Which Planes Feature Korean Air’s New Business Class?

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One of the best business class products in the world is the Apex Suite, and in particular, the window seat in this configuration. Unfortunately not many airlines have this type of seat so far.

Earlier in the year I flew Oman Air, which has the Apex Suite on some of their planes.

Oman-Air-787-Business-Class - 5

Then just a couple of months ago I flew Japan Airlines, which also has the Apex Suite on their 777-300ERs.

Japan-Airlines-777-Business-Class-2

Specifically, it’s only the window seats in this configuration that are truly exceptional. The rest of the seats are perfectly fine, though I love the window seats for how private they are, along with the amount of personal space they afford. It’s sort of unreal, as the product is almost as spacious as first class on many airlines.

The only other airline I know of with the Apex Suite is Korean Air, which has the product on all their 747-8 aircraft, as well as select 777-300ER aircraft. So in this post I figured I’d talk a bit more about that, given that it’s a great product to redeem miles for.

Korean-Air-Business-Class

Which Korean Air planes feature the new business class product?

As stated above, all of Korean Air’s 747-8 aircraft feature the Apex Suite in business class. That being said, Korean Air only has a total of seven of them in their fleet at the moment, with another three due to be delivered soon. So this is a plane that isn’t especially easy to book.

The routes they use their 747-8 aircraft on seem to vary, but over the coming weeks they’re operating them to New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver, Frankfurt, etc.

On top of that, select Korean Air 777-300ER aircraft feature Korean’s new business class product. Korean Air has a total of 20 of these planes in their fleet, with another 10 on order. I believe roughly half of them have been reconfigured at this point.

Korean-Air-777

How can you tell if your Korean Air 777-300ER is scheduled to feature the new business class product? Based on the seatmap.

If a 777 seatmap shows just six seats per row in business class, the plane features the new business class product.

Korean-Air-Seatmap-1

Meanwhile if a 777 seatmap shows seven seats per row in business class, the plane features the old business class product.

Korean-Air-Seatmap-2

As you can see, Korean Air is reducing business class capacity from 56 to 42 seats with their reconfigured 777-300ERs.

This is a very nice layout, by the way. Japan Airlines’ 777s with the same new business class product are still in a 2-3-2 configuration, so Korean Air seems to have an especially spacious layout.

However, I have to imagine that a window Apex Suite on the upper deck of the 747-8 might just be the best business class seat there is.

How can you redeem miles for Korean Air business class?

I’ve written a lot about the Korean Air SkyPass program, and specifically how to redeem miles for Korean Air first class. Korean Air first class redemptions are pretty wide open, probably thanks largely to the fact that only those with Korean Air miles can book them.

Korean-Air-First-Class
Korean Air’s A380 first class

Fortunately Korean Air SkyPass is a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner, so you can transfer points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardInk Plus® Business Credit Card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

CreditCardsBanner2

As far as business class goes, in theory you can redeem partner miles (Delta SkyMiles, Alaska Mileage Plan miles, etc.) for Korean Air business class as well. However, they only have access to a very small portion of Korean Air’s award availability.

If you’re booking directly though Korean Air SkyPass, however, you should find plenty of business class award availability. We’re not just talking a couple of seats per flight, but rather typically 9+ flights. Seeing that many seats is the norm, not the exception. Crazy, eh?

KE-Business-Award

Korean Air one-way business class awards booked through SkyPass cost the following number of miles:

  • North America to North Asia/Korea: 62,500 miles
  • North America to Southwest Asia: 85,000 miles
  • North America to Oceania: 97,500 miles

There are some mild fuel surcharges on Korean Air awards, on top of the miles. For example, between the US and Korea you’ll pay about $100 one-way for business class.

Bottom line

Korean Air SkyPass really is an incredible program. In the past I’ve always highlighted how easily you can redeem for first class on Korean Air, which is pretty awesome, given how tough it is to typically snag first class awards in advance nowadays, let alone multiple seats on one flight.

However, there’s a lot of value to be had in redeeming for business class as well, especially if you’re looking to travel as a larger party and/or want to save miles. Now that Korean Air has one of the world’s best business class product on many of the planes they fly to the US, this is even more tempting than before.

Do keep in mind that Korean Air SkyPass only lets you redeem miles for family members, though on the plus side they also let you hold awards for a very long time, and have great change and cancelation policies.

Has anyone flown Korean Air’s new business class product? What did you make of it?


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Comments

  1. No Korean airlines for me. The cockpit culture problem continues, as the Asiana tragedy and debacle in SFO amply illustrates.

  2. Would all the Korean Air planes that have this Apex Suite have the updated first class seats as well? In particular what they fly in/out of Vancouver.

  3. My wife and I flew one-way from SEA to SIN, with 4 days stopover at ICN. The SEA-ICN segment has the new seat setup, and I second your assessment about the window seat. It is much better than CX reverse herringbone.

    We logged in online, but booked over the phone. KE has some peculiar procedure, namely filling out some kind of a form listing family members that will be included in the reservation, hence us calling them.

  4. I flew their Apex business class last year from ICN to SYD round trip, operated by A330-300s. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment, and at the time I couldn’t believe that was J (they had just rolled it out and I was expecting their old product). I flew both window and aisle, and while the window is more private, the aisle was excellent as well. The seat itself was comfortable enough for me to get about 7 hours of sleep each way. My only real complaint with Korean Air is how hot they keep the cabin and the lack of individual air vents.

  5. I can vouch for at least two different A330-300s having the APEX suite. Tail numbers HL-8003 and HL-8025. I’ve flown on both.

  6. Flew it in April of 2015 on an A330-300 (yes they have some of them reconfigured). It was awesome. I had the window seat and my mom the aisle. Great flight SYD-ICN connecting to the A380 ICN-JFK.

  7. Used DL miles for Korean AKL to ICN last year. Equipment swap got us the 747-8. The window apex suites on the upper deck were awesome. So much room! My husband had the aisle and loved it. Only downside, it’s not that easy to talk to your partner. We then continued to LAX on the A380. The biz seats are nice but nothing like the apex suite.

  8. It’s true the Apex Suite on the KE 747-8 is the most spacious business class seat in the world, specifically row 18.

    I flew in 18A on the 747-8 JFK-ICN. I find KE’s overall service average, and would take JL’s offering any day of the week, but 18A is huge. What I liked most about it was that right out in front of me in the emergency exit area was a huge open space. So large that one could perform a full work-out in the area mid flight. I woke up about half way through the flight and did a full on stretching routine and some pushups to keep the blood flowing right out in front of my seat. I can’t think of another airplane in the world that could I pull that off at 35,000 feet.

    I have found KE disappointing however. The food is mediocre at best ex-JFK, which is disappointing because of NYC’s large Korean community and hence, the easily sourced ingredients. I was asked if I had too much champagne upon receiving my 4th glass, and I had a few instances of having to ring for service two or three times before being helped. This certainly hasn’t happened to me on CX, JL, OZ, or SQ J flights. Also, the JFK KE lounge is a complete joke.

  9. The 747-8 from JFK-ICN was by far our best J flight to date. Food was pretty decent, but airplane food is not really a prime motivation for us. Staff were pretty great and always happy to help.

    The HUGE area on the upper deck by the emergency exits is too cool. I watched a guy do a full on tai chi session while getting a stretch in myself. And both me and my wife, notoriously poor sleepers on planes, logged at least 8 hours each. Having flown ANA, TK, Thai, Cathay in J this was easily the best sleep. Not quite etihad apartments sleep, but you can’t win em all!

  10. Flew the Apex Suite on a KE A330-300 earlier this month from SYD to ICN. Window seat was crazy private but maybe not the best for the claustrophobic. USB port didn’t work and universal outlet was a little far from the seat. Spent a bit of time looking for the headphone jack too. AVOD was easy-to-use but could’ve had a better selection. Bed seemed a tad short, and pillow could’ve been better too.

    Soft product was a bit underwhelming, but I had just been flying Qatar and Etihad before. Connected to a KE 77W to ATL with the old business class [originally booked on the A380] which wasn’t as private and lacked a true flat bed. I think I’d fly it again but am not in a rush. The cabin was a little warm on both flights.

    Also… Go Gators!

  11. The KAL lounge in Incheon is highly disappointing. And I am talking the First Class lounge there. The Asiana business class lounge blew them away in terms of furnishings and quality. Embarrassing.

  12. The KE New business class are on some 777-300Ws, A330-300s and B748s. On 777-3ERs and B748 there are different first class (Kosmo Suite 2.0) but on A330s, the first class seat is the same APEX as business class. Kinda disappointing but much better than the old angle-flat seat.

  13. If I recall correctly, KE has them on their A330-300, as I saw them on my trip from ICN to SYD in June (they operate A330-300 rather than A380 during the Australian winter)

  14. Would it be possible to update the body of the post to reflect the fact that the Apex Suite is available on at least some A330-300s? Not every reader gets down into the comments. Thanks!

  15. Flew it numerous times FRA-ICN, ICN-HAN, TPE-HAN, ICN-HKG.
    It’s a superb product and the biz suite, especially the one closest to the window is as private as it gets.
    Highly recommended! 🙂

  16. Does anyone know if the KE 71 and KE 72 flights for Vancouver to Inchon and Inchon to Vancouver have the apex seats for business class?

  17. Any updates on a330 reconfigs? We have ICN-NRT and NRT-HNL coming up in July and hoping we get the same apex seats we’ll have outbound to ICN on the 748.

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