Sunday, November 24, 2013

Excellence in Flight : Korean Air

Korean Air, with a fleet of 148 aircraft, is one of the world's top 20 airlines, and operates more than 400 flights per day to 121 cities in 41 countries.  It is a founding member of the SkyTeam Alliance.  Together with its 17 members, it offers 531 million annual passengers a worldwide system of more than 14,816 flights. 

In 2011, Korean Air was named the best Asian airline for the fifth consecutive year by Business Traveler while Global Traveler awarded the title of the best airline in northern Asia and best airport staff / gate agent.  The carrier also won the 2010 global travel catering distinction award by Pax International magazine while World Traveler magazine rated it as having the world's best inflight service.

Korean Air has 2 daily departure and arrival flights from/to Singapore, Changi Airport Terminal 1.  The flights depart at 2235 hrs and 0110 hrs and arrive in Seoul at 0555 hrs and 0825 hrs respectively.  Return flights from Seoul are 1420 hrs and 1840 hrs and arrive in Singapore at 1930 hrs and 2350 hrs respectively.  Flying time to Seoul is approximately 6hr 15mins while return flight takes about 6hr 10mins.

The seating space in Korea Air was surprising spacious even for Economy Class.  This is good news for those who need more space for movements.

The inflight entertainment is pretty complete with a variety of video and audio programmes as well as games.  The documentary programmes are rather informative and detailed. 

The inflight system is quite cool.  Firstly, the programmes can be controlled via the touch screens; and secondly, USB charging facility - recharges my mobile equipment when I can't use them!

Thirdly, you can select a list of favourite songs and save it into a playlist! Here's how it works.  So the song album, select the song that you like to "Add to My Music".

As a national carrier, Korean Air naturally serves food that are of national identity.  It's signature meal is the bibimbap that is available on every flight.  As the meat served with bibimbap is beef, I had opted for a regular chicken meal instead.

On my return flight, the meal came with several surprises.  First was a packed cold tofu appetiser.  I thought this was a boring dish but I was wrong.  The soft tofu was really yummy!

Eaten with the soy sauce, it was very refreshing and it really whet my appetite!

Another bonus for the return flight meal was this Korean brand, Cled'or cheesecake ice cream, different from the usual vanilla or chocolate ice cream that you get from other carriers.

About an hour and half before landing, the carrier whipped up a third surprise.  Many of the passengers looked puzzled when we were handed this box.  Myself included.  It turned out to be a slice of warm and delicious pizza!

Kudos to the  Korean Air Catering Center for the delightful meals.  And there is little wonder why they had won the catering award.

As part of the Asian-On-Air programme, the group of us had the opportunity to visit the Korean Air Headquarters to learn about the aviation facilities.  The entire compound is a secured area and does not permit anyone to enter unless you hold the admission permit. 

It was an experience that was educational and definitely an eye-opener, for I never expected to witness the training that cabin crews had to go through before they can stand confidently before the passengers. 

Part of the tour at the KE Headquarter was to visit the aircraft hangar, which is closed structure to hold aircraft in protective storage, for repair and maintenance as well.  The building was really huge to be able to hold the entire aircrafts; and the building structure was made of metal.

Placed side-by-side, the contrast in size between aircrafts became visibly obvious.

These Korean Air teddy bear mascots don the same uniform as the cabin crew.  The present design was introduced in 2005 and it was the creation of Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre.  The present uniform emphasises on attaining harmony between modern global fashion appeal with a foundation of Korea's traditional and inherent beauty.

The Flight Simulation Center satisfied my curiosity how it would be like to be in the pilot's seat at the cockpit!  Certainly, there are just too many gadgets ahead to meddle with.  That explains the need for a co-pilot!

The Operations Control Centre plans a key role in ensuring the safety of passengers.  It monitors each and every flight that transits from place to place; and give early alerts if foreseen situations can be detected eg. typhoons, bad weather conditions, makes plans for aircrafts to change course if necessary.  The digital board on the wall shows the exact location of every aircraft and reflects live updates of weather conditions.  The centre is supported by a (huge) team of staff who monitors the flight situations round the clock.

The Korean Air Training Centre is where all cabin crews receive their professional training.  The centre is away from the headquarters building.

Modified aircrafts with actual equipment were found within the training centre.

That's our team-mate learning to use the safety life jackets. 

The training centre had an indoor swimming pool.  The area at the far end is where the training to use the aircraft evacuation slide.

Some team-mates took the opportunity to experience the slide and learnt the correct posture when preparing to slide down.

The visit to the training centre and the various facilities was indeed an unique experience.  The rigour in the training and all explains why Korean Air is one of the top global airlines.  Travel & Leisure magazine and Conde Nast Traveler readers opined that Korean Air is one of the world's top 10 international airlines.

For more information on Korean Air's programmes, routes, frequencies and partners, please visit

[This trip is made possible by the Asian On Air programme, organised by the Korean Air and Korea Tourism Organisation].

Related Posts
- Asian-On-Air: K-Style Hair and Spa (click here)
- Asian-On-Air: Experiencing Korean Medical Services (click here)
- Asian-On-Air: A Twosome Place by 51K (click here)
- Asian-On-Air: Chrysanthemum Flower Festival at Jogyesa (click here)
- Asian-On-Air: The Historical Drama Playground (click here)


  1. OMG, you have my photo with that handsome Oppa. Thank you Jos!!! I love it. Can I repost it? I will tag your credit. :)


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