While we were still on the planning stage of the trip, my family decided that we should add another city in Korea into our itinerary. There were several potential candidates to be added into our itinerary, which are either Busan or Jeju Island.
However, after much thoughts and consultations with our Korean friends in Jakarta, we decided that Jeju Island would be a better add into our itinerary this time round. Therefore, I began the search for flights from Seoul to Jeju.
A handful of local airlines are serving the GMP to CJU route, namely Easter Jet, Jeju Air, Jin Air, and also the country's flag-carrier Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. Initially we were looking into KE flights from GMP, which are operated on their B744 and B738. However, strangely it is unbelievably difficult to access the domestic booking system website from overseas. The local LCC websites gave us other challenges, as their website are only in Korean.
One of the few LCC that has an English language page is Jeju Air. As they gave us a relatively good deal for a GMP-CJU flights return, we decided that Jeju Air would be our choice.
Hence, please join us on our experience as Korea Beginners flying South Korea's largest LCC, Jeju Air .
Our trip has started from our hotel in Namdaemun area, downtown Seoul to Gimpo Airport, at around 1000hrs, around three hours prior to departure time. The taxi driver was a friendly Korean man and we had several conversation about Jakarta and Indonesia as a country. However, this conversation apparently made him thought that we were actually on our way back to CGK, and he insisted that it is ICN we should be going to, not GMP.
And yes, for the next 30 minutes we were trying to convince him through limited command of English that we should be going to GMP because we were flying for CJU. Despite our worries that we might be sent to the wrong airport, we reached Gimpo Airport's... International Terminal, where KE and OZ international service out of GMP departs.
At this stage the driver was still thinking we are going home to CGK, until we explained again really slowly this time that we are going to CJU today on Jeju Air. Then, we finally got into GMP Domestic terminal, where there's a Jeju Air sign right outside the entrance.
Jeju Air is South Korea's largest LCC carrier, and it is the third largest airline in the country (after KE and OZ). The airline, which was founded in 2005 have a fleet consisting of 12 B738 aircraft in single class configuration, to domestic and international destinations from their hubs at GMP, ICN, and CJU.
Check-in, Gimpo International Airport - Seoul
Check-in counters at GMP Domestic Terminal, with LCCs such as Jeju Air, Jin Air, and flag-carrier Korean Air
The designated Check-in Counter for Jeju Air.
Check-in process at Jeju Air counter was simple. Our bags were checked-in and we got our boarding pass within 15 minutes. The staff also had a decent command of English which made things easier. The check-in staff wished us a nice flight and remind us that we must show our passport as an identity proof, along with the boarding pass to the security for the security screening.
From my point of view, Gimpo Airport Domestic terminal look rather old, but I must admit that although the building looks ancient and plain, it is well maintained and clean.
Departure Hall - Gimpo Airport Domestic Terminal
Departure Hall seen from level two.
We had Korean dishes for lunch at a restaurant in Level two
Passport + Jeju Air Boarding pass (looks like most LCC Boarding pass)
The Domestic Terminal Exterior with some activities seen behind the building.
A Shopping mall was located nearby the airport, and the International Terminal (The blue-roof building)
After the lunch, we proceed to the departure gates. This point onwards, only ticket-holder are permitted to enter.
Flight Number: 7C 133
Type of Aircraft: Boeing 737-8
Registration: HL8263 (Delivered to Jeju Air 23/11/2012, l/n 1325)
Seat Number: 8B
Post - Security at GMP.
Our assigned gate 11.
While I was waiting for boarding to commence, I attempted to take picture of the outside traffic activity at GMP. However, the window was purposely blurred and there were 'No photography' signs on the window. To those familiar with South Korean aviation, I was wondering why is GMP is not plane-spotting friendly?
I am sure that I did not see the same sign at ICN, and while I am sure that they are regulated under the same Civil Aviation Authority, I was puzzled that they could have differing rules on plane-spotting. This sign definitely tell me that I must limit my photo-taking.
We are at Gimpo Airport, as the large "Gimpo" sign suggests us.
Our boarding call came on time at 1310hrs, where we have took a stair down outside where a bus had been waiting for us, taking us to our aircraft where we boarded through stairs.
An Easter Jet B738 while taken from the moving bus.
Our aircraft, HL8263 (ex Virgin Australia's VH-VOV) would be flying us to Jeju.
Boarding the Orange Jet through the Orange stairs.
The flight was almost full, with around 80% load of mostly Koreans heading for a short getaway in Jeju Island, along with other Singaporean tourists on board. Crew members welcomed us aboard and a manual safety demonstration was done while we were taxing to the runway.
Seat back on this B738. Leg room are of LCC standard and it is quite cramped for a medium-built person like me.
Taxing through Gimpo. Korean Air B744 and 739s are common view here.
We're entering the runway. 7C 133 is ready for take-off!
Views of Seoul after take-off.
Shortly after we reached cruising altitude, cabin crew go through the aisle with a complimentary drink service with the choice of orange juice or water. There is no BOB on this flight.
Complimentary orange juice and water on this one hour flight.
The Jeju Air cups used to serve the drinks.
As a marketing strategy, Jeju Air is co-operating with a K-pop group to advertise their brand. Really smart move considering the booming of Korean pop music in Asia.
"Join en-joy" In-flight magazine, Duty free catalog (only on International Flights), Safety card, and Airsickness bag.
Cabin view on this 9.7 years old B738.
Leather seats on the aircraft, taken on the empty emergency exit seats while cruising.
Orange winglets that accompanied me for the rest of the flight.
Arrival into Jeju International Airport
After around 55 minutes of flying time, the Captain announced that we were descending into CJU. Cabin crews came out from the galley to make sure we were ready for landing.
Jeju Island while on approach to CJU.
The island with our hotel visible while on approach.
After touchdown at around 1435hrs, we taxied to our parking stand.
Jeju Air ground crews preparing the stairs for deplaning.
A view of our aircraft while taken from the bus.
Jeju Airport's baggage claim area.
Taxi stand in CJU arrivals area.
See you in 3 days, Jeju International Airport!
Final thoughts on the flight
Following my first flight on board Jeju Air, I have to admit that my inital expectation on them was a total underestimation. I did not found any issues with their service all the way from booking to our arrival. Although seat comfort and legroom was quite limited, but it was fairly sufficient for the short flight.
On the 1 hour 5 minutes flight from GMP to CJU, the complimentary drink service was a plus and something that is nowadays uncommon on board LCCs, where most of the time only Buy-on board services available.
Overall, I must say that Jeju Air is an outstanding LCC and I would be looking forward for my next flight with them.
Should you have any thoughts or questions, do leave a comment
Thanks for reading this long TR and hope you enjoyed it.
dirktraveller From Singapore, joined Jan 2011, 205 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (4 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5765 times:
As I have done posting my experience on board Jeju Air, let me share some pictures from my three-days stay at the Island of Sky and Sea, Jeju.
Sea-side views at Jeju Island.
The Spirited Garden, one of the few Bonsai gardens in Asia.
A mock-up of Japanese zero fighter in Alddreu Airfield, which was once used as a Japanese Air base during the Second World War.
History of the Zero fighter and the airfield itself.
Jeju Island is one of the most beautiful place that I have visited so far, and I enjoyed my time there. I hope you do enjoy the pictures of the Island.
Furthermore, I have to thank the friendly local people that have gone the extra mile to assist us, as Korean Beginners to navigate through the island. They are the ones that had truly made our visit more enjoyable and meaningful at the same time.
WROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 811 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5034 times:
Nice pictures and your trip report. I think yours is the first covering 7C. How do they compare to Air Asia and/or Jetstar?
Jeju island looks nice, but what is the appeal of going there if it is cold this time of year?
dirktraveller From Singapore, joined Jan 2011, 205 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (4 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4338 times:
Thank you. If this is the first report on Jeju Air, I am really glad to share this Jeju Air report with the a-net community.
Quoting WROORD (Reply 2): How do they compare to Air Asia and/or Jetstar?
Personally I think that Jeju Air is on a same standard with Jetstar in terms of service and punctuality. Based on my experience, I would say Jeju Air is a better carrier compared to Air Asia.
Quoting WROORD (Reply 2): Jeju island looks nice, but what is the appeal of going there if it is cold this time of year?
Well, because we come from a country with tropical climate, the warm sun was not our main goal in Jeju.However, the island itself has a lot of theme parks, outdoor activities, spectacular golf courses, and of course beautiful scenery that is available all year long
WROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 811 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (4 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3927 times:
Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 3): Well, because we come from a country with tropical climate, the warm sun was not our main goal in Jeju.However, the island itself has a lot of theme parks, outdoor activities, spectacular golf courses, and of course beautiful scenery that is available all year long
Good to know. Thank you! I may consider it on my next trip. However, my favorite places for outside activities in Asia so far have been Taroko Gorge Park in Taiwan and Guilin in China. As far as cities I would say Hong Kong for its dynamic and vibrant atmosphere and Singapore for its clean and organized feel.
knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1415 posts, RR: 17 Reply 5, posted (4 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3891 times:
Thanks for the interesting report. I don't think I've ever seen any pictures from inside the Gimpo terminal before. The check-in area looks rather old-fashioned.
I've always wondered about Jeju and judging from your pictures and report it looks like an interesting place to visit. Oh, and I like the picture of the food you had at the airport - I love Korean food.
dirktraveller From Singapore, joined Jan 2011, 205 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (4 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3565 times:
Hi WROORD and William
Quoting WROORD (Reply 4): Thank you! I may consider it on my next trip. However, my favorite places for outside activities in Asia so far have been Taroko Gorge Park in Taiwan and Guilin in China.
The Gorge park seems appealing. May I know the main highlights inside the park? I would like to visit the park if I'm flying to Taiwan someday. As for the cities, I have to agree that the capital city, Seoul is on the list of my favorite Asian cities, besides the clean and organised Singapore that you mentioned, of course .
Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 5): Thanks for the interesting report. I don't think I've ever seen any pictures from inside the Gimpo terminal before. The check-in area looks rather old-fashioned.
Thanks William. The domestic terminal itself really looked old-fashioned. I wondered if they have any refurbishment plans coming on soon, with the noticeable increasing traffic on the airport itself.
Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 5):
I've always wondered about Jeju and judging from your pictures and report it looks like an place to visit. Oh, and I like the picture of the food you had at the airport - I love Korean food.
Indeed Jeju is a really interesting place to visit, especially if you are a fan of Korean foods. They serve nice fresh seafoods into the variety of Korean foods that they have over there.
Wishing you a Happy New Year 2013.
Thanks for dropping by.
Transasia airlines run nice flights from TSA to Hualien if you want to explore on your own. Otherwise you can book a day trip from Taipei with Edison travel. They have an early flight to Hualien, a guided bus tour and return on the train all included in the price.
dirktraveller From Singapore, joined Jan 2011, 205 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (4 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3181 times:
Hi Marc and WROORD,
Quoting WROORD (Reply 7): Transasia airlines run nice flights from TSA to Hualien if you want to explore on your own. Otherwise you can book a day trip from Taipei with Edison travel. They have an early flight to Hualien, a guided bus tour and return on the train all included in the price.
Thanks for the information, I would definitely consider this to add on my itinerary if I am going to TPE someday soon.
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8): Thanks for showing us Jujuair, looks like a decent LCC
I haven't heard of Jejuair and Jeju Island before, but judging the report they don't look bad at all.
Thank you Marc, Jeju Air is a nice LCC and Jeju Island itself is a really beautiful place, you should consider making a visit there someday.