Review of Korean Air flight Tokyo Seoul in Economy

Airline Korean Air
Flight KE704
Class Economy
Seat 52A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300
Flight time 02:33
Take-off 14 Mar 18, 14:07
Arrival at 14 Mar 18, 16:40
KE   #16 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 120 reviews
TheWindowSeat
Published on 2nd April 2018
A quick note before this review begins. Initially my trip was Manchester to Tokyo Narita via Helsinki,booked in April 2017 for travel in March 2018.

However as I was traveling to the very Far East I wanted to expand my footprint in Asia having visited Pakistan and Thailand in 2017. I spent around 8 months after booking Tokyo,looking for an alternative destination and in the end decided on Seoul in South Korea. I knew I would do more shopping in Tokyo than Seoul so decided to fly to Seoul as soon as I landed in Tokyo Narita. The baggage allowance for the Finnair/JAL flights was 2 cases at 23kg each whereas it was 1 case at 23kg for Korean Air.

I had already had authorisation to have 1 case at 30kg on the JAL flights and as I was at the start of my trip I could get Korea out of the way and just buy some basic souveniers instead of heavy shopping. I didn't want to spend time in Tokyo first and drag shopping across to Seoul and then back to Tokyo !

It made sense to have 1 case at 23kg which kept me aligned with the baggage allowances of Finnair/JAL and Korean Air.

​On the 19th December 2017 I made a booking on skyscanner for Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon ( sold via the online provider gotogate ).

The Korean Air Mobile site was easy to use and there was thankfully free seat assignment.

Immediately after making the booking, I phoned the UK Contact Centre number which put me through to a male called Sam in the Kuala Lumpur Office ( don't you just love global technology ?! )

He kindly ordered a Muslim Meal ( MOML ) for Korean Air flights.

Another advisor, but in Singapore, didn’t know what the KAL Limousine Bus was and had to google details so I hung up as I can google myself ! One would expect an airline staff member to know their airlines products and services. The same bus ticket from Seoul Incheon to Downtown ( central ) Seoul Hotels and back could be bought onboard Korean Air.

It is to my credit ( and to Korean Air's revenue ) that I even booked with Korean Air at all as the so called "Sales" Manager for the UK had shown bad attitude in an email and I really had to rise above that and still book. After all I had been a Korean Air fan since the mid 90's and didn't want one stroppy individual to ruin my mood and years of support for the Korean Air brand.

Korean Air have a Boarding Pass privilege programme where you get discounts by showing your boarding pass.

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Not long after my booking I received an email with this e flyer advising of a Terminal change
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Korean Air in Glasgow,Scotland



As you may or may not know,I am from Glasgow originally.The first ever direct flight service connecting Scotland with South Korea landed at Glasgow Airport in 2016.

Korean Air and sister company Hanjin Travel announced they would introduce three flights in a charter service during August 2016 between Seoul and Glasgow Airport. This programme continued in 2017 to connect the thousands of Koreans who visit Scotland eahc summer
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Left to Right ; dancer Jake Hind , Mr Oh Sang Kwon, president of Hanjin Travel, Glasgow Airport MD Amanda McMillan and dancer Max Hind


Korean Air memorabilia before the trip

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And also a Gochujang Pepper Paste as a gift after the flight x
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Korean Air is famous for the 2014 nut rage incident, where the CEO's daughter ( and then Vice President) made a taxying flight turn back to it's gate in New York as a Flight Attendant had served her nuts in a packet an not on a plate. After much outrage,she was fired. However it seems the tantrums don't stop there.

As of April 2018, Korean Air has now suspended its CEO's younger daughter while police investigate reports she threw water at an advertising executive in a meeting.
Cho Hyun-min, 36, a Senior Vice-President at the company, has apologised and called her behaviour "foolish and reckless".
She denies throwing water but admits to shoving the advertising agency manager. Oh well that's ok and very grown up then.

She is the younger sister of Cho Hyun-ah - the airline heiress who infamously delayed a flight over a packet of nuts.
According to local media reports, Ms Cho, who is also known as Emily, lost her temper because she was unhappy with answers to her questions during the meeting in Seoul last month.
The national carrier said in a statement it would take appropriate action after the police investigation was over.
Dozens of online petitions on the South Korean presidential website have demanded she be punished. One calling for the word "Korean" to be removed from the airline's name has gathered more than 50,000 signatures.
"It is a national disgrace that this family keeps making embarrassing troubles while doing business under the 'Korea' brand," one petitioner wrote.


And now the review !
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As per my JL414 review,after landing in Tokyo Narita, I happened to be going past security and told the officer that I have a separate ticket on Korean Air to Seoul Incheon. He had kindly walked me to the JAL Transfer desk where it was arranged for my bag to be tagged onwards to Seoul Incheon,meaning I didn't have to collect my case and recheckin. What a gentleman and a template on what excellent customer service is.


I came to Tokyo Narita T1 by bus - the bus stop supervisor and driver was most polite.

My bus stop view
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And my bus ride !
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Alitalia just arriving from Milan
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I was also surprised to ride past Delta 757s gleaming in the Narita sun !

I got the escalator up into Terminal 1 and as if by luck I saw the Korean Air lounge. I thought I would go in to ask for some assistance just to ensure I am heading in the right direction !

I was greeted warmly at the lounge and I advised I had had my bag tagged to Seoul Incheon. The lady advised there wouldnt be anyone at the Korean Air Gate until around 1230pm ( departure to Seoul was at 1355pm ). I was then told I could wait in the Korean Air lounge. I certainly wouldn't have looked out of place in my Executive Suit. My excitement led me to ask "Really " ?

At which the lovely lady smiled and then said that as I was flying Economy Class I couldn't wait in the Korean Air lounge. Damn. Short term excitement !

Anyway as it happened,the waiting area in Terminal 1 had super comfy seating.
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I charged my devices and downloaded photos of JL414 from my phone to my tablet.

Today's Power is brought by you by a company called Delta - anyone heard of them ?!
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I also took a moment to refresh and take a deep breath ! I was hoping that at the gate I will get some good news that everything is organised as agreed.

Some photos of Shops in Terminal 1 at Tokyo Narita

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After numerous planespotting which saw departures for Madrid,Amsterdam,Delhi,Jakarta and others, I made my way to the Korean Air gate.

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Cute Cartoon Korean Air Cabin Crew
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To the left of the gate an Aeroflot flight was already boarding ( Tokyo-Moscow-Paris ? ) and to our right was an Alitalia 777 for Rome. I saw the Alitalia crew ( all older males with one pretty lady in red ) as they walked to the aircraft. The female groundstaff of Alitalia wear green. Very smart uniform.

I was surprised to see a beautiful Air Calin A330 taxying past - definately not a livery seen in Europe. As I went to take a pictore it went out of view. Oh well ! Here is a stock image to show you what I mean.
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I was surprised earlier to see Korean Air 738 with no winglets taxi past - I sincerely hoped my flight hadn't been downgraded to a 738 ! Luckily I had nothing to worry about. Can you believe that KE704 is sometimes operated by the 747-800 ? I would have loved it to have been a 747-800 on the day of my flight. Hey ho !

Gate CheckIn - A world first for TheWindowSeat !



I approached the gate and gave my name and instantly the lovely and friendly lady at the Korean Air gate said she had been expecting me and that my bag had been retagged to Seoul Incheon.

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The inbound KE703 arrived at gate 1240pm - I was happy to see it was a widebodied 777-300. As Korean Air's livery is one of my all time favourites,it looked even more beautiful in the warm Japanese sun as it made it's way to the gate.


Fast Facts
HL8275
777-300
KE704 Tokyo Narita - Seoul Incheon
Previous flight - Dallas - Seoul then Seoul Narita
Next flight - Singapore

Boarding



I sat for a while but then I really wanted to be the first to board so I stood at the Economy Class barrier. To be fair I would have been one of the first to board anyway as per the boarding structure seen earlier on a board.

When the barrier strap was lifted, a lady said Thank you for waiting ( I bowed and said Arigatoh ! )and I made my way down the airbridge - Seoul here I come !!

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I boarded at exactly 1330pm and was given a very warm welcome from 2 female crew at the door and 2 in the cabin including one who was hanging a jacket up (stay with me on this one ! )

I got to the rear section where I was seated and asked the very smiley Steward if he can hang up my jacket ; he recommended overhead locker as they don't have a wardrobe ?! He recommended the overhead locker or the side of my side - luckily the seat configuration meant I could hang my jacket on the coat hook and not be bothered by it for the whole journey ! The right of the tray table had spilt coffee which hadn't been cleaned. Fresh from Dallas or Tokyo ?!!

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Italian Neighbour and Skyteam Friend !
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The Steward came to my seat and checked my name as I had a Muslim Meal ( MOML ) booked - I confirmed my name and that I did have this meal booked. He asked what drink I would like when the meal is served ; I advised Coke with Ice would be fine. The flight continued boarding and we pushed back at 1355pm, after the welcome announcement.

I couldn't hear safety video as the volume was a touch low and due to the very loud engine roar.

An Airhostess came round for the cabin secure check - it was strange when she spoke in elongated words in English and Korean to bring seatbacks up etc !

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So cute ! These apron staff waved the aircraft goodbye and just after this photo,all bowed in unison - so charming and touching !

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Philippine Airlines A321 - definately not a sight I would see at Manchester Airport !
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Take Off



We taxied a short distance and at 1407pm,we began rotation as the aircraft rocked side to side !

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The world's favourite view - Mount Fuji from the sky !



The reason I chose a seat on the left side of the aircraft ? To get views of Mount Fuji ! The vapour trails were strong so I took around 30 shots before I got some clear ones for you to enjoy !
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Inflight Meal - MOML - Muslim Meal



Like on JAL,my meal was brought to me first ! The Fish in Curry Sauce was delectable !

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Inflight Entertainment



Earphones were handed out when boarding had been completed so we could take off into the sky with full audio pleasure……..

The earphones had poor sound quality and the screen had a lot of glare from the outside sun even with window shades behind and ahead of me down.

Great inflight magazine and IFE magazine "beyond" as well as a very very bulky shopping brochure which seriously needs to be reduced in size to help the aircraft weight ! The live camera view was not properly viewable due to such brightness in the cabin.


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Justin Bieber,Ariana,Adele,Celine,Ace of Base and Abba kept me entertained on my way to Seoul !


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Live Camera views - beautiful skies but far much glare to really enjoy the view !

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After manouevring over the Seoul area for a good 15 minutes,we finally banked right to line up for arrival.
For the first time ever I also saw my aircraft's shadow chasing us as we came into land !

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Time to…say goodbye !
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As soon as we landed and the welcome announcements were done, an instrumental version of Chariots of Fire disembarkation music played…very nice !

As I left the aircraft, I got a warm farewell from the Steward who had been based in my zone ( section ) and an Airhostess. I took some photos of the aircraft through the glass airbridge.

Another crewmember in the airbridge who had been helping another passenger said Thank You to me !

It took 10 minutes to walk to immigration - enroute some passing Cockpit Crew found it odd that I was photographing aircrafts ?? Really ? Pilots who are shocked by aviation fanatics ?? Whatever next ? People who choose specific airlines ? Or maybe passengers who review flights ? The shock and horror of it all !

I was seen at Immigration by a woman who clearly graduated from the Manchester Airport Academy of Misery. I got a slip instead of a stamp. No expression. Just a blank stare and two words when telling me where to get the bus. Charming. Not the best first impression of Incheon. The lady at the bis ticket counter was abrupt and unhelpful. Just as well I wasn't marking Incheon otherwise it woudl have been an epic fail.

I then went downstairs and was really happy to see my case had made it !

See you in Seoul and for the return flight !

Beautiful gifts from my first ever Korean Air flight !
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My reason for visiting Gangnam !

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See more

Verdict

Korean Air

9.3/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering10.0

Tokyo - NRT

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Seoul - ICN

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Delicious food,very friendly crew and a great full service package on such a short route !
Korean Air do however need to improve earphones by introducing headsets with much better clarity and also have better deflection coating on tv screens as for most of the journey I struggled to view the screen due to external light !

Information on the route Tokyo (NRT) Seoul (ICN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 10 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Tokyo (NRT) → Seoul (ICN).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 2 hours and 29 minutes.

  More information

5 Comments

  • Comment 439465 by
    sotto_Deactivated 83 Comments

    Tired and boring report. Eternal and lateral information / pictures about banalities during the flight, especially when landing in INC was
    the shadow of the aircraft almost celebrated.
    And at departure the Kilimanscharo was shown from every angle.
    Briefly, the info was about the MOML, while the width and length of the trays and meal trays are even documented with the centimeter measure.
    It was a simple, albeit tasteful MOML. However, to rate this with 20 out of 120 reflects the enthusiasm of the previously heard.

    • Comment 439500 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4936 Comments

      Dear Sotto, though you are welcome to express your opinion--this is the internet after all. We ask that you please remain respectful.

    • Comment 439811 by
      TheWindowSeat AUTHOR 102 Comments

      I don't normally reply to trolls however you are clearly misguided and need educating. You have zero reviews so are in zero position to rate or comment on my hard work. Please learn English and please also learn Geography. Mount Kilimanjaro is in Africa and NOT Japan. Honestly, I would go away and learn manners and etiquette.If this were my page you would be banned for your vile behaviour and personal attacks.

  • Comment 439668 by
    Han_Son 4 Comments

    thanks for your FR!

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