Korean Air withdraws first class from Brisbane, dials back Sydney

By Chris C., May 2 2019
Korean Air withdraws first class from Brisbane, dials back Sydney

SkyTeam alliance member Korean Air will axe first class on its Brisbane-Seoul flights from June 2019 in favour of more seating for business class, with the airline’s Sydney-Seoul flights also set to lose first class throughout much of the year.

For Brisbane flyers, first class disappears permanently from June 1 2019, with the six seats formerly serving as first class at row 1 being opened up to business class passengers, extending the business class cabin from 18 to 24 seats:

However, travellers are unlikely to notice much difference between the two, given Korean Air has long used the same seat in business class and first class on these flights – instead, differentiating the first class experience with upgraded service, inflight dining, and first class lounge access in Seoul.

For example, here’s what first class looks like on the Airbus A330s currently plying the Brisbane-Seoul route…

… and here’s what business class looks like on the same flights:

The main differences between the two include a slightly larger TV screen in row 1, combined with a tad more privacy via the bulkhead wall that sits behind and a slightly longer bed length of 195cm (versus approximately 190cms in the rows further back), making this row a smart pick for business class flyers.

During the summer months, Korean Air now swaps its Airbus A330 for a Boeing 787 on Brisbane-Seoul, but first class remains unavailable on these Boeing 787 flights going forward, with the seats formerly reserved for first class passengers now open to business class flyers as well.

Korean Air winding back first class service on Sydney-Seoul flights

From June 1 2019, Korean Air will also stop selling first class on its Airbus A330 flights between Sydney and Seoul, but first class service will resume over the extended summer peak when the larger Airbus A380 takes over the route, offering a ‘true’ international-grade first class seat.

Scheduled to appear on all Korean Air flights from Sydney between October 28 2019 and March 29 2020 (October 27 to March 28 departing Seoul), a first class ticket buys a superjumbo first class suite as below – distinctly different from business class, and from what’s currently being sold as ‘first class’ on the city’s Airbus A330 flights.

First class service from Sydney will be withdrawn again from March 30 2020, when the Airbus A330 returns.

Sydney and Brisbane are the only two Australian cities served by Korean Air, and while Sydney has no shortage of options for first class flyers, the removal of first class on Korean’s Brisbane-Seoul flights leaves Emirates as the only airline offering first class from the Queensland capital.

The move follows other airlines similarly ending first class service from Brisbane, including Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi back in December 2016 and China Southern to Guangzhou as of July 2015, with both airlines retaining business class as their highest level of service on these flights.

Also read: Inside Korean Air's new Seoul Terminal 2 airport lounges

Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin 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.

16 Feb 2017

Total posts 24

Oh how I wish the headline was Korean returns to Melbourne rather than Brisbane loses first class :(

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