkyPass allows one way awards if traveling on Korean Air metal, and in this case charges the following mileage for award tickets:
- Travel between Japan and Korea costs 32,500 SkyPass miles one-way for first class
- Travel between North Asia (which includes Japan and Korea) costs 80,000 SkyPass miles one-way for first class, so you could book something like Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon to Los Angeles, like I did.
Korean Air SkyPass is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, meaning you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards instantly at a 1:1 ratio. The best cards for collecting Ultimate Rewards points are:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers double points on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees
- The Ink Plus® Business Card and Ink Bold® Business Card, which offer 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
Lastly, it’s worth noting that while Delta partners with Korean Air, you can’t redeem Delta SkyMiles for international first class on Korean Air. Rather, business class is the highest cabin you can redeem for.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone approved through some of the above links. Thanks for your support!)