Korean Air Implements Steep Penalty Fees for Cancellations and No-Shows

Jan 18, 2019

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In the latest example of “this is why we can’t have nice things,” Korean Air is raising rates on last-minute ticket changes.

Following a particularly egregious display of poor behavior from celebrity-crazed youth, Korean Air announced it would soon increase refund fees on cancelled and no-show tickets, even on premium fares.

Those fees went into effect on Jan. 1 and are even higher than previously reported. Travelers who no-show for their flights will lose between $50-120, depending on the length of the flight, while those who cancel their flights after checking in and entering the secure departure area of the airport stand to lose between $250-320.

Here’s a breakdown of the new fees:

Region No-Show Penalty Cancellation after entering the departure area
Long Haul America/Europe/Middle East/Oceania/Africa USD 120
CAD 120
GBP 80
USD 320
CAD 390
GBP 240
Medium Haul Southeast Asia/Southwest Asia/Tashkent USD 70
CAD 70
USD 270
CAD 340
Short Haul Korea/Japan/China/Hong Kong/Taipei/Ulaanbaatar/Vladivostok/Irkutsk USD 50
CAD 50
USD 250
CAD 320


Affected routes include all flights that transfer through South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (ICN), as well as destinations to and from Korea. The fine print states that the penalty amount may vary based on the country of departure, and the airline reserves the right to separately apply ticket reissue and refund charges.

Award tickets aren’t exempt from the no-show and cancellation penalties, either. Passengers who no-show on refundable award tickets will lose 500 SKYPASS miles on Korea domestic flights, and between 5,000-12,000 miles on short, medium and long haul flights.

Furthermore, even more penalties will go into effect beginning Jan. 21. Moving forward, canceling an award flight or upgrade within 90 days of your departure date will incur a 3,000-mile penalty, while no-shows will incur a 10,000-mile penalty going forward. The fees apply to tickets departing on or after Jan. 21, which means that even fares booked prior to Jan. 21 will be subject to the new penalties. Thus far, it doesn’t appear that elite flyers will be exempt from these new penalties, so status will not help you retain your points.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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