After three long weeks in Chongqing I was ready to come home, and excited to fly Asiana for the first time! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the experience to teach abroad, especially with a couple weekends away from campus at the Marriott Hotel Chongqing and the JW Marriott Chongqing Hotel, but I was eager to get home!
I arrived at the airport well ahead of my scheduled departure time of 12:30 knowing the security and customs procedure could be long. To my surprise, I was through both in a short time with an invitation to the lounge contracted for Asiana business class passengers. While I wasn’t expecting the Qantas first class lounge at LAX or the Cathay Pacific lounge at YVR, I was a bit disappointed with the ‘VIP’ lounge at Chongqing airport.
I had about 2 hour to spend in the lounge, which was 90 minutes more than I needed. There was plenty of seating, with some decent views!
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The food selection was decent, but nothing looked particularly good in my opinion.
The alcohol selection was poor, with a few cans of warm beer and some very awful Chinese wines. I didn’t partake…
There was a decent selection of magazines in the lounge, but unfortunately no English content!
My flight was scheduled to depart at 12:30pm, so I decided to leave an hour before to check out the airport and be first in line at the gate. I was able to get a picture of the Airbus A321 that would be taking me to Seoul.
Asiana Airlines 354
Chongqing (CKG) – Seoul(ICN)
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Arrive: 5:39am (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 5A (Business Class)
Asiana business class is much like North American first class, with a 12 seat cabin in a 2-2 configuration. The seats were 21 inches wide with 39 inches of pitch.
I was greeted at the door and brought to my seat by one of the friendly cabin crew. She was well-intentioned, but her English was not the best. The cabin felt clean and warm, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the colour choice or seat pattern.
Waiting at the seat were slippers and some very decent headphones, which was surprising for such a short flight!
There was only one other person in business class with me, which is always nice! During boarding the cabin crew came around and distributed menus and offered a water or orange juice as a pre-departure beverage.
The seat was comfortable for a short 3-hour flight, with manual controls on the armrest.
There were also individual reading lights at each seat, in addition to the main overhead light.
The in-flight entertainment had a limited selection of English content, though it was more than enough for the short flight. The seat-back screen was standard for a small aircraft, and there was a handheld remote attached to the armrest next to the headphone jack and USB port.
The menu was more extensive than I expected for such a short flight. I opted for the western option (beef), with meal orders placed before takeoff.
We pushed back right on time and had a short taxi to the runway. It was neat to see some airlines I’ve never seen before.
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The taxi was short, and after about 10 minutes we were up in the air over Chongqing, without a cloud in the sky!
The seatbelt sign was turned off fairly quickly, at which point I used the washroom. The bathroom was nothing special compared to any other Airbus A321, but did feature L’Occitane amenities, which was nice!
Meal service started shortly after the seatbelt sign was off, starting with some packaged snacks.
I ordered the western beef option, which was served with bread and actually really good (I didn’t have high expectations). I ordered a mimosa with lunch, and while it was delicious, I’ve never had one with a cherry and orange wedge…
Meal service concluded with a cheese and fruit platter.
Meal service lasted about an hour, at which point I settled in and watched some of the in-flight entertainment. A short while later we started our descent into Korea!
Short-haul business class flights are hardly worth getting excited for, and sometimes are downright awful. This was my first time on an Asian carrier’s narrow-body aircraft in business class, and I was thoroughly impressed! The seat wasn’t much different than I’m used to in Canada, but had better recline, individual reading lamps, and was kept immaculately clean. Also, the meal service was great for such a short flight, with menus, a good variety of lunch options, and an extensive beverage list including champagne! After such an enjoyable business class flight, I was stoked for my first class flight on the Asiana Airbus A380 from Seoul to Los Angeles!