Korean Air Launching 747-8 Flights To London As Of August 2015

The passenger version of the Boeing 747-8 has been a bit of a flop unfortunately, as only a few airlines have ordered it. Ultimately the twin engine widebody aircraft are much more versatile and fuel efficient, so it’s tough for most airlines to justify aircraft like the Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380.

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Lufthansa 747-8 at Frankfurt Airport

Lufthansa was the first airline to take delivery of the Boeing 747-8, and for a long time was the only airline operating it. Then a few months ago Air China took delivery of their first Boeing 747-8.

The third airline to take delivery of the Boeing 747-8 will be Korean Air, and they’ve just announced that the first longhaul route operated by the aircraft will be Seoul Incheon to London Heathrow.

Via airlineroute.net, Korean Air will be launching 747-8 service between Seoul Incheon and London Heathrow as of August 2, 2015:

KE907 Seoul to London departing 1:00PM arriving 5:25PM
KE908 London to Seoul departing 7:35PM arriving 2:25PM (+1 day)

The route will initially operate 3x weekly using a 747-8, though by September 1, 2015, the flight will be operated daily by a Boeing 747-8. This replaces the Boeing 777-300ER presently operating the route.

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Korean Air 777-300ER

Korean Air is excellent about opening up first class award availability on their own flights, so as you’d expect award availability is excellent, even on the inaugural flights, with three first class seats on the outbound and two on the return:

Korean-Air-Award Korean-Air-Award-1

What’s most interesting, however, is Korean Air’s 747-8 configuration. The Korean Air 747-8 will feature a total of 368 seats, including:

  • 6 first class seats
  • 48 business class seats
  • 314 economy class seats

First class will be in the nose, with just three seats on each side of the cabin, and no seats in the center of the cabin:

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Assuming that takes up the entire nose section (which I assume it will), that’s a really spacious configuration. Even Lufthansa has eight seats in that area, and they have a very spacious configuration.

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Lufthansa 747-8 first class

It makes me wonder if they’ll introduce a new first class product, given that Korean Air hasn’t really done much to innovate their hard product over the years.

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Korean Air A380 first class

Business class will be split between the upper and lower deck, with 22 seats on the upper deck and 26 seats on the lower deck.

KE-2

Only 22 seats on the upper deck is extremely spacious — Lufthansa fits 32 seats in the same area!

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Lufthansa 747-8 business class

Bottom line

Korean Air has a total of 10 of these on order, so I’m keen to eventually fly on one. I can’t wait to see what the interior of their 747-8s looks like.

Anyone have plans to fly Korean Air’s new 747-8? And any guesses as to why their first class cabin is so spacious?

Comments

  1. They’re either resurrecting the piano lounge of old, or going to be a bathroom/shower in the center.

  2. My guess is that they will introduce much larger F seats (a la “suites”). Showers would be amazing, but unlikely for just 6 passengers.

  3. From what I’ve heard, they will introduce a new suite type of F product on the 77W, A380 and 748i replacing the current Kosmo Suites.

    Also, I’m sure you’ve heard already regarding the new business class. They will replace the current seats with lie flat seats similar to the one JAL has on their 777-300ER and 787’s.

  4. You see, Lucky, when it comes to seats, Lufthansa is one of the worst airlines.

  5. im definitely been waiting to fly on this bird. I did the LH IAD-FRA Rt last year B4 UA devalued. Wonderful time. 4 windows

  6. Wow, that’s an extremely low utilization Korean is doing with this plane. It’ll stay on the ground 22 hours between flights (and one time 46 hours), while funny enough, it’ll only be on the ground 2h20 in London, which I find pretty short.

    They’re not using it for any short-haul flight? Seems like a waste of money, looking at the prize tag.

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t Korean have have a 2-3-2 on their 777? That means they’ll be introducing a new business class product right?

  8. @ Jonathan — They do indeed, so it should be a wider/more spacious product, if nothing else.

  9. @ JMR — I assume they’ll use it for some shorthauls as well, but keep in mind the 3x weekly service is simply because they’ll only have one of them. The utilization will get better as they receive more of them and operate more routes with the plane.

  10. I am glad to see some of the 8’s roll out, albiet slowly. Hopefully this will keep 747’s in the sky and at airports for quite a bit longer. Still the most romantic plane flying today in my opinion, hope to fly first class in one some day.

  11. The 747-8 is the most beautiful aircraft in the sky. If Qantas gets one, I’ll be Sydney to London asap. The A380 is the ugly duckling in the sky. I was told that Emirates A380’s are only half full and they may have to stop flying them, which will make Airbus concentrate on their other more profitable jets. Any one else hav some inside information?

  12. @ Reuben Uther — They’re working extremely well for Emirates, so I wouldn’t make that assumption.

  13. Looks like the 748 is only on the LHR route for a few months. At least according to expertflyer, KE’s other European and N American routes aren’t slated to get the 748. What do you think will happen?

  14. @ Shanghai9 — I think they just haven’t updated their winter schedule yet. I’m sure they will at some point, and I would guess it will continue flying to London for a while. I suspect it will probably be scheduled onto a US route after that.

  15. I was going to be flying this bird in late August but unfortunately it’s a 77W again. According to Expertflyer, it looks like they moved the 74H to September 2nd (perhaps due to the new F seat?) Ah well. I guess I’ll have to fly this bird another time. Do you think KE will have training flights on some regional routes first like PEK/NRT/PVG/HKG before starting the LHR route?

  16. @ Joey — Eeeek, that sucks! Wouldn’t surprise me if they do have some training flights within Asia first. Makes sense for a new type of plane.

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