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Old Dec 9, 09, 1:05 pm
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Europe
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Posts: 2,701
Trip Report: Seoul Gimpo - Jeju

I flew Asiana for the first time recently, albeit on a very short route. I had arrived from Washington via Tokyo on United in F, which was a horrible experience. I spent the night at the Hyatt Regency Incheon which is a fine property for an airport hotel. The staff there has always been fantastic and gone out of their way to provide excellent service.

Was pleasantly surprised to learn that the KAL Limousine that goes from Incheon to Gimpo starts its journey at the Hyatt before picking people up at the terminal. Was even more surprised to learn that I was told the journey time between the two airports was 30 minutes. Knowing Seoul traffic, I had to have that repeated to me at least once!! The reason is that route between the two airports is on an expressway and never enters Seoul itself.

Check-in was a breeze at Gimpo. No lines; huge number of check-in desks open. They do have special *G check-in desks, but it didn’t matter. Was told that as a *G, I had been given an exit row - Asiana is all economy on domestic sectors. The boarding pass came on a thin piece of paper and was more like a receipt from a credit card machine. (Understand that LCC do this as well.) The lounge is before security and nothing to write home about. Tiny cans of juices and soft drinks – no food. The view is of the employee parking courtyard.

Made my way through security which was also a breeze and headed to the gate. What struck was the number of couples there wearing exactly the same clothes; was later told that Jeju was a big honeymoon destination and Korean tradition was for honeymooners to dress the same! There were several people with strollers there as well. Was impressed how the gate agents proactively came up to them while they were sitting and took the strollers away and put them in plastic bags and gate checked them. Very service-oriented – as I found my entire Asiana experience.

The agents then opened the door to the jetway and bowed to the waiting passengers. I had earlier noticed a sign showing boarding priority and it included *G. However, following the bow pandemonium erupted. Every single person rushed to the gate at the same time and jostled for position. When it comes to line etiquette, Koreans definitely follow the Chinese model!

Boarded the plane – a brand new and immaculate Airbus 321 - and found my seat. It had unlimited legroom but all 3 seats were occupied. The plane was not full and I moved to an empty row. The plane pushed back exactly on time.

The crew could not have been more helpful in assisting passengers. It would appear that Asiana recruits its cabin staff through a modeling agency. All young; all stunning.

It’s about an hour flight and a beverage service was offered. Two flight attendants operated two beverage carts. I only mention this because the pair operated so perfectly together. No. 1 would take the order, No. 2 would pour it; No. 1 would take the next order; No. 1 would deliver the first order --- and so on and so on.

As soon as the seat built sign came on, the 4 crew members positioned themselves at regular intervals in the aisle and bowed. They did the same right before take-off.

We landed in Jeju exactly on time – they apparently build no extra time into their schedule. That’s confidence in operations !

We left the plane with the lead flight attendant offering a smile and a big thank you for flying Asiana.

Truly an outstanding service experience on a short-haul in economy. The contrast with the service on my United First Class flight over could not have been greater.

Last edited by Braniff; Dec 9, 09 at 1:14 pm
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