Korean Air experience (domestic)

Korean Air is South Korea’s national airline. The airline is about 54 years old and has a fleet of 164 aircrafts connecting South Korean capital Seoul to cities around the world.

Last month I took 3 flights with Korean Air domestic- Busan to Jeju, Jeju to Seoul and Seoul to Busan. This post shares my experience

Why did I choose Korean Air?
When I was looking for an option to fly to Jeju from Busan, Korean Air was not the cheapest. Jeju air was the cheapest- but Jeju air is a budget airline, and will charge extra for checked bags. Korean Air fare included checked bags and food (only juice was given, more later), hence despite being a bit expensive we chose Korean air to avoid the hassle of paying extra for everything.

Korean Air is a skyteam partner along with Air France, KLM. But in India they seem to be flying only to Delhi. Delhi ICN direct flight costs 60000 INR return, while it costs under 40000 on Singapore airline one stop flight via Changi. So it wasn’t an economical option for us. I had visited a Korean air stall in a travel mart event in Mumbai a few years ago and wanted to fly them whenever possible. At least now I’ve flown their domestic flights, if not international.

Ticket purchase experience:
Was able to book South Korea domestic flights from India without any issues- paid via debit card. They have 4-5 different types of fares, and went for the cheapest option available.

I was able to select a seat for no extra cost at the time of purchase, which is good.

I couldn’t give my SQ Krisflyer account for loyalty points. Had to give the Emirates loyalty program number. Got some 470 miles after spending about 12000 INR on Korean Air.  But not sure how to use it- have no plans to fly Emirates as of now.

Web check-in experience:
Korean air web check in opens 24 hours before the flight. Could complete the process within minutes without any issues.

How were the aircrafts?
Flew B737 on 2 legs and A220-300 on Seoul-Busan leg. Aircrafts were fine- no issues. A220 experience was unique- 2 columns in one side, 3 on the other.

Airport baggage drop experience:
For 7 AM flight from Jeju to Seoul, check in counters would open only by 6 AM
After checking in our bags, we need to wait for a few minutes while the airline does a security check of our bags. If good, we can proceed.

Boarding pass is a wafer thin piece of paper

Inflight experience

  • Those sitting in the back of the plane will board first.
  • Korean Air does have some 8 business class seats on its 737s, no premium economy.
  • They keep half a kg worth of inflight magazine and shopping list on 40-50 min domestic flights- no passenger cares about them- they could skip this and save fuel on carrying 100 kg extra material on each flights.
  • To reaffirm that they are a full service airline, a glass of juice was served on our Korean Air domestic flights. Orange, apple or tomato juices were the options. No snacks, not even for purchase. Some sandwiches would have been nice.

Ground staff waving us off was a nice experience.

All the flights were on time, bags came to belt fairly quickly and I don't have any complaint as such.

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