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Another Blow to International First Class

Another Blow to International First Class
Joe Cortez

First class seating will no longer be an option for most Korean Air flyers. The airline will begin reducing first-class seating starting on June 1, 2019, leaving roughly one-third of their fleet with a luxury travel option.

Luxury travelers will soon have fewer first-class options when they fly with Korean Air. In a statement to the Korean Herald, the carrier will eliminate luxury seating from 27 routes, leaving the seating options on only one-third of their routes.

The reduction in service options will begin on June 1, 2019. When complete, only 35 routes will offer a first-class option to travelers. The routes will be limited to long-haul international routes and select short-haul routes with high traffic. Some flights that will keep first-class in their routes include those to Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei.

According to a spokesperson for the airline, the move is to improve efficiency on routes and focus first class service on longer routes. By doing this, the carrier claims they can provide a better focus on their customer demands where they want it the most.

“We decided to apply two class seat options for flights to tourism destinations where there was low demand for first class,” a spokesperson for Korean Air told Korean Herald. “We will do our best to minimize the inconvenience of first-class passengers and maintain quality service for prestige-class passengers.”

While the trend of reducing the number of first class seats on aircraft isn’t new, it’s the first time Korean Air has announced a major shift in how many seats would be available. In 2014, SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines announced they would cut first class on most domestic routes in favor of a hybrid business and first-class cabin. At the 2017 Aircraft Interiors Expo, airlines were presented thinner seat options with more comfort, reducing the number of space flyers traditionally had. One year later at the same conference, American Airlines called reduced seat pitch “much more comfortable” compared to previous configurations.


[Image Source: Wikimedia/ Alex Beltyukov]

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