Korean Air plans Airbus A380, Boeing 747-8 flights for Sydney

By Chris Chamberlin, January 3 2017
Korean Air plans Airbus A380, Boeing 747-8 flights for Sydney

SkyTeam alliance member Korean Air will bring its Boeing 747-8 aircraft onto Sydney-Seoul flights from later this year, before returning its Airbus A380 superjumbo to Australian skies.

From September 1 2017 from Seoul (and September 2 from Sydney) through to the end of October, the Boeing 747-8 'stretched superjumbo' replaces the smaller Airbus A330 on Korean's daily KE121/122 flights in what's believed to be Australia's first scheduled Boeing 747-8 passenger flight.

On board, Korean Air's modern jumbo brings with it six of the latest Kosmo 2.0 Suites in first class...

... configured in a 1-1 layout down in the nose, extending to form a 79-inch (200cm) fully-flat bed and with sliding 'louver doors' that provide a one-way view from the suite into the aisle, while obstructing any peering eyes in reverse:

With a seat measuring a comfy 24 inches wide, there's plenty of space around the suite to store your gear, plus an HDTV on which to enjoy movies and TV shows: operated via a separate touchscreen controller:

In business class: Prestige Suites arranged in a 2-2-2 layout on the lower deck and in a 2-2 fashion on the upper deck, with each seat staggered to provide direct aisle access to every passenger: even those closest to the windows.

Expect to find fully-flat beds here too, with 74 inches (187cm) of total space between each row to stretch out:

Come October 29 2017 (or October 30 on flights departing Sydney), Korean Air's Airbus A380 takes over – instead with first-generation Kosmo Suites in first class, found in a 1-2-1 layout:

They still feature fully-flat beds, but with less privacy owing to the absence of closing doors:

Korean Air's Airbus A380 business class is also a step behind the Boeing 747-8, with seats in a straight 2-2-2 layout rather than staggered:

That finds passengers in the window seats stepping over their seatmates to access the aisle, and those in the outer aisles being stepped over themselves.

To compensate, high flyers can visit one of two in-flight lounges not seen on the regular jumbo – the first being a smaller space at the front of the aircraft...

... and the second the larger Celestial Lounge and cocktail bar at the rear of the upper deck:

The superjumbo will then remain on Korean Air's Sydney-Seoul flights until at least the end of 2017: as far forward as the airline's booking system currently extends, with bookings for Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380 flights now available via the Korean Air website:

From Sydney, flight KE122 is wheels-up at 8:10am daily, reaching Seoul in time for dinner at 5:35pm, while on the return, KE121 takes flight at 7:20pm, arriving in Sydney at 6:15am the following morning.

Korean Air is also currently flying the Airbus A380 to Sydney as part of a seasonal upgrade, appearing on all flights until late March 2017 when the A330 resumes its post, ahead of these further September changes.

Also read: Photo tour: Inside Korean Air's Airbus A380 superjumbo

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 94

Nice to see the 747-8 in oz, it's a shame more airlines didn't take it up... and I love the business class seats, clever config

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

01 Apr 2016

Total posts 6

Great business class config on the jumbo. I wonder why they regressed with the A380 - or is the Jumbo more recent?

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

They didn't - their A380s first flew in 2011 and their 747-8s first flew in late 2015/early 2016.

03 Jan 2017

Total posts 4

Are you sure KAL has flown their passenger 747-8i too Australia before? Maybe your thinking of the 747-8i flight over summer to NZ, or that they once flew their 747-400 here.

03 Jan 2017

Total posts 4

The 747-8 is a great aircraft. I have not flown on the Korean Air product, but have flown with Luftansa. You just can't beat the nose or upper deck of a 747 and the 747-8 takes everything great about the 747-400 and makes it better. Think new model Porsche 911 of the Skyes!

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

Maybe Brisbane gets a Korean AIr 787-9?

10 Jun 2015

Total posts 3

Flew the KAL 747-8 from ICN to SIN a couple of months ago in business class.  Great product, lie flat seats were great, good aisle access from the window seat but IFE was very average.  Cabin crew service was a little disappointing compared to most of the Asian airlines nowadays. I chose this flight with no FF benefits to travel on my beloved 747 to assess the improvement from the 400 series and was impressed with the smooth quite ride.

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