Monday, December 12, 2016

Trip Report: Korean airlines Manila to Seoul in Business Class 777 KE 622

pros
  • great reward availability 
  • flight was half-empty midweek
  • good food
  • big plane and very nice business class seats for a 3 hour regional flight
  • they use two doors for boarding: faster and more pleasant 

cons 
  • no wi-fi
  • Business Class has 2-3-2 config so you can still end up in a middle seat

how i did it

75,000 Korean Air points for Manila – Seoul – JFK (For comparison, JFK – Seoul is 62,500). 40k points came from a sign-up bonus for a Korean Air credit card. The rest came from Chase Ulitmate Rewards, most of which we acquired from a 60k point bonus for a Chase Ink Business card. (Both cards we've since canceled). Planning is here.


conclusions

Korean Air has great award availability and accepts instant point transfers from Chase, so this will stay a go-to option when getting to Asia provided I'm not flying on one of their Peak dates when redemption rates jump. If timing means I need to fly the A380, I might spring for First Class since the Business Class seats aren't as nice as those on the 747.


arriving

Like in Taipei, Uber is insanely cheap in Manila. Keep an eye on the Google traffic estimates, though. Traffic is terrible in Manila and especially so on the streets and highways around the airport. MNL has several distinct terminals that will have very different driving directions so definitely triple-check your departure terminal!

The lounge is little sad, but it's clear the staff were trying hard to make the best of it. Foodwise, definitely go for the arroz caldo. It was way better than the other offerings. There's also a Priority Pass lounge across the hall which had slightly different food.

Arroz caldo in the lounge


boarding

The boarding area was cordoned off and they did a passport check before you could enter. They split the boarding lines up to keep things orderly. The jetway also had split boarding. There are 35 Business Class seats on this plane in two sections. The rear section as adjacent to the Economy bassinets, so I'd advise sitting as far forward as possible. 

Boarding area with two very separate boarding lines

Jetway also had split boarding

Business Class is 2-3-2 configuration

Plenty of legroom


Seat detail
Great views of Manila

Great views of Manila

food

The food was pretty standard for Korean Air – a bimbimbap and a western main course were offered. I went with the former and it was largely the same as the one we had last year in First. The liquor list was decent, I decided to have a gin and tonic. 

The flight is just under 4 hours so there was time for food and a couple games of MiniMetro and we were on the ground in Seoul. I'll be honest, I didn't check out the seat-back entertainment at all. After landing, immigration was a breeze and we were off to the next leg of the trip with zero waiting.

Menu (click to enlarge)

Menu (click to enlarge)

Appetizer

Bimbimbap

Fruit


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