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Old Dec 30, 12, 6:20 pm   #46
 
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Interesting points and experiences.
Quote:
CGQ-ICN in C, A321
- Cabin has seen better days, worn cushion, could not recline seat. We changed to another row. I would not want to fly a longer route.
- Service was good, but far from special.
- Food was barely eatable, however CGQ catering is generally rather horrible.
That sucks, and is surprising. I've only flown OZ on ICN-PEK, and found the cabin fine (admittedly it was a short flight).
Quote:
ICN-FRA in C, scheduled 74M, replaced by 772
- Our seat assignments had been messed up due to aircraft swap: One window-one aisle got changed to two seats spread around the cabin. CGQ check-in could not fix it. Apparently, swaps happen very frequently, like at TG.
- Tried to change seats again at CAT at COEX: Check-in lady was unhelpful and rude after we disturbed her texting on her cell; stated the seat map was "broken".
- Very friendly check-in at ICN the day after and we had two seats together
- 772s do not have AVOD. I couldn't believe it. In the year 2012, world's and Asia's best airline by some doesn't have AVOD on most of their 772s?! Seriously? The IFE in loop twice got hung, meaning movies started from the beginning after an hour.
- 2-3-2 configuration? Seriously?
- Partially broken seat
- Service: Good, but nothing special
- Food: Acceptable, (sous-vide chicken gross!)
- Almost forgot to mention: The website. What the...???
Preaching to the converted regarding the AVOD, or lack thereof. And while aircraft switches suck, they nevertheless can happen whenever we fly. In terms of the website, as has been vented repeatedly before, if you're not using IE, it has a lot of problems. It's not just an OZ-related problem; many Korean websites act up in a non-IE browser andOZ's IT department need to wake up and smell the breeze.
Quote:
ICN, world's best airport
- Apparently no priority lines for security and passport control
- OZ lounge offering for lunch was unbelievably bad
- Arriving in ICN (admittedly only a few times so far) is a long, long walk and a massive line at the immigration counters for foreigners
- In my experiences at ICN, I haven't had a problem with passport or security taking up time, so I can't see the need for priority lines since everyone gets through pretty quickly.
- Which OZ lounge were you at? I can't speak for the First lounge, but I know that the business lounge food offerings are ok on quality, bad on quantity. But in terms of free wi-fi, comfortable atmosphere and available showers/chairs/space, it's a pretty good lounge.
- [I can't see how this next point is OZ's fault, but anyway] Yes ICN is a long walk at times and the immigration lines for foreigners are long. However like the security lines, they move quickly and are designed to handle a lot of people at once. I've never had to wait longer than 30 minutes from 'on the aerobridge' to 'out the airport door'.

By contrast, I shudder every time I come back to LAX given how many rabbit warrens you have to walk through after getting off the plane before arriving at the zoo that is TBIT Immigration/Baggage Claim/Customs (yesterday took 75 mins, a record; normally it takes close to 2 hours).
Quote:
Overall, OZ was a disappointed, especially the aircraft swap to an ancient 772. They were the cheapest for this route, though, and seem to play in the TG league "you get what you pay for".
It sucks that they switched the planes, and that there were hardware issues with the planes they did use. Definitely worth complaining about and hopefully they'll fix it.
Quote:
Return flight to China on CA in C, 773
- Better seats
- Better food
- Better service
- Pajamas, duvet
Haven't flown CA in C/F, so each to their own. Have heard their C/F seats are quite good and they have some newer planes, so I don't know what planes CA fly on those routes, but CA's likely to have better hard product. Both my other half and I have had such poor food (made us sick) and service (borderline discriminatory) on CA flights, I personally wouldn't touch them with a beanpole. But that's just my experience (and not something I'd like to go on about in this thread anyways).
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Old Jan 3, 13, 3:22 pm   #47
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Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
ICN, world's best airport
- Apparently no priority lines for security and passport control
There is if you fly in F out of ICN, in the sense that OZ staff will escort you to the front of the security queue.

No priority at passport control but that is hardly an issue.
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Old Jan 3, 13, 6:07 pm   #48
 
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
There is if you fly in F out of ICN, in the sense that OZ staff will escort you to the front of the security queue.

No priority at passport control but that is hardly an issue.
When did this happen? Was it for departing and/or arriving? I've never heard of this nor experienced it myself. I'll be making two F trips on OZ next month though so hopefully will be escorted, but am not holding my breath. I've only been escorted from the lounge to the aircraft when departing. Nothing whatsoever on arrival.
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Old Jan 3, 13, 6:51 pm   #49
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Originally Posted by A_Lee View Post
When did this happen? Was it for departing and/or arriving? I've never heard of this nor experienced it myself.
This was less than two weeks ago on departure (ICN-FRA).
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Old Jan 3, 13, 10:21 pm   #50
 
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Good to know. Perhaps there's been a recent addition to their F service, or just I got unlucky before and wasn't offered it. I'd rather though they provide the escort service on arrival, when the passport control queues are often quite long. But that's from a foreigner's perspective. For Koreans, the outbound queues are longest for them and inbound the queues are usually very short/fast.
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Old Jan 5, 13, 5:52 am   #51
 
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Certainly, ICN's immigration lines aren't OZ-related. Nonetheless, when one hears raves about Seoul and Asiana being the world's best in their classes, both were a surprise.
I do not know any other major airport in Asia (and any 2nd class airport in China) that doesn't have priority lanes at departure for business or status guests. At immigration, neither Germany nor China has a wait longer than 2 minutes; and in Asia Seoul now ranks last in queing time after Hong Kong - of course in my experience. I'm probably simply not used to lining up anymore...

C lounge at ICN: We were at the one right after the security check, second floor. Lunch offers were soup, congee, sandwich, different salads. Nothing else at 12.30.
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Old Jan 5, 13, 6:09 pm   #52
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
I do not know any other major airport in Asia (and any 2nd class airport in China) that doesn't have priority lanes at departure for business or status guests.
HKG does not, no priority at security but I saved time using e-channel at immigration.
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Old Jan 5, 13, 7:24 pm   #53
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
Certainly, ICN's immigration lines aren't OZ-related. Nonetheless, when one hears raves about Seoul and Asiana being the world's best in their classes, both were a surprise.
I do not know any other major airport in Asia (and any 2nd class airport in China) that doesn't have priority lanes at departure for business or status guests. At immigration, neither Germany nor China has a wait longer than 2 minutes; and in Asia Seoul now ranks last in queing time after Hong Kong - of course in my experience. I'm probably simply not used to lining up anymore...

C lounge at ICN: We were at the one right after the security check, second floor. Lunch offers were soup, congee, sandwich, different salads. Nothing else at 12.30.
Even though there is no priority immigration line, I have never waited for more than 10 minutes at immigration (both Korean and Foreign). I think, it really depends on the flight and the time that you arrive, but ICN is very good at getting you through immigration line~
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Old Jan 5, 13, 8:43 pm   #54
 
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I use ICN very extensively. Typically I depart in the evening and arrive in the morning, but I've had flights at all times of the day, and it's very common for me to travel on peak travel days. In my experience, the outbound queues are never bad. Sometimes the snaking queue for security will be backed up nearly to the entrance, but it doesn't take that long. 10 minutes or so is probably the maximum. And after security, the worst I've ever seen passport control queues is again maybe 10 minutes at the worst. Normally it's well under 5 minutes for each. Morning and evening are peak departure times. If you hit it at another time, there should be very few people in the queues. Koreans and foreigners are mixed together, so there's no advantage in being either for security or passport control.

Inbound queues vary considerably, even when arriving at the very same time on consecutive days. It all just depends on the inbound flow of planes. This is the same for any airport though, not just ICN. If you happen to arrive just after a bunch of 747's and A380's, you're going to have to wait. That's just the way it is and no airport that I'm aware of can deal properly with this situation and not have passengers wait. If you're at an airport with fast-track and are traveling in a premium class or some other way of accessing a priority lane, then obviously you should get through quicker. But for the average passenger, they just need to wait in these instances. At ICN, Koreans and foreigners are differentiated here, and the check for Koreans is extremely fast. Thus even with a lot of passengers, Koreans never need to wait long. For foreigners, it's the job of immigration officials, as it is in any country, to keep out undesirables, etc., and to check carefully suspicious passengers. Some passengers will not have filled out their forms, or filled them out incorrectly, or won't have some required documents handy and have to sift through their bag to find it., etc. Passengers with passports from third-world countries will usually be scrutinized more than passengers from countries with more developed economies. So there's a large number of factors that can affect the processing time. Hit the foreigner queues just after a bunch of Vietnamese, Chinese, or Filipino passengers have arrived and you'll wait longer than if the previous passengers are Americans, Europeans, etc. Best case, you arrive and it's completely empty. Worst case, you arrive and the queues are backed up clear to the rear wall and you'll wait up to 45 minutes. Normally though if the queues are that backed up they'll open up another immigration section and siphon off some of the arriving passenger there. 20 minutes seems to be a normal waiting time for me when they're busy, with less time when they're not busy. Waiting more than 20 minutes does happen, but not very often. If you're traveling with checked bags though, getting through immigration quickly won't help you much as you'll still need to wait for your bags to come out.

ICN is certainly way better than most airports around the world, including any airport in the USA or Europe I've been to. They've consistently been awarded being one of the best airports in the world. Not that they don't have any problems, but overall I'd gladly take ICN over just about any airport, including most in Asia. Adding fast track lanes would most certainly be an improvement, but even without them, I'd rather be at ICN than most airports with fast-track. Of course I realize there's a lot of variance in different people, so if someone values fast-track above all else, then maybe they'll hate ICN.
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Old Jan 6, 13, 6:14 am   #55
 
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I just arrived in ICN today at around 1 PM and I was off the plane, through immigration, got my bags and went through customs in less than 30 mins. I fly in and out of ICN a lot and find this is was a fairly typical time, though it can of course vary on peak days and due to the factors A_Lee mentioned. Flying out of ICN I am typically in the lounge within 20 mins or so, rarely ever longer. I really don't find these waiting times to be in any way bad. I typically get through immigration in less time in FRA (but then I am an EU citizen), but security is extremely hit and miss. You can basically forget about the US (even as a US citizen) and SIN is the only Asian example I can think of that is consistently quicker than ICN. HKG is fine, but my experience has varied more.

All this to say that I really don't get why anyone is complaining about the speed in ICN. Now whether that makes it the best airport in the world depends on a whole host of matters and how much weight you give them. On most measures I would say it is at least way up there by global standards, though there certainly are other contenders.
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Old Jan 7, 13, 3:12 pm   #56
 
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It did annoy me though that OZ don't want to add FFP numbers to reward bookings...from a conversation by telephone today, they just say to me..."why would you want to do that, you can't get credit for them".

Pointing out the additional Star Alliance benefits in the case of irregular operations/delays etc. I'm told, "you can just show them your card".

Asking them whether there is a rule that says the number can't be added to reward flights, I'm told there is no rule, so I ask again for the number to be added...and they just re-say "but you can't earn credit".

Does it really make sense to prevent the customer doing something there is no harm in doing?
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Old Jan 7, 13, 4:34 pm   #57
 
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I've never had a problem adding my OZ FFP number to OZ award bookings. I've never tried it ahead of time though. Just when I check in at the airport, I tell them I realize I won't get miles for it, but want the number in anyways, and they do it promptly without any questions.

My reason for wanting it in there is mainly so that it will show my status to the FA's onboard. I don't really care about any extra special greeting they may or may not do, but I figure if they realize I'm an elite status holder with them, they might be a bit more attentive in their service.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 7:05 am   #58
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
I do not know any other major airport in Asia (and any 2nd class airport in China) that doesn't have priority lanes at departure for business or status guests.
SIN (only on a small number of airlines), HKG (none at all), NRT (only on certain airlines/classes) and KIX (none at all) are some of the many examples of Asian airports with no comprehensive F/J priority lines.
Quote:
At immigration, neither Germany nor China has a wait longer than 2 minutes;
Just this Monday, I have witnessed 50+ people per desk at FRA in the morning.
Quote:
and in Asia Seoul now ranks last in queing time after Hong Kong -
Is there an official ranking somewhere? In any case, the busy periods in HKG were far worse than the busy periods in ICN that I have ever seen - you could easily spend 45mins+ at HKG immigration. Thank god for e-Channel.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 12:10 pm   #59
 
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I have to agree; ICN I usually wait between 2 -10 minutes, one occasion it was quite bad with a wait of about 15 mins right when I didn't need it. Normally though getting through fast requires watching which line is about to change from "Koreans" to "Foreigners" and moving across before the crowd and sometimes it's as simple as walking to the half-empty line instead of the line twice the length (I don't get why people don't do the same?!)

I do find I can be through immigration, make a call from the free telephone in the baggage hall, pay a quick visit to the loo and then find my bags are just arriving in a very slick manner.

The immigration staff at ICN did used to be friendlier than now. I get the impression they have to work longer shifts these days and are more tired/less smiley.

SIN is usually 5 mins, the maximum ever about 12 mins.
HKG 15-20 minutes (that really was long).
PEK from 1 minute but usually around 15 - 20 mins
PVG 20 mins

I usually do get off the aircraft near the front though, overtake the people who walk slowly and get to immigration before the rest of my flight.

KIX is bad for this though because you have to wait for a transfer train which creates bunching.
NGO on the other hand I find usually has no queuing.
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Old Jan 10, 13, 6:48 pm   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfield View Post
I have to agree; ICN I usually wait between 2 -10 minutes, one occasion it was quite bad with a wait of about 15 mins right when I didn't need it. Normally though getting through fast requires watching which line is about to change from "Koreans" to "Foreigners" and moving across before the crowd and sometimes it's as simple as walking to the half-empty line instead of the line twice the length (I don't get why people don't do the same?!)

I do find I can be through immigration, make a call from the free telephone in the baggage hall, pay a quick visit to the loo and then find my bags are just arriving in a very slick manner.

The immigration staff at ICN did used to be friendlier than now. I get the impression they have to work longer shifts these days and are more tired/less smiley.

SIN is usually 5 mins, the maximum ever about 12 mins.
HKG 15-20 minutes (that really was long).
PEK from 1 minute but usually around 15 - 20 mins
PVG 20 mins

I usually do get off the aircraft near the front though, overtake the people who walk slowly and get to immigration before the rest of my flight.

KIX is bad for this though because you have to wait for a transfer train which creates bunching.
NGO on the other hand I find usually has no queuing.
Don't HKG and PEK have a train as well? Maybe HKG doesn't always require it, but PEK does, I thought.

In other news, HND and ICN might have the most pleasant immigration/baggage areas I've seen. A small, though much appreciated part of huffing it through airports.
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