Flight: Asiana 222 ICN-JFK
Cabin: First Class ‘OZ Suite’
Equipment: Boeing 777-200
I left the Asiana First Class lounge about 30 minutes before boarding started in order to explore a bit of the terminal and see if I could spend the remaining Won I had. The lounge had no boarding announcements or reminders of any kind, so I was on my own for the long trek to the gate.
As I approached the gate, I noticed boarding was divided into two lines: to the left, economy; to the right, combination business and first class. There were two business class passengers in front of me as I approached the line, and I decided to wait behind them as boarding had not started.
Before I could blink an Asiana employee approached me and said “Hello Sir, may I see your boarding pass?… Oh, Mr. A, welcome. Please follow me.” I suppose the bright yellow color of the first class boarding pass may have had something to do with it (business class boarding passes are purple).
Boarding had not even begun yet, but after consulting with a colleague, the young woman escorted me down the jet bridge through the additional security screening (for US-bound planes) and onto the plane, where I was handed off to the purser and wished a pleasant trip.
Upon boarding I was directed to my seat, 1K. The cabin is laid out in two rows of 1-2-1 configuration, for a total of 8 suites. Only the 4 window seats were occupied, giving each passenger a great amount of privacy.
The sunlight lit up the bright colors of the cabin making for a very soothing and inviting atmosphere. Given I had just woken up a few hours ago and was fairly well rested, I was excited to be spending virtually the entire day in this cabin.
View of the cabin from my seat
Neighbor’s suite, but no one home
Immediately upon taking my seat, I was blown away by what is undoubtedly the largest TV screen flying today. It’s HUGE. Literally stretches from wall to wall of the suite, making it look more like a large flat screen as opposed to a purpose-built computer monitor.
The largest TV in the sky: 32 inches! This really does make the “suite” feel more like a “Suite”
The Purser and Cabin Manager introduced themselves to me and asked how I would like to be addressed. They were very professional, but somewhat reserved — I take this to be more a function of their English proficiency than anything else.
I was brought some warm nuts and asked if I’d like anything to drink. I asked for Champagne. After a few minutes, the flight attendant came back and apologized for the delay, saying the champagne was not quite chilled yet and if she could bring me something else and would serve the champagne after takeoff. I opted for a sparkling water with ice.
Sparkling water instead of champagne, with warm nuts.
I next proceeded to explore the nooks and crannies. The compartment below the TV is huge, but I did not like that the pillow and bedding were located inside as it did not allow me to place my bag inside. I instead placed my bag in the adjacent empty seat (why have one suite when you can have TWO suites?).
Boise noise-canceling headphones. But not noise-isolating, and as they didn’t fully cover the ear, were quite uncomfortable.
Probably one of the best seat control interfaces I’ve seen to date. Very quick to respond and seamlessly transitions from English to Korean. This particular screen shows how the mini bar near the TV is raised and lowered. I was surprised to find it empty on first use; the image on the LCD led me to expect some goodies inside. Other airlines such as Emirates and Etihad have their mini bars fully stocked on boarding.
The remote was also quite good. The interface mimicked what was on the actual TV screen, so navigating the menus was very easy using either the touch screen or the arrows and buttons. I find this to be one of the best sky remotes out there — much better than the generic Boeing and Airbus ones.
No way I’d lose power on this flight. The outlets were already working on the ground, so I went ahead and plugged in my MacBook, iPad, and iPhone (Apple Junkie?).
Next I was brought the amenity kit. While nothing particularly impressive (it does feel a bit flimsy), it matches the theme of the suites very well.
And then the excitement began.
The meal service!
I had the choice to order from either the Western or Korean menu. There was also a Chinese menu, but I was told one must pre-order those items and they were not available on this flight. Given that I had eaten plenty of Korean food over the last day, and the Western options sounded more appealing, I went with exclusively the Western options.
Prosciutto and Baked Pear with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Lobster Ceviche, Salmon Roe, Citrus Dressing
Cauliflower Veloute and Parmesan Chip
Parmesan Chicken Schnitzel and Mixed Greens
Grilled Wagyu Sirloin, Mushroom with Syrah Sauce
Combozola, Mimolette, Emmental. Apricot and Raisin Chutney
Green Tea Torte with Caramel Sauce
One thing I loved about the seat is the fact that the side arm rest / storage compartment can be lowered to the seat level while dining. This makes it very easy to get out when the table is lowered.
By the time lunch service was finished, we had already made some good progress en route to New York. As these things usually go, Asiana (and all non-Chinese carriers) steers clear of Chinese airspace en route to North America to avoid unexpected ATC delays.
Before settling down, I went to the bathroom to freshen up and put on the complimentary Asiana PJs while the flight attendants turned down by bed.
Turn down service was complete upon returning to my seat.
I started watching The Great Gatsby with dinner, and finished watching it afterwards.
A movie theater in the sky
Doors closed for extra privacy
While there is a great deal of privacy, the taller flight attendants walking by could peak inside the suite without having to raise their head too much
As the movie ended, I ordered a Manhattan to help me sleep. I asked the flight attendant to make it with Johnnie Walker Blue Label instead of bourbon. I’m not sure she understood what I meant, as when she returned she said, “Sir here is your Manhattan with Johnnie Walker Blue Label AND Jack Daniels”. I grinned and chuckled as I said “thank you”– I figured I could use the stronger drink… 🙂
I was upset that the mini bar was never stocked by the flight attendants. As I got ready to sleep, I asked for a bottle of water and stocked it myself. The bottom-lit interior looked quite nice in the dark suite.
Lights out and some star gazing before sleeping
I slept way more than I wanted to. The bed was just THAT comfortable. I was woken up with 25 minutes left to NY and asked if I would like some breakfast. Recovering from my deep REM sleep, I nodded my head yes. Because we’d be landing soon, I was offered fruits, yogurt, croissant, and banana loaf. I was not given the main hot course, but didn’t mind as this was plenty of food. I would have ordered the Polenta Cake with Cheese Sauce time allowing.
As the Cabin Manager (who I had not seen since boarding) came by to clear my table, he asked how the flight was. We chit chatted a bit and he pointed out JFK out the window. I quickly grabbed my camera and took a picture.
Overall the flight was excellent. The service was spot on and efficient, but without being overbearing as in some of the other Asian carriers. The food was among some of the best I had in the sky, and the selection was phenomenal. I will be sure to check the pre-order menus online next time I fly Asiana.
Because the other passengers were either behind me or on the other side of the cabin, I really felt like I was in the cabin by myself. With my doors closed, I never saw them walk by, and with their doors closed, I never even saw what they looked line — kudos to Asiana for excellent privacy in their OZ Suites.
Currently this product is only offered on the ICN-JFK route, but if you have a chance to ride it to/from Asia, I highly recommend it!
HOW TO FLY: 70,000 United Airlines miles for a one-way in First Class
(but book by 1/31 before they devalue the program!)
HOT TO GET POINTS: Several Chase credit cards will get you UA miles, such as the United Airlines Visa (30k), Sapphire Preferred (40k), Ink Bold (50k), and Ink Plus (50k)
If you have any questions about the Suites or would like to see more pictures, please feel free to leave a comment.