“Kosmo Suite”, “A380” and “Bibimbap” were three words that Mitch used to convince me to fly Korean Air.
We love Bangkok, Thailand! We love the A380! And it just so happens Korean Air was headed our way to BKK with an A380! So, what’s it like flying over 14 hours in First Class on Korean Air? We’ve got the trip report!
Korean Air flight KE36
ATL-ICN Gate E2
Thursday, 20 January 2016
Arrival: 17:20+1 day
Flight Time: 14+50
Seats: 3E and 3J
I love Korean food and Korean K-POP! So, what other reason do you need for flying Korean Air? Let’s take a look at our trip leaving from ATL!
Korean Air’s check in counter at ATL is located in the newly built F terminal. Since it’s opening, this terminal has been the showcase of the Atlanta airport. Korean Air utilizes Delta’s check in counters and staff. There were 3 designated lines marked: First Class, Sky Priority Prestige and Economy. Since we were the only two passengers booked in First Class, our check in process was FAST!
We were reminded by our customer service agent that our flight will be departing from the “E” concourse.
As we headed off to TSA, we were drawn to the pre-check lane and veered towards that direction, however, we were told by agents that Korean Air does not participate in the program therefore we had to use the Sky Priority lane instead. This is where Atlanta’s TSA hit a major #fail. Both of the regular lanes and the Sky Priority lane leads to one unhappy TSA agent that inspects your travel documents. “Wouldn’t that cause a back up” you ask? Yes, it did!
Once through TSA, we took the train ride to E and waited for boarding at the Delta Skyclub. At that time of day (late morning) the club was spacious, clean and well stocked.
We decided to take a leisure walk a bit early as our boarding gate was E2 which is located on the south end of the concourse. As we approached the gate, there was a sense of crowded-ness around the area. Come to find out, E2 is the only jetway to serve the A380 aircraft at ATL.
We found our way to the First Class lane and was approached by the lead boarding agent. After he introduced himself, he inquired about our seat selection. Since we booked ourselves in the last row of first class, the crew was wondering if we wanted to move a bit forward so we wouldn’t be “bothered by the noise from economy.” We giggled and declined the offer. Once they “fired the pistol” for boarding, we made our way down the jetway.
We were greeted warmly by the flight manager “Tom” and our flight attendant “Laura” who showed us to our seats. She then offered a pre departure champagne of Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque Fleur Brut, Macadamia nuts and hot towels.
Laura then came by with our amenity kits, pajamas, Jeju water facial spray, Bose “Quiet Comfort” noise cancellation headsets and 3 menus (Food, Wine List and Coffee Menu).
The moment that I had been looking forward to for so long came when Laura asked, “What would you like for your meal?” Naturally, I replied “The Bibimbap, PLEASE!” Tom came by and introduced himself and informed us of the flight time and route of flight which I thought was a very nice touch!
Due to the slow boarding process and some technical issues, we pushed back from the gate 35 minutes behind schedule. None the less, we were glad to finally escape the cold Atlanta weather and on our way to catch up with friends.
Promptly after wheels up, Laura came by to offer us another glass of champagne or something else to drink. Since we had 14 hours and 30 minutes to go, we decided to pace ourselves and played with our Kosmo Suite functions. The seat itself was quite comfortable and large but you can view all of it’s functions on Korean Air’s website by clicking here.
Right before commencing our meal service, Laura came by with wines in a wine caddie so large that it has to be housed in its own storage unit under the stairs. Then the place setting begin follow by some champagne, water and asparagus rolled with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Our appetizer was a beautifully plated Champagne flavored Foie-Gras terrine served with fig compote which was absolutely rich but delicious!
Roasted Butternut Squash soup was offered alongside our bread selection that’s consisted of garlic baguette, multi-grain roll, soft roll and sesame roll which looked like the “Gate Gourmet” special.
Once our plates were cleared, Laura rolled out a very well arranged salad cart with seasonal garden greens, tomatoes, olives and anchovies just to name a few. Laura was very proud of her salad cart setup! She took several pictures for us! I have to say, she did a great job setting up the salad cart…perfectly!
My “Bibimbap in the sky” moment had arrived and I was not disappointed! So, was it the same as what you’d get in a Korean restaurant? Not quite, BUT, it was delicious and well worth the wait.
Mitch opted for the Black Angus beef tenderloin with Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon sauce served with baked potato filled with creamy mashed potatoes and mixed vegetable and from what I was told, that was delicious as well.
After our main course, the Cheese Tray and more wine was offered followed by Seasonal Fresh Fruit.
Our dessert was a Chocolate Crunch Cake and Vanilla ice cream. The cake wasn’t good, at all. It tasted very store bought. Laura came by to offer us the coffee list but we both declined. She was a bit disappointed that we didn’t want a cappuccino! She said that it’s a highly requested item since they have the machine on the A380.
After all that dining, it was time to settle into the flight and Laura offered to make our beds for us. During that time, we changed into our Gianfranco Ferre pajamas.
The cabin layout of this A380 in First Class consisted of a 12 Kosmo Suite cabin with one large lavatory with Jurlique products by the L1 door and a private bar by the R1 door.
The first class bar is well stocked with top-shelf full sized bottles of liquor housed in a beautiful display case, waters, sodas and juices were located right on the refrigerated counter.
As the cabin lights dimmed, Laura came by one last time to offer us bottled water and bid us goodnight as we sunk into our plush bedding.
I managed to sneak in a 4 hour nap. Just like the majority of Asian carriers, the cabin was kept warm. After scrolling through the IFE video library and working on a few projects, I was feeling peckish.
I ordered the mid flight refreshment of Ramen with Side Dishes and Club Soda.
Fresh-baked cookies were offered.
A few minutes later, Mitch got up and we decided we wanted to tour the A380. Laura was kind enough to take us from nose to tail and upper to lower deck of the A380. Some unique and awesome features of Korean’s A380 are the 2 Celestial bars by Absolut on the upper deck and a duty-free shop.
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It's not everyday that you would run into someone so spectacular. Laura, our personal cabin crew made our trip very special. We were the only 2 customers in her cabin and she made us feel like it's our home. She even escorted us through out the #a380 showing us around the great features of this aircraft. #kimchee #celestialbar #koreanair #ke36 #first
With over 7 hours left, we decided to grab our laptops and head up to the Dream Lounge Celestial Bar at the rear of the upper deck. The bar offers three different Absolut drink concepts: Elyx – drinks mixed with the new super-premium vodka from Absolut; Just Add drinks – a simple two-ingredient drink concept with various Absolut flavours mixed; plus Absolut Drink Lab drinks – a variety of drinks created by master mixologist André Basile Leon shaken and serve by flight attendants. Finger sandwiches and nuts were available as well if you feel like you need a light snack.
After spending a couple hours at the bar, we decided to head back downstairs and try to capture a few more hours of sleep. We succeeded and I’m sure it was the help of the crafted cocktails!
About an hour before arrival, Laura offered us our pre landing dinner.
We started off the second meal with a seasonal salad with mozzarella and sun dried tomato served with a choice of dressing and a slice of the delicious raisin walnut bread.
For the Main Course, I selected the Egg Noodle Soup with shrimp and scallop with side dishes.
Mitch selected the Pan-Fried Chilean sea bass with saffron sauce served with mashed sweet potato and vegetables.
We both finished our meals with Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Omija Punch.
It was then time to change out of our pajamas and back into our clothes. The captain also updated us on our arrival time and gate information with only less than 20 minutes left into the flight. Laura and Tom came around and thanked us for our business and presented us with a nice selection of postcards and stationary. In returned, I thanked Laura for doing such a remarkable job. It’s her personality, charm and her “can do” attitude that made our experience memorable and etched in our hearts. The difference between a good and great flight crew is sincerity and Laura embodies that!
We touched down exactly at 18:00 local time and taxied immediately into our gate. We were warmly and genuinely thanked by the crew again and they sent us off and on our way to spend the evening in Seoul. And just like that our 14 hour flight experience came to an end with many pleasant memories.
Our final grades of Korean Airlines KE36
Delta lounge @ ATL: B-
Comfort of the Seat: A
Cabin Space Seat Layout: A
Amenity kit: B
Storage space: A
Inflight cabin crew service: A+++
Ground customer service: B
Have you flown on Korean Air? Tell us about your experience. Where, When and What did you think of the Korean hospitality?
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