Review: Korean Air B787-9 Economy Class Seoul – Ho Chi Minh City

Review: Korean Air B787-9 Economy Class Seoul – Ho Chi Minh City

  • July 2022
  • Korean Air 685
  • Seoul/Incheon (ICN) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
  • Departure: 2140 Arrival: 0032
  • Duration: 4:52
  • Aircraft: Boeing B787-9
  • Registration: HL7207
  • Seat: 29D (Economy Class)

Having a quick dinner and a shower at the recently reopened Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge East, my mom and I left the lounge a little early for some duty-free shopping, and just in time for pre-boarding, we rushed to gate 255 which was one of the last gates on the eastern wing.

Korean Air currently operates 3x daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam due to high travel demand. But luckily, the flight we booked was arriving late at midnight so most passengers took the earlier flights leaving our flight not fully occupied.

The pre-boarding announcement was made around 8 PM and we boarded the aircraft first as I wanted to take some pictures of the empty economy cabin. I was so excited because it was my first Dreamliner with Korean Air after 3 years. The last time I flew with it was to Hong Kong in First Class (Back when the airline did not cut the service) before the pandemic burst out.

This was also my first time on B787-9’s international Economy Class as I mainly redeemed miles on First Class in the past.

The Cabin:

Like other B787s, the Economy Class on Korea Air’s B787-9s is divided into two sections: The first 15 rows in forward and the remaining 13 rows on the rear. Seats are configured with 3-3-3 seating except for seat rows 44 and 56 which come with a 2-3-2 layout. There are a total of 269 seats: 24 Prestige Class and 245 Economy Class seatings.

Korean Air’s B787-9 used to feature a “First Class” on the first row which was the same APEX Suites as the Prestige Class but the company scrapped it due to cost-cutting plan. Similar to the A330 fleets, the B787s has now become two-class configured aircraft.

Although Korean Air’s B787 fleet are not premium heavy and offers more seats than other B787-9 operators, I find greater comfort and lesser fatigue even in Economy Class.

I will go over each details on the seat below.

The Seat:

Korean Air is famous for having one of the widest Economy Class seating out in the industry. Sliding cushions and slim, ergonomic seat offers a seat pitch of 33~34inches (84~86cm) and seat width of 17.2inches (44cm), I can comfortably strech out my legs and relax my arms without disturbing fellow passenger.

The Economy Class seat also reclines up to 118˚ and when the backrest is tilted, the seat is automatically moved forward to support your thigh from exhaustion. The head rest is adjustable in a number of ways and the tray table can also be folded in half, creating a wider space for the passenger’s comfort.

On this flight, I was seated on seat 29D which is an aisle seat while my mom was sitting at 29F with a empty seat in the middle. This made the seat more spacious and we were able to fly cozily.

A pillow and a blanket were given out but curioiusly, no water was distributed unlike my flight to Bangkok. I think it has to do with flight time as the flight time to Ho Chi Minh City was less than 5 hours.

Korean Air B787-9 ICN-SGN Economy Class Dining:

Around 90 minutes after departure, a dinner was served. The menu was either Kung Pao Chicken or Beef with Mashed potatoes. I chose the former while my mom chose the latter.

The chicken was a little over boiled down with soy sauce so it was kind of salty but the fried rice, at the same time, waws too plain. It was a good combination in the end to neutralize the saltiness.

Almost the end of the meal, the crew members distributed an strawberry cheesecake flavored ice cream as a dessert. Economy Class passengers receive Cledor branded ice cream while Premium class received Häagen-Dazs.

Korean Air B787-9 Economy Class In-Flight Entertainment:

Each seat comes with a 10.6-inch touchscreen in-flight entertainment system with a single headset jack but no separate remote controller. For the headset jack, you can plug in your personal earphone or noise cancelling headphones as the sound quality of the airline headsets are really awful.

The IFE on Korean Air’s B787-9 is supplied by Thales with plenty of lastest released movies and songs to enjoy the flight. A separate USB port lies underneath the touch screen display while a universal power socket is located in between the seats.

During the 5 hours of flight and one hour on ground, I managed to watch three movies that I missed watching in the cinema so it is not that bad for me.

Korean Air B787-9 Economy Class Lavatories:

There are six lavatories on Korean Air’s B787-9 Economy Class cabin where one beside the forward economy cabin is dedicated to women.

At first, when I went to use the lavatory, it was dark in the cabin and I didn’t notice any sign so when I was about to open the door, the crew member reminded me that this was dedicated for female passengers. That moment I realized there is a pink sticker that this lavatory was for female use.

I did some research and found out Korean Air had been allocating 1~2 lavatories for women since 2010 on its whole fleet except single aisle aircrafts like B737 or A220s. Maybe I was using premium cabins most of the time with that’s why I might not be aware of this.

Summary:

Boeing B787 Dreamliners are my favorite aircraft. The material structure of the B787s allow the aircraft to be pressurized to a much higher level so the lower cabin altide creates a much more comfortable environment for passengers.

I am glad I was able to review Korean Air’s B787-9 Economy Class at last. Coincidently, to congratulate my return to skies on Dreamliner, a twinned rainbows were showing up behind the terminal. The flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam was short but with full dining services and plenty of entertainment to enjoy, it was wonderful experience.

The only drawback was a one hour ground delay due to flight interval separation just before pushback and arriving late past midnight

It was a well spent 30,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles on this 5 hours trip!


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