Flight Review: Korean Air 747-400 Economy Class from Seoul Gimpo to Jeju

Flight Review: Korean Air 747-400 Economy Class from Seoul Gimpo to Jeju

Flight Information
Date
: October 22, 2017
Flight No.: KE1233
Route: Seoul Gimpo to Jeju International
Airline: Korean Air
Type: Boeing 747-400
Registration: HL7461

The day of this flight, I was supposed to take new Jinbei Jet’s inaugural flight. But, because of a change of plans forced by a typhoon, I ended up flying on Korean Air’s 747 from Seoul to Jeju instead.

Check-in and a Quick Lunch at Lotte Mall Gimpo

I spent the morning at Incheon airport (more on that in a separate article) with a fellow Korean spotter before we both headed to Gimpo.

Once there, I quickly got my boarding pass at one of Korean Air’s “Sky Priority” desks. And, while I had many “receipt-like” boarding passes in the past, this one was by far the longest one.

With the boarding pass in my hand, we headed to a mall adjacent to the airport where we had a quick lunch.

Korean Air Gimpo Check-In Area

Korean Air check-in area at Gimpo airport.
Korean Air Boarding Pass

Boarding pass.
Spicy Noodles and Dumplings

Spicy noodles and dumplings.

After lunch, I bade farewell to my Korean friend, and visited Asiana Lounge and KAL Lounge – both of which are members of the Priority Pass network and are located before clearing security.

Seoul Gimpo – Jeju: The Busiest Air Route in the World

I left the latter lounge at 1PM and headed through the security check. It was fairly quick, as I was through within five minutes. And, that included getting my bag “swiped” and tested for explosives.

Security Check

Security check.
Airside at Gimpo

Airside at Gimpo airport’s domestic terminal.

Before continuing, I want to mention that Seoul Gimpo – Jeju is the busiest air route in the world in terms of the number of passengers carried.

Being operated by all of the major Korean airlines – including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, Air Busan, T’Way Airlines, Eastar Jet, and Jin Air – it is also among the top 3 busiest routes in terms of the number of flights.

While most of the flights on the Seoul – Jeju route are operated by narrow bodies, there are also some wide body frequencies including the 747 flight I took.

Gimpo Airport Departure Board

Jeju, Jeju, Jeju, Jeju, …

Airside, I headed directly towards gate 4 where my flight was departing from. As I was walking towards the gate, an announcement was made that boarding would be delayed from 1:20PM to 1:30PM.

Korean Air 737

Korean Air 737-800.
Airbridge

Airbridge.
Walkway

Walkway to gate 4.

When I got to the gate, flight KE1231 bound for Jeju was boarding at the adjacent gate 5. At the same time, a queue started to form around gate 4 for my flight – KE1233 – departing just five minutes after KE1231.

Gates 4 and 5

Gates 4 and 5.
Gates 4 and 5

KE1231 at 1:45PM, KE1233 at 1:50PM…
Gimpo Airport Gate 4

Gate 4.

Outside, the Queen of the Skies was already waiting for its next domestic hop.

Korean Air Boeing 747-400

Korean Air 747-400.

Boarding the Korean Air 747-400 and Departing Bound for Jeju

Boarding started at 1:31PM, and being a Sky Team Elite Plus member, I was one of the first passengers to head down the jetway.

Boarding Korean Air 747-400

Boarding.
Newspapers

Newspapers provided in the airbridge.
Korean Air 747

One more look at the aircraft before getting onboard.

Onboard, I took a quick look into the nose section which featured 12 first class seats.

Korean Air 747-400 First Class

First class cabin.

Then, I headed to my seat 28K which was just a couple of steps away since it was a seat in the very first row of the economy class cabin which was right behind the first class cabin. Being a bulkhead seat, the legroom was more than generous – although at the cost of not being able to raise the armrest.

Korean Air 747-400 Economy Class

First row of economy class.
Korean Air 747 Economy Class Cabin

First economy class cabin.
Legroom

More than enough legroom.

After dropping off my bag, I also peeked into the next economy class cabin. Interestingly, it featured differently colored seats than the one that I was seated in.

Blue Seats

Second economy class cabin.

Around 1:50PM, one of the cabin crew members came by to take the screens of people seated in bulkhead seats out of the armrest in preparation for the safety video screening.

Just a couple of minutes later at 1:57PM – seven minutes behind schedule – the push back started. Around the same time, the cabin crew came to stow the screen. While doing so, she also welcomed me onboard and thanked me for flying with Korean Air.

Wingview

Waiting for push back.
Screen

Personal screen.

Shortly, the aircraft’s four Pratt & Whitney engines were fired up, and we taxied towards our departure runway, crossing runway 14L/32R along the way.

Taxiing to Runway at Gimpo

Taxiing for departure.
Seoul Gimpo Airport

Overview of Gimpo airport.

We took off from runway 32L at 2:09PM. And, almost immediately after lifting off, we commenced a left turn – both to avoid North Korea and to head to Jeju which is an island to the south of Korean mainland.

Seoul Gimpo Runway 32L

Entering runway 32L.
Take Off

Seconds after take off.
Take Off

Chasing our own shadow.
Wingview

Climbing.

Korean Air Domestic In-Flight Service

The seatbelt signs were switched off just four minutes after take off, at 2:13PM. At the time, we were flying by Incheon airport.

Seoul Incheon Airport

Incheon airport.

With Incheon airport photographed, I left my seat to look around the cabin a bit. And, of course, also to take a couple of photos through the window on “L2” door which is perhaps the best window for wing shots on the 747.

Stairs

“Stairway to heaven.”
Cabin

Economy class cabin in-flight.
Wingview from Door 2

Cruising at 26,000 feet.

When I returned to my seat, the drink service was in progress – and as usual, I went with a cup of orange juice.

Around the same time, the cockpit crew made an announcement. But, it was incomprehensible – the only part of it I could understand was that we were flying at 26,000 feet at the time.

Korean Air Drink

Orange juice.

Once the cups were cleared, I took a quick look at the contents of the seat pocket.

Seat Pocket

Contents of seat pocket.

By the time I put all the printed materials back into the seat pocket, we were flying by Gunsan airport, making our way south.

Gunsan Airport

Gunsan airport.
River

A view along the way to Jeju.

Landing at Jeju International Airport

We started our descend just as we were reaching the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. And by the time we reached the western side of Jeju Island, we were down to about 4,000 feet.

Cruising Over Sea

Crossing the sea.

Then, a sharp left turn after which we flew above the island for a while followed.

Approaching Jeju Island

Approaching Jeju island.
Dramatic Skies

Dramatic skies.
Jeju

Over Jeju island.

Finally, we landed on Jeju airport’s runway 07 at 3:03PM.

Landing

Flying over Jeju island.
Apartments in Jeju

Apartments in Jeju city.
Jeju Airport Landing

“JEJU.”

Another five minutes later, at 3:08PM, we arrived at our remote parking spot.

Luckily, the weather was good – and so I could enjoy seeing the 747 up close from the outside before getting on the bus into the terminal.

Deboarding

Korean Air 747-400 at Jeju airport.
Korean Air 747 in Jeju

The flight is over.
Korean Air 747-400

What a beautiful aircraft!

I wasn’t able to get on the first bus, and so I had to wait a bit. But, I didn’t mind that at all given that I was standing beneath a 747!

Korean Air 747

One last look at the aircraft.
Korean Air Bus

Korean Air bus.

As I was traveling with hand luggage only, once I got off the bus, it was just a short walk to the airport’s bus stop from where I took a bus into Jeju City where my hotel for the night was located.

Jeju Airport Terminal

Jeju airport terminal.
Bus Stop

Waiting for the bus.
 

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