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Wedding + Honeymoon: South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai

Wedding + Honeymoon: South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai

Old Jan 6, 19, 9:45 pm
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Wedding + Honeymoon: South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Dubai

In February 2019, I will be getting married in Seoul, South Korea – while my wife was busy organizing the wedding, I was focused on planning the honeymoon. My wife was never a huge fan of travel and this is her first time that she will get to enjoy the world of First/Business Class flights and suite upgrades (hopefully).

Table of Content:Airline Route:
  • Mrs. LDNConsultant: February 03, 2019 KE 86 (JFK to ICN) on B747-8I First – Seat 1A [80,000 Korean Airline SkyPass Miles + $144.80]
  • LDNConsultant: February 11, 2019 LH 403 (EWR to FRA) on B747-8I First - Seat 2K and February 12, 2019 LH 712 (FRA to ICN) on 747-400 Business - Seat 10K [120,000 United Miles + $35]
  • Both: February 24, 2019 TG 655 (ICN to BKK) on B777-300 Business – Seat 15A and 15B [2 x 40,000 United Airlines mileage Plus Miles + $5.60]
  • Both: February 26, 2019 PG 961 (BKK to USM) on A319 Economy Seat – Seat 9D and 9E [Cash Booking]
  • Both: March 01, 2019 HX 3751 (operated by Bangkok Air) (USM to HKG) on A319 Economy – Seat 10D and 10E [Cash Booking]
  • Both: March 04, 2019 CX 745 (HKG to DXB) on A330-300 on Business – Seat 20K and 21K [2 x 40,000 AA Advantage Miles + $45.30]
  • Both: March 06, 2019 EY 101 (AUH to JFK) on A380-800 on First – Seat 1H and 2H [2 x 110,000 AA Advantage Miles + $49.31]

I’m a huge fan of SPG (I guess now Marriott) and I’ve returning to my personal favorites for this trip:
  • Bangkok: I’m staying at the The Athénée Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Bangkok. I’m a huge fan of the W Brand but my wife despises it due to the dark/loud atmosphere. The hotel is currently a Category 4 hotel – 2 nights cost 50,000 Points
  • Koh Samui: The island of Koh Samui has been on my list for several years but I’m fortunate enough to go here on my honeymoon and I’ve decided to book Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Hotel. The recent merger allowed SPG/Marriott members to book this hotel via points, but since this was the most important part of the honeymoon – we decide to book one of the villa (Tropical Pool) via cash (using my corporate rate).
  • Hong Kong: Returning to my all time favorite hotel W Hong Kong. The hotel is currently a Category 7 hotel – 2 nights cost 120,000 points
  • Dubai: I’ve stayed at the W and St Regis Dubai on my previous business trips. However, with the recent reshuffling of SPG/Marriot properties in Dubai – the choices have slightly diminished. For our 2 nights 3 days stay in Dubai, Mrs. LDNConsultant decided to make an executive decision and split our stay to 1 night in Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai and 1 night in Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel. The Al Maha was a Category 7 - 1 night cost 60,00 points + 20 AED and Grosvenor House was a Category 5 - 1 night cost 32,500 points + 20 AED.
Planning & Booking:
In order to book these flights I had numerous weapons at my arsenal:
  • Korean Airline SkyPass: My wife’s numerous business trips to Korea was enough for circa 40,000 miles and we topped up the additional 40,000 miles via Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to book the KE 86 (JFK to ICN).
  • United Airlines Mileage Plus: In 2017, I travelled LGA – IAH on a regular basis and coupled with a couple JFK to ICN on Asiana, I was able to get United Platinum Status as well as circa 170,000 miles
  • American Airlines Advantage: In 2018, my bi-weekly flights from JFK to HYD/HKG/LHR was enough to earn my Executive Platinum and a whopping 700,000 miles at my disposal.
  • SPG/Marriott Rewards: The past 2 years - due to numerous business trips and circa 400 nights total; I was (fortunate I guess..) to obtain circa 300,000 SPG points. Coupled with using my SPG AMEX/Chase Marriott Visa for personal/business expenses, I had more than enough points to cover this trip.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: Luckily my company allows me to book hotels and all other business expense (except for flights) on my personal credit card. This helped me immensely in my booking.
This is my first trip report so apologies if things aren’t clean as TR on flyertalk but any recommendations would be much appreciated.
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Last edited by LDNConsultant; Aug 6, 19 at 10:56 am
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Old Jan 6, 19, 10:05 pm
Join Date: Dec 2012
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First thing, congratulations.
Second, looking forward to the report
Third, don't get obsessed with the report, remember to get married
SQTraveller is offline  
Old Jan 6, 19, 11:46 pm
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I'll be following the TR with interest.
Guvner067 is offline  
Old Jan 7, 19, 1:06 am
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This is a very exhasting itinarary. Are you sure you don't want to cut it down to one or two locations?

Kalboz is offline  
Old Jan 7, 19, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
First thing, congratulations.
Second, looking forward to the report
Third, don't get obsessed with the report, remember to get married
And photos, we need some pics.

Looks like an interesting trip, have fun, and enjoy.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 2:52 pm
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All thanks for the encouraging words and of course I will add pictures to the trip report. Our ultimate destination was Koh Samui but through the planning process Mrs. LDNConsultant added numerous other destinations - so had to be slightly more creative in the planning and routing.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 6:24 pm
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After seeing numerous travel blogs in regards to Al Maha in Dubai - Mrs. LDNConsultant decided to change her mind (hopefully for the last time) and wanted to stay there for our short trip in Dubai. It was perfect timing since just recently SPG/Marriott reversed their negative redemption changes by now (re)allowing award redemption to include all food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and activities.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 7:48 am
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EWR Terminal B Check In and Senator Lounge
February in New York – it’s a wonderful place to spend your time if you love the snow and cold weather. I was mentally preparing for my long trip from Astoria Queens to Newark (I still have no clue why United calls Newark – New York), but on Sunday I became aware of the possible weather issue on my original itinerary.

This was actually a blessing in disguise at the end of it – after a quick look EWR – FRA – ICN became available with EWR – FRA available in First Class. The cost for the change and the upgrade would be 40,000 United Miles (Thank you again Chase Rewards Points) as well as $35.00 fee (this was probably the best $35 I spent). So on Sunday I frantically packed my bags and got ready for my Monday.

After a quick taxi ride from my home in Astoria to my office in Midtown, and about 6 hours of constant work – I got ready to go to EWR. The ride from Midtown to EWR was pleasant – no major issue and traffic.

The check-in was a breeze (apologies no pictures) – the First Class Line empty and the Lufthansa Check In Staff greeted me with open arms (figuratively) and as part of the First Class service, they offered to “Assistance” to the Lufthansa Lounge. I’m an extremely independent individual (after living by my self for more than 14 years) but the Lufthansa Check In Staff was insistence and stated “You won’t regret it” – and I have to say it was extremely helpful. I was greeted by a wonderful Lufthansa Staff Member who guided me through security line – even though I had TSA PreCheck the line was strangely long in Terminal B at EWR. She guided me to the front of the line where as usual where there was “Expedited Security” but with all the hassle of normal security (had to take out any liquid and electronics).

After the minor hick up at the at the security (I forgot my belt) I entered the Terminal B Senator Lounge. I know I wasn’t expecting much but it was a nice place to get work done before my flight. As you enter the lounge there are two separate eating areas and there is a small dedicated seating arrangement for First Class Passengers and HON Circle Status. It was extremely quiet until about 4pm when the lounge filled up dramatically with flights to Frankfurt, Zurich and others.

The food spread was actually quite decent for US lounge, however extremely underwhelming for a “First Class Lounge”

February Menu - It actually didn't look that bad

As a South Korea - it was always nice to see kimchi in the lounge (if only I had a ramen noodle and it would have been fantastic)

Boiled Potato with butter/parsley and Roasted Winter Squash Medley - I actually had a couple potatoes and it was extremely dry (it seems like they were left there for a while)

Beef Guinness Stew and Baked Vegetable Ziti

Wild Mushroom Bisque and Clam Chowder (I'm actually a sucker for these but had to keep an empty stomach for the flight :P)

Not an amazing liquor selection but saw couple college students just chugging these down like there was no tomorrow... Youth.... its beautiful

Obligatory shot

The only thing I did notice was the small bathroom - the lounge is big enough to hold circa 50-60 individuals but for men's there was only 1 urinal. Outside of several occasions at clubs this was one of the few times where I had to wait more than 5 minutes just to conduct my business.

But with all things, it wasn't bad place to just sit comfortably and work for 3 hours. The gate was just a short 2-3 minutes walk from the lounge and it was time for me to really enjoy my first Lufthansa First Class
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Old Feb 12, 19, 2:01 pm
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Congratulations, and thanks in advance for sharing. I am looking forward to your TR ^
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:00 pm
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Newark (New York) – Frankfurt

Flight Number: LH 403
Flight Route: EWR – FRA
Departure Time: 06:15 PM EST
Take Off: 06:41 PM EST
Landing: 07:22 AM CET (+1)
Gate Arrival: 07:32 AM CET (+1)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-8I
Seat: 2K

The moment of truth – Lufthansa on its long haul flight seem to have a 1 – 1 configuration in the first 2 rows of First Class and the third row consist of 1-1-1-1. With a total of 8 seats it does feel very crowded (especially in the third row) but sure beats the BA configuration that manages to fit 14 First Class seats in the nose of the B747.
Even though it was a last minute booking – there were 4 seats (all in Row 3) that were available at check-in. As soon as I settled down, a flight attendant came by to offer pre-departure beverages of choice. I will let everyone know now that I’m not a huge drinker anymore (especially on planes) and with my South Korean roots; this seem to have caused quite a stir with my friends (long gone are the days of dropping 6-7 bottles of soju on a Wednesday night). I opted for just a glass of water and it came with some mixed nuts.

After that we were presented with the amenities for the flight which included – pajamas, amenity kits, slippers and the menus

The pajamas and amenity kits (for which I still haven't opened)

I actually don’t like opening the content of either the pajama or amenity kit on flight and usually save them for much later (at home). However, I always carry my trusted Cathay Pacific First Class pajama in my carry on for every long flight (I probably have to write about these once I get back home to New York and my wife tries them – she has become a sucker for these amenity kits and especially the pajamas).

After receiving the kits, I had a quick look through the food and drinks menu. The food menu consisted of:
The Drinks Menu:

Before the meal was served cabin crew member went around to all the First Class Passenger and introduced himself and provided wi-fi certificate.

The certification was valid for 24 hours but the internet signal was weak at best – sending message via whatsapp/imessage was sufficient but anything more would be problematic.

Meal Services:
Just shortly after the reviewing the menu the flight attendant came around to give the amuse bouche as well as the warm towel. The amuse bouche wasn’t very exciting but cleansed my pallet very well – it was chicken & pickled vegetable wrapped in rice paper with a side of sweet chili sauce. The warm towel was presented but had a strong lavender fragrant (which was too strong for me).

Now this is where the fun begins – for a circa 7pm departure all 6 passengers were wide awake for the meal service. First up it was the caviar (I’ve had caviar several times for my client & team dinners) but Lufthansa presents its caviar service with all the standard fixings.

Caviar was excellent and the FA also came around with the appetizers. I chose:
  • Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Celery Roots and Green Apple Salad, caramelized Figs, spiced candied Pecans
  • Prosciutto, Red Heirloom Tomato, peeled Yellow Cherry Tomato, peeled Red Cherry Tomato, Watercress, Balsamic Pearls
  • Fresh Leaf Salad, shaved Fennel, Celery, sun-blushed Tomato presented with dressing
I actually asked the FA to leave out one of the appetizer which consisted of goat cheese (which I’m not a huge fan of). The appetizer was tasty and refreshing – I devoured the shrimp and the salad was refreshing. The FA kept on asking if I wanted any alcohol with any of my meals but I declined (he seemed extremely shocked) until now – I asked him for a refreshing white wine with the caviar and appetizer. He presented me with a glass of 2016 Vollrads Schlossberg which was a German wine (my first actually). It went extremely well with both the caviar as well as the appetizer. For my main I had ordered the:
  • Seared Veal Medallion, Green Peppercorn Sauce, Baby Zucchini, caramelized Fennel, roasted Cherry Tomato, Anna Potatoes
  • Glass of 2015 Indian Wells Columbia Valley Merlot

The peppercorn sauce and the potatoes were excellent, however the veal (which I asked for in Medium) was extremely dry and probably cooked more towards well done. For dessert, I went with my favorite – the Crème Brulee. I’m a sucker for these and this is my go to dessert. I was also presented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

After a full meal service and only having Chopt salad for lunch – I was extremely full and ready for bed. I asked for my bed to be made and in the meantime, I toured the bathroom. Lufthansa First offers 2 bathrooms for 8 passengers and luckily I never had to wait for one. The bathroom was well stocked with and always kept clean throughout the flight (the FA would stop me from going in before they inspected/cleaned it). I’m a sucker for these Evian Facial Spray!!

Note: For detail oriented individuals - you will notice something is out of place :P

For some reason, I did not sleep very well (it might be that I didn’t take my Melatonin) – the bedding was extremely comfortable but one thing that I still don’t understand is why do airlines keep their cabin temperature quite warm inside the cabins. I slept for 2 hours and woke up semi sweaty and with about 90 minutes before landing I was offered breakfast. Since I had a 10hr layover in FRA and will most likely be spending all of the layover in the First Class Terminal I decided to go with a very light eggs and bacon with a side of orange juice.
Fresh scrambled eggs on a plane is always a delight. Upon landing into FRA, we were met by a Lufthansa representative on the jetbridge for all of LH First Class and HON Circle passengers. As they were guiding us towards immigration – I suddenly get a text from my wife asking if the Terminal at FRA had a Hermes store. So I declined the guide once I saw a Hermes store and begin to do my shopping.

Note: Post my purchase getting Tax Return was extremely simple. Post my purchase, all I had to do was go around the corner and show my non-EU passport and get a stamp on the tax form. Post returning to the store, I would get my tax back (no commission was taken)

All in all, the Lufthansa First Class did not disappoint and I will definitely keep this as one of the options to Europe.
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Last edited by LDNConsultant; Feb 13, 19 at 1:06 pm
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Old Feb 13, 19, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Congratulations, and thanks in advance for sharing. I am looking forward to your TR ^
Thank you - I’m looking forward to this trip and hopefully I dont burn out aha
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Old Feb 19, 19, 8:42 pm
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Congrats! Excellent start to the TR. Will be following along, curious to see your Koh Samui review.
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Old Mar 1, 19, 8:38 am
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As usual wedding and beginning phases of the honeymoon has been hectic and now I write this trip report from my room in Hong Kong – I begin to realize “WOW this takes a lot of time and effort” – so I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to write any report and giving me inspiration to now only write my own but to leverage your idea for my own trip (they do say imitation is the best form of flattery).

Frankfurt First Class Terminal

After a fantastic flight on Lufthansa First as well as my quick trip to the Hermes store – I quickly cleared immigration and made by way to the First Class Terminal.

Note: This was my first time to the First Class Terminal and it was quite easy to find. You will first have to clear immigration and follow the sign to the street level. Turn left after exiting the terminal and keep heading left until you find the taxi stand/waiting area. Keep heading left and I crossed the street when I saw the First Class Terminal

Once you are through the doors, I took a quick lift up to the Main Lobby of the First Class Terminal, where a personal assistant will be waiting.

Probably at this point it’s a good reminder to briefly highlight the eligibility:
  • You must be flying Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian First Class or be HON Circle Member
  • Flying Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian First Class and connecting to Business Class (Same Day)

Post arriving at Main Lobby, I was met by a wonderful Personal Assistant whom reviewed my boarding pass and passport. I did mention to the Personal Assistant that “it was my first time at the First Class Terminal” and she stated “Well you have an 11 hour layover so you should have plenty of time to enjoy it”. The passport and boarding pass will be kept by the Personal Assistant until the given time (which for me was 5pm).

Post the main lobby, I cleared security within the Terminal and after a couple minutes I was whisked away into the main area of the First Class Terminal. Post security and prior to going through to the main area of the First Class Terminal, a Duty Free shop as well as the collection of the Lufthansa’s famous rubber ducks are on display.

The famous rubber duck collection

Actually a very decent selection of makeup and liquor

The main area contains:
  • Numerous seating areas
  • Private Business Rooms
  • Cigar Room
  • Main Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Sleeping Area
  • Shower/Bath

Main Lobby Area

After a long flight the first thing I wanted to do was to take a nice long bath to relax and unwind. Sadly, the bath was out of service due to maintenance so I had to deal with a normal shower room. It was larger in comparison to other shower lounges (LHR, HEL, JFK and others) and I loved that they had ETRO products.

After a quick shower, I headed over to the one of the private business rooms to take calls and finish last minute hand-over e-mails before I officially “click” my out of office message on my company outlook. However, my lovely Personal Assistant found me to say “since this is your first time at the First Class Terminal – I would like to give you this rubber duck as souvenir”.

Hopefully the first of my many rubber duck collection

Soon after finishing my work, jet lag as well as my lack of sleep finally caught up to me. Luckily with any good lounge (well in this case a terminal for that matter) the First Class Lounge holds 2 sleeping rooms. These rooms can be booked with the assistance of the Concierge near the bathrooms. The sleeping room consists of a single bed with a pillow/duvet, sleeping aid (e.g., ear plugs as well as scent) and water. I managed to get a room at around 10am and I couldn’t sleep for at least a good hour due to noise (the First Class Terminal was extremely packed in the early morning hours). However after a nice 3 hour nap, I woke up from my nap feeling hungry.

Luckily, the First Class Terminal holds a restaurant that provides both buffet and a la carte options. The afternoon was much less crowded compared to the morning and I was probably 1 of 3 guests in the First Class Terminal. The buffet spread was impressive with a combination of:
  • Bread
  • Hot Food
  • Salad
  • Olive Oil/Dressing
  • Cheese/Ham
  • Dessert

The day's menu was:

I opted for today’s special “rib eye” cooked medium rare with a glass of Malbec. The idea of getting freshly grilled/cooked stake anywhere, let alone a lounge is fantastic. But not 100% sure why but… the chef was extremely generous in topping the steak off with salt and pepper. In order to finish it I brushed the top layer off and ate the rest of the steak.

My medium rate steak with a generous help of salt and pepper

After lunch, I still had a good 2 hours left in the lounge and I just strolled around looking at the liquor and drinks at the famous bar as well as a quick visit to the Cigar Room.

After 10 hours of First Class Lounge, my Personal Assistant finally called my name and I was read to board my flight to Seoul. After a quick elevator ride down to 1st Floor, a Immigration officer stamped my passport and I was ready for my first ever Porsche ride to my gate.

It was a relatively quick ride to my gate (circa 5 minutes) and I was 100% refreshed (or so I thought) for my flight to Seoul.

As an first time user of the First Class Terminal – the WOW factor is 100% there. However, I think 10 hours might have been a push even for any flight or travel enthusiast.
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Old Mar 1, 19, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by benjahman View Post
Congrats! Excellent start to the TR. Will be following along, curious to see your Koh Samui review.
Thanks you!! Just finished my trip to Koh Samui and it was fantastic and you will slowly see an update on Koh Samui
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Old Mar 2, 19, 9:47 pm
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Frankfurt – Seoul Incheon

Flight Number: LH 712
Flight Route: FRA – ICN
Departure Time: 05:51 PM CET
Take Off: 06:07 PM CET
Landing: 12:06 PM KST (+1)
Gate Arrival: 12:14 PM KST (+1)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 10H

After a brilliant but extremely long layover at the First Class Terminal and my Porsche drop off – I finally boarded my plane to Seoul. The 747-400 consists of a total of 67 business seats (47 and 20 on the upper deck) and the layout of the seats seems very dense. The seats at the nose of the plane and as well as the upper deck consists of the 2-2 configuration, however the 2nd cabin (which I was seated) consisted of 2-3-2 configuration and made it extremely dense.

Upon my arrival I was guided to my seat by one of the Korean Flight Attendants. I quickly changed into my Cathay Pacific Pye Pajamas and quickly looked through the menu and got comfortable with the seating arrangements.

The seat was a little tight for me, but it was nice that Lufthansa also provided a mattress pad to its business class passengers. Also the blanket was thick provided the additional warmth required for this flight (luckily, it felt they lowered the temperature for this flight compared to the LH flight from EWR).

The amenity kit seems like an upgrade from the previous Reisenthel since the bag/container was sturdy and I could actually think of using it for my self – I believe my mom took the pouch for her self in Seoul and stuffed all her make up/accessories. It contained all the normal accessories but I only managed to use the tooth brush/paste since eye shades extremely uncomfortable (except for my trusty CX ones).

A quick look through the food/drinks menu – nothing really inspired me. After several Western Meals, I opted for the Korean menu which consisted of:
  • Bibimbap – which is a typical Korean dish with steam rice, meat (beef strips) and vegetables. Often you mix it with sesame oil and spicy Korean chili paste
  • Kimchi
  • Beef Strips marinated in soy sauce
  • Seaweed Soup

Throughout the years, Korean carriers as well as Foreign ones have gone with bibimbap since (from my opinion) Korean food is extremely easy to prepare on flights as well as the food still holds is flavor 38,000 miles above ground.

After pre-departure drinks and drinks service before the meal (which again I had water), the meal was served all in one tray. The mix was typical bibimbap selection/meal on a plane (which I had on numerous occasions) but the kimchi was excellent. It was not overly fermented and had a very refreshing taste/flavor.

I will apologies for the brief flight report since I was extremely fatigued and after 2 melatonin, I woke up actually 30 minutes prior to landing.
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