3 Hours Busy
I normally don't get to the airport at the recommended 3 hours prior to departure timings, but today was an exception since I was trying to avoid the Friday evening rush hour. In the end, the traffic wasn't so bad and the taxi fare came to a very reasonable 50,000 won.
I lined up for the Business Class counters, and it was a few minutes before staff pointed me to an available counter. The check-in agent was enthusiastic and got the boarding pass and lounge invitation printed efficiently. I was lucky my 37 kg worth of luggage wasn't rejected despite a likely full load today on a 747.
The processing flow begins with the security check, followed by immigration. Both didn't take long at all, and soon I emerged at the Incheon Airport shopping mall. Many people were already heading to the duty-free pick-up counters located in various corners of the terminal.
I opted for plane spotting instead. There weren't that many international airlines around except the mass of Korean Air and the odd Asiana jet that taxied by.
Then came the brand new Korean Air A380 that made my day.
At the same time, an Emirates A380 was also parked at the satellite terminal.
Cathay Pacific Lounge
It was nearing dinner time and I wanted to grab a snack before enjoying a full Business Class meal in-flight. The Cathay Pacific Lounge is conveniently located within a 5-minute walk from the gate in the satellite terminal. Occupying part of the upper floor with no neighbours, it was a quiet and exclusive corner.
The interiors looked standardized from their older Hong Kong lounge. I was surprised to find how full it was, although I noticed when I did web check-in that J was nearly full today. There was food available, ranging from small sandwiches to salads and dim sum. The selection was acceptable, although I've come to realize I shouldn't expect a buffet-style restaurant awaiting me.
Tucked away on one side of the lounge, there was a computer corner with anti-socializing desks offering plenty of space to work. The washroom was small with only 2 wash basins but had the typical amenities.
I walked all the way to the end of the lounge to find a row of 2 empty seats for some quick reading.
Late Incoming Aircraft
The 747 arrived slightly late from Hong Kong, which delayed our boarding for a few minutes. However, I wasn't keen on getting to the gate so early anyway. I stayed behind in the lounge for a little more as the crowds thinned so to take more photos.
By the time I got to the gate, I could barely figure out which line was for Business and First Class passengers. This was the worst line I've ever experienced for J!
Upper Deck Luxury
I settled into my upper deck seat with a welcome drink on hand. The herringbone configuration meant that it was hard to access the window, and the shoulder strap could not buckle tightly as they've made it lighter and more flexible. Good that these seats are going away. Although the lie-flat function is nice, there was less lateral space than the old Business Class seats.
We originally would have departed on-time, but a last-minute emergency in Economy Class resulted in the airbridge being brought back in to remove the affected passenger. Flight deck was on the PA to update us of the unfolding event. From my window, I could make out some movements along the airbridge at the gate. I saw what was likely an accompanying passenger leaving the gate for the terminal. Eventually, we departed 30 minutes behind schedule at 2033, taking off northwards, then turning to head south along the western coast.
Dinner was served shortly after take-off. The seared tuna tasted really good and I picked the spicy shrimp and crab main dish.
The crew was quite professional and had a lot of smiles. However, I thought they served dinner a bit too quickly. I could not keep up with it and the cheese truck had to pass me on the first go. The FA did remember to come back later and offered that course to me and manually prepared everything from the back. How attentive!
Time passes quickly in Business Class. The 3-hour flight was soon over and I was only able to watch 1 movie and most of 1 episode of The Simpsons.
I had a full view of the airbridge after we landed. I didn't know why the rest of the upper deck seemed so anxious to get off the plane. I relaxed in my seat as the ground crew got all the equipment in place to receive us. I requested to stay behind to photograph this soon-to-be-outdated Business Class.
We were parked at the far-flung gates of the Y and had to take the train in. However, immigration was quick and my priorty bags - all 37 kg of them - were soon out on the belt. Despite the delay in Seoul, we actually arrived only about 10 minutes behind schedule at 2255.
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