Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Special Mid-Term Summer Birthday Trip to Japan in June 2014 ~ Section 5

Welcome to the fifth segment of my special mid-term summer birthday vacation to Japan in June 2014. This is the final segment of the entire blog report. There will be a total of two focus topics that will be covered in this final segment of the report. They will mainly be the journey back towards Kansai International Airport, and the flights back home to Singapore via Seoul (Incheon).

Part 1 ~ The Journey Back To Kansai International Airport

After spending ten enjoyable days of trains, sightseeing, food and shopping in Japan, it was finally time to return back home to Singapore. On the very morning of Tuesday (10 June), all of us woke up at 5.30 a.m. to prepare the remainder of our baggage in preparation for the return journey home to Singapore. Before that, we had a nice, hot shower and changed into our attire for the flight back home. For the return journey to Kansai International Airport, we had arranged for two MK cabs to take us towards Kyoto Station at seven o' clock.

Upon arriving at Kyoto Station, we would catch the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 11 bound for Kansai International Airport, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 8.17 a.m., and arrive at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 9.35 a.m.With regards to the return journey back home to Singapore, we would be flying with Korean Air on flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon), which would be scheduled to depart Kansai International Airport at 12.25 p.m., and arrive at Incheon International Airport at 2.15 p.m..

Upon arriving at Incheon International Airport, we would have a relatively long layover of 4 hours 25 minutes before connecting to Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore, which would be scheduled to depart Incheon International Airport at 6.40 p.m., and arrive at Singapore Changi Airport at 11.50 p.m.. While waiting for our pre-arranged MK cabs to Kyoto Station, we did some final checks on our Machiya to make sure that none of our belongings had been left unpacked.

The view of my bedroom in the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya shortly after we all woke up

One last look at the tatami-style living room in the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya in the bright wee early morning hours

One last look at the kitchen area at the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya during the bright wee early morning hours

After spending the rest of the early morning packing our baggage and checking our Machiya to see that nothing had been left unpacked, our two pre-arranged MK cabs to Kyoto Station finally arrived at the main entrance to the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 6.50 a.m.. While both drivers got out of the cab to help us load our baggage, my dad went to return the key to the Machiya's locker and sealed it up. The drivers also heard that we would be heading to the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station.

Soon enough, once everything had been loaded into the cabs, we finally departed the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya at 6.55 a.m.. The entire MK cab journey between the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya and the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station took no more than 15 minutes. In a nutshell, the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya was decent enough and better than staying at hotels during the summer season in Kyoto, Japan, though it reminded us of The Burrow as the Weasley home in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The two MK cabs that would soon take us to the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance at Kyoto Station

Finally departing the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya

Bypassing the car parking area where we used to park our rented Toyota car

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, on a bright early summer morning

Bypassing some old traditional shophouses between Nakagyo-ku and Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Travelling adjacent to the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station on a bright early summer morning

Overlooking the Kintetsu Line and Tokaido Shinkansen tracks near Kyoto Station

Bypassing a restaurant located below the Tokaido Shinkansen viaduct near Kyoto Station

Finally arriving at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station

After a very short and quick early morning MK cab journey of just 15 minutes from the Mibu Machiya Kyoto Cotoriya located in downtown Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, we finally arrived at the Hachijo Shinkansen entrance to Kyoto Station at 7.10 a.m.. Paying our MK cab fares, the drivers offered to help us unload our baggage from the boot of their cabs. We then thanked the MK cab drivers for their services and went into the station building towards the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse via the escalators.

Arriving at the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at 7.15 a.m., we showed our limited express tickets and Japan Rail Passes to the officer at the staffed ticketing gate and went through the JR Line interchange ticket gates before taking the escalator to the JR Line concourse. I then went to check the departure information board to see which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 11 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 11 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart at 8.17 a.m. from Track No. 30.

However, my family suddenly decided to catch an earlier train back to Kansai International Airport. They then informed me to proceed to a nearby JR Ticket Office to changes to our seat reservations. Leaving my belongings with them, I immediately took the escalator down to the Central ticketing gate and showed our tickets and Japan Rail Passes to the officer at the staffed ticketing gate. Entering the Central concourse of the station itself, I immediately rushed to the JR Ticket Office, eventually arriving there at 7.20 a.m. and made the changes to our seat reservations for the journey to Kansai International Airport.

As for the new return trip back to Kansai International Airport, we would catch the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, which would be scheduled to depart Kyoto Station at 7.45 a.m., and arrive at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 9.23 a.m.. Once the seat reservation changes were made, I immediately left the JR Ticket Office and went through the Central staffed ticketing gate again before meeting up with my family again with our new limited express train tickets.

We also went to check to see which platform the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport would depart at 7.45 a.m. from Track No. 7. Without wasting anymore time, we immediately took the escalators down to Tracks No. 6 and 7 for the morning return trip to Kansai International Airport.

About to walk up the escalator leading up to the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station

The Tokaido Shinkansen ticketing concourse of Kyoto Station during the early morning rush hour

The JR Line interchange ticketing gates in the Tokaido Shinkansen concourse at Kyoto Station

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Kyoto Station during the early morning rush hour

The interior of the JR Ticket Office in the Central station concourse at Kyoto Station

The interior of the Central station concourse at Kyoto Station on a bright early summer morning

Track No. 0 serving the limited express trains bound for the Hokuriku and Chubu regions at Kyoto Station

Finally arriving back at the JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Kyoto Station

Riding down the escalators to Tracks No. 6 and 7 at Kyoto Station

Tracks No. 6 and 7 serving some of the commuter trains and limited express trains bound for Himeji, Tottori and Wakayama at Kyoto Station

The departure information board for trains departing from Tracks No. 6 and 7 at Kyoto Station

Track No. 7 at Kyoto Station shortly before the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport arrived at the station

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on the station platform, a 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, finally arrived at Kyoto Station at 7.42 a.m. on Track No. 7. Once the doors were opened, we immediately boarded the train through Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and stowed our baggage in the baggage racks before going into the cabin.

We then settled into our assigned Seats No. 7A, 7B, 8A and 8B for the short ride of just 1 hour 38 minutes back to Kansai International Airport. At exactly 7.45 a.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka No. 9 finally pulled out of Kyoto Station for the remainder of its journey between Maibara and Kansai International Airport. We were then on our way for a short morning journey duration of 1 hour 38 minutes back to Kansai International Airport located along the surrounding waters of Osaka Bay.

281系 関空特急はるか9号 関西国際空港行き 京都駅に入線シーン

A view of my seat, 7A, during the boarding process at Kyoto Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Kyoto Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Kyoto Station

281系 関空特急はるか9号 関西国際空港行き 京都 (発車) ~ 島本 (通過)

Bypassing local train depot near Takatsuki Station in the suburban city of Takatsuki

Passing through Takatsuki Station

Travelling through the suburban city of Takatsuki

Passing through Settsu-tonda Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Settsu-tonda and Ibaraki Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Settsu-tonda and Ibaraki Stations

Passing through Ibaraki Station

Bypassing an Aeon department store in the suburban city of Ibaraki

Crossing a flyover rail bridge towards the Umeda Freight Line between Ibaraki and Senrioka Stations

Bypassing a freight railway container yard in the suburban city of Suita

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat between Suita and Shin-osaka Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Suita

Making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, while making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, while making a brief stop at Shin-osaka Station

281系 関空特急はるか9号 関西国際空港行き 新大阪駅から天王寺駅間

Making a brief stop at Tennoji Station

Overlooking the Yamatoji and Hanwa Line tracks shortly after departing Tennoji Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tennoji and Sakaishi Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, between Tennoji and Sakaishi Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, between Abikocho and Sugimotocho Stations

Passing through Sugimotocho Station

Crossing the Yamato River between Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, and Sakai-ku, Sakai

Passing through Asaka Station

Bypassing some houses in Sakai-ku, Sakai

Passing through Sakaishi Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Sakai-ku, Sakai, between Sakaishi and Mozu Stations

Passing through Uenoshiba Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Nishi-ku, Sakai

Passing through Otori Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Takaishi

Passing through Shinodayama Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 6-car 281 series EMU, operating on the Kansai Airport Limited Express "Haruka" No. 9 bound for Kansai International Airport, from my seat between Shinodayama and Izumi-fuchu Stations

Passing through Izumi-fuchu Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Izumi

Passing through Kumeda Station

Bypassing some houses in the suburban city of Kishiwada

281系 関空特急はるか9号 関西国際空港行き 東岸和田 (通過) ~ 関西空港 (到着)

After a quick morning travel duration of 1 hour 38 minutes from the busy hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, we finally arrived back at the Kansai Airport terminal station at 9.23 a.m. on Track No. 4. Checking to see that none of our baggage had been left behind on board, we alighted the train and took the elevator up to the station concourse, where we grabbed a three baggage trolleys to load our baggage before exiting the JR Line concourse via the staffed ticketing gate.

Before walking across the pedestrian footbridge linking to the main passenger terminal, my parents informed me to return our two Internet dongles to the post office on the second floor before meeting them at the Korean Air Prestige Class check-in counters. Without anymore hesitations, we walked across the pedestrian footbridge to the terminal building, entering it by 9.30 a.m.. While my family went up to the international departures and check-in hall on the fourth floor, I went to the post office on the second level to return our Internet dongles.

Once I had inserted the package containing our returned Internet dongles at the large mail box by the post office, I hurried through the domestic flight level and took the escalator up to the fourth floor, eventually meeting my family there by 9.40 a.m.. We then proceeded to the Korean Air Prestige Class check-in counter located in the northern side of the international departures and check-in hall and checked our bulky baggage in for Korean Air flights KE 724 and KE 641 bound for Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore. The entire check-in process for both flights took no more than just 15 minutes.

Tracks No. 3 and 4 serving the JR Line trains at Kansai Airport Station shortly after we had arrived

The JR Line concourse leading to the platforms at Kansai Airport Station

Finally entering the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

The domestic flight lobby in the second level at Kansai International Airport

The post office located in the domestic flight lobby in the second level at Kansai International Airport

Walking through the second floor to the long escalator to the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

Riding up the escalators from the second floor to the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

The international departures and check-in hall located on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

Finally arriving at the Korean Air check-in counters in the international departures and check-in hall at Kansai International Airport

After we had finished checking in for Korean Air flights KE 724 and KE 641 bound for Seoul (Incheon) via Singapore, we finally received our boarding passes for both segments at 9.55 a.m.. The check-in agent informed us that today, Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would depart at 12.25 p.m. from Gate No. 9. Boarding would also commence at 12 noon, approximately 25 minutes prior to the scheduled departure timing. Feeling rather hungry already, we decided to have breakfast first before heading into the airside.

With that, we thanked the check-in agent for her services and headed to the elevator lobby to catch the nearest elevator down to the second floor. Arriving at the second floor by ten o' clock, we immediately headed to McDonald's for a fast-food breakfast since we wanted to enjoy the taste of beef tallow for the last time before heading home to Singapore. Securing an empty table, my dad went to order us several hash browns and big breakfast meals, and we had a filling fast-food breakfast at McDonald's.

The international departures and check-in hall located on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport shortly before we headed down to the second floor for breakfast

Finally in the domestic flight level on the second floor at Kansai International Airport

Finally arriving at McDonald's in the domestic flight level on the second floor at Kansai International Airport

The domestic flight lobby in the second level at Kansai International Airport as seen from McDonald's

Our breakfast drinks at McDonald's in the domestic flight level on the second floor at Kansai International Airport

Our 'Big Breakfast' meal to be shared among us in the domestic flight level on the second floor at Kansai International Airport

After having a filling and sumptuous fast-food breakfast at McDonald's, the clock was finally showing 10.25 a.m.. Knowing that it was already time to head into the airside for our flight to Seoul (Incheon), we immediately grabbed all of our belongings and took the escalators all the way up to the international departures and check-in hall on located the fourth floor of the terminal building. Upon reaching the international departures and check-in hall, we quickly proceeded to the security checkpoint and got out our necessary belongings to be screened.

The entire security check process took no more than just five minutes since we reached it at 10.30 a.m.. Upon clearing the security checkpoint at 10.35 a.m., we proceeded towards the passport control area, where we had our passports examined and proceeded to a small open relaxing area, where both my younger brother and I spotted a few planes and rested there for a short while, until our parents called us to go to the Wing Shuttle station leading to the North Wing of the main terminal building, where Gate No. 9 was located.

Without wasting anymore time, we proceeded to the Wing Shuttle station linking to the North Wing of the terminal building, where a nearby Wing Shuttle train was waiting. Immediately, with all our personal belongings with us, we boarded the train for the short hop towards the North Wing. Soon enough, within just a few minutes, we finally departed the main terminal building at Kansai International Airport for a short free Wing Shuttle ride of no more than two minutes to the North Wing of the airport's main terminal building.

Finally leaving the domestic flight level on the second floor at Kansai International Airport

Walking up the escalator to the third floor of the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

Arriving back at the international departures and check-in area on the fourth floor at Kansai International Airport

Approaching the North Wing security checkpoint entrance in the international departures and check-in area

My boarding pass for the segment between Osaka (Kansai) and Seoul (Incheon)

The international flight airside at Kansai International Airport on a bright summer morning

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-467, registered B-HUB, about to taxi towards her assigned runway for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 503 bound for Hong Kong

Overlooking the domestic flight airside at Kansai International Airport

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 767-381/ER, registered JA617A, about to taxi towards her assigned runway in preparation for her regional morning journey to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as All Nippon Airways flight NH 157 bound for Qingdao

The view of the Sky Gate Bridge R connecting Kansai International Airport to the mainland as seen from the international flight airside at Kansai International Airport

Walking through the airside of the main terminal to the Wing Shuttle train station leading to the North Wing

Arriving at the Kansai International Airport Wing Shuttle station leading to the North Wing

A Kansai International Airport Wing Shuttle train leading to the North Wing waiting at the main terminal station

The interior of the Kansai International Airport Wing Shuttle train leading to the North Wing

Awaiting departure from the main terminal building at Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport Shuttle Train ~ Main Terminal To North Wing

After a short Wing Shuttle train ride from the main terminal at Kansai International Airport, we finally arrived at the North Wing of the terminal building at eleven o' clock. Checking to see that we had left none of our belongings behind on the Wing Shuttle train, we alighted and took the escalator down towards the boarding gate area leading to Gates No. 1 to 16, eventually arriving there within just a few minutes.

Entering the North Wing itself, we managed to find a suitable open-air passenger rest area, where we decided to rest for a while before proceeding to Gate No. 9 for Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon). At the passenger resting area in the North Wing, we got out our electronic devices for our own entertainment use before our afternoon flight to Seoul (Incheon), while my dad went to a convenience shop to get us some beverages. I also did some of my plane-spotting activities while resting at the same time.

The Kansai International Airport Wing Shuttle station located at the North Wing of the terminal

Finally arriving at the open passenger rest area in the North Wing

Crafting out my report for the segment between Osaka (Kansai) and Seoul (Incheon) in the open passenger rest area in the North Wing at Kansai International Airport

A lineup of duty-free shops located in the North Wing at Kansai International Airport

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-367, registered B-HNE, being pushed back from Gate No. 5 in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) via the Republic of China (Taiwan) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 565 bound for Hong Kong via Taipei (Taoyuan)

The view of the airport tarmac near the North Wing at Kansai International Airport

Part 2 ~ The Flight To Seoul (Incheon)

Airline: Korean Air
Flight No.: KE 724
From: Osaka, Kansai International Airport (KIX / RJBB), Tajiri, Osaka, Japan
To: Seoul, Incheon International Airport (ICN / RKSI), Seoul, South Korea
Aircraft: Airbus A330-323X
Registration No.: HL7702
Class: Prestige Class (Business Class)
Seat No.: 8A
Date: Tuesday, 10 June 2014

After spending approximately 40 minutes of relaxing and chatting in the passenger rest area located just adjacent to Gates No. 5 to 9 located in the North Wing, the clock was finally showing 11.40 a.m.. Knowing that boarding for Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would commence in just 20 minutes' time, we immediately packed our belongings and left the passenger resting area for Gate No. 9.

The entire walk from the passenger resting area to Gate No. 9 took just five minutes. Soon enough, we finally arrived at the passenger waiting area of Gate No. 9 by 11.45 a.m., which was just in good time for boarding to commence in 15 minutes' time. Judging by the number of waiting passengers at the passenger waiting area of Gate No. 9, I could see that Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would have a relatively light load today.

For today, Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon) would be operated using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, registered HL7702 and powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4168A engines. HL7702 was delivered brand new to Korean Air on 25 October 2001 as the 13th Airbus A330-300 and the 16th Airbus A330 for the airline. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 12.7 years old today.

The passenger waiting area at Gate No. 9 in the North Wing at Kansai International Airport

Our aircraft for today, HL7702, being serviced at Gate No. 9 in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

A closeup of HL7702 being serviced at Gate No. 9

The view of the Sky Gate Bridge R connecting Kansai International Airport to the mainland as seen from Gate No. 9

The departure information screen at Gate No. 9 detailing information for Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

A Korean Air Boeing 737-9B5, registered HL7708, about to taxi towards her assigned runway for her early afternoon regional journey back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Korean Air flight KE 732 bound for Busan

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 9, the first boarding announcements for Korean Air flight KE 724 bound for Seoul (Incheon) were finally made at 12 noon. The First & Prestige Class passengers and the SKYPASS club members, along with the passengers requiring special assistance were called out to board the aircraft first. Since we were among the first passengers being called out to board, we rolled up at the front for the boarding process to commence.

Walking along the jet bridge towards Door A, we were finally on board HL7702 at 12.05 p.m., which was just in good time for a 12.25 p.m. departure. At the front aircraft door, two cheerful flight attendants extended a warm welcome to us on board and showed us the direction to our seats in the Prestige Class cabin. Entering the Prestige Class cabin itself, we stowed away our belongings and settled down into our assigned Seats No. 8A, 8B, 8D and 8E for the regional flight duration of 1 hour 50 minutes to Seoul (Incheon).

The Prestige Class seats we would be using for the short regional journey to Seoul were the newer generation of Prestige Sleeper seats. These seats can easily recline up to a full 180º in order to allow fully lie-flat rest for passengers during long-haul flights from South Korea to Oceania, the European Union and the Americas, as well as most regional destinations in Asia. These seats were introduced following the delivery of Korean Air's fleet of Boeing 777-300/ERs, and have since been fitted on most of the airline's long-haul fleet.

The flight attendants went about their pre-flight routines of the distributing free newspapers, pre-departure beverages and food and beverage menus to the Prestige Class passengers. Since there was no pre-departure champagne served as a pre-departure beverage from Osaka (Kansai), I decided to have my normal glass of orange juice and settled back for the upcoming regional journey of 1 hour 50 minutes to Seoul (Incheon). The First Class cabin would remain empty throughout the entire journey.

A view of my seat, 8A, during the boarding process at Gate No. 9 at Kansai International Airport

The cover page for the food and beverage menu for the segment between Osaka (Kansai) and Seoul (Incheon)

Reviewing the food and beverage menu for the segment between Osaka (Kansai) and Seoul (Incheon)

Crafting out my report for the segment between Osaka (Kansai) and Seoul (Incheon) during the boarding process at Gate No. 9 at Kansai International Airport

My usual pre-departure glass of orange juice on my dining table

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated during the boarding process at Gate No. 9 at Kansai International Airport

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Gate No. 9 at Kansai International Airport

Awaiting pushback from Gate No. 9

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly before pushback from Gate No. 9

At exactly 12.25 p.m. sharp, all the aircraft doors were closed, and we finally pushed back from Gate No. 9, which was just as scheduled. The safety briefing demonstration video was then shown on our front seat video screens as we began to make our way to our assigned runway for take-off, taxiing past both several local and foreign aircraft parked at the main passenger terminal along the way for approximately 20 minutes.

After a quick taxi along the main airport tarmac to our assigned runway for approximately 20 minutes, the aircraft's two Pratt & Whitney PW4168A engines spooled into action, and we finally lifted from Kansai International Airport at 12.45 p.m.. We then climbed into the bright summer afternoon sky for a short regional flight duration of just 1 hour 30 minutes over the Sea of Japan and Korea Strait to the capital city of the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

Finally pushing back from Gate No. 9

The view of the Sky Gate Bridge R linking between Kansai International Airport and the mainland during pushback from Gate No. 9

The safety briefing demonstration video detailing the hazards and consequences of on-board smoking

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-430, registered D-ABVU, taxiing towards the main terminal after arriving from her short regional domestic journey from the Greater Tokyo Area as Lufthansa flight LH 741 from Tokyo (Narita). She will have a brief refuelling process at Kansai International Airport before continuing on for her afternoon trans-Siberian journey back home to the Federal Republic of Germany as Lufthansa flight LH 741 bound for Frankfurt

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER, registered HL7755, awaiting pushback from Gate No. 15 at the main passenger terminal building in preparation for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as Asiana Airlines flight OZ 111 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

Finally taxiing away from the main passenger terminal building at Kansai International Airport

The view of the JR West Kansai Airport Line and Nankai Airport Line tracks as we approach our assigned runway for take-off

One last view of the JR West Kansai Airport Line and Nankai Airport Line tracks shortly before we lifted off from Kansai International Airport

Korean Air Flight 724 ~ Bright Afternoon Take-off From Kansai International Airport

Cruising over Osaka Bay shortly after taking off from Kansai International Airport

The seatbelt signs were switched off at 12.50 p.m., which was just five minutes after taking off from Kansai International Airport. As the flight attendants went about to commence the in-flight service, I paid a visit to the lavatory before heading back to my seat to get all of my electronic devices out for my entertainment use for the flight. For Korean Air, unlike the Airbus A330-200s, the Airbus A330-300s did not feature any windows in the lavatories.

Some moments later, a flight stewardess came by to the cabin to take down the passengers' main meal orders for the upcoming in-flight lunch service. Once the flight attendant came by to our seats, I opted to have the roasted chicken thigh with teriyaki balsamic sauce served with roasted mini sweet pumpkin, broccoli, baby corn and carrots, along with a bottle of red wine. To begin, I requested for my usual glass of orange juice and settled back to use my laptop while waiting for my meal tray to be brought to my table.

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were switched off

Cruising over the Kansai region between Hyogo and Shimane Prefectures

The rear view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin during cruising altitude between Hyogo and Shimane Prefectures

The mirror view in the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 lavatory

The information placard warning passengers that smoking on board and / or tampering with smoke detectors in the lavatories is prohibited under South Korean law

A view of my seat, 8A, during cruising altitude between Hyogo and Shimane Prefectures

A glass of orange juice for myself to commence the in-flight lunch service

Cruising over Shimane Prefectures and the Sea of Japan

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly before the in-flight lunch service commenced

After spending approximately 15 minutes of waiting at our seats, the flight attendant finally appeared at our seats with our meal trays consisting our first lunch courses. With our meal trays set up, I immediately tucked into the salad with balsamic and olive oil, which made the salad taste quite savoury. Upon finishing my salad, the flight attendants re-appeared at our seats again with our main courses. This time, she had my roasted chicken thigh with teriyaki balsamic sauce served with roasted mini sweet pumpkin, broccoli, baby corn and carrots.

With my main lunch course delivered to my main meal tray, I immediately tucked in to my roasted chicken. The roasted chicken tasted very soft and tender, and it went very well with the teriyaki balsamic sauce. The carrots and broccoli were also the perfect accompaniments to such a dish like this, including the red wine that accompanied my main meal course. The seasonal fresh fruits, particularly the slice of watermelon, were also the perfect endings to such a light lunch on short regional flights like this.

Once my main meal tray was cleared, the flight attendant asked what else I wanted. Feeling stuffed to the brim already, I requested for a cup of hot black tea with milk and sugar to end off the in-flight lunch. Within a few minutes, my cup of hot black tea with milk and sugar was brought to my dining table, which I managed to sip down within just a few minutes. With my cup being cleared away, I paid another visit to the lavatory and was left to my laptop for my own entertainment purposes until the seatbelt sign was illuminated for landing.

The first course: Green salad with balsamic dressing

A scene from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)", where Harry's Uncle Vernon angrily tears up his nephew's Hogwarts acceptance letters

A bottle and glass of red wine to accompany my upcoming main lunch course

My main lunch course: Roasted chicken thigh with teriyaki balsamic sauce served with roasted mini sweet pumpkin, broccoli, baby corn and carrots

The view of my meal tray after I had finished my main lunch course

Cruising over the Sea of Japan and Korea Strait into South Korean airspace

A cup of black tea with sugar and milk for myself

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during cruising altitude over South Korean airspace

The rear view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly before the seatbelt sign was illuminated for landing in Incheon International Airport

The seatbelt signs were illuminated again at two o' clock, approximately 15 minutes prior to final approach into Incheon International Airport. Knowing that we had less than half an hour left before our arrival into Seoul, we immediately packed away all our belongings, including our electronic devices, and stowed them into their respective storage areas before buckling up in preparation for the landing in Incheon International Airport.

As the aircraft commenced its final approach into Incheon International Airport, the weather was a mixture of being both cloudy and sunny at the same time. After a very short regional flight duration of 1 hour 30 minutes over the Sea of Japan and Korea Strait from the hustle and bustle of downtown Osaka in the Kansai region of Japan, we finally touched down in Incheon International Airport at 2.15 p.m., which was just as scheduled.

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated for descent into Incheon International Airport

Cruising over the Korea Strait near Busan and Daegu

Cruising over some local rural South Korean settlements as the aircraft makes its final approach into Incheon International Airport

The flight route indication map indicating our final approach into Incheon International Airport

The 'no smoking' and 'fasten seatbelt' signs illuminated during the descent into Incheon International Airport

Cruising over the Yellow Sea on final approach to Incheon International Airport

Korean Air Flight 724 ~ Bright Afternoon Arrival In Incheon International Airport

Taxiing along the main airport tarmac shortly after touching down in Incheon International Airport

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after touching down in Incheon International Airport

Taxiing past the cargo terminal filled with several Korean Air Cargo aircraft at Incheon International Airport

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER, registered HL8275, about to park at the Main Terminal after arriving from her long overnight trans-Siberian journey from the United Kingdom as Korean Air flight KE 908 from London (Heathrow)

A Korean Air Airbus A330-323X, registered HL7710, taxiing along the main tarmac at Incheon International Airport

Taxiing towards the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

Approaching our arrival gate, Gate No. 19, at the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

A Korean Air Boeing 737-8BK(WL), registered HL8240, resting at Gate No. 19 at the Main Terminal

The view of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after docking onto our arrival gate, Gate No. 19, at the Main Terminal

After a short taxi duration of just 10 minutes along the airport tarmac to the Main Terminal, we finally docked onto our arrival gate, Gate No. 19, at 2.25 p.m.. Once the seatbelt signs were switched off, we immediately unbuckled and claimed all of our belongings from their respective storage spaces, checking our seats to see that nothing had been left behind on board at the same time.

We then rolled up behind a few passengers with all our belongings to disembark from the aircraft. As we exited the aircraft via the front aircraft door, the flight attendants thanked us for our patronage with Korean Air and wished us a pleasant onward journey back home to the Republic of Singapore. As of 1 June 2014, the airline grading system will be applied in the following manner, with 'D' (40% or above) being the minimum passing grade:

A+: 85% or above (Airline has an excellent rating and performance)
A: 75% ~ 84% (Airline has a good rating and performance)
B: 60% ~ 74% (Airline has a good rating and performance)
C: 50% ~ 59% (Airline has an adequate rating and performance)
D: 40% ~ 49% (Airline has a fair rating and performance)
E: 20% ~ 39% (Airline has a poor rating and performance)
U: Below 20% (Airline has not met the minimum requirement for the minimum grade)

Korean Air Flight 724 Score Report

Seat: 19 / 20
Food: 16 / 20
Service: 17 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 17 / 20
Legroom space: 19 / 20
Total: 88 / 100

In a nutshell, Korean Air has successfully managed to obtain a total aggregate score of 88% for the regional segment between Osaka (Kansai) and Seoul (Incheon), which means that they have successfully earned themselves an 'A+' grade, the highest airline grade. It really has been a pleasant regional journey with them, and the airline should continue to maintain their high quality standards, especially on regional journeys.

After disembarking from Korean Air flight KE 724 from Osaka (Kansai), we walked along the passageway linking to the immigrations area and the connecting flight security checkpoint. Knowing that we had at least three hours before our connecting flight back to Singapore, we arrived at the connecting flight security checkpoint at 2.35 p.m., which was in good time for a somewhat hassle-free transit security check, which took no more than just 10 minutes.

Upon clearing the connecting flight security checkpoint, we took the escalator all the way up to the airside of the Main Terminal, arriving there by 2.45 p.m.. Once we went to grab a few baggage trolleys, I promptly went to check the departure flight information screens to see which gate Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore would depart from. According to the departure flight information screens, Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore would depart at 6.40 p.m. from Gate No. 8.

Boarding would also commence at 6.10 p.m., half an hour prior to the scheduled departure timing. Since we were feeling rather hot and stuffy, we decided to head over to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge for a nice, hot shower and some light snacks and drinks prior to our connecting return flight back home to Singapore. With that, we walked through the airside of the Main Terminal in the direction leading towards Gates No. 1 to 11, where the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge was located.

One last look at HL7702 resting at Gate No. 19 at the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

Walking along the passageway linking to the immigrations area and connecting flight security checkpoint from Gate No. 19 in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The passageway leading to the immigrations area and connecting flight security checkpoint in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport during the mid-afternoon hours

The transit mall in the airside of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport during the mid-afternoon hours

The massive departure flight information screen in the airside of the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport during the mid-afternoon hours

Finally arriving at the main entrance to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge

After walking through the airside within the Main Terminal building at Incheon International Airport for five minutes, we finally arrived at the entrance to the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge at 2.50 p.m.. Taking the escalators up to the lounge reception counter, the lounge receptionist checked our lounge invitation passes and gave us four shower beepers, which would beep automatically once our turns to have a nice, hot shower came. With that, we went into the lounge and set up our belongings at an area near the observation tables.

Once everything had been completed, we settled down to relax in the lounge, and had a nice, hot shower once our shower beepers beeped out automatically one by one. Upon having a nice, hot shower, we set up our electronic devices for our own entertainment use and had some light bites and beverages, while I did my normal plane-spotting activities to pass the time. My parents also went out to buy some light fast-foods for us from Burger King at one point of our long relaxations in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge.

The Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge reception counter during the mid-afternoon hours

The international departure flight information screen near the lounge reception counter in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge

The large Korean Air Airbus A380 stand model located by the main lounge reception counter in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge during the mid-afternoon hours

The interior of the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge during the mid-afternoon hours shortly after we entered the lounge area

The self-service food and beverage buffet corner in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge

A Korean Air Airbus A380-861, registered HL7611, taxiing away from the Main Terminal for her long afternoon transpacific journey to the United States as Korean Air flight KE 017 bound for Los Angeles

Three Korean Air Airbus A330-223s parked at the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport

The interior of the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge during the mid-afternoon hours

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STD, taxiing towards Terminal A after arriving from her morning journey from the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 600 bound for Seoul (Incheon)

A Korean Air Airbus A330-223, registered HL7538, taxiing away from the Main Terminal for her afternoon trans-Siberian journey to the Swiss Confederation as Korean Air flight KE 917 bound for Zurich

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-343X, registered B-LBD, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her regional afternoon journey back home to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Cathay Pacific flight CX 411 bound for Hong Kong

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER taxiing along the main airport tarmac at Incheon International Airport

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5/ER, registered HL8208, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her afternoon journey to the Republic of Indonesia as Korean Air flight KE 627 bound for Jakarta. I remember riding on this aircraft as Korean Air flight KE 644 between Singapore and Seoul (Incheon) when we went on our traditional winter vacation to Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2013

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER, registered HL7500, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her regional afternoon journey to Kyushu, Japan, as Asiana Airlines flight OZ 134 bound for Fukuoka

A Korean Air Airbus A330-223, registered HL8212 and painted in the special "Children's Drawing Competition" livery, being pushed back from Gate No. 12 in preparation for her afternoon trans-Siberian journey to the Russian Federation as Korean Air flight KE 929 bound for Saint Petersburg

A Korean Air Boeing 747-4B5, registered HL7492, taxiing towards the Main Terminal after arriving from her regional afternoon journey from the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan as Korean Air flight KE 704 from Tokyo (Narita)

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X, registered HS-TBF, taxiing towards Terminal A after arriving from her regional journey from the Kingdom of Thailand via the Republic of China (Taiwan) as Thai Airways International flight TG 634 from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) via Taipei (Taoyuan)

A Korean Air Boeing 777-2B5/ER, registered HL7530, taxiing towards the Main Terminal after arriving from her long transpacific journey from the United States as Korean Air flight KE 032 from Dallas

Crafting out my report for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore on my blog in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-28E/ER, registered HL7755, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her late afternoon transpacific journey to the United States as Asiana Airlines flight OZ 212 bound for San Francisco

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STD, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her late afternoon journey back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 609 bound for Singapore

A bowl of broccoli soup with a few pieces of chicken and mushrooms and a glass of Coca-cola for myself

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER, registered 9V-SWJ and painted in the special "Star Alliance" livery, taxiing along the tarmac towards Terminal A after arriving from her morning journey from the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 016 from Singapore. She will have a short layover at Incheon International Airport before continuing with her long transpacific journey to the United States as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 016 bound for San Francisco

A Korean Air Boeing 777-3B5, registered HL7532, taxiing towards Gate No. 8 in preparation for her early evening journey to the Republic of Singapore as Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore. I remember riding on this aircraft thrice in December 2011, December 2012 and just a week earlier

A Korean Air Airbus A330-323X, registered HL7553, taxiing towards Gate No. 14 after arriving from her long morning journey from the Commonwealth of Australia as Korean Air flight KE 124 from Brisbane

A Korean Air Boeing 747-4B5, registered HL7491, taxiing towards the Main Terminal after arriving from her delayed regional afternoon journey from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Korean Air flight KE 604 from Hong Kong

An Air China Airbus A330-343X, registered B-5912, taxiing towards Terminal A after arriving from her delayed regional afternoon journey from the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Air China flight CA 125 from Beijing

Part 3 ~ The Flight Back Home Towards Singapore

Airline: Korean Air
Flight No.: KE 641
From: Seoul, Incheon International Airport (ICN / RKSI), Seoul, South Korea
To: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN / WSSS), Singapore
Aircraft: Boeing 777-3B5
Registration No.: HL7532
Class: Prestige Class (Business Class)
Seat No.: 7J
Date: Tuesday, 10 June 2014

After spending approximately 2 hours 55 minutes of relaxing and charging our electronic devices within the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge, the clock was finally showing 5.45 p.m.. Knowing that boarding for Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore would commence in 25 minutes' time, we immediately packed up our baggage and left the lounge before 5.50 p.m. for Gate No. 8. The entire walk between the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge and Gate No. 8 took no more than just five minutes.

Soon enough, we finally arrived at the passenger waiting area of Gate No. 8 by 5.55 p.m., which was just in good time for boarding to commence in 15 minutes' time. Judging by the considerable number of waiting passengers at the passenger waiting area near Gate No. 8, I could see that Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore would have a half load today. For today, Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore would be operated using a Boeing 777-300 aircraft, registered HL7532 and powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4098 engines.

HL7532 was delivered new to Korean Air on 12 August 1999 as the very first Boeing 777-300 and the fourth Boeing 777 for the airline. The overall delivery would make the aircraft approximately 14.8 years old today. I remember riding on HL7532 as Korean Air flight KE 641 between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore when I returned home from my traditional winter vacation to Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2011, and from my winter vacation in South Korea in December 2012, as well as just a week earlier as Korean Air flight KE 644 between Singapore and Seoul (Incheon).

One last view of the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge shortly before we left for Gate No. 8

The large Korean Air Airbus A380 stand model located by the main lounge reception counter in the Korean Air (KAL) Prestige Class Lounge

Walking through the main airside in the Main Terminal at Incheon International Airport in the direction towards Gate No. 8

Finally arriving at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 8

Our aircraft for today, HL7532, being serviced at Gate No. 8 in preparation for her early evening journey to the Republic of Singapore as Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore

A closeup of HL7532 being serviced at Gate No. 8

A Thai Airways International Airbus A330-343X, registered HS-TBF, about to depart for her early evening journey back home to the Kingdom of Thailand via the Republic of China (Taiwan) as Thai Airways International flight TG 635 bound for Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) via Taipei (Taoyuan)

The entrance to the jet bridge at Gate No. 8 for First & Prestige Class passengers at Incheon International Airport

The passenger waiting area at Gate No. 8 with some waiting passengers for Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore

My boarding pass for the return segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

The departure information screen at Gate No. 8 detailing information for Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore

The passenger waiting area at Gate No. 8 shortly before the first boarding announcements for Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore were made

After spending approximately 15 minutes of anticipated waiting at the passenger waiting area at Gate No. 15, the first boarding announcements for Korean Air flight KE 641 bound for Singapore were finally made at 6.10 p.m.. The First & Prestige Class passengers, and the SKYPASS club members, along with the passengers requiring special assistance, were called out to board the aircraft first. Since we were among the first passengers being called out to board, we rolled up at the front for the boarding process to commence smoothly.

Walking along the jet bridge towards Door A, we were finally on board HL7532 at 6.15 p.m., which was just in good time for a 6.40 p.m. departure. At the front aircraft door, two cheery flight attendants extended a warm welcome to us on board and showed us the direction to our seats in the Prestige Class cabin. Entering the Prestige Class cabin itself, we stowed our belongings in their respective storage areas before settling into our assigned Seats No. 7H, 7J, 8H and 8J for the evening journey of 6 hours 10 minutes back home to Singapore.

The Prestige Class seats we would be using for the long return journey to Singapore were the same Prestige Sleeper seats, just like the ones we used for the regional afternoon flight from Osaka (Kansai) to Seoul (Incheon) earlier. The flight attendants then did their normal pre-flight routines of distributing the pre-departure beverages and free newspapers to the First & Prestige Class passengers. To begin with, I had my normal pre-departure glasses of champagne and orange juice while awaiting departure.

A view of my seat, 7J, during the boarding process at Gate No. 8 at Incheon International Airport

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during the boarding process at Gate No. 8 at Incheon International Airport

Crafting out my report for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore on my blog during the boarding process at Gate No. 8

Awaiting pushback from Gate No. 8

My usual pre-departure glasses of champagne and orange juice on my dining table

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly before we pushed back from Gate No. 8

At exactly 6.40 p.m. sharp, all the aircraft doors were closed, and we finally pushed back from Gate No. 8, which was just as scheduled. Once the safety briefing demonstration video began to show on all of our front personal video screens, we made our taxi towards our assigned runway for take-off, taxiing past several aircraft parked at both the Main Terminal and Terminal A for approximately 15 minutes along the way.

After a relatively short taxi duration along the airport tarmac for approximately 15 minutes, the aircraft's two powerful Pratt & Whitney PW4098 engines spooled into action, and we finally lifted off from Incheon International Airport at 6.55 p.m.. We then climbed into the bright early evening sky for a long evening flight duration of 5 hours 45 minutes over the South China Sea back home to the Republic of Singapore.

Finally pushing back from Gate No. 8

The safety briefing demonstration video detailing the hazards and consequences of on-board smoking

About to commence our taxi along the airport tarmac to our assigned runway

A Korean Air Airbus A330-322, registered HL7540, near the Main Terminal on the tarmac. I remember riding on this particular aircraft when I returned from my traditional winter vacation in Hokkaido, Japan, as Korean Air flight KE 766 between Sapporo (Chitose) and Seoul (Incheon) in December 2011

Taxiing past Terminal A along the way to our assigned runway

A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered TC-JNL, resting at Gate No. 109 at Terminal A after arriving from her long trans-Siberian journey from the Republic of Turkey as Turkish Airlines flight TK 090 from Istanbul

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-312/ER, registered 9V-SWQ, being serviced at Gate No. 113 at Terminal A in preparation for her early evening return journey back home to the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 015 bound for Singapore. This aircraft had initially arrived from her long transpacific journey from the United States earlier as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 015 from San Francisco

A Qatar Airways Airbus A330-302, registered A7-AED, resting at Gate No. 125 at Terminal A after arriving from her long Middle Eastern journey from the State of Qatar as Qatar Airways flight QR 858 from Doha

Taxiing along the tarmac towards our assigned runway for departure

Finally turning in the direction towards our assigned runway for take-off

An Air China Airbus A330-343X, registered B-5912, taxiing towards her assigned runway for her early evening journey back home to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Air China flight CA 126 bound for Beijing

Korean Air Flight 641 ~ Early Evening Departure From Incheon International Airport

Finally climbing into the bright early evening sky shortly after taking off from Incheon International Airport

The seatbelt sign was switched off at 7.05 p.m., which was just 10 minutes after taking off from Incheon International Airport. As the flight attendants sprung into action to commence the in-flight service, I paid a visit to the lavatory and went back to my seat to get my laptop for my own entertainment purposes. The flight attendants also went around to distribute the food and beverage menus to the First & Prestige Class passengers at the same time.

A few moments later, a flight stewardess came by to our seats to take down our main meal orders for the in-flight dinner service. I opted to have the roasted beef tenderloin with red bell pepper sauce served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables as the main dinner course. At the same time, I requested for a glass of Bordeaux, Château Peyrabon 2008 Red Wine to commence the in-flight dinner service.

With that, the flight attendant took down our main meal orders and went back to the galley to bring out our first meal courses. Within just a few minutes, she re-appeared at our seats with several mushroom appetisers and our meal trays containing our first meal courses. Mid-way before the main dinner course, I also requested for a glass of Bordeaux, Château de Crain 2011 White Wine to accompany the upcoming main course with.

The rear view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly after the seatbelt signs were switched off

The information placard warning passengers that smoking on board and / or tampering with smoke detectors in the lavatories is prohibited under South Korean law

A view of my seat, 7J, during cruising altitude over the Yellow Sea between South Korea and China

Crafting out my report for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore on my blog during cruising altitude between South Korea and China

The cover page for the food and beverage menu for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

Reviewing the wine list for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

Reviewing the food and beverage menu for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore

The bottle of Bordeaux, Château Peyrabon 2008 red wine being held by the flight stewardess

My wine glass being filled with Bordeaux, Château Peyrabon 2008 red wine

About to enjoy my glass of Bordeaux, Château Peyrabon 2008 red wine

A small platter consisting of two oven-roasted mushrooms stuffed with turkey ham for myself

The beautiful view of the sunset over the Yellow Sea during cruising altitude between South Korea and Taiwan

The first course: Mozzarella and tomato salad with arugula lettuce

The bottle of Bordeaux, Château de Crain 2011 white wine being held by the flight steward

My wine glass being filled with Bordeaux, Château de Crain 2011 white wine

About to enjoy my glass of Bordeaux, Château de Crain 2011 white wine

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during the in-flight dinner service

The beautiful view of sunset over the Taiwan Strait

The second course: Green asparagus cream soup

After spending approximately 10 minutes of anticipated waiting upon finishing my first meal courses, the flight attendant finally re-appeared at our seats at 7.20 p.m.. This time, she had my roasted beef tenderloin with red bell pepper sauce served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. With my main course delivered to my dinner tray, I immediately tucked into my main dinner course. Taking a first bite out of my roasted beef tenderloin, I quickly noticed that the beef tasted quite tender and not overcooked.

The mashed potatoes, along with the red bell pepper sauce and sautéed mushrooms, were the perfect accompaniments to such a sumptuous and filling in-flight dinner like this, making it one of the best in-flight beef dishes I had ever eaten on a plane. The Bordeaux, Château de Crain 2011 white wine also went well with the dinner. Once I was finished with my main course, the flight attendant came by to my seat again and asked me whether I had wanted anything else before the in-flight dinner service came to a closure.

I immediately requested for a small tub of strawberry-flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream and a glass of Baileys Irish Cream to round off this sumptuous and filling in-flight dinner service. Soon enough, my dessert orders were delivered to my dining table, allowing me to enjoy the closure to the in-flight dinner service. Once everything had been finished, my meal tray was promptly cleared away with the cabin lights dimmed, allowing the passengers to rest and for me to spend the remainder of the flight until the seatbelt signs were illuminated for landing.

My main course: Roasted beef tenderloin with red bell pepper sauce served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables

A small tub of strawberry-flavoured Häagen-Dazs ice cream and a glass of Baileys Irish Cream for myself

A scene in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)", where both Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia are suddenly awoken by the ripping of Harry's drilled windows in the middle of the night, where the bars are used to imprison Harry from going back to Hogwarts

A deleted scene from "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)", where Mrs. Mason frowns at the Dursleys in disapproval after Dobby invisibly drops Aunt Petunia's master pudding on her during the Dursleys' dinner party with the Masons, though Harry got the blame in the end

The flight route indication map indicating our cruising altitude over the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines

Cruising through the pitch black night sky over the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat during cruising altitude over the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines

Playing "LEGO Racers: Alien Rally Asteroid", with myself racing as Willa the Witch, attacking the host, Basil the Bat Lord, with three homing missiles

Playing "LEGO Racers: Royal Knights' Raceway (Mirrored)", with myself racing as Basil the Bat Lord, attacking Achu with three homing missiles

The rear view of the dimmed Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin to allow the passengers to get some rest

Cruising over the South China through the pitch black night sky somewhere between Vietnam and East Malaysia

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly before the seatbelt signs were illuminated in preparation for descent into Singapore Changi Airport

The rear view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin shortly before the seatbelt signs were illuminated in preparation for descent into Singapore Changi Airport

Cruising somewhere over the South China Sea late at night between Brunei Darussalam and East Malaysia

In accordance with the Singaporean Standard Timing, the seatbelt signs were illuminated again at 11.30 p.m., which was approximately 10 minutes in preparation for descent into Singapore Changi Airport. Knowing that we had very little time left before our arrival back into Singapore, we immediately stowed away all of our carry-on belongings and buckled up in preparation for the descent into Singapore Changi Airport.

The lights of several sea ports and landscapes shone brightly directly below us in the pitch black night sky as the aircraft commenced its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport. After a long evening flight duration of 5 hours 45 minutes over the South China Sea from the capital city of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), we finally touched down in Singapore Changi Airport at 11.40 p.m., which was approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated for landing in Singapore Changi Airport

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 First Class Sleeper cabin shortly after the seatbelt signs were illuminated for landing in Singapore Changi Airport

Cruising somewhere between Kelantan and Penang over Malaysian airspace

The view of the Penang Bridge at night as the aircraft cruises over Penang during its final approach into Singapore

The lights of Singapore shining directly below us as the aircraft makes its final approach into Singapore Changi Airport

Korean Air Flight 641 ~ Late Night Arrival Into Singapore Changi Airport

Taxiing along the airport tarmac shortly after landing in Singapore Changi Airport

A Thai Airways International Boeing 777-2D7, registered HS-TJF, resting at Gate No. C26 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 after arriving from her evening regional journey from the Kingdom of Thailand as Thai Airways International flight TG 401 from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi)

Taxiing past Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 towards Terminal 2

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343X, registered 9V-STB, resting at Gate No. D49 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

An Air France Boeing 777-328/ER, registered F-GZNE and painted in the special "SkyTeam" livery, awaiting pushback from Gate No. D44 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 for her long overnight trans-Indian Ocean return journey back home to the French Republic as Air France flight AF 257 bound for Paris (Charles de Gaulle)

An Air China Airbus A330-343X awaiting pushback from Gate No. D42 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long overnight return journey to the People's Republic of China (Mainland China) as Air China flight CA 970 bound for Beijing

A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-343X awaiting pushback from Gate No. D40 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 in preparation for her long overnight trans-Indian Ocean journey back home to the Republic of Turkey as Turkish Airlines flight TK 067 bound for Istanbul

Approaching our arrival gate, Gate No. E26 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212/ER, registered 9V-SQJ, resting at Gate No. E27 at Terminal 2 after arriving from her evening regional journey from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as Singapore Airlines flight SQ 871 from Hong Kong

The view of the Korean Air Boeing 777-300 Prestige Sleeper cabin from my seat shortly after docking onto Gate No. E26 at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

After a short taxi along the main airport tarmac for approximately 10 minutes to Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, we finally docked on to our arrival gate, Gate No. E26, at 11.50 p.m.. Once the seatbelt signs were switched off by the captain, we immediately unbuckled and claimed all of our carry-on belongings from their respective storage spaces, checking around our seats to see that nothing had been left behind anywhere.

Upon claiming our belongings and checking to see that nothing had been left behind on the aircraft, we rolled up behind some other passengers to disembark from the aircraft smoothly. As we disembarked from the aircraft via the front aircraft door, the flight attendants thanked us sincerely for our patronage with Korean Air and managed to wish us a pleasant journey back home. It was always good to be back in our own homeland, no matter where we go.

Korean Air Flight 641 Score Report

Seat: 20 / 20
Food: 19 / 20
Service: 19 / 20
Aircraft cleanliness: 17 / 20
Legroom space: 20 / 20
Total: 95 / 100

In the final analysis, Korean Air has managed to obtain a total aggregate score of 95% for the segment between Seoul (Incheon) and Singapore, which means that they have attained the highest airline grade 'A+'. Korean Air really been consistent in their excellent areas and should continue to uphold their high standards and quality work. Especially to Japan, I will never hesitate to fly with Korean Air again in the near future.

Part 4 ~ The Closing Sequences

After disembarking from Korean Air flight KE 641 from Seoul (Incheon), we walked along the moving passageways from Concourse E leading to the arrivals and immigrations area, with the walk taking no more than just five minutes. Arriving at the downward escalators linking to the arrivals and immigrations area at midnight, we took the escalators down and headed to the thumb fingerprint checkpoint reserved exclusively for local Singaporean citizens and permanent residents of Singapore.

At the thumb fingerprint security checkpoint, we had our right thumbs and passports before clearing the immigrations process within a few minutes. I then went to check the baggage belt information screens to see which baggage belt our bulky check-in baggage would be arriving at. According to the baggage belt information screens located just aft of the arrivals and immigrations checkpoint, all check-in baggage from Korean Air flight KE 641 from Seoul (Incheon) would arrive at Belt No. 32.

Without wasting anymore time, we immediately proceeded to the baggage claiming area to claim three baggage trolleys. My mum used one of them to load some of our belongings and headed to a duty-free shop in the baggage claiming hall to purchase some duty-free items for home. While my mum went towards the duty-free shop to do some post-arrival duty-free shopping, I followed both my dad and younger brother to Belt No. 32 to claim all our bulky check-in baggage.

Walking along the moving passageway in Concourse E in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Approaching the arrivals and immigrations area in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 at midnight

The baggage claiming hall in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the late night hours

The baggage belt information screens in the baggage claiming hall of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Awaiting our bulky check-in baggage to arrive at Belt No. 32

The interior of the arrivals and meeting hall in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 during the late night hours

After claiming all our bulky check-in baggage and loading our belongings onto the baggage trolleys, we were finally in the arrivals and meeting hall of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 at 12.10 a.m.. Heading towards the MaxiCab reservation counter, my mum arranged for a MaxiCab to take us back home. The MaxiCab reservation receptionist then informed us that she understood that we had arranged for one, with the driver expected to meet us in the arrivals and meeting hall. Soon enough, our MaxiCab driver, who was a Chinese gentleman, finally met up with us in the arrivals and meeting hall at 12.15 a.m..

Offering to assist us with our baggage trolleys, he escorted us out to his waiting MaxiCab at the pick-up area, where he helped my parents load our baggage into the cab boot while we boarded before we finally departed Singapore Changi Airport at 12.25 a.m. for a 25-minute journey back home. Arriving back at the familiar compound of our home at 12.50 a.m., my housekeeper and the MaxiCab driver helped us to unload our baggage from the boot and spent the remainder of the night having supper and unpacking all our baggage. We then all turned in for a well-earned rest after unpacking our baggage very late that night.

All in all, this has been a very enjoyable mid-summer birthday vacation to Japan, like all previous Japan trips. I sincerely hope that I would be able to come to Japan again every year in the near future, including winter trips. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this special blog report, and I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed it. There may be more interesting posts to come in the near future. Lastly, but certainly not least, have a very enjoyable blogging experience!

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