After flying inbound to Osaka on Cathay Pacific, I would be flying back to the United States on Korean Air via Seoul Incheon. I was surprised that First Class would even be offered on the Osaka – Seoul route since the flight is about 90 minutes, but the A330-200 Korean Air aircraft does indeed have a First Class cabin.
I took the airport express train from Osaka Namba station to Osaka Kansai International airport (KIX). This was really convenient because the hotel I was staying at was connected to Namba. The train stops a few times along the way and takes about 40 minutes.
It was a really easy walk from the train stop at Kansai to the departures hall. I was a bit early, having arrived over 2 hours before my flight. There was no queue for First Class and I had my boarding passes in about a minute. I was invited to the Korean Air lounge, which is actually before security and immigration. I proceeded down one level to the lounge. It was almost empty when I arrived.
When I presented my boarding pass the person at the desk asked if I was a Skyteam Elite passenger, which I thought odd since I was flying on a first class ticket. I replied that I am (Delta Gold) but I don’t have my card with me. I then stated that my ticket is booked in first class. The agent proceeded to type on the computer, presumably looking at my reservation, and then invited me in the lounge.
I thought it was a bit strange and wondered for a second if something was wrong with my ticket, but then about a minute later the agent that checked me in ran into the lounge with new boarding passes for me. She apologized as she handed me new boarding passes and asked for the old ones back, and then I realized what happened. When I checked in, the boarding pass printer was loaded with economy boarding pass paper stock, so my seat assignment was correct, but the paper stock had the economy class logo. The agent delivered new boarding passes to me with the correct first class paper stock. She apologized again for the confusion. It was an honest mistake and no big deal. To be truthful, I wasn’t even paying attention to the boarding pass paper because, in my opinion, why is it necessary to have different stocks of boarding pass paper to identify cabin. The seat and cabin printed on the actual boarding pass should be sufficient, right?
There were a few snacks and plenty of drinks.
The lounge did start to fill up and, as it got closer to departure, I decided to head through security and immigration to the gate.
The Korean Air A330-200 has one row of First Class in a 2-2-2 configuration. For this flight only 2 seats, including myself, would be occupied. The first thing I noticed is that having only one row does make the cabin feel really small. The seats are spacious, though not to the same degree as the Korean Air First Class product on the 747-400, 777-300ER, and A380. However, I think it would feel cramped if the First Class cabin were full.
I did notice one design flaw with the seat. The magazine, duty free catalog and safety card are stored in an angled vertical slot below the in-flight entertainment screen. The issue is that when the plane takes off, the angle is neutralized and, in the case of my flight, materials fall out of the slot and on to the floor.
Since this flight was only 90 minutes, the cabin crew quickly started the meal service. It was a nice 3 course meal that took up most of the flight.
After a cup of post-dinner coffee, we were already starting descent to Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN).
Overall, it was awesome to have such a quality product and excellent service on a short 90-minute flight.