Delta Is Adding A New Route To South Korea

Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published.

Delta has announced that it will be expanding its relationship with Korean Air by launching a new route between Atlanta and Seoul, South Korea, as well as by expanding its existing joint codeshare agreement with the southeast Asian airline. The change will see Delta flyers have roundtrip connectivity to 33 destinations across Asia while Korean flyers while have access to over 140 destinations in the Americas.

From 3 June 2017 Delta will employ a Boeing 777-200LR to begin a daily service between Atlanta and Seoul and, at over 7,100 miles, this will be one of the longest routes Delta operates.

atl-icn-delta

Korean Air operates the same route using a 777-300ER aircraft (Delta doesn’t have any of those) and flight times from the US are scheduled at just under 15 hours while the flights from Seoul are scheduled for 14 hours – that’s a long time to spend in a plane!

The schedule for Delta’s new route is as follows:

DL89 ATL 13:05 – 16:45+ 1 day ICN
DL88 ICN 18:30 – 19:40 ATL

And this is the schedule for Korean’s current daily flight between the two cities:

KE36 ATL 12:20 – 16:10+ 1 day ICN
KE35 ICN 09:20 – 10:20 ATL

Presumably these are the best flight times that Delta could negotiate but it would have been nice to see a bit more of a separation in times for the ATL – ICN flights….still, it’s good to see travelers getting a real choice of times on ICN – ATL flights.

Here’s what Delta has to say about the new route:

Delta and Korean Air are expanding a 20+ year trans-Pacific partnership, and we believe the new Delta service between Atlanta and Seoul in conjunction with an enhanced partnership with Korean solidifies our joint position as leading carriers in the U.S.-Asia market

Incheon International Airport is one of the premier gateways to Asia and the strength of our combined hubs and flight offerings gives customers a significantly enhanced portfolio of destinations for travel.

And let’s not forget Korean Air…..

Our expanded partnership with Delta allows our customers to travel more conveniently with more options between Asia and the Americas, strengthening our position as the world’s largest trans-Pacific airline

“Travelers will benefit from the combined network strength of Korean Air and Delta resulting in greater schedule flexibility and increased frequency.

Four Seasons SeoulAny good fares on the the new route could be a good excuse to try out the Four Season in Seoul

Expanded Codeshare Partnership

Delta and Korean Air are expanding their existing codeshare partnership with Korean placing its code on Delta’s new Atlanta to Seoul route as well as on Delta’s flights to 115 destinations in the US and Canada.

Korean will also be codesharing on Delta’s flights between Atlanta and Sao Paulo and New York and Sao Paulo.

In return for all that Delta will codeshare on Korean Air flights between Seoul and 32 destinations in Asia as well as on Korean Air’s flights from San Francisco and Houston to Seoul.

All these codeshares are still subject to government approval (should be a rubber stamping exercise) and are expected to be in place later this year.

Delta’s Boeing 777-200LR

Delta’s long-range 777 is set out with 37 Delta One Business Class seats, 36 Comfort+ seats and 218 Economy Class seats:

delta-777-200-LR-seat-mapDelta 777-200LR Seat Map (courtesy of Seat Guru) – click to expand

Thanks to the fact that I’ve yet to fly in one of Delta’s Delta One seats and the fact that all the pictures I could find of it were copyright protected I can’t show you what the Business Cabin looks like it. But let’s face it, you found this website so I’m sure you can find the images for yourself…the cabin looks pretty good 🙂

Here are the numbers on Delta’s 777-200LR according to seat guru:

delta-777-200-lr-numbers

Korean’s Seoul-Atlanta flight is operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft offering 8 First Class, 42 Prestige Business Class seats and 227 Economy seats.

Here are the numbers….

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 21.39.21

….and here’s what the Business Class seat looks like:

korean-airlines-prestige-sleeperKorean Air Prestige Sleeper seat

Bottom Line

It’s always good to have  more options on any give route and this has just doubled the number of flights between Atlanta and Seoul – that can’t be a bad thing.

What’s perhaps most interesting for me is that I can’t remember the last time I said that I could see myself choosing a US carrier over an Asian carrier for a Business Class flight across the Pacific…but I’m about to say (type) that right now.

Base on what I’ve seen and read about both Business Class cabins I think I would prefer to travel in Delta’s Delta One seat than in the Koran Air Prestige Sleeper on this route….and not just because I want one of Delta’s Tumi amenity kits 🙂

The Delta One cabin looks newer and better from what I’ve seen and, although I suspect the service may be a bit better on Korean, if I’m going to be spending the best part of 14 or 15 hours in an aircraft it’s the cabin and seat that matter most to me.

Anyone care to weigh in on which seat they’d choose? If you’ve tried out both I’d love to hear how they compare.