Review of Air Busan flight Seoul Busan in Economy

Airline Air Busan
Flight BX8811
Class Economy
Seat 27B
Aircraft Boeing 737-400
Flight time 00:55
Take-off 20 Dec 14, 11:30
Arrival at 20 Dec 14, 12:25
BX 4 reviews
tn92
By 2557
Published on 29th January 2016
2014 EOY Trip Flight #5
I am back for a series of report on the 10 flights we took back in December 2014 for our end-of-year trip. It was a great trip with 4 new airlines, 5 new airports and 2 new cities. The routing was SIN-SGN-TPE-PVG-ICN, GMP-PUS-GMP, ICN-PVG-TPE-HAN-SIN. To visualize the route we took, please refer to the map at the start of the report.

While our plan was only to visit my relatives in Taipei, and spend 10 days in Korea, the routing of our flights became more complicated as we decided to give up the direct flights available, so as to go for cheaper tickets that will also allow us to fly more!

This is a list of all the other reports in this series.

2014 End-of-Year Trip to Taiwan & South Korea
Click Here 09/12/14, SIN-SGN, Vietnam Airlines VN650, A321
Click Here 09/12/14, SGN-TPE, Vietnam Airlines VN570, A321
Click Here 16/12/14, TPE-PVG, China Eastern Airlines MU5008, A330-300
Click Here 17/12/14, PVG-ICN, Shanghai Airlines FM827, B737-800
This Report 20/12/14, GMP-PUS, Air Busan BX8811, B737-400
Coming Soon 23/12/14, PUS-GMP, Air Busan BX8816, A320
Coming Soon 26/12/14, ICN-PVG, China Eastern Airlines MU5034, A321
Coming Soon 27/12/14, PVG-TPE, China Eastern Airlines MU5005, A330-200
Coming Soon 30/12/14, TPE-HAN, Vietnam Airlines VN579, A321
Coming Soon 30/12/14, HAN-SIN, Vietnam Airlines VN661, A321

photo 0000b IMG_0215 Banner_censored

Air Busan BX8811
Aircraft Registration: HL-7513
Origin: Gimpo International Airport, Seoul, South Korea (GMP)
Destination: Gimhae International Airport, Busan, South Korea (PUS)
Date: Saturday, 20 December 2014
STD/STA: 1130h (UTC+09:00) to 1225h (UTC+09:00)
ATD/ATA: 1131h (UTC+09:00) to 1231h (UTC+09:00)
Estimated Duration: 00 hour 55 minutes
Actual Duration: 01 hour 00 minutes
Flight Distance: About 210 miles / 338 km

Here is the route map for this trip.

photo 0002 Map of Flights_Edited

(Image credit: GC Map)

Over the past few years, the LCC industry has been growing fast within South Korea and right now they have several LCCs just within the country's small market; Air Busan, Jin Air, Jeju Air etc, just to name some.

On this route from Seoul to Busan, we could choose between Korean Air and Air Busan. Frequency of the flights was not an issue because we were basically spoilt for choices with flights departing for Busan every half an hour. We chose Air Busan simply because the round trip tickets were cheaper at about USD130 per person.

photo 0001 Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.07.38 pm Online Reservation_censored

On our trip to Busan, we decided against an early morning flight so as to get more sleep. This explains the 11.30am departure from GMP. On the way back, we wanted to be back in Seoul for dinner at about 6pm.

The itinerary that I received from the airline included a 50% Busan Airport parking discount, which wouldn't be relevant to us for this trip.

photo 0002 Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.09.21 pm Carpark Discount


photo 0916 Slide01


After a nice breakfast at our hotel, we checked out and headed straight to Gimpo Airport via the A'REX airport train.

photo 0917 DSC04182 Our Luggage

Before hopping onto an A'REX train, we needed to travel a few stations on Line 2. This is the cabin views onboard a Seoul Metro Line 2 train.

photo 0923 DSC04187 Onboard Seoul Metro Line 2photo 0925 DSC04189 Ads on Metro Wallphoto 0925 DSC04190 View of Seoul Metro Line 2 Train Cabins

We got off at Hongik University Station for our transfer to the airport line, which was a long, long walk.



Finally, we were at the A'REX platform.

photo 0944 DSC04196 AREX Platform

The detailed timetable for the airport line.

photo 0945 DSC04198 AREX Timetablephoto 0947 DSC04199 View of AREX Train Cabins

We arrived at Gimpo Airport around 10am, 90 minutes before our flight's departure.

photo 1001 DSC04204 Arrived at Gimpo Airportphoto 1001 DSC04205 Gimpo Airport Station Platform

Gimpo Airport is extremely accessible; apart from the airport line, it is also connected by Metro Lines 5 and 9. In terms of the airport's accessibility, it will be 10 points undoubtedly.

photo 1005 DSC04206 Station Elevator Infophoto 1005 DSC04207 Way Out to Gimpo Airportphoto 1007 DSC04208 Exit Faregates

Following signs towards the domestic terminal.

photo 1008 DSC04210 Towards the Domestic Terminalphoto 1009 DSC04211 A Long Walk Againphoto 1011 DSC04212 Finally Reaching the Terminal

Almost all domestic flights were departing for or arriving from Busan/Jeju.

photo 1012 DSC04213 Greeted by Domestic FIDS


photo 1015 Slide02


The check in hall was located at level 2. Immediately after stepping inside, we could feel that the terminal was extremely busy, and most of the airline counters were bustling with activities. (Maybe with Eastar Jet as an exception?)

photo 1016 DSC04214 Air Busan Check In Countersphoto 1034 DSC04221 Eastar Jet Check In Counters

Check in was conducted in an efficient manner, and the moderately long queue moved fast. When it was our turn, we handed over our passports and itinerary to the agent, and she immediately started speaking (and asking questions) in Korean.

Neither of us understood Korean so we apologised and asked if she could repeat in English. Thereafter she became a little impatient and frustrated and merely said "Flight?"

I replied "8811 to Busan" and that was all of the conversation we had. She signalled us to place our bags on the weighing scale and handed us our boarding pass and receipt soon.

photo 1020 DSC04219 Boarding Passes

As we waited, we took some of these beautiful bag tags and attached them on our bags.

photo 1026 DSC04220 Luggage Tag

The departure hall was quite big for a domestic terminal. But that's definitely understandable given that the domestic market in South Korea is really quite well established. For example, there were 10 flights to Jeju between 11am and 12pm; isn't that amazing?

photo 1045 DSC04226 Departure FIDSphoto 1045 DSC04227 Departure Hall


photo 1051 Slide03


In the security line, we queued behind a group of Chinese tourists. While they obviously weren't speaking Korean, the airport security agent still blabbered all sorts of instructions in Korean. So all we foreigners could do was to look puzzled and then ignore them.

When it was my turn to pass through the detectors, the agent stopped me, pointed at my bag and again spoke several phrases in Korean. I replied "sorry?" and he said "water" after thinking for a while.

Ah! I totally forgot about that full bottle of water in my bag. Now I had to finish drinking all of it before I can be released from security checks.

Despite the incident, the entire process was quick and we were airside in just a while. The departure FIDS shows two flight numbers for my flight: BX8811 and OZ8811.

This is a reminder that Air Busan is part of the Asiana Airline group and technically, it's possible to earn some mileage on such BX flights provided you book them on the OZ website. However, doing so was more expensive and I decided against it.

photo 1052 DSC04228 Airside

Here's the first aircraft I saw. An Air Busan A320 (S/N: HL7744) heading to Jeju as BX8029.

photo 1053 DSC04229 HL7744 BX8029 To Jeju A320-200photo 1055 DSC04230 BX8029 to Jeju

This B737-400 was our aircraft for that day. It was HL7513 and the age of the aircraft was about 17 years.

This will be my first time on a -400 after so many previous flights on -800s.

photo 1056a DSC04231 HL7513 B737-400 About 17 Yearsphoto 1056b 1109 DSC04239 Our Aircraft

The airside area is not specifically designed to segregate arriving and departing passengers. So, when a flight arrives, the ground staff will block off an area for arriving passengers to leave the airside area.

photo 1058 DSC04232 Blocked Off Area for Arrival Passengersphoto 1058 DSC04234 Arrival Procedures

Arriving passengers will be able to go downstairs to the baggage carousel through this door.

photo 1109 DSC04240 To Arrival Hall

Another aircraft parked nearby was HL8260. This Jeju Air B738 used to be part of Virgin Australia's fleet.

photo 1059 DSC04235 HL8260 B737-800 Used to be VA Fleet

Another look at our aircraft to Busan.

photo 1100 DSC04236 Our Aircraft

And our departure gate information. At this point in time, the ground team was doing some final preparations before boarding for our flight commenced.

photo 1109 DSC04238 Our Flight Info

I took the time to walk around and snap more photos of Gimpo Airport's airside area.

photo 1109 DSC04241 Arrival Passengers Clearedphoto 1111 DSC04242 Holding Area

On the other side of the terminal were T'Way and Eastar Jet aircrafts bound for international destinations.

photo 1112 DSC04243 More Korean LCCs


photo 1115 Slide04


Boarding commenced about 15 minutes before departure.

photo 1116 DSC04246 Boarding Imminent

And we were on the aerobridge at about 11.16am.

Most of this flight's passengers seemed to be locals who were extremely used to flying domestically. Most of them seemed to be taking yet another bus ride instead of a flight.

photo 1117 DSC04247 On the Aerobridge

It only felt more like a flight's boarding process as we neared the aircraft's door.

photo 1117 DSC04248 Human Jam

While Air Busan positions its business model more towards an LCC, 20kg of checked luggage were included with the most basic ticket and newspapers were even provided at the aircraft door.

photo 1118a DSC04249 Aircraft Door


photo 1118b Slide05


Even though the flight was packed, everyone found their seats and stowed their cabin bags without hassle. I was very convinced that the aircraft was filled with many frequent flyers.

It is also interesting to note that a few Jeju Air pilots were deadheading on this flight to Busan. All of them seemed to be on very good terms with the BX ground staff and cabin crew.

photo 1119 DSC04251 Onboard

The entire boarding process moved on quickly and we were seated in just 5 minutes.

Here's a video of the boarding in progress.



11.26am, boarding was completed.
11.31am, push back began on time!

photo 1126 IMG_0216 Boarding Almost Completed (1131 Push Back 1136 Taxi 1143 Take Off)


photo 1127 Slide06


So far, the entire departure experience when travelling domestically in South Korea was extremely smooth. The entire process seemed more efficient than an Australian domestic flight (which I am quite used to). Now I am keen to experience an American domestic flight for the first time in a few months' time. (HNL-LAX-SAN, on AA in May 2016)

11.43am, took off from GMP!
11.47am, seatbelt signs switched off.

photo 1148a DSC04276 Airborne (1147 Signs Off)

Let's now take a slightly closer look at the cabin of this B737-400.

Air Busan's aircrafts are all fitted with a single cabin. The economy class seats look like this and even seats in the last row had some recline.

photo 1148b 01 DSC04306 Air Busan Seats

The seat back was very thick and it felt more comfortable than my previous experiences with Jetstar Asia, Tigerair Taiwan and V Air.

photo 1148b 02 DSC04309 Rather Comfortable Seats

The seat pitch was officially said to be about 30-31" and it didn't feel tight for the short hop to Busan.

photo 1148b 03 DSC04262 Legroom

The size of the table was good too.

photo 1148b 04 DSC04264 Tray Tablephoto 1148b 05 DSC04300 Table Down

The overhead panel looked rather retro and included adjustable air vents.

photo 1148b 06 DSC04273 Overhead Panel

If I remember correctly, this B734 was not fitted with overhead screens so safety demonstration was conducted manually by the crew.

photo 1148b 07 DSC04263 A Full Flight (No Overhead TV Monitor)

Obviously, we won't see anything close to the Boeing Sky Interior we see on newer B738s in this 17-years old aircraft.

The overhead compartments seemed rather tiny as well. And I am sure those compartments will be filled to the brim on international flights.

photo 1148b 08 DSC04259 Cabin View During Boarding (Overhead Compartment)

A quick tour of the lavatory.

photo 1148b 09 DSC04252 Lavatory I

The wash basin was a bit on the small side.



On such domestic routes, the galley wasn't very well-stocked and hence seemed to be really empty.

photo 1148b 15 DSC04260 Galley

Back on our seats. The squarish windows give a hint of this aircraft's age as well.

photo 1148b 16 DSC04261 Squarish Window

That's all I have for the cabin photos. Let's point my camera to the views outside now.

These were the views of metropolitan Seoul soon after take off.

photo 1149 DSC04278 View of Seoul Iphoto 1149 DSC04279 View of Seoul II


photo 1151 Slide07


Soon after take off, complimentary drinks were offered - another deviation from the standard LCC business model.

photo 1152 DSC04284 Drink Service

Enjoying a cup of juice with the gorgeous views outside. This is the beauty of flying.

photo 1154 DSC04286 View Enroute

The extremely polite FAs continued the drinks service down the aisle.

photo 1156 DSC04288 Drink Service Continued

We were about halfway through the flight when the first officer came on the PA to give us the flight information updates.

(The English portion of the announcement begins at 0:44, I do recommend you to turn down your volume a little.)

Here’s what he said:

- Cruising at FL330 (?)
- Speed of 470mph (?)
- Total flight time of 45 minutes
- Estimated arrival time was 12.25pm
- Good weather en route
- Clear weather in Busan; 9 degree celsius



Now we turn our attention to the seat pocket contents.

The safety information card for this B737-400.

photo 1200 01 DSC04265 Safety Info Card Iphoto 1200 02 DSC04266 Safety Info Card II

And the additional safety information for passengers seated at the exit rows.

photo 1200 03 DSC04266 Safety Info Card III

In flight magazine and duty free catalogue.

photo 1200 04 DSC04270 Magazine and Duty Free Catalogue

Some of the airline souvenirs available in the duty free catalogue.

There were no duty free sales on this domestic sector, though.

photo 1200 05 DSC04289 Duty Free Airline Souvenir - Aircraft Modelphoto 1200 06 DSC04290 Duty Free Airline Souvenir - Blanket

Most of the magazine contents were in Korean, in this report let's just look at the aviation related contents.

"Fly & Stamp" is actually Air Busan's frequent flyer programme. The way it works differs a lot of the traditional mileage accrual model. It basically rewards members with stamps for each BX sector flown. The number of stamps awarded depends on the distance of each sector.

photo 1200 07 DSC04298 Air Busan FF Programme

Air Busan's international destinations within Asia. (Correct as at Dec 2014) The longest sector was from Busan to Siem Reap; a flight which would take about 5h one way.

photo 1200 08 DSC04291 Asia Network Map (Longest Flight is 5h Plus to Siem Reap)

The domestic network was very simple, with just three destinations; Busan, Seoul and Jeju.

imagephoto  Japan Network Map

There was an interesting section teaching passengers how to fill in the arrival cards of various countries.

photo 1200 10 DSC04293 Immigration Forms Guide

And there were also lots of detailed information about Busan's public transportation to and fro Busan Gimhae Airport.

photo 1200 11 DSC04294 Busan Airport Bus Infophoto 1200 12 DSC04296 Busan Light Rail and Metro Network Map

Another look out of the window before we commenced our descent.

photo 1205 DSC04299 Cloudy Regions


photo 1213 Slide08


12.14pm, the FAs began to collect trash and prepare the cabin for landing.

photo 1214 DSC04301 Collecting Trash

Descending through the thick cloud covers.

photo 1214 DSC04302 Cloudy Descend (1214 Landing Prep 1222 Gear Down 1225 Touched Down)


photo 1226 Slide09


Soon after landing, the FA informed us that we could start using our mobile devices. I tried tracking our flight on FR24 to see if I could see it taxiing to the gate in Busan. But there were no data on FR24.

photo 1438845524-1423298591_mphoto 1438845528-1807128605_m


photo 1230 Slide10


PUS is a small airport, thus our taxi to the gate took just about 5 minutes.

photo 1231 DSC04304 Reached Gate 12photo 1232 DSC04305 First View of Busan Airport

Leaving the aircraft.

photo 1236 DSC04307 Disembarking

Entered the terminal building and followed the signs to the arrival hall.

photo 1238 DSC04310 Inside the Terminalphoto 1238 DSC04311 Towards Baggage Carousels


photo 1239a Slide11


There seemed to be quite a considerable amount of checked luggage on this flight.

photo 1239b DSC04312 Carousel Area

However, all bags were collected in merely 3 minutes and the baggage carousel area was soon deserted.

photo 1242 DSC04313 Wide and Emptyphoto 1242 DSC04314 Passengers Left Quickly

It was interesting to see the baggage tag in Korean. "부산" means Busan.

photo 1244 DSC04319 Luggage Tag in Korean

We stepped into the public area at about 12.46pm and went straight to the bus station.



It was slightly warmer in Busan, but still very cold!

photo 1251 DSC04325 Outside the Terminal

Bought our tickets at the limousine bus counters.

photo 1252 DSC04327 Limousine Bus Counters


photo 1259 Slide12


Half an hour after BX8811 touched down, we were already on our way to Busan city.

photo 1300 DSC04328 Onboard the Bus

The one way bus ticket was about USD5.

photo 1300 DSC04330 Bus Tickets

And the bus seats were very comfortable.



The city's traffic was however quite chaotic and towards the end of the ride we got a little giddy and frustrated with how the driver was slamming on his brakes every few seconds.

photo 1406 DSC04338 Terrible Traffic

We were glad to be off the bus slightly after 2pm. It was time for some good food in Busan!

That's all for now. I will come back with the return trip very soon. Diligently catching up with all my flight reports recently, I'm keen to write a report for every single flight I've flown since 2014 but that will definitely take quite a while to accomplish.

Till then. Merci!

(To be continued)


This report was completed on 11 February 2016.
Originally posted in Traditional Chinese on http://tn92.pixnet.net/blog/post/299330249.
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Verdict

Air Busan

7.4/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering7.0

Seoul - GMP

8.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access10.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Busan - PUS

8.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Air Busan's B737-400 had very comfortable seats. I don't think I will find it an issue to fly slightly longer on this aircraft. The crew was professional but there were little interactions with passengers, even the locals. A drink on the domestic route is a norm in many countries. Korean newspapers were provided during boarding but it would be good if English ones were available too. We arrived just slightly late, overall, Air Busan performed well!

----------

Security and check in at GMP was a breeze, apart from the slight language barriers. The airport staff could speak English definitely, but they just appeared much, much, much more comfortable in their native language - which is perfectly alright! As I've mentioned in the report, Gimpo Airport is super accessible from the city, 10 points for that.

----------

Everything was smooth upon arrival in PUS; nothing to complain about. There were also various bus routes to the city, alternatively, the city's metro line has a station right beside PUS as well.

Information on the route Seoul (GMP) Busan (PUS)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Seoul (GMP) → Busan (PUS).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Korean Air with 8.0/10.

The average flight time is 0 hours and 57 minutes.

  More information

5 Comments

  • Comment 157170 by
    marathon GOLD 9602 Comments

    10 flights in an hour to Jeju ! that is a case where twin aisle aircraft would be justified, instead of so many single aisle ones.
    I had never noticed the squarish windows of the older 737s.
    Too bad they do not list the scale of the plane model in the in-flight magazine (1/100, in case other readers wonder).
    I like the luggage tag in Hangul; that is really the sign of a domestic flight !
    Thanks for sharing this comprehensive report in English !

    • Comment 334392 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 165 Comments

      Hi Marathon! Thanks for your comment!

      10 flights in an hour to Jeju ! that is a case where twin aisle aircraft would be justified, instead of so many single aisle ones.

      Perhaps the irony is that, the airlines do twin aisle aircrafts to Jeju from Seoul! KE sends a mixture of B747 and A330 along with their B737s, and OZ operates some B763 and A330 along with their smaller A320s and A321s. This just shows how many people fly between the two cities every day!!

      Too bad they do not list the scale of the plane model in the in-flight magazine (1/100, in case other readers wonder).

      Thanks for the information!

      I like the luggage tag in Hangul; that is really the sign of a domestic flight !

      Indeed, really cool to see that.

      Thank you!

  • Comment 157171 by
    Aubin 173 Comments

    That is a great report, thank you. I really like the timeline.

  • Comment 157794 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5331 Comments

    Thanks for this exotic report on a little known airline! 737-400s are also quite rare these days. The seat pitch does look better than 30. Overall looks decent.

    Thanks for sharing!

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