J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Korean Air used to have a fantastic partnership. For many years (prior to August 2018), Chase clients could easily transfer 100K+ points to the airline’s program to book its international First Class.
Like China Airlines to Taiwan, Korean Air is the largest airline and flag carrier of South Korea. It is headquartered in Seoul and the airline has a vast footprint across U.S. destinations. In fact, Korean Air even entered the hospitality industry & opened a brand new skyscraper hotel at The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, which I frequently visit.
Like Singapore Airlines, they do not give out First Class seats to partner airlines, so access to them are quite limited. On the plus side, they consistently have generous availability for virtually any date of travel via Korean miles. In fact, here’s a look at booking the cabin just couple weeks out in November.
It’s super easy to book for families traveling to/from Asia. From LAX, simply head to the Sky Priority “Million Miler Club” line for expedited check-in.
Yes… as you can see, the Chai Bear family frequents this airline a lot. Hence, it’s only natural to sponsor our newest member of our team to try this flight out too!
After boarding, Chloe starts to get really excited. She can already tell she’s going to have another fantastic flight.
At the gateway, it’s always a giddy bear-tastic feeling boarding left instead of right 😉
The First Class cabin on the A380 is at the front of the plane on the lower deck. It’s a 1-2-1 configuration with a total of 12 available seats.
Like all First Class, the experience starts with a welcome champagne. One of our favorites for this airline is the Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé. It’s a light & easy drink to pair with all the foods you’re going to eat.
But first, let’s change Chloe to proper Mickey Mouse attire for a brief photoshoot! Uh oh, I think she’s not amused…
Salads are prepared table side, which makes the experience feel like a restaurant setting.
After that, a zillion small course dishes are served. Here’s a tip… come to this flight hungry, because the meal service takes over 2-3 hours long in this airline!
The courses vary depending on what route(s) you take, so here are some food pics from our assorted Korean Air flights for reference.
Unsurprisingly, Chloe’s not too interested in these foods. If she’s happy… she’s a really easy First Class passenger to please! In the end, all she needs is her Winnie the Pooh toy and a nice noise-cancelling headset for the duration of the flight.
She did get a little annoyed at the paparazzis pointing the cameras constantly at her though. Her judging eyes says it all.
Overall, Korean Air First Class is a fantastic option for ultra long-haul flights across the Pacific. The seats are adequately spacious and the flight attendants are deeply passionate in the dining/service, which puts them on par with other top airlines.
My only critique is their ground departure/arrival service (which is virtually non-existent) and their atrocious First Class lounges (which is laughable at best).
That aside, if you just focus on the in-flight core experience, it is a solid & comfortable way to spend 10+ hours crossing the Pacific. Given the opportunity, I be happy to fly this airline again with the whole family.
Although it’s a lot harder to do so now… 😦