Korean Air First Class on the 747-8 features Kosmo Suite 2.0, Korean Air's newest first class seat. I just flew this product, which I liked some aspects of, whereas others seem to me clear design flaws.
1. Privacy of Suites 1A and 1J
There are just 6 suites on the 747-8, and 1A and 1J are the most private, since they’re near the nose and the only thing in front of them is a small closet. So while it’s possible that another passenger may have to retrieve something from the closet, most of the time there’s no foot traffic by your seat, apart from the flight crew serving your meals or checking that your seat belt is fastened during turbulence.
2. Comfortable Seat and Pillow
I found these new Kosmo 2.0 seats very comfortable, from their width and fabric padding to the large pillow they came with, and the soothing celadon green color (which I realize may not be to everyone's taste, but I preferred it to both the garish feel of Emirates First Class and the drab grey color of Lufthansa First Class). The Kosmo 2.0 may not be great for tall people, however, since the head rest was perfect for me and I’m only 5’7”.
3. Comfortable Bed
During turndown, the crew provides a mattress pad and duvet. Although not quite as thick as the mattress pad in JAL First Class or Singapore Suites, I found it surprisingly comfortable, and was able to get several hours of sleep even without using my Therm-a-Rest mattress pad.
4. Closing Suite Doors
Although I previously thought closing suite doors rather gimmicky, I appreciate them a bit more now, even if the effect is mostly psychological, since it’s easy to peer over the suite doors. But when you’re in 1A or 1J and have the suite doors closed, it does feel very private. The suite doors for Korean's Kosmo 2.0 Suites are 54.7 inches high, so higher than Etihad A380 First Apartment Doors.
5. Korean Food
If you’re tired of bland in-flight meals, Korean bibimbap and accompanying dishes are the perfect antidote. You can add the hot sauce to taste, making your bibimbap just as mild or spicy as you choose. I will say that my Asiana First Class Bi Bim Bap meals were better and more elaborate, however.
6. Beautiful Wood Table
There’s usually very little if any wood used even for first class seat finishings, so I appreciated the handsome polished wooden table. It added a classic elegance rarely seen where airline tray tables are concerned, even first class ones. The downside is that it’s very heavy, so you may need to use both hands to lift and open it.
Things I Don’t Like
1. No WiFi
It’s odd to me that a country as technologically advanced and online as South Korea is, would have a major airline that does not offer WiFi on its planes. That’s great if you want to disconnect, but not if you’re trying to do work that requires an Internet connection.
2. Table Doesn’t Move Backwards or Forwards
While I loved the table itself, I disliked that it’s not possible to slide the table forwards or backwards, for example so you can get out of your seat while the table is in place.
3. Power Outlet Awkwardly Placed
Another poor design choice was to have the main power outlet located under the ottoman. While it is possible to charge a device close to your seat using the USB port, most other airline seat designs have a power outlet and USB port in the same place, within easy reach when seated.
4. Ottoman is Not a Companion Seat
Many other first class seat designs, such as Cathay Pacific First Class, Asiana First Class, Singapore Suites, Etihad First Apartment, Qantas First Class, etc. enable companions traveling together to dine across from each other, one of them seated on the ottoman. Not Korean Air First Class on the 747-8, where the ottoman specifically says it’s not a seat.
5. Service Not as Intuitive or Consistent as Singapore Airlines
Don't get me wrong, the flight crew was friendly, and I liked that the purser warmly greeted us at the outset, and before we deplaned, asked us how our flight was, and hoped to see us again. And they were attentive to an allergy that one of us has. But hot towels were placed directly next to the seat, not in an oshibori holder or into my hands; the meal pacing was a bit off (while I was still working on my main course, I was shown a fresh fruit tray and asked to pick fruit); the bed wasn't made up as nicely as in Singapore Suites; there weren't regular checks to see if we needed water; my empty orange juice glass was removed without asking if I'd like more, and so forth. No big deal of course in the scheme of things, but it all added up to a lesser experience than Singapore Suites or my best experiences with Cathay Pacific First Class.
If you've flown Korean Air First Class Kosmo Suites on the 747-8, what was your experience?
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