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The long journey from LAX to ICN to NGO was as smooth as could be, and made even easier because the plane we were flying on was a 747 and also because of the amazing level of service on Korean Air.

I like flying on 747s as they are absolutely smooth with lots of storage room for passengers if configured in the sub-maximal passenger density arrangement. This storage capacity is especially nice as it extends even to lockers in the sides of the seats in business and first class to store items out of the way. I especially enjoy traveling on the upper deck where you get an even quieter, more isolated experience that feels like a much smaller luxurious plane. In business class on this flight, we had rather comfortable seats with almost lie flat capability, but more importantly, they were also equipped with 110V outlets allowing you to charge the batteries of your camera, phone or other electronic devices as well as work for hours without having to worry about running your battery out on your laptop.

Boarding was super easy and I was greeted at my seat with a pair of slippers to change into and wear during the flight which was a nice touch. In fact, there were so *many* nice touches that it made you really think about the level of service that we get with domestic US airlines. Everything from the comprehensive safety videos showing you things that US carriers simply do not cover to the cleanliness of the cabin to the gracious nature of the flight attendants to the subtle engraving on the bottom of the refreshment glasses make you absolutely rue ever having to fly domestic US carriers that appear to have forgotten the concept of customer service. Some of this drop in customer service is certainly in response to socio-politically driven events and while I’ve taken a few first class flights now in the US it is interesting to note that in the wake of the national obsession with fear the US carriers have gotten rid of all true silverware in favor of plastic among other absurd implementations. So you can imagine that it was a real treat to be served delicious meals on the flight on attractive china with real silverware.

I don’t want to turn this into a rant about the airlines, but I do remember a time when the airlines were focused more on a timely delivery of passengers and their luggage as well as customer service. Now we have to practically strip down physically or virtually in order to fly and have to endure all manner of inconveniences just to get on board. In fact, I used to routinely carry a pocket knife with me when I traveled and seem to remember back in Texas, passengers even carrying long guns (shotguns and rifles) with them on planes because they did not want to have to worry about them getting damaged as cargo.

At any rate, these are different times and i suspect one can never go back, but the experience on Korean Air was about as good as it can get these days. The flight crew appeared to do their jobs with the utmost courtesy, ease and an almost telepathic ability to anticipate your needs or desires which absolutely amazed me. These are long flights (13 hours in this case) and at one point I had been working on the laptop for several hours after the comprehensive lunch service and was feeling just a bit hungry. I looked up from my laptop and the flight attendant was asking me if I would like some ramen… “Yes, please” and it was oh so tasty with the kick of Korean hot chile paste. In fact, all of the food on the flight was mighty tasty from the Korean national favorite bibimbap to the cheese plates with camembert, blue cheese and cheddar with impressively good port wine to the aforementioned ramen. I highly recommend Korean Air for travel as even our coach flight from ICN to NGO felt like an impressively luxurious experience with TONS of space and delicious meals of rice, shrimp and vegetables on top of the wonderful service. Even after a 13 hour flight around the world that followed a night with very little sleep, we were still in good spirits and especially happy when we saw the space provided to us in “coach” class on Korean Air.

The flight from LAX to ICN followed the Great Circle up the California coast to Alaska, over some amazingly rugged country and down the Russian coast, over the Kamchatka peninsula over the Sea of Okhotsk, over the Sea of Japan and across Korea to Incheon airport. ICN airport is new, clean and very efficient so traveling from one terminal to another is quite easy though we were on a relatively tight schedule and did not have any waiting time to explore the airport before getting to our departing flight to NGO. It is apparent that one could spend quite liberally at all manner of high end shops lining the terminal if duty free spending is your deal.

Unfortunately the light was failing as we flew over Korea, and it was extremely hazy so I was not able to get any shots of the Korean countryside other than the couple of shots below.

California Mountains.

Coastal California up by Santa Barbara I think.

Just outside Anchorage Alaska.

Up somewhere remote in the Alaskan wilds.

The Kamchatka Peninsula looking deep into Russia.

Over the Sea of Okhotsk.

The South Korean coast.

Somewhere over South Korea.

Incheon airport.

We arrived in Nagoya no real worse for wear and were pleasantly surprised to be met on our way out of immigration by Mineo Kondo who arranged for our taxi travel from the airport to our hotel in Nagoya, the Nagoya Konko Hotel. We’ll be seeing more of Mineo on Monday morning when we begin our work here for the subsequent two days, but for now it is time to sleep the sleep that follows international travel.

Categories: Travel.

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2 Responses

  1. thank yu for your beautiful pictures of Russia it really helped me with a school project:) thanks again.

    maddie nelsonMarch 24, 2013 @ 2:04 pmReply

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