Asiana A380 Business Class Impressions: Good, Not Great

Filed Under: Asiana, Travel

Hello from Incheon! I just took the 13-hour flight on the Asiana A380 from Los Angeles to Seoul Incheon. I’ve flown this route before in first class, though this was my first time trying Asiana’s longhaul business class product. In this post I wanted to share my initial impressions, though I’ll have a full trip report soon (I’m doing this preview post in a different format than in the past, so please let me know what you guys think):

Asiana A380 business class seats

Asiana has a staggered configuration in business class on their A380s, so seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration. Window seats alternate between being closer to the window and being closer to the aisle. I swear I assigned myself a “true” window seat, but somehow I ended up in one of the seats closer to the aisle, which are much less desirable. Oops.

Ultimately this is a decent hard product, though not great. Personally I prefer Apex Suites, reverse herringbone seats, etc. While the “true” window seats are solid, the rest of the seats just aren’t as good as what else is out there.

I also don’t find Asiana’s cabin finishes to be especially inspiring.

Asiana A380 business class entertainment

For my purposes the entertainment was excellent. They had about a dozen episodes of Hawaii Five-0, and I binge watched. Other than that, the selection is fairly limited. For example, there are only about 20 Hollywood movies.

My bigger frustration is that Asiana doesn’t have wifi, which I personally value.

Asiana business class food & drinks

The food and drinks were solid overall. I thought the presentation and quantity of food was great, while the quality was good though not amazing.

I selected the western meal for lunch after takeoff, which started with prosciutto, vegetables, and melon.

That was followed by zucchini soup.

For the main course I had grilled salmon with pesto cream sauce, mushroom risotto, and vegetables. While the accompaniments were great, the salmon itself was dry.

Then there was a cheese plate.

Lastly there was cheesecake for dessert.

Laurent Perrier champagne was on offer in business class, which I like.

Asiana business class amenities

Business class passengers receive a pretty basic L’Occitane amenity kit. While I like the brand as such, I thought the kit was missing some basics, like lip balm, which almost all airlines have in their amenity kits. There were also flimsy slippers and good headphones.

My biggest frustration was with the bedding. Business class passengers get one tiny pillow. The blanket wasn’t great either, though it was sort of a blessing that it was light, given that the cabin was kept quite warm.

In terms of A380 specific amenities, Asiana has two couches at the front of the cabin, though there’s no extra service there. I never saw anyone use them during the flight.

Asiana business class service

The crew was incredibly well intentioned, charming, and efficient. The service was the highlight of the flight, as all of the flight attendants were great. They weren’t just attentive during meals, but also between meals kept checking to see if anyone wanted anything to eat or drink.

Where does Asiana business class rank?

Asiana business class is a solid option that I wouldn’t avoid, but I also can’t say I’d seek it out. In terms of transpacific airlines I’ve flown, taking into account the overall product I’d say it ranks behind China Airlines, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air (at least on their 747-8s and 777s with the new business class).

It’s an all around fairly well rounded product with phenomenal service, it’s just that I think some other airlines do better when it comes to bedding, wifi, hard product, and other amenities.

If you’ve flown Asiana business class, what did you make of it?

Comments
  1. In the very first sentence … “Hello from Incheon! I just took the 13 flight on the Asiana A380 from Los Angeles to Seoul Incheon.” What does “13” mean …?

  2. If you sit at the couches, the flight attendants will take care of you. I was traveling JFK-ICN with a friend and were seated relatively far apart, so we took advantage of the lounge area for drinks and a snack and the flight attendants were just as attentive up there as they are in the cabin itself. Granted its just a couple couches and nowhere near the same level as KE’s onboard bar, but it was a decent spot to hang out for an hour or two and not have to worry about being loud.

    I liked the true window seat, i thought it was very comfortable and decently private, especially when reclined. Agree on the bedding, they keep those cabins hot so it wasn’t terrible. I still think OZ is miles ahead of KE on their A380s.

  3. Half of the disappointment is probably selecting the western meal. Asiana’s Korean meals are outstanding.

    While it hardly makes up for everything else, I also found their A380 business class lavs significantly nicer than standard business class lavs (and not just the big one at the front of the upper deck).

  4. A lot of airlines seem to have this configuration in business class in their A380s. I found the Etihad business class seems to have better aesthetics than Asiana (based on your pictures of Asiana) but the Etihad seat itself was really really hard and tough. For e.g. I remember having found the BA business class seats soft and comfortable to sleep on v. Etihad. Purely in terms of sleeping comfort, how would you rate Asiana v. Etihad, given the similar configuration.

  5. Flew the ICN-JFK route earlier this year in F and it was phenomenal. The J product looked like a solid option but we decided to splurge on F. FWIW if you are traveling as a couple in J, the two honeymoon seats in the middle are a fantastic option.

  6. I have flown Asiana A380 Business Class many times between LAX-ICN and ICN-LAX. I agree that the service is impeccable, but the seats are very cramped and not comfortable. Seats on the 787 same class ( JL) are much more comfortable even though the plane is much smaller.

  7. @Lucky Was that a ranking? Of those airlines you stated in this article, CI would have the best business class product overall? I would love your clarified opinion. I value your thoughts very much!!

  8. Well of course……KE and CX is way better than Asiana…….(apex suites and reverse herringbone seats respectively)

  9. It constantly irks me how skimpy business class bedding often is. This is an area where United actually outshines other, supposedly better, carriers.

  10. Asiana’s interiors have always struck me as needlessly drab. Breathe some life into the cabin with a little bit of color and texture, and it could be beautiful. A few decor items in that “lounge” and it could be a crowd-pleaser. Instead, it’s just a few plain seats. Boring.

  11. Hi Lucky, as a reviewer, you could try and use more descriptive adjectives than great or good.

    “decent hard product, though not great””
    “the rest of the seats just aren’t as good as”
    “quantity of food was great, while the quality was good”
    “the accompaniments were great”
    “good headphones”
    “he blanket wasn’t great either”
    “all of the flight attendants were great”

  12. I think you meant to write “13-hour flight” instead of “13 flight” in the opening line (unless the flight number was 13l.

    Also, I like the ten-picture preview format bettter.

  13. Maybe one day Korean/Asiana will offer wifi.

    Korean Air 747 and 77W are definitely better in J thanks to APEX Suite. But the Korean Air A380 is 2-2-2 in J, which is far from ideal if you’re travelling alone.

  14. This doesn’t look half bad. Out of my home airport (ORD), OZ doesn’t offer a remotely competitive hard product, as business class is 2-3-2 angle-flat…

  15. Would you not put ANA above Asiana airlines Lucky? I am looking to go to Asian next year and wondering if I should fly ANA or Asiana?

  16. This calls for an updated Trans-pacific (and Trans atlantic?) Rankings of Business Cabins.

    Give the people what they want.

  17. This is 12 pictures instead of 10. Didn’t see much of a difference otherwise.

    I never understood why Asiana hS such drab interiors. They put all the color on their tail. FA’s are consistently great though.

  18. I also like the “more pics, fewer words” format. Lucky, not a dig but we all know captivating writing is not your strong suit. You do, however, take some awesome pictures…point & click more please!

  19. I remember travelling on Asiana a few years ago from Sydney to London. They impressed me from check-in, when each business class passenger was presented with an immigration card with all your standard information (name, passport number, flight, nationality etc) pre filled out. And the service just got better from there.

  20. I’m a leisure traveler and have been around the world thanks to miles and points. We love the experience of traveling in the front of the plane. I’m a dentist, near the end of my career, so wi-fi to me is nice but not really important. I want to experience the flight and feel away from it all, not spend my time on the BS I usually do when I connect. So to me, at least, wi-fi is nice but not the barometer of whether or not the flight is good (altho I certainly realize that eventually, ALL flights will have wi-fi). Give me a special experience in a comfortable seat (yes, some are better and some are worse but ALL are better than the back of the plane!), decent food and lovely flight attendants and I will arrive grateful for the wonderful experience. I read this review and feel – hell, that would work for me. And bottom line is if you care about flying for free on miles, a lot depends on where you have your miles/points. I’ve been lucky enough to fly around the world these last 12 years. What I take away is that if this is the flight you can get, go for it.Beyond that – it can see pretty “picky”.

  21. Flown it plenty of times. Not my favorite, but like you said not too terrible. Only two real complaints: 1. seat is kind of hard with a terrible blanket and 2. I hate how there isn’t a footrest connected to the seat, instead the seat bottom will move forward to connect to the ottoman. I hate that. It makes lounging (at least for me) a lot more difficult.

  22. Horrible aisle non-“true window” seats – even on reverse herringbone I hate that. No privacy at all, lots of bumps and rubs from whatever goes by in the aisle, and in sleeping position, basically in everybody’s view and face close to bodies going by, etc. Don’t know why airlines seem to think that’s good. The original SQ A380 business class seats (all true windows) were the best. Even their new business class seats have the table at the window, which is horrible.

  23. I flew them from FRA-ICN and it was my worst J redemption ever. The cabin was like a sauna. It was soooo hot! The food was mediocre at best. crappy inflight entertainment. Service wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great by any means. I normally don’t want to get off of these long haul flights, but this one was unbearable. I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly them again and would probably avoid them if I could. I definitely wont redeem a J class flight on them unless I absolutely have to.

  24. Lucky I prefer the 10 pictures. This is too much of a mini review….

    Why didnt you order the korean option? Much better than western.

    Also wish you would Instagram story your flights! Like seriously why not? It adds so much more interaction from your readers.

  25. Hahaha I was going to say the same as @Fabio. I thought you did not eat pork…. I like the new format, it is easy to read and to find specifics.

  26. Previous format appeared far more interesting. Categorizing all parts of the experience seems dull and automatic. Other bloggers have been doing that for years, which I can’t hate enough.

    Still, thanks for trying something new, your enthusiasm is greatly appreciated. 😉

  27. Eh. You can have my seat.

    Now, if the airline would encourage the co-pilots to do their job and stop deferring to the pilots, I might consider it. Google “cockpit culture”.

  28. Funny enough I flew the reverse flight just a few days before, ICN-LAX.

    I found much of the same, very few movies, even when you added up all the languages. The cabin was far too warm for the entire flight, and with no personal air vent, nothing much could be done about it. I thought my impression of the food was a bit better, but the service slightly worse. The FAs were very attentive, but didn’t make too many sweeps through the cabin to see if anyone wanted a drink or anything between meal services. With my AVOD remote not working, and thus the call button also not working, getting a drink proved to be kinda difficult.

    I did really like the oversized bathroom, that was nice. The lounge area was occupied for MOST of my flight by 3-4 buddies/colleagues that spend a large portion of the flight chatting. A good space for that kind of thing if you’re not interested in sleeping.

  29. Icheon – Sydney in July, old sloper seats, economy blanket and pillow in J. Food and service fine until we were lectured on the effects of alcohol at altitude. Then:’Are You OK?’ each time we requested another wine. Then: ‘You’ve drunk the whole bottle’. We are mature,middle aged professionals are were chatting quietly. I took a polite complaint to the flight manager, she said this was airline policy. I informed her we had no such policy applied on our previous first class (it was great) flight from Frankfurt.

    Never ever will I fly this airline again. Condescending.

  30. thanks for pointing out the difference in true window seats, I just changed my seats to 17k, and 10k retrun

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