Korean Air

New Korean Air ‘Prestige Suite’ indicates a new seating trend in Business Class

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By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

Korean Air is the latest carrier to embrace the new B/E Aerospace Apex Business Class suite. Following both JAL and Oman Air, Korean Air has opted for these increasingly popular forward facing private suites, which all offer aisle access and increased privacy.

Just like Japan Airlines’ ‘Sleeper Suites’, Korean Air’s ‘Prestige Suites’ turn into 74 inch long beds. When not fully reclined, the seats are still a comfortable 21.6 inches wide and feature a 23 inch widescreen touchscreen TV with handheld controller too, so there is no need to reach to the screen.

In a bid to improve and align their business class cabin with international standards, the biggest improvement comes from the introduction of a fully flat bed, replacing the older lie-flat seats.

The new Suites will make their debut on a Korean Air A330-300 on the Guangzhou, Singapore and Hanoi routes. Korean Air has a further 38 aircraft on order – six A330-300s, twelve B777-300ERs, ten B747-8is and ten B787-9s – and all will be delivered equipped with these new seats.

The airline also announced they will be looking at introducing a brand new First Class product to compliment the new suites.

The advantage of these seats is that passengers can either fly together or in complete privacy, in a similar set-up to British Airways’ long-standing Club World product. The centre seats align perfectly, whilst the window twin seats are staggered slightly, to ensure each passenger has access to the aisle. Read full article »

Korean Air’s personal grooming training now offers makeup lessons for men

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

While the metrosexual trend, featuring David Beckam as its icon, has been coined by Marian Salzman almost a decade ago and has been declared passé many times before, the South Koreans are having none of it. Being one of the most competitive and beauty-conscious countries in the world (plastic surgery is common practice), South Korea is also one of the most ‘attractive’ markets for male cosmetics, with make up for men being the latest craze.

According to Euromonitor, South Korea is the biggest market for male grooming products, accounting for 18 percent of the world’s male cosmetic market in 2011. Eyeliner and so-called BB cream (a foundation like tinted cream that is primer, protector, concealer and skin regulator all in one) are considered perfectly acceptable for male celebrities and for an increasing number of ordinary men.

Male grooming
CNN now reports that South Korea’s flag carrier, Korean Air, has also gotten onto the male cosmetics bandwagon. Last month, 74 new male recruits gathered at the Korean Air flight attendant training center in Seoul to learn all about skin care, makeup and grooming.

The so-called “image making for service men” made sure all the new staff were well versed in the application of sunscreen (to protect skin from premature aging), skin care (to ensure smooth, clean and blemish free faces) and the correct application of BB cream. In the past, Korean Air’s makeup classes have been available only for its female staff, and this marked the first time its male staff received such lessons.

The airline brought in makeup professionals for the occasion, which was geared towards the airline’s new ground staff. Flight attendants did not receive the makeup training. “We plan on continuing the image-enhancing education, including basic makeup training, in the future,” said Korean Air public relations representative Hyun-mook Cho.
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Innovative Airlines 2012: #1 Korean Air

Korean Air tops airlinetrends.com’s 2012 ranking of the world’s most innovative airlines. The flag carrier of the ‘Land of the Morning Calm’ has established itself as a major hub carrier for passengers travelling between Asia and North America; its A380 flagships have the lowest seat density of any A380 operator and feature bars and lounges branded by Absolut Vodka, as well as a duty free showcase. The airline also operates its own organic farm and offers attentive service amenities such as a coat storage service and a women-only lounge at Seoul’s Incheon Airport, which itself has been voted best airport in the world for the past seven years.

Incheon hub
Sandwiched between the world’s second and third largest economies of China and Japan, Seoul’s Incheon Airport has become a key North East Asia hub, offering more direct flights to Japanese cities than even Tokyo Narita, which is Japan’s main international airport. Furthermore, Korean Air is taking advantage of South Korea’s open skies policies with the US, Canada and China to target travellers flying between East Asia and North America (where it serves 13 destinations). The airline’s short-haul route network spans 23 cities in China and 15 destinations in Japan and the airline generates 56 percent of its revenues on routes to China, Japan and North America.

Because of high oil prices, a weak Korean won and the slow recovery of cargo traffic (Korean Air is the second largest cargo airline in the world after Cathay Pacific), Korean Air made a net loss in 2011. Analysts, however, are optimistic about the airline’s future prospects, noting that “it will benefit from a solid increase in inbound/transit passenger demand especially from Chinese tourists, and increasing exports of consumer electronics and automobile components.” Furthermore – similar to Delta Air Lines’ recent purchase of an oil refinery –Korean Air in 2007 bought a 28-percent stake in South Korean oil company S-Oil in order to secure a stable supply of jet fuel.

Additionally, while many airlines across Asia are currently busy establishing their own low-cost carriers (LCC’s), Korean Air in 2008 launched a low-cost subsidiary – Jin Air – in order to compete with Korea’s high-speed rail network, the growth of domestic budget air travel, and the entry of Chinese and Southeast Asian LCCs. As LCCs in South Korea today account for over 40 percent of passengers on domestic routes, Jin Air is rapidly expanding its international operations. The carrier was the first South Korean LCC to offer services to mainland China and has launched a raft of new international routes in recent months. As it spreads its wings across Asia, Jin Air will also benefit from having a first-mover advantage compared with the relative youth of Japanese LCC’s, while Korean Air may also use its LCC unit more strategically in the future.
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How Korean Air is catering to the growing number of female passengers

Airlines traditionally have been catering to the stereotype male business traveler in his forties, but the growing economic power of women, the greying of society, and the emergence of more travelers from non-Western countries is changing this archetypical passenger. For example, in the U.S. women already make up over 40 percent of business travellers and 50 percent of frequent flyer program members. Although still limited, some airlines have begun to offer specific amenities for female passengers, which go beyond the traditional amenity kit. Lufthansa and Air France publish dedicated lifestyle magazines for premium female passengers with titles such as Woman’s World and Madame, while Asiana offers additional services for expectant mothers, called ‘PreMom’. South Korean flag carrier Korean Air, however, is going the extra mile to cater to the growing number of female passengers, which make up 45 percent of its passengers.

Dedicated lounge area for female passengers
Korean Air recently opened an expanded Prestige Lounge at Incheon International airport. Among the lounge’s features is a dedicated area for female travellers, which to our knowledge, is a first for an airline.

Says Korean Air’s spokeswoman Mi Hyun Kim: “These days more and more female travellers are traveling around the world. In order to respond to their increasing needs, we have designed a special area fully dedicated to female travellers, which includes a female restroom, sleeping room and powder room. Also, female travellers can taste quality food and snacks and change diapers of their babies without any distraction in this area. In the powder room, there is a dressing table with a large mirror and a chair to help female travelers to do their make-up. In the sleeping room, there are two comfortable couch-type chairs which can be reclined upon adjustment.”

Women-only onboard bathroom
Korean Air is also among a handful airlines in the world that have dedicated bathrooms onboard for use by female passengers only. The airline has been offering this ‘ladies-only’ facility, which is available on long-haul aircraft such as A380s, B747s, B777s and A300s, since 2007. Korean Air’s ladies-only lavatory is decorated with pink coloured wallpapers, has a diaper board for babies and provides extra cosmetics.
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Korean Air’s new A380 to feature in-flight duty free store

The Airbus A380 ‘superjumbo’ provides 50 percent more floor space compared with the Boeing 747, but airlines on average install 35 percent more seats, leaving the remaining space available for roomier cabins and customized areas. Examples include First Class suites (Singapore Airlines, Emirates), onboard showers (Emirates), large bathrooms and changing rooms (Lufthansa, Air France), social areas (Emirates, Qantas, Air France and a staffed bar (Emirates). Currently five airlines operate the A380 and in June 2011, Korean Air will become the sixth airline to start flying the superjumbo (followed by China Southern in the fall of 2011). 

Lowest A380 seat configuration sofar
With just 407 passengers, or 12 in First Class, 94 in Business and 301 in Economy (34” seat-pitch), Korean Air’s A380s will have the least dense A380 configuration so far. The entire upper deck will be dedicated to Business Class with a self-service bar in the front and a full service bar in the rear. First Class will be in the front of the main deck with its own dedicated bar, designed by Absolut Vodka, with the Economy cabin right behind it. 

In-flight duty free store
Korean Air will be the first airline in the world is outfitting its new A380s with a physical duty-free shop. The kiosk will complement the regular duty free cart service and will be  staffed by a full-time sales assistant. The store will display the best-selling items across categories such as liquor, cosmetics, accessories and fragrances and will be open for business for the duration of the flight. First Class passengers will be able to browse the shop and make purchases before anyone else, followed by Business Class and then other passengers. The orders placed by passengers will be delivered to their seats later. Read full article »