Delta is launching its longest route from Portland later this year

Apr 20, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Despite the pandemic, Delta is planning to strengthen its West Coast network with a new long-haul route.

On Tuesday, the Atlanta-based carrier announced that it’ll begin flying between Portland (PDX), Oregon, and Seoul Incheon (ICN) on Sept. 9, with three-weekly year-round flights. At 5,289 miles, this will be Delta’s longest flight from Portland, clocking in at over 11 hours eastbound and nearly 13 hours in the westbound direction.

The service will be operated by the carrier’s 234-seat Airbus A330-200, outfitted with 34 reverse-herringbone business-class pods, 32 extra-legroom Comfort+ seats and 168 standard coach seats. You’ll find the full schedule below.

Stay up-to-date on airline and aviation news by signing up for our brand-new aviation newsletter.

The new flight is already loaded in Delta’s schedule and round-trip fares start at $950 in coach and jump to $5,200 in biz. Round-trip SkyMiles awards start at 78,000 miles for coach and 240,000 for biz, not a bad deal considering the carrier’s often sky-high award fares.

(Map courtesy of Cirium)

Launching a new long-haul route nowadays is a break from the pandemic-era network planning strategy of boosting flights to leisure-oriented destinations, like national parks and beaches. South Korea requires a mandatory two-week quarantine in a government-designated facility for visiting Americans. Plus, the success of many international routes relies on business travelers, who have yet to return to the skies in meaningful numbers.

As such, Delta notes that the Sept. 9 launch date is still subject to change, depending on “evolving travel restrictions, government authorization and demand.”

Despite the current challenges, adding flights to Seoul is on Delta’s priority list. In its first-quarter earnings call, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said: “When you think about China and Japan and many of the other Pacific markets, the one market that we will be spending a lot of time trying to support is Korea with our partner at Korean.”

Delta and Korean Air have a transpacific joint venture, so it makes sense that the carrier is trying to funnel its Asia-bound traffic through Seoul, where flyers can then connect onto a Korean Air flight to over 80 destinations. According to the carrier, “the route will offer the fastest connection from PDX to the largest corporate and leisure markets in the region.”

Interestingly, Delta also serves Tokyo Haneda from Portland, with service slated to resume on Oct. 30, per Cirium schedules. The carrier confirmed to TPG that it doesn’t currently have any changes planned for the HND route, though it’s possible that Seoul eventually replaces Tokyo as Delta’s primary gateway to Asia.

More from TPG: Sayonara, Narita: The Rise and Fall of Delta’s Tokyo Hub

As for its transatlantic ambitions, Delta is plans to resume daily service to Athens, Greece (ATH), from New York-JFK on May 28, as originally planned. On Monday, Greece reopened to Americans who can present a vaccination certificate or a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Full schedule for PDX-ICN is below:

Delta Flight 278 Portland (PDX) to Seoul (ICN) departing 12:35 p.m., arriving 5:05 p.m. (+1 day)
Delta Flight 277 Seoul (ICN) to Portland (PDX) departing 7:30 p.m., arriving 2:25 p.m.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.