A few weeks ago, I took my wife to Seoul, South Korea for a long weekend to celebrate her birthday. We found what I had thought was a great premium fare (later finding out, it wasn’t as great), and figured, why not? Brass ring, right? So we did it.
We had been to Seoul before, but only for 1 full day (2 nights though), and we spent most of the day touring the Korean Demilitarized Zone. This time, we were spending 3 nights, and were determined to see more of the city.
My hope isn’t to offer a standard trip report, rather I’ll offer my observations. The first part will be of the flights, the second part will be of the hotel (as part of the Saturday Special), and the final part will be of our time spent in Seoul.
The flight outbound (DFW-ICN)
We flew “Flagship First Class” both ways on American. The seat isn’t bad for the product, but its not Emirates, Etihad, Singapore or Cathay Pacific.
The amenities are consistent with US flagged carriers, but where American shines brighter are the Pajamas.
Its important to note – American has changed the pajamas. I can’t prove it, but I feel like these just aren’t as nice as the ones we got in 2013. The only visible difference is that the new ones have navy blue trim and crew necks, compared to red trip and v-necks from last year.
The cabin had at most 6 paying passengers out of 16, and I think that is stretching it, so we had great service. The Purser, Al, was probably the first US Flagged carrier purser that I have seen to change jackets for the meal service (he went from the normal blue blazer to a checkered sports jacket). He took pride, it was clear.
Even though we were flying on one of American’s non-reconfigured 777-200LRs (eventually the 772’s will lose First Class in favor of lay flat business), I had the chance to ask him of his thoughts of American’s 777-300ER (77W). I’ve been looking forward to fly it (and will in November, unfortunately missing the #westcoastDO), so I was curious to hear the crew perspective. Despite the more comfortable crew rest, they don’t like it. 10 seats across in economy is horrible on the crew, and even though the business cabin goes from 5 seats across to 4, his perception was that the aisles were tighter (perhaps just as tight as economy).
The flight home
I can’t figure out why, but I seldom find a crew that is happy on the flight to their home country. Boarding, we started taking photos of the cabin line usual. No sooner had I gotten our bags up before the pursur (who will remain nameless for his own protection) informed my wife that she could not take photos of the cabin or the crew due to federal security regulations. She was taking photos of the seat–sheesh. Later in the flight, my wife did grab a photo of me in my favorite work space in the air. (albeit at night).
The same purser, who ultimately was fairly personable, noted as we were descending into Dallas-Fort Worth that all Bose Headphones in Business and First needed to be collected and secured for customs. Now I’ve heard about photos before, but Bose headphones, a customs matter? That was a first.
Oh, and as an aside, our second purser had the same opinion of the 77W.
The flights were good, not great, but I’m not sure how you can expect more. I found the crew’s opinions of the 77W to be eye-opening. It wasn’t a huge surprise with respect to economy, but business was surprising. I still look forward to flying the 77W (but I will note my systemwide upgrades have already come through for business).