Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

Korean Air to scrap its first class cabins from June

The cut backs are due to a 'lack of demand on many flights'

Korean Air is scrapping first class on many flights. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Korean Air is scrapping first class on many flights. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Korean Air is cutting back on first class cabins on 27 of its routes. The national airline of South Korea made the announcement saying that it will remove first class, leaving only economy and prestige (the airline’s business offering) class on selected flights.

Most of the destinations affected are on shorter routes. The airline will retain its first class cabin on flights to Beijing, Osaka, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta and Hanoi. Most long-haul routes will be unaffected. The airline said the move comes due to a lack of demand on many flights.

Known for having a large number of first class seats, something that is typical of many Asian carriers, it’s perhaps surprising that Korean Air is the first major airline to ditch its most luxurious cabin. However, first class on Korean Air can often only be distinguished from business class by the level of meals, service and amenities offered, rather than cabin formation or seats provided.

A first class cabin on a Korean Air flight. Courtesy flickr / travelingotter 
A first class cabin on a Korean Air flight. Courtesy flickr / travelingotter 

Both business and first class on the airline’s Boeing 787-9 flights have lie-flat Apex suites and the same seat is also used on both business and first on its Airbus A330s. However, while both classes get priority boarding and dedicated check-in counters, first class flyers would usually also receive a pre-boarding meal, ultra-luxury amenity kit and a duvet service that comes with complimentary pyjamas.

Since the changes are mostly service led, the reconfiguration process should be relatively straightforward for the airline.

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Updated: May 2, 2019 02:39 PM

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