It’s no secret that the “good old days” of airline travel are long gone. What used to be a fun and luxurious experience – even in economy – has now become about as exciting as riding the Greyhound. After decades of cost cutting, even the long-haul intercontinental flights suck these days, with reduced baggage allowances, crappy loyalty programs, and scaled-down in-flight food and drink services.
Luckily, there are still some carriers doing it right. Take, for example, Asiana Airlines.
Asiana is a Korean-based airline that is part of the Star Alliance, with a home base at beautiful Incheon Airport. If you are travelling to Asia, they offer a number of flights from the US and Europe.
All Asiana flights offer a free stopover in Seoul. While we never originally planned to visit South Korea, we decided we might as well make use of the stopover on our trip back from Hong Kong to New York. Not only did we find the cheapest flight from Hong Kong, we were able to spend five days in amazing Seoul for no additional cost.
Free City Tours and Hotel Stays
Don’t have a lot of time to check out Seoul? Asiana still wants you to enjoy your extended layover.
They offer a free half or full-day, taking in sights such as the Blue House (presidential palace), Kyungbokgoong Palace, and shopping in Itaewon district.
Or, if your layover is overnight and you want to catch up on sleep, Asiana will provide you with a free hotel room at Incheon!
The 14 hour flight we took from Seoul to New York is one of the longest regularly scheduled flights in the world. Spending that much time crammed into a small aluminum can in economy can be taxing. As a tall guy (6 ft 2 in), I dread long-haul flights. Luckily, Asiana’s seats are comfortable, with plenty of leg room. We were both even able to sleep, which is rare for me.
Our final night in Seoul was a big one, out partying late with some new friends we made there. It’s amazing we even made it to the airport for our flight the next morning. And by the time we got on the plane, we didn’t even want to think about alcohol. So, while we were too hungover to enjoy it, rest assured there is full bar service, including beer, wine, and liquor.
Korean Food and Snacks
Where else can you enjoy delicious in-flight bulgogi or bibimbap? In addition to the traditional Korean meals, Western style meals and snacks were available.
In addition to awesome service and a friendly crew, Asiana goes above and beyond, surprising us in unexpected ways. Take, for example, the toothbrushes and other amenities provided in the lavatories.
It’s no wonder Asiana Airlines is one of a handful of Skytrax five star airlines (ranked #2 airline in the world in 2012, following Qatar Airlines). We’ll be sure to check them first next time we fly to Asia.