FLIGHT REVIEW: Korean Airlines Economy Class [777-300] from Manila to Washington, D.C

IN SUMMARY
Korean Airlines economy product is one of the best ways to travel from Washington to Incheon. Pros: Larger seats and aisles to move through, friendly staff and assortment of entertainment. Cons: Pricey compared to other emerging airlines, long layover on the return, always full.

CHECKING IN

Manila International Airport (formerly known as Ninoy Aquino International Airport, NAIA) is the main international gateway for the Philippines and serves about 36 million travelers annually. Manila International is divided into 4 different terminals: Terminals 1 & 3 – International Airlines; Terminal 2 – Domestic flights & Philippine Airlines; Terminal 4 – Local Carriers like AirAsia, TigerAir and Skyjet Airlines. Terminal 1 has 16 gates and serves Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airlines, Korean and Asiana Airlines.

If you do not know, checking in Manila is not an easy task and I would recommend that all passengers make sure to arrive at least 3 hours prior to departure. Terminal 1 is the oldest of the 4 terminals and has gone through a well needed renovation to enhance operations.

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When checking in, expect long wait times before obtaining your ticket and proceeding to immigration. Note: Immigration is also a bit slow and the average wait time is about 20 minutes. Make sure to have all your paperwork ready when you step up to the Immigration Officer.

Once you pass the final security check point, you can proceed to your gate.


AT THE GATE

Unlike most international terminals, Terminal 1 in Manila does not offer travelers many options for food and shopping. I found the public areas very dull and not as welcoming and would like to see more in the future. If you want to grab something to eat before your flight, make sure to buy something before you enter the Terminal, as I found two options for food but both were limited to small pastries and snacks.

When you arrive at the gate, there was an airline staff member which will check each passenger as an additional security measure. Although you are free to leave the gate area, you will always need to carry your ticket and passport to re-enter.

 

THE CABIN

When you board your aircraft, you will be greeted by the friendliest flight attendants who always seem to have a calming smile. The flight staff are very friendly and even offer to assist you with your carry-on luggage.  From Manila, Korean Airlines uses the Boeing 777-300 aircraft which has 6 flat bed seats in First Class, 35 lie flat Business/ Prestige Class, and 297 standard economy class seats for a total of 338 total passengers.

 

As you head towards the Economy Class cabin, you will immediately notice the large aisles that allow passengers to move freely through the airplane.

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Passengers with disabilities or the elderly will also truly appreciate the ample space between the rows. Even standing a whopping 5’10, I was able to stretch out my legs and not have to worry about having my knees touch the back of the seat in front of me. Definitely a plus! Korean Airlines also boats some of the widest seats in Economy Class with 18 inches across and a seat pitch of 33-34 degrees (recline).

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As you can see, Korean Airlines has 10 inch screens to keep you entertained while on your flight. There is also a convenient USB charging outlet for easy access for your personal electronics and tablets.

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Each passenger also receives a Korean Blanket, headphones and slippers. The Korean Airline blankets are the BEST. You are not suppose to take them and is strictly prohibited, however they are very comfy and warm (I have three).

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THE FOOD

I absolutely love Korean food however I was not impressed with the food. During each meal service, passengers can choose from a traditional Korean dish or an American style meal. I tried the Bibimbap which was very tasty and filling and also came with kimchi and fruits. Each meal also comes with red plum wine.

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This is the American dish, which was also good – Beef Bourguignon.

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THE SERVICE

There is a major difference between U.S. based airlines and its competitors in Asia when it comes to service. Flight attendants are some of the most polite and friendliest people I have ever met and are always willing to help when asked upon. The staff onboard are very attentive and even anticipate your needs when they see you are even a little bit uncomfortable. I was even surprised at the immediate response time when I pressed the call button (20 seconds).

Every staff member speaks English well and are very helpful in accommodating your needs. I do have to mention that the service is wonderful however can seem very robotic at times, but nonetheless enjoyable.

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OVERALL EXPERIENCE

I am a big fan of Korean Airlines and hope they continue to maintain the of level of standard that most people expect when traveling with them. From the beginning at check-in to the in-flight service, you definitely feel that each staff member loves their job is genuinely pleasant and sincere. The food was good and tasty, however would have loved more snacks to fight off the hunger during the long haul between Incheon and Washington, D.C. Korean Airlines will need to continue to innovate in competition to the Gulf carriers and Chinese carriers which have consistently expanded their operations in Manila.

 

FLIGHT REVIEW: American Airlines (777-300) Economy Class from Dallas to Hong Kong

It can be quite expensive traveling internationally and although we all loathe to spend our hours in First Class, or even Business – the truth of the matter is that most of us will have to settle for Economy Class fares. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with traveling in the Main Cabin, and many airlines have improved amenities, seat size and of course entertainment and food to lure passengers on their planes. On my recent trip to Asia, I decided to try out American Airlines brand new 777-300 and share my reviews with you all.

Since the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, the American Corporation has been quietly improving their airplanes, expanding their destinations, while fine tuning their domestic operations and transitioning into the World’s Largest Airlines. I was very impressed with the new changes and attention that American has concentrated on such as the inflight entertainment, overall flight experience and the quality of food and snacks while in the air.

DALLAS/FORT WORTH (DFW)

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is one of American’s busiest hubs in the West with 84 percent from domestic flights and 13 percent coming from international connections to Asia. From Dallas, Fort Worth you could connect on American to Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Japan, however only Hong Kong uses the new 777-300. American flies a non-stop flight from Dallas to Hong

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The Boeing 777-300 can hold up to 310 passengers which consists of 8 First Class (flat bed seats), 52 Business Class (flat bed seats), 48 Premium Economy Class (standard) and 202 Main Cabin (standard) seats.

Here’s the American Airlines 777-300 Economy class seatmap, via SeatGuru.

When you first board the plane, you can feel the different atmosphere with contemporary style decor and modern furnishings. As I continued to my seat, I was astonished to find the newly improved and interactive monitor behind every seat. I love catching up on movies and sitcoms, and I already knew this was going to be a pleasant experience. Also, I quickly realize that American had also focused on allowing passengers more options for connectivity with ease to find ac plugs, USB chargers and touchscreen seat functions.

Now the size and width of the seats did not change, however it did feel like there was more space when I sat down. Typically the standard for Main Cabin seating is 32 inched Seat Pitch and 17-18 width, which was the case for this flight.

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I also enjoyed the that the menu was given out in the beginning of the flight to give you enough time to think about what you would like to eat. This helps avoid deciding on the spot when the flight attendants are trying hard to serve every person in a timely manner. Did you know that beer and wine is complimentary on international flights? Big thumbs up!

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As each person situated themselves in their seat, there was more than enough overhead space for carry-ons and backpacks, I even noticed a few bins which were empty. The flight attendants were quick to prepare the flight for departure and within 10 minutes from boarding we were already in the air to Hong Kong.

INFLIGHT EXPERIENCE

Once we were at cruising speed, I was excited to see if the service in American also improved. US Carriers have not scored as high as international carriers such as Korean Air or All Nippon, however American has mentioned that they aim to change their consumer perception. Beverages and drinks came out within 45 minutes from our departure and I would be able to enjoy a nice cold drink while watching a movie.

One of the biggest changes to the inflight entertainment was the huge screen and selection of movies and TV shows. I was in awe on the amount of time I could keep occupied with over 300 movies (50 being newly released) and then over 300 channels of television shows. You were able to rewind, fast forward and save selections for later in the flight. Even the games that were loaded on the system were entertaining for 10 minutes or so.

Did you have a playlist that you want to listen to? Well you can even connect your smart device and play pre-loaded playlists to the system. Now that’cool!

Now for those who need the Internet, well – American Airlines has an option for you! Inflight Wi-Fi throughout the entire flight. To purchase Wifi, it costs $19.95 for the entire flightv (14hours) and the connection speed was pretty good. I was able to play an online game and make a Wifi call from my cellphone. Who would have thought Iw ould be able to make a call at 50,000 feet!

This made a BIG DIFFERENCE!

Throughout the flight, I did deal with very understanding flight attendants, however I was not blown away with their service and attention to detail. I still feel that Asian carriers have an advantage when it comes to being proactive. I was satisfied and this by far was one of my better experiences on American Airlines.

FINAL REVIEW

American Airlines has made some major changes to its place int he airline world especially for those who plan to fly internationally. These new planes with major advancements in functionality and atmosphere has been a big eye opener and will attract more passengers to consider flying on American. Although changes have been made in the equipment, American Airlines and the other US Carriers will need to improve on their overall customer service. Friendliness and sincerity are expected, but if American wants to compete internationally, they will need to learn to do more and exceed expectations.

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