Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review ICN-SFO: Love Me Some Nose!

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Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 aircraft

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review ICN-SFO

Recently I had a chance to fly on Korean Air First Class 747-8 Kosmo Suites. On the same trip I also flew on an older 747-400 where I had the entire nose and First Class cabin to myself. These flights represented my first Korean Air experience and one that has me wanting to fly the airline again. Here is my Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review ICN-SFO.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Booking

I transferred 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air SKYPASS in order to book a one-way ticket from TPE-ICN-SFO with a free stopover in ICN for a few days. Unfortunately as of August 25, 2018 you will no longer be able to transfer Chase Points to SKYPASS. RIP.

Seoul City Terminal Check-In & Airport Arrival

During my stay in Seoul I stayed at the Park Hyatt Seoul which I will review later. Despite being somewhat far from most of the tourist sites in the city, the Park Hyatt has one convenience. It is located directly across from Seoul’s Korean City Air Terminal. This terminal works in an interesting way.

First you check-in for your flight and get your boarding passes in an area that looks much like an airport.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Seoul’s City Terminal check-in

Then, you purchase a bus ticket to the correct terminal for your flight at Incheon Airport. Your checked baggage is automatically loaded and taken to the airport for you. When you arrive at the airport, you get to go through security at a private checkpoint. It’s the same security line that crew uses.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Special security area for City Terminal passengers at ICN Terminal 2

I found the experience incredibly convenient for the most part. For some reason the Korean Air ticketing agent questioned me for about 15 minutes about where I came from, where I was going and the purpose of my trip. She spent a lot of time looking at stuff in the computer which was frustrating, but I played along and finally got my boarding pass.

Incheon Terminal 2 Lounge & Public Spaces

Korean Airlines flies out of Seoul Incheon’s new Terminal 2. Keep in mind via the roadway these two terminals are about a 20 minute drive apart, so when taking a bus make sure to select the correct terminal.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
ICN Terminal 2
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
ICN Terminal 2
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air First Class Lounge ICN Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is very clean and modern and dare I say somewhat sterile. They have incorporated nice public art pieces and some greenery as well which I liked. After arriving I spent some time in the new First Class lounge (review to come later) which was nice but certainly not World Class. It did have a nice variety of seating and views of the terminal. After about an hour in the lounge I was ready to begin my journey home.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Boarding

Despite being at the gate at the announced boarding time, it took about another 10 minutes for First Class passengers to be called. Thankfully I was first on to the plane and was able to snap some pictures of the cabin. The First Class cabin on Korean Air’s 747-8 has six suites. My seat was 1A in the front on the left. I selected that seat since I think flying in the nose of a 747 is a special experience.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 Seat 1A
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Cabin
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Cabin

Before it got too crowded, I snuck back into Business Class to take a look at those seats. While Korean Air doesn’t have the best Business Class product in the world, each seat does have aisle access which makes a huge difference.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class seats
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class seats

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Seat, Suite & Bed

Before long I was back in my seat and poking around. The 747-8 features Korean Air’s Kosmo Suite 2.0 which is a fully enclosed suite with a seat that turns into a lie-flat bed. Thankfully on this flight there were only 3 First Class passengers so I was able to have the bed made up in the adjacent seat and use 1A for lounging and eating! 🙂

While settling in I was given my pajamas, amenity kit and noise cancelling headphones. It took a few minutes for me to discover the slippers and eye cover which were already at the seat tucked away into a side pocket.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 First Class seat
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 First Class seat
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 First Class seat controls
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 Amenity Kit
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 Amenity Kit

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Settling In

As anyone who is trying out a new product for the first time does, I poked around for awhile and messed with all of the buttons and knobs. It’s fun, but then it’s time to get down to business. Boarding took awhile for this flight, but luckily I was offered champagne and some of Korean Air’s famous Macadamia Nuts. I chugged it all down with a day old recording of CNN on the in flight entertainment screen.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air First Class pre-departure service

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – In The Air

Before long we were taxiing down the runway and eventually found ourselves in the air. During the first few minutes of the flight I played around with the in flight entertainment a bit as well as the flight map. The in flight entertainment had some new release movies but overall not a huge selection. Still, even though I had been on several other planes over the previous days and had watched a lot of movies, I found stuff to watch.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Taxiing on the runway ICN.
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 seat control for IFE

Wine/Spirits

The wine/spirits list was at my seat from the beginning, so I snapped some photos of it. Unfortunately the food menu was brought much later and I was given a much shorter period of time to look at it and thus forgot to take pictures. Here are the beverages available on the flight.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Dinner Service

Since this was an early evening departure out of ICN, a full dinner service was provided with canape, caviar, soup, salad, main and dessert. Unfortunately the crew had the cabin lights very low thus some of the pictures are poor. The service started with a salmon dish that was delicious.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

One of my favorite things about flying First Class is the caviar. While I almost never eat caviar on the ground, I do enjoy it in the air. I’m sure some of it is just because of the experience of First Class, but who cares? I found the Korean Air caviar to be quite good and well presented.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

The next course was a tomato soup which was good. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of it. Then, there was a salad course with the salad made seat side! The salad was okay but the seat side delivery was a nice touch.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

For my main I had opted for the steak which was served with greens, tomatoes and what amounted to a mound of hash browns. The steak was actually fairly tender despite how it looks in the picture. The rest was okay, but this is certainly not a dish I would write home about. I should have probably opted for the Korean Bibimbap, but I had eaten that on my previous flight and wasn’t in the mood.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Finally it came time for dessert. As you might guess I was STUFFED and passed on the heavier stuff including cheeses and cakes for just some ice cream. In typical airplane fashion it was served hard as a rock!

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Getting Some Sleep

After dinner the flight attendant came by and asked if I wanted my bed made up. We had already discussed making the bed in 1K, so I didn’t have to do anything but continue about my business. Before long, my home for the night was ready. The Korean Air 747-8 First Class bed is actually quite comfortable. After dinner I probably spent an hour or two watching tv, before retiring to my other suite to sleep up until about 90 minutes before landing.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air 747-8 First Class bed
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
View of seat 1K from seat 1A
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean Air First Class Suites doors

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Breakfast & Landing

After giving me time to wake up a bit, the flight attendants offered me breakfast. Once again I failed to take a picture of the menu (shame), but I opted for the western style omelette with all of the fixings. I was not that hungry and ate about half. It was actually pretty good.

With all of the food, drink and sleep I needed it was now time to return to the United States. By now the in flight map was showing we were close and before long I was awarded with a stunning view of San Francisco. Not a bad way to travel over the Pacific. Not a bad way at all.

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Korean AIr First Class flight map
Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review
Descending into San Francisco

Korean Air 747-8 First Class Review – Conclusion

Korean Air has a fantastic First Class product on their 747-8 aircraft. While I do prefer the food and service of Cathay Pacific or Singapore Air, it is hard to argue with the value of 80K miles one-way in a suite including a stopover. The service was good, the airport modern and efficient and most importantly the seat was comfy and I got some rest. I am sad that Korean Air SKYPASS will no longer be a Chase transfer partner, because I wouldn’t mind taking many more of their flights.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Great review, very helpful. I’d love to fly this but am hesitant to book since KE seems to have a habit of swapping equipment type unpredictably from what I’ve read…the miles would be definitely worth it for F on the 747-8i but not so much otherwise at least to me. Is the SFO route reliably using the 747-8i?

    • From what I have read it is pretty consistent. I did deal with an equipment swap on my TPE-ICN flight from a 777 to an old 747-400. The seats were far worse, but it was exciting since I had the entire First Class cabin to myself. From what I understand pretty much all of KE’s long haul F has the same seat, although their older planes including the A380 don’t have doors.

  2. Most of the inconsistency is is in J
    2-2-2 is most common but some of them are the newer seats with everyone having aisle access. Most however are the configuration where you have to climb over someone to get up

    I was in this same plane same routing a year ago in the seat behind @shawn – you brought back great memories. It was my first 747 experience. A month after that I did Lufthansa 747-8 but honestly there’s nothing like your first time in a 747.

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