Tried & Tested

Korean Air B777-300ER Economy

29 Feb 2012

Background Korean Air has four daily flights between Los Angeles and Seoul. There are two flights in the morning and another two in the evening. Flight KE18 is the second flight of the day on this route. Departure time for this service used to be 1230 but has recently been moved to 1055 (flight times are subject to change depending on the month), and from October 2011 the airline’s new Airbus A380 was deployed on KE18. This review is based on a flight taken on August 18, 2011 before these two service changes took effect. Korean Air still uses other aircraft types – from Boeing B777s to A330-200s – for its other flights on this route.

Check-in We arrived at the Tom Bradley International Terminal of Los Angeles International Airport 3.5 hours before our 1230 flight. As it was the end of the summer holidays in the US, we expected long queues at the counters and were pleasantly surprised to find we were third in line. The effort that we made to ensure that each bag was within the prescribed baggage allowance paid off as check-in proceeded at a brisk pace. The only hitch came when I couldn’t find my Skypass mileage card to have my miles credited to my account. The lady at the counter said that she could see my name in the system and assured me that my miles would be credited… I shouldn’t have taken her word for it. After going through the TSA passenger screening, we had breakfast at a snacks outlet near gate 102. There was really nothing much to see once we were airside, so we went straight to gate 105 to wait for the flight.

Boarding Passengers were told to go to a designated queue for another document check before boarding. This made the boarding procedure twice as long.

The Seat A Boeing B777-300ER was assigned to KE18 that day. The aircraft is fitted with Kosmo Suites in First Class and with Korean Air’s new Economy Class seats. Our seats – 50D and 50E – were located near the back of the plane. The cabin had a twin-aisle, 3-3-3 configuration. I gave my aisle seat to my mother so that she could stretch her legs during the long flight. The seats had a width of 18in/45.7cm and reclined 121 degrees. Each one was fitted with a 10.6in high-resolution LCD screen as well as its own in-seat power supply.

Which seat to choose Exit rows 28 and 41 are the best economy seats on the plane as they have more legroom. Row 28 has the advantage of not being near a galley and toilets. Those who crave a little quiet would welcome the minimal foot traffic in this area. For those who are prone to frequent toilet breaks, rows 42 and 50 (where we sat) are ideal because they are convenient for, but not too near, the lavatories, so they don’t suffer from passengers using the back support of the seat as a leaning post while they wait for their turn.

The Flight It was a smooth flight throughout, with friendly and efficient service. We just loved the honey-roasted peanuts served on the flight. Lunch was served an hour after take-off. Both my mother and I went for the traditional Korean bibimbap. She ordered red wine and I went for a regular Coke. I spent most of the time in-flight catching up on recent film releases from a relatively comprehensive AVOD system.

Arrival We landed as scheduled at Incheon International Airport at approximately 1710. As our bags were checked through and we were issued our boarding passes for our onward journey to Manila, we had time to leisurely browse through the shops before we headed to our gate for the next flight.


Great service by the cabin crew, but customer support for the airline’s Skypass loyalty scheme needs improvement, especially post-flight.

Gigi Onag

Fact file



SEAT PITCH 34in/86cm

SEAT WIDTH 18in/45.7cm

SEAT RECLINE 121 degrees

PRICE Internet rates for a flexible return economy class flight from Los Angeles to Seoul (not including a Saturday flight) in mid-March start from US$1,403


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