Introduction: Journey To Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, And Kuwait
Review: Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: Korean Air Business Class 747-8 San Francisco To Seoul
Review: Korean Air Business Class 777 Seoul To Kathmandu
Review: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
Review: Kathmandu Airport Lounge
Review: Drukair Business Class A319 Kathmandu To Paro
Review: Le Meridien Thimphu
Review: Le Meridien Paro
Hiking To The Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
How We Spent Our Time In Bhutan
Review: Drukair Economy ATR42 Paro To Dhaka
Review: Presidential Suite At The Le Meridien Dhaka
Review: Dhaka Airport Lounge
Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class A330 Dhaka To Kuwait
Review: Sheraton Kuwait
Review: Kuwait Airways Lounge Kuwait Airport
Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class 777 Kuwait To Shannon
Review: Kuwait Airways Business Class 777 Shannon To New York
We spent the night at the Grand Hyatt Incheon, and the next day headed to the airport at around 11:30AM for our 1:25PM flight to Kathmandu. Immigration and security were reasonably quick (they took about 20 minutes, while in the past I’ve sometimes had to wait over an hour), and we quickly found gate 21, where our flight would be departing from.
As we arrived our 777 was just getting catered, and a few minutes later the crew arrived.
Boarding was announced at 12:55PM, starting with business class.
Korean Air 695
Seoul Incheon (ICN) – Kathmandu (KTM)
Tuesday, March 7
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 7H (Business/Prestige Class)
First I should mention that this was a pretty unique flight in terms of how they sold it. The flight was operated by a three class 777 (with first class, business class, and economy class), though they only sold business class and economy class. As a result, first class had the standard business class service, and select business class passengers could assign seats in first class.
On top of that, they only sold the front half of the business class cabin as business class. The last two rows of business class were sold as economy, and had economy service.
I asked about the possibility of getting a first class seat at the gate, but was told that our fare class wasn’t eligible for that (I suppose because we were on award tickets). All the better, since I wanted to review Korean Air’s business class seat anyway.
Here’s what the seatmap looked like (the blue seats are occupied). As you can see, nine of the 21 seats were occupied.
We boarded through what was technically the first class cabin, which consisted of eight seats spread across two rows. I’ve reviewed this exact first class product before.
Then we found ourselves in the forward business class cabin.
This cabin consists of a total of 14 seats, spread across two rows in a 2-3-2 configuration. The middle seat in business class isn’t ideal, and on top of that these seats aren’t fully flat. Do note that many of Korean Air’s longhaul 777s feature the same seat I had on the flight from San Francisco to Seoul.
I had assigned us seats 7H & 7J, which were the aisle and window seat in the first row on the right side.
On the outside armrest were the seat controls, which were easy to use.
Underneath the center armrest were two power outlets.
Above that was the rather clunky entertainment controller (though the monitor was also touchscreen, so there wasn’t much of a need to use it).
Between seats was a privacy partition, reading lights, and USB outlets.
Since we were in the bulkhead, the personal television could be extended from the center armrest — in other rows, it’s simply located on the back of the seat in front.
Waiting at my seat were a pillow and blanket, which were very similar to the ones I had on the previous flight.
Waiting in the seatback pocket were the same type of slippers I had on the previous flight.
The menu was also in the seatback pocket.
Within about 10 minutes of settling in, we were offered pre-departure beverages, including the choice between water, champagne, and juice (they didn’t offer champagne out of the US, I assume because they don’t want to pay the tax on it). I had champagne, though it had to be one of the smallest pours I’ve ever been offered (the below picture was before I had anything to drink). We were also offered honey roasted peanuts again.
The crew then came through the cabin with newspapers and headphones. I quickly realized that service on Korean Air is very consistent, as the entire service procedure mirrored the previous flight.
At 1:35PM the door closed, at which point the (American) captain added his welcome aboard, and informed us of our insanely long flight time of 7hr15min, and cruising altitude of 34,000 feet. While the direct air distance between Seoul and Kathmandu is only 2,500 miles (which should take less than six hours to cover), they can’t fly the direct route. See a previous post I wrote for details about why — it’s interesting stuff.
Looking at the airshow, the route seems innocent enough, but as you’ll see further down in the report, that’s a far cry from the route we actually flew.
At 1:45PM we began our pushback, which finished with the typical waving from the ramp agents.
We had a very quick taxi to our departure runway.
I enjoyed looking out the window, especially given the unique airlines you don’t always see, like MIAT Mongolian and Aurora.
By 1:55PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 34.
Usually airlines close the curtains between first and business class after takeoff, but since first class was being sold as business class, they left the curtains open.
The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff. At that point the cabin supervisor (who was a guy — I’m not sure I’ve ever had a male flight attendant on Korean Air before) came around to each business class passenger to welcome them aboard.
A few minutes later the crew came around to take lunch orders, and then collected menus. The lunch menu read as follows:
The wine list read as follows:
The crew then came around with warm towels.
Since the cabin was so empty, service was really quick. The flight attendants rolled a cart through the aisle with drinks.
I had another glass of champagne, and was offered an amuse bouche consisting of a roasted fig tart with feta cheese and tomato salsa.
After that I was offered a tray with the appetizer.
The appetizer consisted of a small mixed green salad with shrimp, and was pretty good.
I was also offered bread, and chose the garlic option.
Next up came the soup course, which was a broccoli cream soup.
For the main course I ordered the cod with roasted potatoes and vegetables. The dish was much better than the fish dish on my previous flight, even if the presentation left a bit to be desired.
Ford had the stir-fried chicken, which he said was reasonably good.
The dessert selection on this flight was simpler than on the previous flight — the choice was between ice cream and fresh fruit. I selected the ice cream, and they had strawberry and vanilla to choose from.
The meal was done just 75 minutes after takeoff, and we were offered bottled water and landing cards for Nepal.
Much like on the previous flight, the crew was friendly, and they were able to be a bit more efficient, given how few business class passengers there were.
I checked out the lavatory after lunch. There are two lavatories between the two business class cabins, and they looked like they had seen better days.
They did have the basic amenities, though.
We were quite exhausted at this point, given that we had only flown from the US the day before, and it was the middle of the night in the US. I figured I wouldn’t be able to sleep given that the seats on Korean’s 777s are angled. Not to be a diva, but in general I’m a person who struggles to sleep, and I need perfect conditions to be able to sleep. A fully flat bed is one of those conditions.
However, I managed to sleep with no issue, as these are among the most comfortable angled seats I’ve ever flown in. The angle is very minor, and it almost feels fully flat since planes are at a slight nose up angle during the flight. I got a solid four hours of rest, which was awesome. As a point of comparison, I thought this seat was about as comfortable as the EgyptAir 777 business class seat. So as far as angled seats go, this is as good as it gets.
When we woke up I turned on the airshow, and as you’ll see our routing was far from direct.
About 20 minutes after I woke up, the crew came through the cabin with a variety of juice.
They served a light snack, consisting of a beef focaccia sandwich. While I’m sure I could have asked for a different drink, the crew specifically asked if I wanted coffee or tea with it.
The sandwich was not especially appetizing — while the bread was good and the sandwich was warm, there was very little meat on it.
For the rest of the flight I gazed out the window, given how incredible the scenery is in this part of the world. About 50 minutes out, the captain provided us with updated arrival information, informing us that we’d be landing at around 6PM.
The views weren’t especially dramatic at first.
However, as we began our final approach the views were incredible.
We had a smooth touchdown in Kathmandu at 5:55PM, and from there a short five minute taxi to the gate.
Kathmandu Airport is small, so the 777 we arrived in almost felt out of place.
There wasn’t much traffic on the ground, other than an Oman Air 737 and US-Bangla turboprop.
Kathmandu Airport doesn’t have any gates, so you have to get off the plane by stairs.
There was no bus or anything on arrival, but rather we were directed towards the arrivals facility by foot. The departures terminal was right in front of the plane, while the arrivals facility we were walking to was located behind it.
We were getting visas on arrival, which turned out to be a bit more complicated than I was expecting. You have to fill out a separate form on arrival to get a visa, and on top of that the visa form has to be filled out on one of their outdated computers. That took quite a while, and then we had to pay our visa fees, and then we had to go through immigration.
The entire process took about 30 minutes. Once in the bustling arrivals area, we spotted our driver, who would take us to the Hyatt Regency.
Korean Air 777 business class bottom line
While this flight was much longer than I was expecting (due to the circuitous routing), the product itself was much better than I was expecting. The flight attendants were friendly, the food was good, and I managed to get some solid sleep. Korean Air’s 777 angled seats are among the most comfortable angled business class seats out there. Furthermore, keep in mind that many Korean Air 777-300ERs even feature the new business class product.