In part one, I took you with me on a KE
744 from GMP
(www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/271115/), now it’s time for us to head to Busan, Korea’s second largest city located on the SE
I stayed the night in Jeju City and decided to get up early in order to enjoy a scenic coastal walk to the airport. For those that don’t know, Jeju’s Airport is located in a very scenic location atop of volcanic cliffs next to the blue sea, in my experience, any approach into Jeju will give you fantastic views of the northern part of the island.
The airport itself is the second busiest in Korea, the domestic terminal seems to be much larger and with more facilities than the ones at Gimpo and Busan. From here, not only is it possible to fly to a variety of destinations on the mainland, flights are offered to China, Hong Kong and Japan.
Unlike my last flight, I was able to check in at the machines and within no time at all I had printed off my boarding pass. I didn’t have too long until boarding was scheduled to commence and so I headed straight through security. Despite Jeju being in Korea, all foreigners on domestic flights have to go through a passport check (I think this is because Jeju is visa free area although those going onto the mainland must get a visa/stamp – don’t quote me though!). After security you are greeted with a panoramic view of the airport, where one can appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds the airport.
As per usual, Jeju Airport was incredibly busy with a constant stream of flights departing to cities across the nation. After a quick visit to one of the convenience stores where I stocked up on Hallsan soju and some calamansi-ade I watched my flight pull up into gate 6 from Busan about an hour before the scheduled departure time. There didn’t appear to be that many passengers coming off the flight, however unsurprisingly there did appear to be massive amounts of freight coming off the A330.
Our aircraft for the short hop over to Busan
Almost head on
From – Jeju International, RKPC
To – Busan Gimhae, RKPK
Airline – Korean Air
Flight – KE
A/C – Airbus A330-323
Reg – HL7587
Dep Time (Sched/Act) – 12:00/12:24
Arr Time (Sched/Act) – 12:55/13:00
As soon as the last freight was taken off, freight began to be placed on board. After a stretcher passenger was loaded boarding began.
Today’s aircraft would be HL7587, an older example of the type which made its first flight almost 15 years ago in November 2000 and was delivered later that month. Korean Air operates the A330 on a very wide range of destinations across Asia, Africa, Australasia, Europe and North America (I always think being a crew on the type for KE
must be great if you love travelling!). In the past week my aircraft had made trips to Hong Kong, Honolulu, Phuket, Bali, Dalian, Bangkok, Tokyo, Osaka, Shenzhen and Ulaanbaatar. Despite the aircraft’s age, the only real sign of the aircraft’s age was the slightly dated looking overhead panels. The 2-4-2 configuration cabin was very well kept and clean. The seats were spacious, comfortable and more modern looking than on the 747 with a large touchscreen PTV, USB port and controller. After showing the safety video the PTVs remained inactive for the duration of the flight. The crew on the flight today were Korean; again bar the captain.
Not my seat for today
Ah this looks more like it
Outside ft. much cargo and a worker enjoying some shade
Pushback was made after the departure time thanks to the enormous amount of cargo that took much longer than the passengers to board. I’d say today’s flight appeared to be around 40% full. Our pushback was further delayed thanks to a couple of KE
737s pushing back behind us. After a short taxi, we held for what seemed like a reasonable amount of time as several aircraft arrived and departed.
On the way to the active
We finally made a powerful take off and rotated in what seemed like no time at all, our departure took us out over Jeju City, from the air you realise just how large the city is! We then headed along the NE coast of Jeju before heading directly for Busan. During the climb, today’s inflight service began. As expected this consisted of a drinks round, perfectly sufficient for such a short flight.
Up, up and away
Leaving Jeju behind
Soon after we reached our cruising altitude we began our decent. As we sunk lower, a small portion of Geoje appeared. This scenic island is one of my favourite destinations in Korea, it is sort of a little Jeju connected via bridge to Busan. The island is also where many of the largest cargo ships in the world start their life. Presumably those on the port side of the aircraft would have received some views of Jinhae and Changwon as we descended. The seas beneath us were littered with a wide variety of vessels, ranging from some of the world’s largest waiting to enter the 5th largest container port in the world to small fast fishing boats out for a day’s fishing.
Capturing a glimpse of Geoje
I lack any photos from the final approach however here’s a photo I took from a Peach A320 arriving from KIX
We flew straight into Busan’s runway 36L with the final stages of the approach taking us over the Dadaepo and Hadan areas of SW
Busan and then over the wide Nakdong river and its large park before making a soft landing in Gimhae five minutes late. We taxied off the runway and a few minutes later we arrived at gate 37 at Busan Gimhae’s domestic terminal.
Thanks for the ride!
Overall I’d say that my flights with Korean Air lived up to the high quality I expected with the airline and I’m looking forward to flying with them again in the future, preferably on a much longer flight!
Comparing their A330 and 747, they were both equally spacious; I personally found the seat on the former more comfortable with a more modern looking PTV (although I can’t really say anything about these having not been able to use them). The crew were friendly and welcoming and I can only say positive things about my experience, except my personal bugbear that they didn’t speak to me in Korean even though I spoke Korean to them but as I said if I didn’t speak Korean perhaps I’d be a bit displeased if they didn’t speak any English to me.
Booking via their website was easy and quick (as you’d expect from a large international airline), seats can be selected at check in and on domestic flights economy passengers can bring 20kg of hold luggage. In terms of their domestic service, they do not really stick out from the low cost airlines although given the high standards that exist I Korea I would certainly not say this makes me not want to fly with them again. I’d love to fly on some longer international flights with KE
to get a real taste of the airline, although it’s likely to be a long while before I get opportunity to do so. Top of my list of KE
aircraft to fly in are the 748 and A380 aircraft. Despite the latter starting to fly on the ICN
route, given the cost of direct flights from the UK to Korea. I probably won’t be able to fly it for a while.
That’s all for now. Thank you Korean Air, I hope to fly with you again soon!
And thank you everyone for reading, please feel free to comment and ask questions etc etc.
Somewhere between Korea and the UK.