Korean Air Accelerates 747-800 Service to New York

Korean Air First Class

The Boeing 747 is without doubt the most iconic aircraft every built for mass transit – but it’s a dinosaur in the age of the microchip and that’s why we’re seeing most versions of this aircraft retired in favor of newer, more efficient, aircraft like the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing attempted to give the aircraft one last hurrah when they introduced the 747-800 – the slightly stretched version of the aircraft type. But sales were an unmitigated disaster. Despite the increase in passenger capacity and the aerodynamic modifications that gave the aircraft a longer range than its predecessors, only Lufthansa, Air China and Korean Air (out of the major airlines) placed orders for the passenger version of the aircraft (orders for the cargo version are much better) – so this is a rare breed of aircraft.

Korean Air 747-800Korean Air 747-800 – Image courtesy of Kiefer via Flickr

Korean Air took delivery of its first 747-800 in August of this year and it has been flying it on the airline’s Seoul – Frankfurt route since September. At the beginning of this month Korean Air put a 747-800 on its Seoul – San Francisco route and the airline was scheduled to add a 747-800 to its Seoul – New York route from 27 March 2016.

The New York plan has now changed. And it’s changed quite a bit!

From 1 December 2015 Korean Air will replace the Boeing 777-300ER that serves one of the two daily flights between Seoul and New York JFK with a 747-800. That’s a whole 4 months ahead of schedule. The second daily flight will continue to be serves by an Airbus A380.

From 1 December 2015 Korean Air’s schedule between Seoul and New York JFK will look like this:

KE081 ICN 10:05 – 10:00 JFK (daily – Airbus A380)
KE085 ICN 19:30 – 19:30 JFK (daily – Boeing 747-800)

KE086 JFK 00:50 – 05:15+1 day ICN (daily – Boeing 747-800)
KE082 JFK 12:00 – 16:25+1 day ICN (daily – Airbus A380)

The Korean Air 747-800 comes fitted with the airline’s new First Class suites….

Korean Air First ClassKorean Air First Class – Image courtesy of Korean Air

A very comfortable all-aisle access Business Class product….

korean air business classKorean Air Business Class – Image courtesy of Korean Air

And, quite importantly, one of the more spacious Economy Class seats/cabins in the skies:

Korean Air Economy Class CabinKorean Air Economy Class Cabin – Image Courtesy of Korean Air

Korean Air Economy Class SeatsKorean Air Economy Class Seating – Image Courtesy of Korean Air

The Korean Air economy class cabin may well be one of the last refuges left for anyone not traveling in a premium cabin. With a seat pitch of 33″ – 34″ and a seat width of 18.1″ the Korean Air 747-800 (as well as Korean Air’s other long haul aircraft) blow most of the competition away for space and comfort – and that’s important when you’re dealing with flight times of 12+ hours.

With award seats on Korean Air pretty easy to come by it’s fantastic to see the airline offering such great products to and from the US. At 80,000 miles for a one-way First Class ticket, and 62,500 miles for a one-way Business Class ticket between Seoul and New York this could be one of the better award redemptions out there. I know I’m sorely tempted to cash in some Chase Ultimate Rewards points 🙂