Last November I posted about receiving a $9k Delta Voucher for getting downgraded on my business class ticket. Our family has used a lot of that $9k for domestic economy and Caribbean flights. I still had about $1,500 left that was expiring in November. I was also about 15k MQMs short of obtaining Delta Platinum status. So I decided to do my first ever mileage run to get as many MQMs as I could get for $1,500.
I am very glad I did this. I got my status, and saw some new amazing places that I want to go back to. I also used some free night Marriott certificates in Seoul and Hong Kong, so this was almost a free trip. I ended up walking over 25 miles over the 2 nights I had just getting lost in the cities. I always felt safe. Usually I have a few drinks on a plane, and especially at bars around the city. I knew I was spending as much time in the airplane as on the ground over 3 nights so I kept my drinking to a minimum. I really do think this helped with my energy though. I never felt really tired and was able to see more than most people would on a long layover.
While I searched fares for a while, I found some crazy legs around the US for much cheaper that I could get that many MQMs over a few weekends. (something like OKC-ATL-LAX-LGA-ATL-OKC just didn’t sound like fun even for $500, and the repeat 2-3x) I wanted to get it all done in one weekend and visit some new places. The best itinerary was OKC-ATL-ICN and stay there a night, and then onto HKG for a night, and then HKG-ICN-ATL back the next day. While I could have cut out a day and not stayed in Seoul for a night and saved $200 on airfare, I figured I might as well stay in Seoul for 18 hours and see a new city for a night.
First I want to talk about the 3 747’s on Korean Air. From ATL-ICN, ICN-HKG, then HKG-ICN.
I had a window seat each time, and the layouts were very similar each time. The only difference I could tell was a different color blanket. The seat pitch is about 34 inches which is larger than any US airline. While 15 hours in an economy seat sucks, it was doable with that pitch.
On the 15 hour flight, there was a bottle of water, slippers, and headphones waiting at my seat. On the shorter flights there was only headphones.
The IFE was identical on each flight. The screen was decent and they had about 30 US movies. Not a huge selection, but enough to keep me entertained for a few trips.
The food was pretty good on Korean Air. Their bibimbap was delicious, and was available on all flights. Even on the shorter flights, there was free wine and alcohol served. On the 15 hour flight, they served dinner 2x and had some strange meat roll as a snack in the middle of the flight. I do wish they had more snacks throughout the flight. They also walked around several times with water cups. They walked fast though so you had to wave them down, or use your flight attendant call button.
I ended up watching a lot of movies, doing a lil work on my laptop, and dozing off every once in a while during a movie. I had prepared myself and the time went by pretty fast.
Now on my flight back to the US I got to fly on Delta’s new A350 from ICN-ATL These seats only have 31 inches of pitch. As I was a gold member I was able to pick a preferred seat which was right behind a bulkhead seat with no one in front of me. So I had plenty of legroom. At my seat was a pillow and blanket, earphones, earplugs, and a sleep mask. Even though I could stretch out my legs, the seat was extremely hard and uncomfortable. I ended up using my pillow to sit on.
The IFE was Delta Studio, which I think is excellent. Plenty of entertainment for days.
The food was pretty bad. Some kind of chicken after takeoff, a bad sandwich halfway through, and then a omelet before landing at 5pm in Atlanta. I like to eat, but didn’t finish any of them.
My seat allowed me to relax. I felt sorry for the row in front of me, as there was often 5-6 people waiting to use the bathroom impeding their space.
Because of Delta’s entertainment selection, the 13 hour flight home went by pretty quickly.
A quick comparison of the 2.
Food- Korea Air
Friendliness- Korean Air
Seats- my seat on Delta was great, but there are only 2 of those in economy, so I would go with Korean Air unless I could get 1 of those 2 seats on Delta.
Amenities- Tie. Basically Korea Air had slippers, while Delta gave ya earplugs and sleeping mask.
If I were to travel with my family, I would definitely pick a Korea Air flight.
All of my flights were on time. That probably really affected my attitude on this mileage run. It was successful and I was glad I completed it. I am now always looking for cheap fares since I don’t have any credits left to go on my next weekend adventure.