Worst Flight Ever: Korean Air Prestige Class SFO-ICN

The Points Guy isn’t the only one who’s been to Korea recently. A lot of Koreans have also been there. Last week, we too got hungry for some authentic bulgogi and plastic surgery, so we had our assistants book an award flight from San Francisco to Seoul on Korean Air.

At SFO, Korean Air shares a lounge with SkyTeam partner Air France, a particularly perplexing mashup of cultures. It was no surprise, then, when this turned out to be possibly the worst “international” lounge we have ever visited. Service was nonexistent, there were no saunas, and the alcohol selection literally made us vomit. Still, we were more focused on the in-flight experience to come, and we kept our spirits up by continuously guzzling mediocre champagne.

When it came time to board, we made our way to the gate and stumbled down the jetway onto a noticeably-not-brand-new 777-200ER. A friendly flight attendant greeted us and directed us to our seat, which was oddly not at the very front of the plane. It was strange turning right upon boarding an international flight, but we glanced at our ticket and felt reassured by the clear “Prestige Class” designation.

We remember noting the hospital-during-Easter-esque atmosphere, with plasticky pastel-blue seats and matching flight attendant uniforms. And like our last hospital visit, there was a lot of champagne being imbibed. After a completely unoriginal taxi and takeoff, we were in the air and meal service began. We opted for the Korean-style bibimbap, which was tolerable, at least for airline bibimbap. However, something still seemed off in the cabin. Before we could figure it out, the cheese cart came around, and we indulged in some of Korea’s finest, accompanied by a red wine whose name slips our mind. Afterward, we quickly drifted off to sleep in the sterile lie-flat seat.

We were forcibly awakened shortly before landing in Seoul, and once the door opened we got up to deplane. But the flight attendant held us back, asking us to please wait while the first class passengers exited. Feelings of absolute terror and shame immediately set in as we looked past her to see what we now know to be Korean Air’s Kosmo Suites. It was like the end of The Sixth Sense, but worse: we had been flying business class the entire time!

Needless to say, we fired our assistants and are in the process of interviewing their replacements. We booked our return flight on Asiana, in a proper first class suite, and will never fly Korean again.


The Week in Review

United is offering discounted award tickets to Europe for travel between January 15 and March 13, the precise timeframe in which nobody wants to go to Europe. But if braving cold weather and flying a U.S. carrier transatlantically are worth saving 12,000 miles to you, then by all means, have at it!

Via Million Mile Secrets, a new Ink Bold/Plus deal is on the way from Chase, requiring only $5,000 in spending within three months to receive the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus. This surely means that soon nobody will be able to find Vanilla Reloads at Office Depots, except of course those of us who are already bribing our local store managers.

Small Business Saturday is back on November 24 this year, and registration begins November 18. Last year we convinced our local wine dealer to let us split purchases on multiple cards and managed to get several bottles of fine champagne gratis. Between this and Bluebird, we are having trouble figuring out how American Express stays in business. Is the entire bank just some elaborate money laundering front?

The Mr Pickles has developed an intriguing new way of ranking your miles earning: miles earned per minute. We propose a new method: miles burned per minute. Our number has got to be in the thousands.

Lucky is back in the sky, and we are looking forward to yet another mouth-watering review of Lufthansa first class. We particularly love reading his reviews of Lufthansa first class while flying Lufthansa first class. We are meta like that.

The Points Envy assistants sent in another photographic update from their latest vacation, this time from Moscow:

The Week in Review

Once again, U.S. Airways Dividend Miles are on “sale” with a 100% bonus on purchased miles. As usual, there are posts from a few blogs that conclude it is a good deal if it “fits your travel needs.” We take this to mean that you only want to book roundtrip, you do not want to fly Lufthansa first class, and you are not savvy enough to figure out any of the much better ways to get miles.

An anonymous Points Envy fan and part-time Denny’s manager spotted blogger Mommy Points eating at Denny’s for the eighth time in a week. Family and friends are growing increasingly concerned about an apparent Grand Slam addiction.

The other Grand Slam

American Airlines has publicly apologized for its loose seats and general existence by offering double miles or something. Our status is good for life, so we didn’t bother reading the details, but see here and here for more information.

A Los Angeles resident was officially excommunicated by the FlyerTalk gods for admitting on the popular miles discussion forum that he redeemed 50,000 MileagePlus miles for a roundtrip LAX-SFO flight in economy class. Points Envy agrees with this decision.

We gave our assistants a week off and 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points each to take a vacation. Below is a picture of them on a beach in Cancun sporting the sexiest swimwear we’ve ever seen.

Even on vacation, they’re workin’ it for us

Last but not least, Points Envy was interviewed on Million Mile Secrets this week. MMS readers agreed it was Daraius’ best post yet.

First class cabin, first class shirts

Have a great weekend and, as always, enjoy a glass of champagne on us!