Korean Air Is Cutting First Class on 27 International Routes

May 1, 2019

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Korean Air is doing away with its first-class cabin on a total of 27 international routes beginning later this year. Effective June 1, 2019, Korean will remove first-class seats on several shorter-haul international routes.

When the Seoul-based airline goes about removing the first-class seats, it’ll only have two cabins of seats — economy and Prestige (business) — on 76 of its 111 routes. The move, which is meant to increase the efficiency and maximize the profitability of its flights, will see the first-class product gone from most of its leisure routes.

According to The Korea Herald, the cuts are on shorter international flights. More popular shorter international flights that have long offered a first-class cabin will retain the seats, such as Beijing, Osaka, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta and Hanoi.

Korean Air released the following statement: “We decided to apply two class seat options for flights to tourism destinations where there was low demand for first class. We will do our best to minimize the inconvenience of first-class passengers and maintain quality service for Prestige class passengers.”

It’s worth noting that Korean is one of the carriers to draw some criticism from passengers because its business and first class cabins on some of its aircraft are virtually identical.

The only major difference between the two comes in the form of the soft product. This move is likely a move to do away with the higher costs associated with the more premium soft product offering in first class. Find a review of Korean’s Prestige class here, and its first class here.

Passengers traveling long-haul with Korean to North America and Europe — and some Asian destinations — can still expect a first-class product offering. At least for the time being.

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