I selected Korean Air for the journey from Atlanta (ATL) to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN) because Korean Air is one of the few airlines that has international first class on many of its intra-Asia flights. The 90,000 Korean Air miles I used for first class to ICN would also cover the cost of first class from ICN to SGN.
Boarding Korean Air Flight 683
When the attendant in the Korean Air First Lounge notified me that the slightly delayed flight to SGN was ready to board, I made my way to Gate 6 to board KE Flight 683. The 5.5 hour flight was scheduled to depart ICN at 18:20 and arrive SGN at 21:35.
First Class Cabin
Korean Air has six first-class, full-flat seats on the A330-300 in a 2-2-2 configuration. I had seat 1A, a window seat on the left side of the plane. Access to this seat was by a narrow passage between the bulkhead and the front of seat 1B.
After enjoying first class on Korean Air’s 777-300 from ATL to ICN, the first-class seat on the A330-300 was a let down.
First Class Seat Features
There was a half ottoman under the video screen. The ottoman couldn’t be any larger and still allow access to the seat from the passage next to the bulkhead.
With the windows on the left and no console, there was only a very narrow ledge on the right on which to set drinks or anything else that you may want to keep close at hand. There is a wider shelf in the passage from the aisle, but that is hard to reach when seated.
Seat 1B. The first-class seats on Korean Air’s A330-300 seem cramped for first class. This is actually the same seat Korean Air uses in business class. In business class it is called a Prestige Suite. I found the Prestige Suite to be a wonderful experience on a 777-300ER flight from Bangkok to Tokyo.
The first-class seat on the Korean Air 777-300ER is my idea of first-class.
On the A330-300, seat controls and the video remote were mounted on the armrest on the right.
The only storage space is under the armrest.
At least at ICN, unlike ATL, I got a glass of champagne and nuts in a bowl (not packaged as in the famous incident at JFK) before departure.
Taxiing from the gate I could see the windows of the Korean Air lounges.
After takeoff the flight attendant served drinks and then diner which was the only meal on the flight.
Korean Air provided slippers and noise-cancelling headsets on this flight but no amenity kit pajamas or mattress pad. There were razors and dental supplies in the bathroom however.
The in-flight video features were standard for Korean Air.
I was glad when we landed at SGN Tan Son Nhat airport.
The Final Analysis
The first class seat on the A330-300 was disappointing as was the lack of an amenity kit. Service, however, was outstanding as usual on Korean Air. The total trip from ATL was a real pleasure.