Review: Korean Air 604 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon

Introduction
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport Midfield Terminal
Korean Air 604 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 1
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 2
Our Whistler Apartment: Pinnacle Ridge
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: My Thoughts
Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver
Korean Air 72 777-200 Business Class Vancouver to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 607 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific 723 A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur
The Boulevard by St. Giles Kuala Lumpur
Cathay Pacific 720 A330-300 Economy Class Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong


It’s worth noting that I’d taken this exact flight before last April. However, that flight was operated by an A330, unlike the return leg of this sector, where the equipment and service mentality was basically identical.

And also, while the flight was originally scheduled to be on a 747-400, I was “upgraded” to flat bed seats on the 777, which I was happy with.

Korean Air Flight 604
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 26 Dep: 12:35 (12:50)
Destination: Seoul Incheon (ICN) Gate: 28 Arr: 17:00 (17:05)
Duration: 3 hr 25 min (3 hr 15 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 10B (Business Class)

While I’d missed the prime opportunity to take photos, I wanted to make sure I was there before the cabin filled up, so at least I’d get a few good pictures. Obviously, I looked like a wreck, as when I stumbled through door L1, the flight attendants immediately rushed to help, taking my jacket at the door and getting the stuff hanging off my shoulders back on my arms. I was fine shortly (really, the jacket was the only thing slowing me down).

I walked through Korean Air’s first class. The headrest covers do seem bigger on these planes than I’ve seen in the photos.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 First Class

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 First Class

I’ve flown this exact route before, but that was operated by an A330. It’s got a more discreet cabin, so I do prefer the A330 – while the 777-200 only has four rows of business class split open into two rows each, at least the A330 isn’t seven abreast.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Seatmap

I passed through rows 7 and 8. While they’re more discreet, row 8 lacks a window. While that’s not really a big deal given Korean Air gives three windows to every window passenger on this configuration, I seated the four of us in rows 7 and 8 for the following two flights, so didn’t really want to be stuck there forever.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class

The middle seat wasn’t as bad as I would expect it to be – stay tuned for the next installment, where I actually purposely moved to one so I could sleep better.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class

I walked past row 9, where my parents would be. My parents and my sister were still in the lounge, due to their hatred of flying (yes, it’s kind of bipolar around the house in terms of what we value about travel).

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Seats 9A and 9B

While for a long flight I appreciate exclusivity, privacy and quiet more than views, for the short flight I chose the back cabin. I seated myself in seat 10B, beside seat 10A where my sister was seated. Both were in the backmost row of the cabin.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Seats 10A and 10B

I took a peek at the economy cabin. The flight was completely packed back there, and there was only one free seat in the business class cabin. However, due to the 34-inch pitch, the seats still looked spacious – while I definitely didn’t want to be stuck there for nine hours, a three-hour flight would be a piece of cake. The seats seemed to be updated with touchscreen controls, which was nice to see.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Economy Class

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Economy Class

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Economy Class

While I had taken this seat not long ago, I refamiliarized myself with it, given it had been a bit of time since I had last been here. I’d be seeing this for the next 15 hours, so I better get used to it, I thought. The legroom was massive, and at the bottom there was a shoe cubby – while it fit my shoes last time round, my snow boots were a bit too big for this time.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Legroom

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Shoe Cubby

As with last time, the Prestige Sleeper seats featured a large screen and two working USB ports, as well as a nice privacy divider.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Power Ports

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Power Ports

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Screen

The seat controls were on the side of the seat and were as intuitive as I remembered them. Of course, the new seat controls, I knew, were more varied, but these did the trick alright.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Seat Controls

There were also cupholders, which were borderline useless given how shallow they were.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Armrest Cupholders

The remote was new though I’ve recently learned it’s been quite brand standard these days.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Remote

As the cabin hadn’t filled up, I took the opportunity to take a couple of cabin pictures, to make use of the time I had with the seat. While I was on Korean Air’s second oldest 777 (the oldest would be saved for the next leg), it definitely was in mint condition.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class

Everyone here knows I have a strong liking for the Boeing 777 curvature, so ’nuff said that I had a hard time not admiring it during the flight.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Curvature

There’s also a lot of storage space, as well as a reading light, which made my working time easier – too bad my Evernote crashed, or these would have been really productive flights.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Storage

The reading lights weren’t very strong, but they did the trick. I don’t normally use the reading lights, given I work on my computer, but my mother found them to be of an adequate strength.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Reading Light

After I sat down, I was offered juice. I chose orange, which was served in some nice glassware.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Orange Juice

The drink was served with the same addictive nuts I’d had.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Nuts

While I was in the aisle seat waiting, my eyes were fixated on the Singapore Airlines A380 parked not far away.

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

And also the huge Pratt and Whitney PW4090 engines that would be taking me all the way to Vancouver (okay, specifically, not this set).

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 PW4090 Engines

At this point, the ground service manager came to talk to me and asked what seat I was in. I said I was in 10A, but my parents, who had left the lounge and were coming, would be sitting at 10A, 9A, and 9B (due to my sister’s requested seat switch). The ground service manager told me to tell them to hurry up, as the rest of the (fully loaded) plane was waiting for just the three of them.

I practically freaked out, especially as they weren’t listening to the calls. Eventually, they listened, and I had them hurry up, as the ground service manager was starting to ask if they wanted to be escorted to the plane. In retrospect it’s weird, as it was just 12:20 (the door closes at 12:30 according to the boarding pass), though props to the ground agent for taking it so calmly. I was running around the cabin like a chicken with its head chopped off, so I guess I looked really stupid – if you were on my flight and are reading this, sorry.

After my parents and my sister finally boarded, they settled next to me, and the door closed. Subsequently, the entertainment turned on. I browsed it – I wasn’t that interested, but the selection was quite good.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Entertainment Selection

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Entertainment Selection

Soon the safety video played, which is about twenty years past its prime.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Safety Video

One thing I noticed that was edited of the video was that a notification was given that stuck items under seats would cause fire hazards. I’m not sure if that’s the norm now or not, given I’ve seen it a lot more than before, but it definitely was a good reminder (especially after another friend crushed her iPod in business class on an Emirates 777).

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Business Class Safety Video

We stayed there for a little (thanks for making us hustle, Korean Air), before pushing back 15 minutes behind schedule.

We saw some very interesting traffic upon our pretty short taxi to the runway, including a Phillippine Airlines A321, a Singapore Airlines A380 (the same one, but we got a much clearer view)…

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Philippine Airlines Airbus A321 Hong Kong Airport

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Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

A China Southern A330, an Asiana 747, a Thai Airways A380 and an American Airlines 777-300ER…

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China Southern Airbus A330-200 Hong Kong Airport

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Asiana Boeing 747-400 Hong Kong Airport

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Thai Airways Airbus A380-800 Hong Kong Airport

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American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

…and finally, what I had anticipated the most, a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER in the new livery. It looked much sleeker in person, and while I’d liked a few hints of red, I think I actually prefer this to the old livery.

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

We lined up behind the runway, and very soon we were off.

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Runway Hong Kong Airport

Soon we were off. We took off through the water instead of past the city, which is something I’ve unfortunately been accustomed to nowadays.

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Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Climbout Hong Kong Airport

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Climbout Hong Kong Airport

During this time we were passed out menus. The menu read as follows:

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Menu

First we were passed out hot towels, fifteen minutes into the flight ~400km out of Hong Kong.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Hot Towel

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Airshow

We were then given drinks. I had a coke, which was served with one of those tall Korean cans. I also asked for nuts, and was given two packs. Yum!

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Drink Service

After the drink service, there was a sizeable gap in service, which lasted about five minutes. I used the time to take a couple of cabin pictures and also visit the lavatory, the latter of which wasn’t anything special.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Cabin

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Cabin

As you see, the lavatory could easily have been an economy lavatory. It was clean, though, and I fit, and most of all, it worked, so I wasn’t complaining.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Lavatory

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Lavatory

While I went for the Korean main course, everyone else selected the steak, including my sister. While I love steak, I was looking for something lighter (like bibimbap) so I could indulge in a steak or something for the longer flight. After all, I’m a huge fan of them.

The meal started with the appetiser, marinated artichoke with shrimp salad served with Italian dressing. The shrimp was just a touch fishy (which I can live with, especially given how perfectly cooked it was) and the salad was good and well dressed, but I had no damn idea what the artichoke was marinated in. It was borderline vile, so much so that none of us finished it all.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Appetiser – Marinated Artichoke with Shrimp Salad served with Italian Dressing

While I didn’t get any soup (Korean main courses don’t come with soup), my sister didn’t want it, so I had her soup. It was really nice, but not special.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Soup – Potato and Leek Cream Soup

After that I was served the bibimbap, which was phenomenal as I remembered it.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Main Course – Korean “Bibimbap” offered with Minced Beef and Seasoned Vegetables, accompanied by sesame oil and “Gojuchang”

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Main Course

My sister had the steak, which was f*cking amazing in terms of temperature and taste. She had it medium – if there was one caveat in Korean Air’s steak dishes that I’d found, they run rare, so an “à pointe” (on point) steak would be medium as opposed to medium rare.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Main Course – Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Brown Sauce served with Potato and Mixed Vegetables

The meal ended with ice cream, which was unexpectedly pillowy (as opposed to the block of ice I’d had on many other carriers).

I also asked for fruit, though apparently that’s not a standard service offering to have both – fortunately the flight attendant said I could have some if there was enough.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Dessert – Ice Cream

While the service during the meal was good, it wasn’t up to the standards I’d seen on the previous two flights I’d had with Korean Air on the same route, and definitely not up to par with the flight attendants I had on the way to Vancouver – stay tuned.

After lunch (ending ~2 hours into the flight) ended, I worked for about half an hour and wanted to spend the rest of the flight in bed. While the bed isn’t comfortable at all (more on that on the much longer next flight), I enjoyed admiring the curvature of the cabin – seriously, it’s stunning.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Cabin Curvature

The bed itself is rather flimsy (in which case the seat would have broke were I standing on the end), so it wasn’t really that comfortable of an experience. That said, I did like the controls by the side which made it much easier for me to adjust the seat, and liked the little bit of space that made it much easier for the person in the window seat to climb over.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Bed

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Bedside Controls

Obviously, at this hour I decided against sleeping (I could do that on the nine-hour flight instead), so ended up walking through the economy cabin for a visit. I noticed the newer controls, which I figured would probably have been a welcome change in economy. One thing Korean does right is the IFE – while it’s really not that varied, they went with the “standard” version, which is actually really intuitive.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Economy Class

We were getting closer to Seoul, and already pretty tired I was ready for a little shower at the lounge.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Airshow to Incheon

While I continued working, the flight attendant I had interacted with earlier with the fruit kerfuffle came back with a plate of fruit, which I really appreciated. I understand it’s not a standard service offering (and I felt like one of the less well-travelled travellers I’ve seen that simply want everything), so I was really happy with that, even if the fruit wasn’t exactly anything special.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Dessert – Seasonal Fresh Fruit

At this point we were almost there, and opening the windows there were pretty nice views of the engine and rural Korea.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class View out of Incheon

At this point, I somehow started to really crave orange juice (partially due to the dehydration in the cabin), so pressed the call button and asked for some. The flight attendant obliged.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Orange Juice

Also, I asked about transfer details. The purser gave me an envelope with all the instructions, saying that the transfer would be “eajy”.

Soon the captain came on the PA, saying that we would very soon be landing in Incheon. While I didn’t care much about how cold it was outside, it was marginally above 0˚C, so while I wouldn’t be seeing snow, it would be pretty close to that. As the sun was just starting to dip down, it made for some nice reflections on the water.

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Approach Incheon Airport

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Views on Touchdown Incheon Airport

Upon landing at Incheon Airport we got pretty nice views of the tarmac, including a Delta 747.

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Traffic Incheon Airport

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Traffic Incheon Airport

We parked next to a Korean Air 777-300.

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Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Incheon Airport

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Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Incheon Airport

I said “thank you” to the crew, and bid them farewell as we walked away from Korean Air’s second oldest 777-200, bound for their oldest 777-200. Wow, it sure was a vintage day of flying!

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Korean Air Boeing 777-200 Incheon Airport

It wasn’t until I disembarked until I realised my sister left my dad’s iPad on the flight. Sh*t…

I darted all the way from the transfer area to the gate, which had already closed. I was instructed to head towards the transfer desk, which tried to help me, but by the time they got in contact with the crew my dad had already been passed the iPad as the cabin crew passed by. Gee, karma can be a bitch sometimes (not that I believe in karma).

Bottom line on Korean Air’s Boeing 777-200 Business Class

While the hard product was starting to get slightly underwhelming given how long I’d be facing it for, it was considerably better than the angled flat product I was scheduled in, even for the short flight.

I wasn’t looking for the best hard product, though – Korean Air struck me the last time with the soft product. They didn’t really deliver as much this time round, even though I had a pretty nice crew.

Stay tuned for the next flight, which left me speechless (in the best way possible).

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