Trip Report: Korean Air 747-8i First Class ICN-JFK

ICN (Seoul Incheon) – JFK (New York)
KE 85
06/05/2016
Boeing 747-8i
First Class

Seats 1A, 1J

Well this flight was a full-on treat. We haven’t been in long haul First Class in a few years so it was great to be able to experience 2 of them during this trip. This Korean Air flight easily out shined the Japan Airlines flight we took to Japan. I can easily say that this was one of the best flights we’ve ever taken.

Boarding

We arrived a few minutes after scheduled boarding time of 7:00p. They were only pre-boarding those who needed assistance, but the queue in every line was already extensive. We showed our First boarding passes to the attendant and he escorted us to the front of the premium line.

After a few minutes, an announcement was made & all the gate attendants bowed in unison. Our boarding passes were scanned and we were off to the First & Business Class jet bridge. The chief purser (who would introduce himself later) had us escorted to our suites – 1A & 1J, right in the nose of this still-fresh 747.

Cabin

The First Class cabin was beautiful. Clean whites, mellow creams, and then of course the signature Korean Air Celadon Green seats. The overhead lighting was set to bright white & blue for boarding, something that would change during the stages of the flight.

The cabin was very spacious with only 6 First Class suites. Like other 747 First Class cabins, the rear of the cabin was used for staging drinks & snacks for passengers, of which there were only 3 on this flight. Up front where we were, the cabin narrowed to the contours of the nose of the plane; so much so that the space between 1A & 1J, only one person could fit.

Korean Air First Class

Settling In

As we got to our seats, the flight attendant was quick to offer to stow our bags in a closet at the very front of the cabin. She then asked if we’d like anything to drink which was quickly answered with “Champagne!”

She came back shortly with Bose noise cancelling headphones, an amenity kit (advertising the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang), and facial mist. After that, she offered Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 2004 & macadamia nuts.
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Korean Air First Class

Korean Air First Class

She came back again and asked what size “comfortable clothes” (pajamas) I’d like. I don’t wear them on planes because I get way too hot but I’ll certainly take them home as a souvenir. Slippers & menus were already at the seat so I put my shoes away & perused the menu for the flight while she returned with the Gianfranco Ferre pajamas.

Korean Air First Class

The Seat/Suite

First impression of the suite was that it was great. Reminiscent of Cathay Pacific First Class with 4 windows-worth of space and a wide seating area, it is designed slightly better with a wider footwell and a bigger screen above that. There’s even a little lamp about head-level behind you, which reminded me of Swiss First Class.

Korean Air First Class

Korean Air First Class

There’s plenty of small storage to your side; max capacity is probably the size of my Tom Bihn medium cafe bag.

The seat itself was very comfortable; maybe it’s because the plane is fairly new & the cushions aren’t worn in yet.

Because this is technically a suite, there were, of course, doors that made you feel quite secluded. Since I was traveling with my wife, we only used them when sleeping. They’re easily deployed via a release button on the top of the door.

Korean Air First Class

Speaking of sleeping, the completely flat bed is quite comfortable. The flight attendant only added a thin foam mattress pad, but that seemed to be enough because it felt more pleasant than the last Airbnb we stayed at in Tokyo. It was definitely more comfortable than Japan Airlines’ air weave foam mattress pad. The duvet is substantial yet soft, but it was too hot for me (any duvet on a plane will be).

Korean Air First Class

The best thing about the suite, BY FAR, was air vent on the side of the suite. I hate that premium cabins don’t have dedicated air vents because I get hot VERY easily. It might be stupid to some but the existence of this vent ensured I had a pleasant flight and, most importantly, an agreeable sleep.

Korean Air First Class

Overall

Korean Air must have one of best First Class offerings on the market right now with this new Kosmos Suite 2.0. The cabin is well designed and the suite is private enough if you want it to be. The seat is comfortable & the service was amazing, both personable & attentive. The only shortcoming was probably the food, which I’ll get to in another post. I really just wanted to write about the rest of the flight which we loved. It was certainly worth the 80,000 miles per person we redeemed (more on that in another post, too).

Last Few Days to Earn 10x Points at Amazon & More via Chase Freedom

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Chase Freedom 10% Amazon

Just a reminder that if you’ve activated this offer from Chase, there are only a few more days to spend up to $1,500 at Amazon, Zappos, Audible & Diapers.com and get 10 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent.

Since I do too much shopping at Amazon and I still have some room until I get to $1,500 spent, I’m going to end up buying some Amazon gift cards for myself to use at a later time. This way I’ll earn the 10x UR points on the shopping I’m eventually going to do on Amazon in the future.

Also, as a note, Amazon Home Services will count as spend towards that bonus since the charge appears just like any other Amazon purchase on your credit card. I’ve tested this a few months ago and the charge did, in fact, receive the quarterly bonus points. Great way to hire a contractor and pay via Amazon.com. A bonus is that you get the customer service/protection of Amazon so if anything goes wrong, Amazon will go the extra mile to make sure you are happy.

Q1 2016 Bonus

As a reminder, next quarter’s bonuses are as follows:

  • Gas stations
  • Local commuter transportation
    • Excludes tolls, parking, and more

If you have access to gas stations where you can buy gift cards, you should be in the clear to spend up to the $1,500 fairly easily. If not, time to get creative!

Citi ThankYou Premier – 60,000 ThankYou Points

UPDATE 1:50 PM EST: Another link is still up!

UPDATE 1:25 PM EST: Original link DEAD!

Thank to US Credit Card Guide, the best offer we’ve ever seen for the Citi ThankYou Premier credit card has been discovered! Using this link, you can earn the following bonus:

Earn 60,000 bonusThankYou® Points after you spend $3,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.

I just applied both Joann & myself for this card because you can easily transfer points from one account to any other one (with some caveats that I’ll go over in another post). Joann got instantly approved, but my decision went pending.

PRO TIP: If your decision goes pending, don’t close out that browser window. Wait a few seconds & a live chat popup window should appear on screen. Start the live chat & an agent can help you right then & there. No need to have the hassle of calling the reconsideration line! The agent was able to shift some credit from an existing Citi credit card in order to open this one. Approved!

  • Annual fee: $0 first year, $95 thereafter
    • Citi is notoriously generous with retention offers when calling to “cancel” after the annual fee is posted
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • EMV Chip Technology

Citi ThankYou Premier Bonus Categories

3 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on Travel. Travel includes:
  • Gas Stations
  • Public Transportation
  • Taxis and Tolls
  • Parking Garages
  • Airfare and Hotels
  • Cruises
  • Car Rental Agencies
  • And much more!

2 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on Dining Out and Entertainment

ThankYou Transfer Partners

ThankYou Points transfer to 11 different airline partners and Hilton HHonors (at 1:1.5).

  • Asia Miles
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hilton HHonors (1:1.5)

Wrap Up

I haven’t written about City TY points much because I haven’t earned them before, but it’s always good to diversify the portfolio. Stay tuned for a lot more info regarding this program making a splash in the flexible points game.

Citi ThankYou Premier

Amex Offer – Spend $300 on Airfare, Get $50 Back

I just came across this offer while going through my wife’s American Express offers. She seems to get the better ones that I don’t get on either my EveryDay Preferred or Starwood Preferred Guest Business card.

Get a one-time $50 statement credit by using your enrolled Card to spend a total of $300 or more on purchases made directly with any airline by 9/15/15. See terms and conditions for details and exclusions.

I think this is an easy & self-explanatory one that any readers of this blog can take advantage of. Just make sure the purchase is directly with the airline and not through a third party like Orbitz, Priceline, etc.

I’ve read that there is a better version of this offer (spend $300, get $75 back) and that it’s highly targeted. Hopefully, you find this offer in your American Express accounts. Any discount on airfare is a welcome one!

Q3 Rotating Bonuses – Chase Freedom & Discover IT

New quarter, new bonuses! These bonuses will run through September 30, 2015.

Chase Freedom

Activate here. Most gas stations have gift card racks so this should be an easy $1,500 to spend this quarter.

  • Gas stations
  • Kohl’s

Discover IT

Activate here. This is a very easy one to max out ($1,500 also). Combined with enrolling in the double cash back offer for a year, the Discover IT card will get some serious burn for me going forward. Look at Sears in the Discover Deals portal to compound the bonus.

  • Home improvement stores
  • Department stores*
  • Amazon.com