1. British Airways “First Class” Lounge at SFO
2. Korean Air First Class San Francisco to Seoul
3. Korean Air Economy Class Seoul (Gimpo) to Jeju
4. Kensington Jeju Hotel (Seogwipo, Jeju Island)
5. Eating Jeju – the Ultimate Seafood Paradise
6. Korean Air Lounge at CJU (Jeju, Korea)
7. Korean Air First Class Lounge at ICN
8. Korean Air First Class Seoul to Hong Kong
9. Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Tsa Tsui
10. Conrad Hong Kong
11. Eating Hong Kong
12. Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Tokyo (Haneda)
13. Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo (Haneda)
14. Japan Airlines First Class Tokyo (Haneda) to San Francisco
I could barely contain my excitement as I anxiously waited at the gate, counting down the minutes until boarding would begin. The gate agents finally gathered in a row and after their customary bow, I handed over my boarding pass and raced on-board the Boeing 747-8 that would be flying from San Francisco to Seoul.
At the end of the jet bridge I was escorted leftward into the newly refurbished First Class cabin that featured Korean Air’s new Kosmo Suites 2.0. This cabin was about as open as I’ve ever seen with only 6 suites placed in the nose of the 747, where other airlines may try to squeeze in twice as many in the same amount of space.
The suites were incredibly spacious and had more than enough space to get comfortable for the 12-hour flight. While the white and teal color scheme may seem boring or subdued to some, I’d take that any day over the “blingy” gold trim that you’ll find on other carriers.
We ended up placing our carry-on bags in the closet at the front of the cabin, and made use of the additional storage along the side of the suite for smaller personal items.
While the seat was comfortable at first, it actually ended up feeling a bit short and narrow as the flight went on. In particular, it felt like the seat was made even narrower by the immovable armrests – good thing I hadn’t eaten too much at the lounge ahead of time!
The suite had great lighting fixtures, with the lamp behind the seat and two additional reading lights overhead that could be set at varying degrees of brightness.
And most importantly there was an air conditioning vent that is often missing in First Class, but the cabin was actually kept at a cool temperature throughout the flight anyways.
We occupied seats 1A and 1J which were at the very front of the plane. I’d highly recommend these seats as there was literally no foot traffic in front of us, and therefore extremely private.
For those traveling with a companion, these seats are also the closest proximity to each other, while rows 2 and beyond get progressively further apart. Row 1 was close enough to carry on a brief conversation, but far enough to sit back for some alone time!
The seat was decked out with a large TV screen which was controlled with the handheld remote at the seat. Korean Air’s Beyond system worked very smoothly, but the content selection was somewhat limited.
One strange quirk was that the electrical plug was underneath the footrest which meant that the charging cord dangled across the seat when the device was placed on the armrest. However, there was also a USB charger next to the armrest for smaller devices.
Shortly after takeoff, menus were distributed and it was time to eat!
As I was making my decisions, macadamia nuts were handed out and I paired them with a glass of champagne.
Followed by the caviar service.
I’m philosophically opposed to ordering the Bibimbap since i can get that for lunch for $10 near my office, so instead I went with the beef tenderloin. The flight attendent asked how I wanted it cooked, and I responded with “medium rare” even though I was fully expecting well-done, since that is generally how all steaks end up being served on an airplane. To my surprise, the steak was cooked very well and was incredibly tender, although it lacked much flavor without the sauce.
And finally a pretty mediocre raspberry mousse cake paired with a heaping scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream.
The meal started with a refreshing salad.
Followed by the seafood udon noodle dish.
And a fruit bowl to finish.