Tried & Tested

Flight review: Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Prestige Class

1 Jun 2023 by Hannah Brandler
Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Exterior (provided by Korean Air PR)

Background

Korean Air’s route from Seoul Incheon to London Heathrow is operated daily by a Boeing 777-300ER configured with 291 seats across three cabins: first class (eight seats), Prestige (business class, 56 seats) and economy (227 seats). Korean Air also operates a 277-seater version of the aircraft, with upgraded first and business class products.

The flight departs at 1055 and lands at 1725, while the outbound is a night flight departing LHR at 1935 and arriving at ICN at 1435 the following day.

The carrier recently launched a codeshare with fellow SkyTeam member Virgin Atlantic, enabling customers to book through Virgin to travel directly to Seoul. 

Check-in

Flight KE907 departs Seoul at 1055. I completed online check-in 24 hours before the departure and received a digital boarding pass, but decided to check in my luggage.

Korean Air has a large premium check-in zone to the far right of Terminal 2 departures, with ten counters for Prestige passengers, members of the airline’s Million Miler and Morning Calm Premium programmes, and SkyTeam Elite Plus members. This opens at 0530 and was very busy on the Friday morning, but the queue went quickly. First class passengers can use a dedicated lounge, located to the right. 

Security was crowded, with snaking queues. Unfortunately, Korean Air does not provide a fast-track option for premium passengers, which is a shame.

Korean Air Prestige Class check-in at Seoul Incheon airport

The lounge

There are two lounges for Prestige passengers, located in the east and west wings of the terminal. Passengers are directed to the one closest to their gate. My flight was at gate 242 so I used the west lounge, located on the second floor opposite the food court and open from 0400 until 0000. Unsurprisingly the lounge was busy, but it’s a huge space packed with various seating options so it didn’t feel hectic. There are plug sockets throughout and wifi is free. 

Hot and cold buffet options are provided, as well as several coffee machines and tea facilities – though the cups are incredibly small, so you need about five refills for a normal mug. There’s also a bar area. 

On my way out I noticed a UV phone sanitiser machine, so wiped my phone of germs before heading to the aircraft. 

Korean Air - Seoul Incheon airport robot

Boarding

Gate 242 is a ten-minute walk from the lounge. The terminal feels very well-kept and tech-savvy – a robot known as Airporter can carry luggage to your gate. Boarding began at 1015, with premium passengers prioritised. 

Once boarded, staff hung passengers’ coats and assisted with luggage in the overhead lockers – it cannot be stowed underneath the seat in front during take-off or landing. Once seated, cabin crew took the two meal orders for the flight on a tablet.

The staff confirmed my pre-ordered Korean meal and asked if I wanted to be woken for the second service. This was all very well organised. Passengers are then offered a choice of Champagne, water or orange juice along with some pretzels and a napkin that highlights the inflight dining videos on the IFE, where you can learn more about Korean cuisine. We began taxiing at 1100 and took off shortly after. 

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Prestige Class

The seat

Prestige class is fitted with 56 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration split across two zones, with two rows just after first class and the remaining six rows after the galley. My first impression was that the seats have an enormous amount of legroom, and have an attractive teal design which matches the cabin crew’s chic uniform. 

All seats face forward, but only aisle seats have direct aisle access. Passengers in the middle or at the window must walk in front of other passengers (or climb over them if the bed is laid out). The seats are less private than on its other 777-300ER aircraft, which feature enclosed suites. This version has a slight divider which hides your face from your neighbour if you pull it out. 

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Prestige Class

Seat controls in the armrest are easy to use, with recline, lie-flat and upright options, as well as options to lift the footrest. The seat was very comfortable when upright and reclined, with a firm footrest. While the seat reclines 180 degrees, the headrest is at a slight angle and has a gap just beneath it so it can be a little unsupportive on your neck when lying down. That said, the seat is wide and the blanket is very cosy.

The tray table is neatly hidden in the armrest, which you push to release and pull out, folding it in front of you (when folded, it has a cup holder) and the table slides back and forth. Between seats there are also two cup holders and bottles of water.

Seats feature a 15.4-inch monitor attached to the back of the seat in front, with a remote control. The IFE system is good and had several new releases.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Prestige Class

There was no wifi on this service, but it was easy to catch up on offline work thanks to a sturdy table, plug sockets by your feet and built-in USB ports by the armrest (where you can also fit your phone). The seat, however, lacks storage space.

Passengers also receive an amenity kit, excellent noise-cancelling headphones and slippers. The amenity kit contains a soft eye mask, Atelier Cologne toiletries (hand cream, body lotion and a lip balm), a shoe horn, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste.

There are two small toilets on the left-hand side of the galley, with a larger one on the right-hand side, and these include mouthwash, razors and shaving foam.

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER Prestige Class amenity kit

Best seat

The two rows which have a cabin of their own feel more private – almost like a subset of first class – so I would advise these for a more exclusive experience. That said, the first row here has several bassinet seats, and 8A and 8J don’t have windows. 

Being midway down the second zone of the cabin is advisable. I had a window seat on the outbound trip, and an aisle seat on the return. Both were good, however the window seat felt more private and I could enjoy the views from 35,000 feet. My seat on this leg of the journey, 15D, was in the last row of the cabin – you are served last, but service was speedy. The upside is that you have your own smaller overhead locker. 

Korean Air vegan meal - main course - credit Hannah Brandler

Food and drink

Two meals are served on this flight along with snacks such as pizza, cookies, ramen and an energy bar.

Lunch began at 1200. The menu included a Western-style dish and a Korean dish. I opted for the Korean-style vegan menu, which launched in March 2023 and must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. Having visited the Korean Air Catering Centre at Seoul Incheon airport to watch the process and hear from its creators, I was keen to try it in the air. The dishes held up well, with tasty, well-designed courses. The highlight was the roasted shiitake mushrooms in Gochujang sauce. 

Experiencing Korean Air’s vegan meals

The second meal was served two and a half hours before landing.  

Wines included Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne, two whites, two reds and a port – though these have since changed. There was also a selection of cocktails, spirits, beers, non-alcoholic beverages, tea and coffee. Water was replenished regularly. 

The flight

The flight was smooth. As it was more than 14 hours, I had time to work, watch a film and nap. Lights were dimmed after lunch, so people could get some rest. 

Arrival

We landed at 1710 and quickly disembarked. The e-gates at passport control were open so I sped through, but then had to wait for over half an hour for my luggage. The carousels were not working, with alarms sounding every few minutes. Bags piled on top of each other with no Heathrow staff in sight to help, which was disappointing.

Verdict

I had a great journey with Korean Air thanks to excellent onboard service, tasty food and a comfortable seat – though suites on the other 777-300ER look more private and luxurious. 

FACT BOX

Flight duration

14 hours 30 mins

Configuration

2-3-2

Seat width

20.1 in/51 cm

Seat pitch

74 in/188 cm

Price

Internet rates for a one-way Seoul–London flight in July start from KRW3,671,600 (£2,179)

Contact

koreanair.com

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