Pay For Business, Fly In First With Korean Air On Select Planes

Looking for a free perk? If you pay for a business class ticket on certain Korean Air flights you can fly in first class on select planes.

Buy and business class ticket and fly in a first class seat. Photo: Mark Finlay/Flickr

Following Korean Air’s recent announcement that they were removing first-class seats on 27 of their international routes starting in June, flyers are now left with only two seat choices when traveling with Korean Air.

While not every international route will see a downgrade in service, this latest move by the SkyTeam Alliance member will affect 76 of Korean Air’s 111 routes, according to the Korean Herald. When you look at the move as an outsider, the only reason Korean Air would do this is because the demand for first class on these routes is not there.

This is backed up with a company statement also carried in the Herald that reads,

“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.”

Flying in first class with a business class ticket

So far, on some aircraft like the A330 and the B777-300, Korean Air has not yet reconfigured the first class cabin to incorporate it into business class.

Korean Air has the same seats in both business and first class. Photo: Korean Air

What this means is that if you book a business class ticket, you can sit in what was until just a couple of weeks ago a first class seat, according to Loyalty Lobby. The first class seating on Korean Air’s A330’s and Boeing 777’s is separated from the main cabin, allowing premium fare paying passengers more comfort and quieter surroundings.

In order to snag one of these superior seats, you need to be flying on a route that is operated either by a A330 or B777-300. Routes that are operated flying a B77W still have a first class option available, so it is no good if you are only flying business.

What’s the difference between a first class seat and a business class seat?

On domestic flights and short-haul flights, business class is just a slight step up from economy, but on long haul flights, business class is considerably better with many airlines even offering seats that fully recline flat.

All Korean Air business class seats fully recline. Photo: Korean Air

This is the case with Korean Air whose business seats not only fully recline, but offer passengers direct aisle access no matter where you are seated on the aircraft.

Now here’s the kicker! Both business class and what used to be first class on Korean Air use the same seat. The only advantage you will have over a business class seat on a Korean Air flight that has scrapped first class is that you will be seated in a quieter, more intimate cabin with more privacy. Oh, and you get an ottoman to put your feet on.


If you want to take advantage of flying in a first class seat for the price on a business class ticket, visit Korean Air’s website and select your seat by clicking on Manage Booking.