UPDATE: I’ve posted a review of my 5 flights on Asiana Airlines.
I just booked tickets for my first trip to Asia. This fall, Iâ€™ll fly Asiana Airlines to Incheon and Tokyo. U.S. Airways, one of Asianaâ€™s Star Alliance partners, will get us to LAX and from San Franciso International. The plan is to go first to Seoul, hit the countryside and then make a quick visit to take in the otherworldly craziness that is Tokyo.
So why Asiana, which isnâ€™t one of the better-known names in the United States?
Itâ€™s online booking actually works â€¦ unlike those of ANA, Korean Airlines and JAL. I considered those heavy hitters (hoping that ANA might have a 787 Dreamliner flying by then). Too bad their online booking is clunky to the point of non-functional. The online booking experience is a flyerâ€™s introduction to an airline. It needs to work flawlessly every time. Asianaâ€™s does. Youâ€™ll notice I donâ€™t mention the big American carrierâ€™s Thatâ€™s because I have yet to see evidence that any U.S. carrier outside of Hawaiian Airlines provides the level of service of its overseas counterparts. More on them below.
Itâ€™s prices are the most reasonable I could find. A good chunk includes taxes and fees, though. Out of curiosity, I set up the same flights on Continental.com, also a Star Alliance member. Tack on another 10 percent. Not egregious, but not worth rolling the dice – American-based carriers just donâ€™t have a reputation for good service, and mediocrity can make a long flight hell. Oh, and some of the flights are operated by United on its older 747-400s.
It has a great reputation for service. Itâ€™s the SkyTrax Â Airline of the Year Award winner for 2010 â€¦ the same year Global Travelers magazine named its in-flight service the worldâ€™s best. And its online booking actually works (Iâ€™m sure you read that somewhere recently â€¦)
It has a very shiny new fleet. Thatâ€™s always a plus, as is its reputation for rigorous maintenance. Iâ€™m looking forward to my first flight on a Boeing 777, which Iâ€™ve heard is a sweet ride for people who actually like commercial air travel.
Why Asiana Isnâ€™t Quite Perfect
- No direct flights from Tokyo to the United States during the times I searched. We have to go back to Incheon. That costs a bit of time. But hey, itâ€™s another ride on a 767, one of my favorites.
- An Asiana 747 freighter just crashed. Thereâ€™s word that the flight disappeared after reporting a fire onboard. I canâ€™t think of the last time an airline has last two aircraft very quickly, so that puts stats in my favor! And freight versus commercial service. I have no cause to worry.
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