Korean Air’s first Dreamliner heads to Toronto

Korean AIr B787-9 Dreamliner

Korean Air’s first B787-9 Dreamliner took off on its inaugural international route today (June 1), departing Incheon Airport at 0935 local time bound for Toronto.

While the Canadian city is the aircraft’s first international destination, Korean Air passengers have been able to experience the Dreamliner prior to this, on the carrier’s Gimpo-Jeju domestic route.

The aircraft was received back in February, and by mid-July the airline’s third will be received, after which the new aircraft will begin flying to Madrid and Beijing starting August 1 and 2, respectively. Overall, a total of 10 Dreamliners are scheduled to be introduced to the carrier’s fleet – five this year and a further five by 2019.

Meanwhile, a B777-300 has taken over the Gimpo-Jeju service that the first Dreamliner was previously operating.

The Dreamliner is currently configured with 24 business class seats – separated into six Sleeper seats and 18 Prestige Suites – in a 2-2-2 layout, and 245 economy class seats laid out nine across (3-3-3). Both variants of the business class seat have a 75-inch pitch and 21-inch width, while the economy seats offer 33-34 inches of pitch and 17.2 inches of width.

Details of the new Incheon (ICN)-Toronto (YYZ) service, as well as the upcoming Incheon-Madrid (MAD) and Incheon-Beijing (PEK) services, are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
KE073ICNYYZ09350940Daily
KE074YYZICN12401510+1
Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
KE913ICNMAD13001855Tue, Thu, Sat
KE914MADICN21051635+1

 

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
KE853ICNPEK19002005Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
KE854PEKICN21150020+1

koreanair.com

Korean Air begins flights to Barcelona

Barcelona

Korean Air has launched a new direct service between Seoul Incheon and Barcelona, offering what has been touted as the first ever direct flights between the Catalan capital and Northeast Asia.

The flights are being operated by a Boeing 777-200ER – Korean Air’s schedule also shows occasional flights in May operated by a B777-300ER – and will run three times weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The new route was originally announced back in November last year following a network realignment that also included phased flight frequency increases on its San Francisco and Seattle services.

Details of the route are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
KE915IncheonBarcelona13002010Mon, Wed, Fri
KE916BarcelonaIncheon22101730+1

koreanair.com

In-flight wifi on Asia-Pacific airlines: what you need to know

Cathay Pacific business class

Air New Zealand

Wifi?
Launching second half of 2017

Pricing
Expected to be announced in first half of 2017

In October last year, Air New Zealand announced it would begin introducing inflight wifi on board its flights starting from the second half of 2017. Flights between New Zealand and Australia are set to be the first to receive the service, with wifi progressively being made available aboard its Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of 2017. Domestic flights will the last to get the service, with introduction set for 2018.

Traditionally low satellite service quality across oceanic areas (over which many of Air New Zealand’s flights travel) has meant the airline has held back on introducing an inflight wifi offering until a service of suitably high quality became available. The airline’s wifi will be provided by Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with the Air New Zealand’s Panasonic Avionics system.

airnewzealand.com

ANA

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B767-300ER (only those configured with 202 seats), B787-9, B787-8 (only those configured with 240 seats), A320neo

Pricing
B777-300ER and B767-300ER:

US$4.95 – 30 minutes, 15MB limit
US$8.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$19.95 – full flight, 100MB limit

B787-9, B787-8 and A320neo:

US$6.95 – 30 minutes
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – full flight (max 24 hours)

All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) inflight wifi offering gives access to functions such as web browsing and email functions. Video streaming is not supported, and image loading is likely to burn through your data quite quickly.

For travellers flying on ANA’s B777-300ER and B767-300ER, the service is only available when flying over transoceanic airspace and countries that permit the use of satellite activity, while B787 and A320 inflight connectivity is available in all airspaces.

ana.co.jp

Cathay Pacific

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A350

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
US$12.95 – flights of six hours or less
US$19.95 – flights of six hours or more

Cathay Pacific currently offers wifi only on its fleet of A350s, the first of which it deployed to Auckland in October 2016. A few services are available complimentary – including the airline’s own website, its duty free catalogue, and destination information – though for functions such as general web browsing and email, a fee is required.

cathaypacific.com

China Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A350

Pricing
TW$350 (US$11.6) – one hour
TW$500 (US$16.5) – three hours
TW$650 (US$21.5) – 24 hours

Inflight wifi on China Airlines has no data limit and while the overall speed may make certain functions difficult, this does provide reassurance for those that tend to quickly eat through data that they won’t be prematurely cut off from the service.

Purchasing wifi can be done on the flight or ahead of time via the airline’s website.

china-airlines.com

Eva Air

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER (select aircraft)

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

It is worth noting that Taiwan-based Eva Air’s service provider is currently applying for an operating permit with the Chinese Government, however until then internet connectivity gets temporarily disconnected when flying over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau with the carrier.

On the plus side, however, for longer journeys across multiple segments, travellers can re-connect to Eva Air’s wifi network using the same account information, provided the ensuing leg is also operated by an Eva Wifi-enabled aircraft.

evaair.com

Garuda Indonesia

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$16.95 – three hours, 50MB limit
US$21.95 – 24 hours (whole flight on A330-300 and A330-200), 100MB limit

Garuda Indonesia’s wifi offering is provided on a time-based system with varying caps depending on the duration. In addition to the service being complimentary to all first class passengers, those in other classes travelling on Garuda’s wifi-equipped Airbus aircraft are able to get 15 minutes’ free wifi connectivity.

While the service is suitable for social media as well as general web browsing, regular image loading will likely drain your data quite quickly.

garuda-indonesia.com

Japan Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B777-200ER, B767-300ER, B787

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Pricing
US$10.15 – one hour
US$14.40 – three hours
US$18.80 – 24 hours

Japan Airlines offers inflight wifi based on overall duration used, with its 24-hour offering also including connecting flights for 24 hours from the initial log in. Data caps are also not present regardless of payment category.

A full list of the routes on which Japan Airlines offers wifi can be found here, with many only being available until and from certain dates. The airline’s fleet of B787s is also not fully equipped with wifi, so connectivity is not guaranteed, though travellers on these aircraft can check whether inflight wifi will be available on their flight the day before they travel.

jal.co.jp

Korean Air

Wifi?
No

Korea’s national carrier currently doesn’t offer inflight wifi across any of its aircraft, and has not issued plans to do so in the forseeable future.

In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Korean Air’s senior innovation technology manager, Dante Dionne, shed some light on why this is the case: “In Korea, the wireless infrastructure is so advanced (significantly faster than the US average) that in-flight internet services based on existing commercial satellite technology would be disappointing to them. That is a primary reason why Korean Air has not implemented in-flight internet.”

koreanair.com

Malaysia Airlines

Wifi?
No

Malaysia Airlines also doesn’t offer inflight wifi on its flights at present. That said, the airline plans to introduce the service onboard its new A350s, the first of which it is expecting to take delivery of this year. Auckland is currently scheduled to be the first long-haul route served by its new A350. Details of the inflight wifi service have yet to be announced.

malaysiaairlines.com

Philippine Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
Select aircraft on international flights

Pricing
US$10 – 35MB/one hour
US$40 – 150MB/flight duration

Up until February 28, 2017, Philippine Airlines offered the first 30 minutes of inflight wifi (limited to 15MB) free of charge to all passengers. The hourly rate and data offered is also reasonably priced, compared to other airlines in Asia-Pacific.

The full-flight bracket, however, is particularly expensive. While it does offer 150MB of data (caps for full-flight/24-hour purchases typically stand at 100MB), the US$40 price is noticeably more expensive than most other carriers in the region.

Purchases can be made either by credit card or by purchasing a scratch card from cabin crew.

philippineairlines.com

Qantas

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 7, 2017

Class
Available to all classes on domestic flights

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800 aircraft; to be rolled out to 80 aircraft by end of 2018

Pricing
Free

Qantas launched a beta mode of its new Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster-enabled inflight wifi service earlier this month. Outfitted on a single B737-800 aircraft that will be flying domestic routes during the trial phase, the high-speed wifi is being offered free of charge for travellers on board the aircraft (due to likely last-minute changes, the specific routes the aircraft will be flying are subject to change, and passengers won’t be able to select a flight on board the wifi-enabled aircraft at this time).

Perhaps the most notable two features of Qantas’ new wifi offering are its speed and its price. Qantas claims that the new offering will be ten times faster than conventional onboard wifi, enabling functions such as video and music streaming (services such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Foxtel will be available through partnerships). The other is that the airline aims to keep the service included as part of the ticket fare.

Qantas expects to roll out wifi across 80 of its aircraft, for completion by the end of 2018. The airline is also currently in discussions with suppliers to develop a product for its international fleet.

qantas.com.au

Singapore Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A380, A350, B777-300ER (progressively)

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)

US$6.99 – 15MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$19.99 – 50MB

Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

Singapore Airlines has a somewhat confusing pricing structure regarding its inflight wifi, owing largely to its partnership with two different providers, Onair and Panasonic. As such, price plans come in two variations, depending on provider and the type of aircraft – volume based or time based.

Prices tend to be more expensive than the majority of other Asia-Pacific airlines – most notably its highest-volume 50MB bracket offering about half as much data as that offered by most other airlines’ top bracket (100MB), but still costing a similar price.

What’s also worth noting here is that volume-based plans are only valid for the leg on which they are purchased. An onward journey, even if it is on the next sector of the same flight, requires another purchase. Time-based purchases, however, can be transferred across multi-sector flights.

singaporeair.com

Thai Airways

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
A350-900XWD, A380-800, A330-300

Pricing
US$4.99 – 10MB
US$8.99 – 20MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$34.99 – 100MB

Thai Airways offers inflight wifi on a number of its aircraft, with its A350s powered by Panasonic and its A380 and A330s provided by Sitaonair. The airline’s six wifi-enabled A380s currently operate flights to Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile its seven wifi-enabled A330s fly to Tokyo Narita, Taipei-Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yangon, Beijing, Hanoi, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Haneda, Kuala Lumpur and Fukuoka.

The airline’s data-based rather than duration-focused pricing structure may confuse some flyers less familiar with average data-consumption rates. As a rough guide, 10MB will likely get you through roughly 30 minutes of general web browsing and email. Similarly to Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways’ prices are also quite expensive compared to many other Asia-Pacific airlines, with its US$34.99 for 100MB top-tier price being noticeably pricier than most other carriers’ highest wifi brackets.

thaiairways.com

Virgin Australia

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 20, 2017

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800; to be rolled out across B737-800s, A330s and B777s

Pricing
To be confirmed after trial period completes

Less than two weeks after rival Australian carrier Qantas began trialling a new domestic inflight wifi offering, Virgin Australia launched its own domestic three-month testing period using the same aircraft, a B737-800. During the testing period, passengers will be able to use the wifi free of charge, though the final pricing of the service has yet to be announced and will be determined following customer feedback during the trial.

As with Qantas’ wifi offering, Virgin Australia’s will support video and music streaming, notably through Netflix, Pandora and Stan. Unlike Qantas’, however, Virgin Australia’s wifi is expected to be rolled out across its fleet of B737-800s, A330s and B777s for both domestic and international flights.

virginaustralia.com

Korean Air details use of stun guns

Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER

While the US government is currently considering implementing harsher penalties for travellers who verbally and physically assault airport workers with security duties, Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air has taken a far more active approach to subduing unruly and potentially aggressive passengers.

According to the BBC, Korean Air crew members have used electric stun guns during flights on five passengers since it first introduced them onto flights in 2002. Three of these incidents involved the gun being fired, while in the other two the device was held against the passenger to deliver an electric shock.

Korean Air has been increasing training for crew members in how to use stun guns, following criticism it received on how staff handled an in-flight disturbance on a recent flight between Hanoi and Seoul. In that incident, a passenger aboard the plane was reportedly verbally abusing and spitting at members of the crew, and on three occasions managed to get free from ropes staff had used to restrain him.

While many airlines carry equipment such as ropes or cuffs to restrain unruly passengers, the Korean carrier is believed to be the only major airline to carry and utilise stun guns. Other carriers contacted by the BBC cited security concerns and declined to comment, though some, including Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and Jet Airways, confirmed they do not carry them on board their flights.

According to a December 2016 report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), “unruly passenger incidents on board aircraft in flight have become a significant problem”. Between 2007 and 2015, the association collected 49,084 incidents of unruly passenger behaviour, and in 2015 such incidents occurred at a rate of one per 1,205 flights. Eleven per cent of these were “Level 2” incidents involving physical aggression to others or damage to the aircraft, while in 23 per cent of reported cases alcohol or drug intoxication was identified.

Have you witnessed a passenger get unruly and aggressive on a flight in the past year?

What is your opinion on airlines carrying subduing weapons for the safety of passengers and crew?

koreanair.com

Flight cancellations to continue for Korean Air

Korean Air's A330-200

Korean Air flights continue to be affected by the Pilots Union Strike, which first saw the airline forced to cancel flights to Hong Kong, Japan and the Middle East over the Christmas weekend.

While the service has now resumed on the majority of flights first affected by the strike, Korean Air has announced that its KE961 and KE962 flights operating on its Incheon-Riyadh-Jeddah route will continue to experience cancellations in the beginning of January.

Flight KE961 departing at 2310 from Incheon to Jeddah via Riyadh has been cancelled on January 1/2, 4, 6 and 9. Meanwhile the return journey, KE962 departing Jeddah at 1400 local time has been cancelled on January 1/3, 5, 7 and 10.

As previously, passengers on affected flights can change their flights at no additional cost to the destination or refund their tickets with no penalty.

koreanair.com

Update: Korean Air cancels additional flights amid strike

Korean Air Boeing 737-800

Korean Air has extended its cancellation of flights on certain international and domestic routes due to the ongoing Pilots Union Strike. The extension follows the cancellation earlier this week of 12 international routes to Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East from between December 22 to 26.

A number of the routes to Japan and the Middle East previously affected will now also have flights cancelled from between December 27 to 31.

The current schedule of affected international flights is as follows:

Korean Air will be contacting affected customers via SMS text message. Flights cancelled or delayed due to strike action can be changed at no additional cost or refunded without penalty, the airline has stated.

A number of domestic routes have also been cancelled during December 27 to 31. Routes affected include: between Gimpo and Jeju, Busan, Ulsan and Yeosu; and between Busan and Jeju.

All other flights will operate normally during these dates.

koreanair.com

Korean Air begins Incheon–Delhi service

Inaugural Korean Air Incheon-Delhi service at Indira Gandhi Airport

Korean Air has launched its new Incheon (ICN) to Delhi (DEL) direct service following the arrival of its inaugural flight KE481 at Indira Gandhi Airport on Friday, December 2. The maiden voyage was greeted with a water cannon event at the airport and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Announced in October, the new service operates five days weekly on all days except Monday and Wednesday. Korean Air has deployed its 218-seat Airbus A330-200 and for passengers travelling the route, it provides an opportunity to experience the airline’s newest first and Prestige class seat products.

The Incheon-Delhi leg of the journey is an afternoon flight, departing at 1245 and arriving 1820. The return flight, meanwhile, is an overnight service, departing Delhi at 1940 and arriving in Incheon at 0550 the following morning.

Details of the route are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
KE481ICNDEL12451820Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
KE482DELICN19400550+1

koreanair.com

Korean Air enhances service to North America

Korean Air Boeing 737-800

Korean Air is expanding its operations to the US West Coast along with enhancing its relationship with Skyteam partner, Delta Air Lines, as part of an effort to strengthen its position in the North America market.

Claimed to be America’s largest Asian airline, Korean Air will be increasing the frequency of its flights from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. By next June, the airline expects to operate close to 50 flights a week from the West Coast. These will include 19 from Los Angeles, 14 from San Francisco beginning September, seven from Seattle and five from Las Vegas.

Speaking about the expanded flight frequency, Korean Air vice president, John Jackson, said: “We’ve added flights and improved our schedules for fast and easy connections to Singapore, China, Vietnam, Japan and almost any destination in Southeast Asia. Korean Air is the largest non-Chinese airline operating in China and our connections from the US are outstanding.”

In addition to the added frequency, the carrier plans to enlarge its Delta Air Lines network to provide Delta customers with access to more than 30 Asia markets and Korean Air customers more than 150 markets in the Americas. “Delta will be putting its code on our flights from Houston, San Francisco and dozens of destinations beyond Seoul served by Korean Air,” Jackson added.

The carrier’s North America expansion comes on the heels of an announcement late November regarding network changes in 2017, including a new three-times-weekly direct service between Incheon and Barcelona. The carrier also recently launched a reciprocal mileage tie-up with Japan Airlines.

koreanair.com

Japan Airlines and Korean Air launch reciprocal mileage tie-up

Japan Airlines JAL 787

A new reciprocal mileage tie-up agreement between Japan Airlines and Korean Air came into effect on Tuesday (November 29), enabling members of the airlines’ two loyalty programmes – JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) and Skypass, respectively – to redeem award tickets on either airline.

Reservations for redemption for JMB members begins December 1, 2016 for flights on or after December 3, while Skypass members can make reservations for redemption for flights on or after December 1.

JMB members will be able to redeem on Korean Air-operated and designated flights on the following routes:

  • Seoul (Incheon) = Tokyo (Haneda), Tokyo (Narita), Osaka (Kansai), Sapporo, Aomori, Niigata, Komatsu, Okayama, Fukuoka, Oita and Kagoshima
  • Seoul (Gimpo) = Tokyo (Haneda) and Osaka (Kansai)
  • Busan = Tokyo (Narita), Osaka (Kansai), Nagoya (Chubu), Sapporo and Fukuoka
  • Jeju = Tokyo (Narita) and Osaka (Kansai)

Meanwhile, Skypass members will be able to redeem on Japan Airlines-operated and designated flights on the following routes:

  • Seoul (Incheon) = Tokyo (Narita)
  • Seoul (Gimpo) = Tokyo (Haneda)
  • Busan = Tokyo (Narita)

In order to accrue miles on one’s respective programme, JMB members will need to make reservations on Korean Air-operated flights using a Japan Airlines-designated code. Meanwhile, Skypass members will need to make reservations on Japan Airlines-operated flights using a Korean Airways-designated code.

jal.com; koreanair.com

Korean Air announces network changes for early 2017

B747-8i exterior

Korean Air will be introducing a new Incheon-Barcelona route along with making enhancements to its network starting early 2017 in response to increased competition in the global aviation market.

The carrier’s new direct flights to the Spanish city are set to begin in April 2017 and will run three times weekly. According to Korean Air, the route will be the first ever direct flight to Barcelona from Northeast Asia and while the airline did not specify details of the service in its announcement, Barcelona-based Catalan News Agency reports that the route will be operated by a B777-200 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, following an announcement by Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, on Wednesday, November 23.

As part of the airline’s network enhancement, Korean Air will also be doubling the frequency of its Incheon-San Francisco service from seven to 14 flights weekly. This increase is scheduled to take place in various stages: from late April, the service will be increased to 12 flights weekly; from June the route will become a 13-times weekly service; and from September the final additional flight will be added.

Further enhancements to Korean Air’s US services will also be implemented next year. The carrier will be expanding its Incheon-Seattle service by increasing flight frequency from five to seven flights weekly from May 2017, while its two daily flights between Incheon and Los Angeles will be increased to three times daily during the summer high season between June and August.

Meanwhile, the airline announced it will conduct a market conditions and financial trade environment study in the future to determine the optimum time to launch a new service to Teheran in Iran. Korean Air was granted permission to operate a route between Incheon and Teheran back in March 2016.

Despite these upcoming flight additions, a number of route suspensions are also due to take place in 2017. Starting early February next year, the airline’s Incheon to Siem Reap route will be suspended, while its Incheon to Jeddah service will be halted later the same month. Increased connections with Middle Eastern airlines operating from Dubai International Airport will be pursued in order to minimise the impact on passengers following the suspension of its Jeddah service.

Prior to the announcement, the Korean carrier had already been expanding its network with the introduction of non-stop flights to Delhi, an expansion of its codeshare with Delta Air Lines as well as deploying its A380 on its Sydney service.

koreanair.com