Now that the Korean Air Boeing 747-8 is flying again, I’m setting my sights on a first class award trip on Korean Air…hopefully including an Airbus A380 as well.
Korean Air First Class Award Trip – Finally Within Reach
During the pandemic, Korean Air grounded its fleet of Airbus A380 (with the exception of one aircraft) and Boeing 747-8 aircraft. For over two years, only the Boeing 777 flew longhaul routes to the USA. But with international travel resuming and South Korea again welcoming foreign visitors, Korean Air has reactivated its flagship 747-8. The “Queen” is currently serving Los Angeles (LAX) from Seoul (ICN) on KE17/18. The “Whale” (A380) is operating between Seoul and Tokyo (NRT).
I’ve had miles parked in my Korean Air SKYPASS account since the termination of the Chase partnership in 2018. I almost took a trip from Atlanta – Seoul – Taipei on the 748-8 and A380 about a month prior to the pandemic, but that trip fell through. Now appears to be the ideal time to finally make that trip.
Korean Air is expected to devalue its award chart next year and I do not want those points to go to waste, so I’m looking at a trip this year even if I cannot enter Tokyo (I’ll transit right through…I’ve done it twice already over the last year).
In the past, booking a first class award on Korean Air was quite easy. The carrier routinely made first class space available in advance and you could book whatever flight you wanted. These days, Korean Air has dramatically tightened up its first class award space and looking at the calendar, I don’t see award space on a single day…beyond tomorrow.
While I’m thankful that Korean Air seems to opens last-minute award space, that is going to make planning difficult especially if I have to book a connection to Narita and need space on both flights.
There’s also the issue of the ICN-NRT flight only being sold as a two-cabin flight. I’m not sure if Korean Air allows mixed cabin itineraries, but first class is not offered on the A380 traveling between Seoul and Tokyo.
Korean Air is the last A380 carrier I have not flown (though I missed out on Air France when the French airline unexpectedly accelerated the A80 retirement schedule during the pandemic). I don’t want to miss it.
I have not been to Seoul in many years and am happy to see Korean Air flying its A380 and 747 aircraft once again. I greatly look forward to this trip…as long as the award space cooperates!