Lost in Translation – Korea/Japan 23-27 Dec 2011
This trip allowed me to sample three of the Star Alliance’s Asian carriers: OZ, NH & SQ. Hardware-wise SQ stood out with the ‘new’ long-haul Business class. OZ’s hard product on A330 was decent although I didn’t like the angled lie-flat on the red-eye. It wasn’t really fair to compare NH’s regional configuration with the rest since it was only a short two-hour flight.
Service-wise I thought both OZ and NH were excellent although OZ took quite long to finish its meal service. SQ was good too but I was perhaps biased against them since the general service culture in Singapore is still way behind Japan and Korea. My impression was also colored somewhat by my last flight with SQ in 2008. I was in the last row of Y between DXB and SIN on the red-eye and my headphone could not block out the crew’s gossip from the galley.
Seoul was nicer than what I imagined it to be. Its tourist infrastructure is nicely set-up for visitors with information offices located at the attractions. I like what I saw in my short time there and was particularly impressed with the assistance extended to me from Ms Kims. It wouldn’t be long until my next visit back there; I am already looking forward to visiting Seoul again in October (on AirAsia X though D:).
Tokyo turned out to be quite what I expected. Modern and traditional elements exist side by side and everywhere is impossibly clean. Pet peeve? It’s too EXPENSIVE! To repeat the advice given by Kevincm, “But I’d want to treble any spending money I assign for Japan. Then Double that amount”. It isn’t hard seeing myself visiting Japan again (hopefully Yen will be weaker) but it’s really unlikely that I’ll be able to do it in as much style as this trip.