Review: Asiana Business Class (Smartium), New York to Seoul OZ221 JFK-ICN

Asiana is a Star Alliance airline that is known for releasing many award seats to its partners. Currently Asiana serves Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), San Francisco, and Seattle and offers great connectivity beyond Seoul to South Asia.

Among those destinations, LAX and JFK are served by A380 since there are only four of those in Asiana’s fleet. That means if you are an A380 enthusiast, be aware!

Asiana’s A380 consists of a First Class cabin in 1-2-1 configuration and a Business Class cabin with staggered, lie-flat seats. In my experience the level of comfort and privacy  is on a par with reverse herringbone seats.

Asiana’s Business Cabin on A380 is located on the second floor. So if you could get a window seat, go for it! The storage space beneath the window is remarkable.

Look how roomy it is!

On the other side are the IFE and seat controls.

One minor complaint I have though is tight foot rest.

Looking more closely at the screen, I found it does not work very well under strong lighting. Later I also spotted some backlight bleeding at the lower part.

The good news is that, unlike typical staggered seats, the entrance is quite spacious.

The headset does not carry any brand names on it, and does not seem to offer noise-reduction functions.

Upon boarding, the amenity kit, headset, and slippers were in place.

The L’Occitane amenity is pretty basic and nothing really exciting.

Then I was quickly served pre-departure beverage, for which I picked orange juice.

Soon enough the pushback began and we began our long taxi at JFK. Asiana uses Terminal 4 at JFK despite being a Star Alliance member. On the other hand, Korean Air, which just became BFF with Delta, is housed in T1. Anybody knows why?

Once airborne, the cabin service quickly commenced, which I appreciate.

No nuts were distributed, but I brought my own. 😀

I ordered Korean cuisine, which started with shrimp and ham salad. I also ordered a glass of Laurent -Perrier, a just OK-choice for business class.

The next appetizer contains radish & veggie wrap.

Then pumpkin soup was served, which was very flavorful.

Entree came with Korean bibimbap. All I could remember is the zesty kimchee.

Finally I was served cheese plates and cake. To my delight Asiana offers Sawmill Creek Vidal Icewine 2015 for dessert. If my memory serves, not many airlines offer legitimate “Icewine” in business class, so I have to give Asiana kudos for that.

About two hours into the flight, each passenger was handed a bottle of water. At the same time, the cabin light was dimmed.

OZ211 departs around 2 pm local time in New York so at this point it’s only 5 pm. I personally don’t find this to be a good schedule to combat jet lag, but fell into slept anyway and woke around 10 pm EST.

Feeling hungry, I ordered some ramen, which was salty, spicy, and full of MSG.

After the snack I paid a quick visit to the aircraft. Unlike Middle East A380 operators that installed in-flight bars, Asiana only has a simple “social area” with plain sofa.

There was no self-service liquor or food bar either.

The stair across the flight map leads to the first floor, but was blocked mid-flight.

On Asiana A380, there are two lavatories near the front. One is huge, though Asiana does not add anything like an onboard shower to it.

The other one by the social area is rather small and similar to what you would find on a 777, for example.

In lavatories L’Occitane amenities were offered as well.

Then I managed to sleep for another couple of hours. Finally about 1.5 hours before landing breakfast (or dinner, according to Korean time?) was served.

The second meal started again with cold shrimp and sausage.

Then entree was served, for which I chose beef teriyaki with rice.

Meal finished with fruit salad and a cup of Cappuccino.

Our landing at Incheon airport was smooth and quick. Very soon I disembarked and headed to the transfer security check.

In brief, Asiana’s business class is a solid product, but I don’t find it to stand out among competitors, especially after flying with EVA Air. However, one big advantage of Asiana is its wide-open availability, which can be easily redeemed by ANA, Aeroplan, and United.

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