Not only is Los Angeles Airport (LAX) one of the world's busiest airports, it's also one of the most iconic. As the gateway to Hollywood, it is frequented by celebrities as well as the rich and famous of LA. The airport can be found approximately 15 miles from downtown LA and flights Los Angeles (LAX) - Seoul (ICN) with China Eastern Airlines all leave from the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT).
All flights from Los Angeles land at Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN), the largest airport in South Korea and located just over 37 miles from downtown Seoul. Travelers should have a pleasant experience here - in 2005, it was rated the cleanest airport in the world, and it prides itself on getting passengers through departure and arrival gates in record-breaking times!
As the crow flies, the distance from LAX to ICN is just under 6,000 miles with flights from Los Angeles to Seoul taking anywhere from 13 hours to 31.5 hours. Overall journey times depend on the route taken and the waiting time for transfers. All routes involve one connection which is made at Shanghai Airport or Nanjing Airport.
The departure schedule varies from day to day throughout the week but there are between one and nine daily departures, with the winter to early spring being peak season for flights Los Angeles (LAX) - Seoul (ICN) with China Eastern Airlines.
Established in 1988, China Eastern Airlines is headquartered in Shanghai and is China's second-largest passenger carrier after Air China. It has had a strong presence in Asia and Australia for many years and has linked China to New York since 2007. In 2015, the airline partnered with Delta Airlines and opened routes to America via Los Angeles using Airbus A330-200 and Airbus A332 aircraft.
China Eastern Airlines offers a good choice of flights and prices with Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class, and First-Class seating. Flights depart every day of the week with a good spread of departures throughout the day. When there is just one departure, it is generally in the early hours. For the LAX - ICN route each passenger has a baggage allowance of two checked suitcases (50lb each) in Economy, two (60lb) in Premium Economy and Business Class, and three (70lb) in First-Class.
At LAX, passengers with Business and First-Class tickets can use the KAL/Sky Team Lounge with seating overlooking the shopping mall. In addition, First-Class passengers can also make use of private suites while waiting for their flight. China Eastern Airlines has a dedicated VIP lounge at Seoul-Incheon Airport. Both lounges offer complimentary drinks, snacks, newspapers, and WiFi. There is comfortable seating with televisions and flight information screens.
Onboard services on flights from Los Angeles to Seoul include complimentary meals, snacks, and both soft and alcoholic drinks. A wide range of entertainment is on offer although WiFi access needs to be pre-booked. When flying with China Eastern Airlines passengers are part of the Delta Sky Miles and Eastern Miles frequent-flyer programs.
There is a good choice of ground transportation at Los Angeles Airport consisting of taxis, local buses, and the Commuter Express, Metro, and FlyAway shuttle bus services. The Airport Railroad Express, the Korea Train eXpress, local buses, and taxis link Seoul-Incheon Airport to downtown Seoul. Both airports have a good choice of car rental providers and extensive car parking.
Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road in South Korea. To hire a car here you must be over 21, hold a valid driving license in your own country, supplemented with an International Driving Permit (IDP). A passport and credit card are also required.
A valid passport is essential for entering South Korea. Although having a visa for stays of up to 90 days on leisure or business trips is not necessary for US passport holders, having one saves time at the airport. These can be obtained in advance.
Korean is spoken in South Korea. Locals are not always confident at understanding and speaking English, although at main tourist attractions and restaurants, some English will be spoken. South Korea is 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles and on arrival, visitors can expect a wetter and cooler climate whatever the time of year. In Los Angeles, the currency is American dollars while the currency in Seoul is South Korean won. The currency exchange rate is roughly one American Dollar to 1, 170 South Korean won.
A major difference in etiquette between America and South Korea is the use in South Korea of both hands when giving and taking objects or shaking hands in greeting. In restaurants, the oldest member of the party should take the first bite and never pour your own drink. Pour someone else's and they have to return the favor. If you're lucky enough to be invited into a South Korean home or school or you visit a temple, remember to remove your shoes on the way in. And never blow your nose in public!
In our opinion, the top three things to see or do in Seoul are:
Exploring Bukchon Hanok Village
The traditional houses here date back to the Joseon Dynasty, and nestled between the Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung palaces, are at the heart of historic Seoul. Still lived in, these photogenic houses snake their way up steep hills. Get off subway line 2 at Anguk Station.
Head to Lotte World
Lotte World is the largest theme park in the world! Whatever your age, it promises epic fun. Reach it via Jamsil Station on subway lines 2 and 8.
Take a cable car up Mount Namsan
Escape the city bustle while looking back on its skyline by riding the cable car to the top of Mount Namsan. Walk to the cable car from Myeong-dong Station on subway line 4.