Going Home Again
Day One – The Long Haul.
I have been eagerly awaiting my next trip to San Diego even before I returned to Korea from my previous trip. Mi Jung and I went back in July 2017 for my mom’s birthday, and will be there this time for my other moms birthday.
The day finally arrived, and it was time to make my way to Incheon International Airport. There are multiple ways of getting to The Winged City as Incheon is officially known. You can take a taxi, which would have run me about 90,000 Korean Won,one of the Airport Limo Buses, which would have required me to get all my bags to either Samgakji or Ichon Station, or my preferred method. The Airport Railway Express, or AREX. I have preferred the AREX train in the past because you were able to check in at the train station then travel checked bag free to the airport. Once you arrived at your terminal you were able to go through the Flight Crew security line. However on this trip I discovered you were no longer able to use the City check in if you were traveling to the USA, which was a real bummer! Anticipating the time it takes to check in, I opted for the 9:30am express train to Incheon. Had I known I couldn’t check in city side, I would have taken the 8:40 train!
Here I am waiting for the AREX train to arrive.
Once I got to the airport, it was really easy checking in at the First Class / Prestige Class (What Korean Airlines calls their business class product.) area. Then it was through security and immigration and head to the Business Class lounge, where I had about 4 hours to wait for my flight. I grabbed breakfast, which consisted of a first course of English chicken sausage, seasoned potato wedges, a croissant, water, and a cappuccino. Followed by a second course of a green bean salad and more English chicken sausage. I don’t normally care for English sausage but these were really good.
I then spent the next couple of hours in the “Relaxation Room”, which consisted of a row of massage chairs and another row of reading chairs. I spent a half hour trying out the massage chairs and running through two 15 minute programs. I must say the chairs were awesome, and did a good job massaging my back, neck, calves, and feet. If it wouldn’t be too big of an inconvenience with my family waiting to pick me up in San Diego, perhaps my flight will be late and I can spend some more time in the massage chair.
No such luck, and it is time to head out to the gate and board Korean Airlines Airbus A380-800, which I refer to as the Flying Manatee.
Korean Air’s A380 seats 407 passengers in a 3 class configuration.
First class is in the forward main deck, with the 301 seat economy class, Business class takes the entire upstairs deck and has 94 lie flat seats and 2 bars.
You get plenty of leg room, a nice 15in. in flight entertainment screen, with magazine and book storage. In addition to the standard overhead storage bins you have 3 bins for additional easily accessible storage.
About an hour after takeoff they begun the dinner service, which consisted of seasoned shrimp and a hard stale piece of bread, followed by seared tuna with onions, and a stale baequet. I am not sure what is going on with Korea Air’s bread but it was terrible!
The next course was a pumpkin soup that was okay, but not one of favorites.
I ordered steak cooked well done, that was served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. The steak was very good, and went well with the sides, and of course the red wine!
Following dinner I had a choice between ice cream and cake. After my experience with the bread I should have known better and requested the ice cream. The cake was some sort of green tea cake, and while it did not taste terrible, was not what I was expecting, and really did not go with the dinner. Ice cream would have been the better choice.
Following dinner I had intended to watch a movie but discovered that while I remembered to pack my USB drive with the movies I wanted to watch on my notebook, I failed to make sure I had installed VLC ( Video LAN Client ) after I had performed a fresh install of mac OS X High Sierra. Out of the 5 movies I had intended to watch, I was only able to watch one, Coco. Which ironically was one of the new release selections on the flight.
Once finishing Coco, I had about 4 hours remaining in the flight and decided to go back and check out the bar on the Airbus A380, which is an amenity not seen on passenger aircraft since some of the original Boeing 747 classics.
I spent about 45 minutes in the bar drinking a couple of Tom Collins and snacking on a few really good finger sandwiches while talking with a training captain employed by Airbus and working in Korea, The atmosphere was nice, and it was nice to be able to be able to get away from the seat for awhile.
Breakfast was then served 2 hours out of Los Angeles, which consisted of scrambled eggs with asparagus, potatoes with onions and a couple slices of bacon. All while watching the sunrise from the aircrafts tail camera at 39000 ft.
We then landed at LAX and it was time to clear immigration, collect my baggage and head out to the curb to wait for the Flyaway bus to get to Union Station. I was a bit nervous because I did not know if was going to make it to Union Station in time to make my 1233 train, which would cause me to have to wait an additional 2 hours to get the next train to San Diego. Amazingly it only took about 30 – 35 minutes to make it through immigration, get my bags, and get curbside. In the past LAX immigration has always been such a disorganized zoo, but they have really improved things and the last 2 times have been a breeze! Good job!
In the past I have recommended the Flyaway bus from Union Station, which I will no longer endorse. I discovered they do not stick to their posted schedules, and some of the Union Station buses stop at the international Terminal but do not pick up (Even if they have empty seats.), The drivers were rude and did not explain why this was the case! I finally was able to get on one of the Union Station bound buses, and arrived at Amtrak’s Union Station at around 12:05pm. I was really worried that by the time I got into the station proper, and found which ramp my train was leaving from it would be too late! My luck heald and the train from leaving from one of ramps going into the station!
The train ride was uneventful, though crowded and noisy, I just put on my headphone, put on the Essential Bob Dylan and enjoyed the scenery. My mom met me at the station, and I got home, relaxed for a couple of hours, then went out to dinner at Natis Mexican Restaurant (You can read the review by clicking here.), then came home and went straight to bed at 7pm.
Thank you for visiting Brent’s world, keep coming back the next couple of weeks to follow my solo adventures in San Diego! Or if you wish to be notified about new articles by email, click HERE!