5.004 Sitting Business, Eating Coach

Cycle 5 – Item 4

9 (Thu) January 2014

Sitting Business, Eating Coach


on Korean Air – Flight KE 623

-Incheon en route Manila-


In transit.  On my way to Manila, where I’ll be working as a consultant for the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.  My primary task will be to organize a meeting on how to use law to combat obesity – more on that in due course.  The meeting is scheduled for early April, so I’ll be based in Manila for 3 months.


As per my pre-flight protocol, I had mul naeng myeon for dinner last night.

But because I’m going away for such a long time, I snuck in another one for lunch today, at Bong Piyang, my favorite MNM joint in the city/country/world.

I am painfully mindful that Pyongyang-style MNM, my favorite dish, will not be available in the Philippines.


Whether I’m flying on my own dime or being sponsored by some not-for-profit institution/organization for a research conference/project, limited resources tends to cover only the cheapest ticket available.

Which is a pity, because I really do appreciate every benefit of business class.  Even before I get on the plane, those bottles of hard liquor in the business lounge, they’re there for me.  Once on board, the top shelf booze is nice.  The relative privacy also makes it easier to pop open and pour myself drinks from a bottle that I purchased in the duty free shop at the airport.  I tend to pack a lot, including leftover bottles of booze on the way back, so the extra weight allowance helps.  While the food isn’t that much better, a little goes a long way for a person who rates his every dinner on a 4.0 scale in 0.5 increments.  Overall, the service is way better, by which I mean that the flight attendants tend to be much cuter and more attentive.  Finally, at 183 cm and 90 kg, I need the bigger seat.

The only significant spatial difference in the business class seats on older planes is the wider armrest; the ass room is pretty much the same.

On occasion, I’ve enjoyed the privilege in one of two ways.  First, under extenuating circumstances, I’ve redeemed miles for an upgrade.  Twice in my life, the airline has bumped me up when coach had been overbooked – apparently, I’m on a list of priority candidates due to my lifetime flying history, at least with both Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.

And the same amount of leg room can be had in the emergency exit rows back in coach.

This time, I was treated to an upgrade, sort of, by a third method.  W’s cousin, who works for Korean Air, did something with my reservation that got me a business class seat but not the other perks, like the lounge or the luggage or the meal.  When I asked him about it, he was vague, just telling me to enjoy the ride, a going-away gift, no questions asked.  So, I won’t speculate any further.  Thanks!!

Alas, the meal was crap.  In fact, it was the exact same thing served on the same route two and a half years ago, and just as bad (see 2.119 Chicken Cordon Bleu).  Korean Air, SHAME ON YOU.

(Not to seem ungrateful, but the primary benefit of the upgrade turned out to be the armrest.)


(See also IN FLIGHT)



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