When it was first suggested to me that we could fly Asiana Airlines on our trip to London, I must confess to being a little dubious. I had never heard of Asiana and thought it sounded a little cheap and not so cheerful.
Thankfully I can report that my fears were unfounded. We had read up on the airline reviews on the independent http://www.airlinequality.com and all the reviews were very positive so we decided to take the plunge. The very good price was too good to ignore!
We flew a Boeing 777 from Sydney to Seoul, stayed a night at a downtown Seoul hotel (with compliments from the airline) and then flew another 777 froom Seoul to London Heathrow.
The service was excellent, especially on the first flight which was not full. What I liked about the service was that it wasn’t in your face. It was just enough and just when you needed it. If you ever did want something extra, it was never a problem.
I loved the entertainment system. A good selection of movies and music which you could pick and choose as you liked. They would start when you wanted and you were able to pause and rewind if you wanted. Unfortunately, they had an older version of the system on the second segment which had less to choose from and you couldn’t decide when to start something. It started when it wanted to start. Still it was OK and helped while away the hours.
Landing in Seoul was a tad scary due to the full on monsoon which seemed to be happening around us. I know that in Australia, a few wisps of fog are enough to stop Australian pilots from landing but Korean pilots must be made of tougher stuff (or have more sophisticated technology). The cloud cover was so thick and the rain so full on but the plane still landed with no real fuss or delay.
I thought we would be put up in a hotel right near the airport but no, we were taken into downtown Seoul, an hour away. Seoul, like Tokyo in neighbouring Japan, is a city of bright lights, neon and giant TV screens. One of the main differences between Seoul and Japan is the profileration of signs in English in Seoul, making it easier to get around. When I was in Tokyo eight (?) years ago, there was virtually nothing in English. I guess historically, Korea has a much better relationship with the USA.
The Judge and I checked into the hotel, had a bit to eat and then ventured out for a walk in the nearby streets and laneways. Although we had been warned about Korean drivers driving recklessly, I was still almost clocked by car in a laneway that surely must have been a pedestrian only area.
It was a real assault on the senses with the neon, sounds and smells but isn’t that what travelling is about? I do draw the line at spicy baby octopus though. I am not adventurous at all when it comes to food! Still, it would be fun to make a special trip to Seoul and stay and explore.
The hotel room was small but nice. The photo below is taken from the hotel window of the area we had been walking in the previous night. It doesn’t look as exciting in the daylight. In fact, with that hill in the background, it looks more like Black Mountain in Canberra!
The toilet in the hotel room was one of those equiped with a NASA control panel which will heat the toilet seat as well as allow you to hose down your rear end and then blow hot air to dry you off. Although I love the concept of it, I’m still not brave enough to try it although I did give myself the thrill of some hot air. Technology is amazing and it makes you think, whatever next? A talking toilet? I can just imagine the toilet saying in its best Kenneth Williams voice, “Ooh, you missed a spot.”