The national airline of South Korea, Korean Air was founded in 1969, and is one of the premier carriers between the United States and East Asia. The company maintains a hub at Incheon International Airport, and is privately owned, with most shares now held by an investor group called Hanjin KAL Corporation.
Korean Air operates a variety of US-related routes, including connections between Seoul and Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York JFK, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C. All fly direct, although routes via Tokyo Narita may also be available. The company's fleet includes a core of 88 Boeing models, with 747-8, 777-300, and 787 planes all part of the mix, as well as a few AirBus A330 and A380s.
Passengers can take advantage of SKYPASS, the Korean Air frequent flier program, which enables members to accumulate points to spend on flights, or for external shopping promotions. The airline is also a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes major carriers like Air France, Delta, and KLM. So seamless international travel should be possible.
In the past, Korean Air has experienced some safety issues relative to its peers. However, since 2000, the company's reputation has dramatically improved, and it now enjoys a 7/7 safety rating with AirLineRatings. Its general performance has also been recognized by online commentators, who highlight the space on board, quality food, and services for Economy travelers.
The company is now up there with other global elite carriers in every regard, which may be why it is the choice of over 40 million travelers around the world. It continues to be a great option to consider when flying from major U.S. cities to South Korea's capital, while connecting flights to China, Japan, Indonesia, and other regional destinations will also be handy for American fliers.
Korean Air's three major classes on its services between the U.S. and Korea are First Class, Prestige, and Economy. Prestige roughly corresponds to Business Class, which my be more familiar to American travelers, with the same comfort and benefits that lie between the other two extremes.
Korean Air First Class
First Class travelers with Korean Air can choose individual Kosmo Suites, which resemble small hotel rooms, or opt for Kosmo Sleeper seating. Mercury Award-winning gastronomy is provided, along with ""amenity kits"" featuring cosmetics, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Duvets are available, while some routes also feature the luxurious ""Celestial Bar"", where cocktails are served. Most First Class seats measure 20.6-inches (52cm) wide, with a pitch of 83-inches (210cm).
Korean Air Prestige
In Prestige Class, all seats can be adapted into sleeper units. While pitches may vary slightly depending on the make of plane involved, they should be around 83-inches (210cm). Travelers can enjoy a premium service from check-in to arrival, with medium sized amenity kits, sommelier-chosen wines, and bar access as needed.
Korean Air Economy
In Economy, most seat widths are 18.1-inches (46cm), with a pitch of 34-inches (86cm), although slightly larger dimensions may be available via ""New Economy"" seats on some routes. In-flight, passengers enjoy smaller amenity kits, wake-up services, on-seat power supplies, and excellent food.
All passengers on Korean Air flights benefit from high-class entertainment. Travelers always have access to a variety of recent movie releases, along with radio, documentaries, and the in-flight magazine "beyond". WiFi is also available on some Airbus flights, allowing travelers to connect to wider entertainment libraries.
Korean Airlines lounges can be accessed by SKYPASS members (4,000 points are needed for International Lounges). They can be found at a range of popular airports, including the hub at Incheon International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Honolulu. At other U.S. airports, lounges run by SkyTeam Alliance members may also be accessible.
With Korean Air, online check-in starts 48 hours prior to departure. It then concludes 2 hours before flights depart for international services, and 40 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights in Korea. Passengers are advised to be at the airport at least 2 hours before flying.
In Prestige Class, passengers have a checked baggage allowance of two bags, each one weighing no more than 70lb (32 kg).
Travelers in both First and Prestige Classes also have a carry-on allowance of one bag weighing 40 lbs (18 kg).
In Economy, passengers can check-in 2 bags, each one weighing no more than 50 lbs (23 kg).
The carry-on allowance is also slightly smaller, with Economy passengers allowed to take one item weighing 22 lbs (10 kg).
Allowed Luggage Size Dimensions
In all classes, checked baggage must not exceed total dimensions of 159cm (63-inches) per item, or excess baggage costs will result.
Carry-on items must also be smaller than 40 X 20 X 55 cm/16 x 8 x 22-inches and have total dimensions of less than 115cm.
Overweight charges kick in for checked items above the states weights, or dimensions over 159cm. There are two tiers of charges, smaller fees for items measuring 159-203cm, and higher fees for items over that point.
Sports equipment must fit into the specifications discussed above, and have total dimensions of less than 292cm and a weight below 70 lbs (20 kg). Otherwise, items may be excluded. Smaller musical instruments can be carried for free, although larger items such as a double bass or cello will incur additional fees.
Infants under the age of 2 years do not require a separate ticket, so essentially fly free. But it's essential for travelers to let Korean Air know if an infant is flying, so remember to toggle the right boxes when booking. Special infant meals are also available to choose at the purchasing stage.
It's also important to remember that SKYPASS delivers major benefits for frequent fliers. Members can access lounges, arrange upgrades, use miles to purchase flights, spend credits on car hire, hotels, and many retail promotions, or transfer points to family members as desired."