TRIP REPORT: Korean Air, Seoul - Zagreb

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On February 1st I flew from Seoul to Zagreb with Korean Air. This was my first flight with Korean Air and with the B787-900 Dreamliner as well. My trip to Seoul was also with Korean Air, but with the B748 from Frankfurt.

Seoul is a totally different world for us, like many other Asian cities, but ok, everything is very well organised so it was no problem at all to get to the airport. The train goes from city centre to the airport and the ride was almost 1 hour long, there is some express train which doesn't stop at every station, but I couldn't find that one.

After arriving at Incheon Airport I was surprised by the huge open space, both inside and out. On my flight from Frankfurt to Incheon, when we landed in Seoul, I remember that weird moment, watching around how spacious and huge everything is.

Let's get back to my departure flight from Seoul to Zagreb. Check-in was crazy fast and I was the only one at the counter. Korean Air has many different counters separated by type of passengers (first, business, morning calm, group passengers, web/mobile check-in, etc.) and, for every one of these categories there are around 20 counters or so!

Zagreb as a destination on the screen at Seoul Incheon Airport - Terminal 2

Security and passport control was also really quick. The airside is full of different shops, duty free, bars, etc. Also, there are a lot, but, really, a lot of smoking rooms. Koreans smoke a lot obviously.

My gate was between two others. On the left side was a small B738 aircraft destined for Busan, and on the other side was another B787, ready to fly to Vancouver.

B787-900 Dreamliner shortly before boarding to Zagreb

Boarding was delayed by 10 minutes, due to ground handling support. At least that was what they announced as the reason... Business class was full so they boarded the aircraft first. Since Korean Air uses just one door for boarding the B787, the second bridge was not connected. Someone told me that sensors on the B787 are close to first door so Korean Air decided not to use the other doors, for safety reasons.

I used priority boarding as well, after all business passengers, because I have elite status. Boarding was quick and soon I was at my seat, first time on board this brand new aircraft. I think our aircraft was delivered to Korean Air 7 months ago, so, a really new one. I got an emergency exit row and luckily, no one was next to me. Korean Air is still a company where you can ask for a favour, and if they can do it, they will. So there was 15 empty seats in economy class and I asked for them to keep the seat next to me empty and they did. They even called me at the gate to inform me (I asked for that at check-in) that check-in was closed and that no one would be next to me.

After boarding, the crew came to inform me about exit row info. They were super polite and friendly throughout the whole flight. To be honest, I think they are the best airline crew I have seen, and I have flown with many airlines on long haul flights.

Super friendly and professional crew

Shortly after departure they served snacks, after an hour there was lunch with 3 different options (2 western and 1 Korean) and after lunch the cabin lights were dimmed for sleep. I couldn't so I watched a lot of movies (you know, an 11 hours flight to Zagreb is not that short!). The crew saw that I was not sleeping so they brought juice several times and also peanuts. Really nice of them.

Lunch, one of the options - beef

Five hours prior to landing, somewhere over Russia, they served pizza as a snack, and, to be honest, I don't like those pizzas from a box on any flight. Same goes for Korean Air pizza. Not good guys!

Two hours prior to landing, the crew served a 2nd full meal and there were again 3 different choices. The food was quite good actually. Also, as almost every airline on long haul flights, we got a pillow, blanket (which wasn't small! Hate Lufthansa regarding this!) etc.

Second meal service – some pasta with chicken

After landing in Zagreb, we were parked at gate 28 and disembarking took some time because the aircraft was more than 90% full and even passengers who are continuing to Zurich need to disembark the aircraft in Zagreb. I asked the cabin crew member which was seated on the jump seat in front of me how many passengers were continuing to Zurich and I was shocked with her answer - just 45.


All of the cabin crew were standing to say goodbye and to bow to all passengers, even the captain was there, and I don't know how many, but some of them were outside of the aircraft, on the air bridge, also greetings passengers. Really, really nice service!

Since the flight from Zagreb is direct again, I'll use it in May in the opposite direction now, from Zagreb direct to Incheon and I can recommend this airline to all.


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Comments

  1. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  2. I'm also flying with them to Korea in June, ticket was 850 euros, In my opinion it is cheap for direct flight and for an airline which has good status!

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  3. EK killer in ZAG

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    1. Maybe not killer but probably helped push EK from year round to seasonal (strong competition from QR & TK too I suspect). But I am thrilled with KE flying to ZAG as I have flown with KE several times and they are probably my favourite airline overall. Everything is polished, smooth and professional. A top notch airline these days!

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  4. The presence of KE in ZAG, shows how far Croatian aviation has reached. The flights will definitely spark the interest of other 4-5 star airlines such as SQ, CX, QF, etc.
    It is quite possible, that ZAG will soon become an A380 compatible airport.

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    1. KE in ZAG has nothing to do with Croatian aviation. It is direct consequence of presentation of Croatia in very popular Korean reality show.
      Actually the situation in Croatian aviation (mostly ZAG) can be seen in

      -reduction of EK downgraded flights operated by FlyDubai next winter to ZAG
      -terrible situation in Croatia Airlines
      -missing flights from ZAG to USA although many times announced
      -no new airlines in ZAG this year
      -Aegean, Czech airlines, Swiss etc not flying to ZAG during low season
      -extreme seasonality in ZAG (only 180.000 pax in February) as well as on coastal airports (SPU 35.000 pax and DBV 34.000 pax in February)

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    2. There is really no need from any market and any airline to send A380 to ZAG. Even Airbus closed A380 program because of lack of interest, this aircraft came on market 20 or 30 years earliner than it should be and writing that ZAG airport should be compatible for handling A380 is at least unrealistic. A330, 767, 777 and 787 are great long range aircraft for market such as ZAG and we can only wish more od those on ZAG airport, that would be great for ZAG as airport and for Zagreb and Croatia tourism in all.

      And, just to be clear, none of the airports in ex-yu should invest money in infrastructure for handling this aircraft, that would be just waisting of money. There is more, way better segments where to invest the money.

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    3. What I meant is that not only ZAG captured a higher product and world class airlines but also the coastal area.
      Seasonality is challenging not only in Croatia but in Europe as a whole.
      There are many seasonal airports in Spain and Italy too.
      Not to mention SKG, or the Greek airports.

      Both DBV and SPU see the arrival of modern jets and legacy carriers.
      It is sure that Croatia is topping the charts.

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    4. @anon 12.09

      What a dumb comment

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    5. Haha, you mean too realistic for you to handle it?

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    6. KL is also reducing ZAG to 6 weekly from the start and OK won't have any flights in winter.

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  5. Nice report. Good to hear about the loads. How come Zurich performs so badly for them?

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    1. ZRH has a lot of cargo, ZAG more pax, thats it!

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    2. ZRH is actually much more profitable. Higher ticket prices, more Business and First passengers and most importantly (much) more cargo.
      ZAG is one of the destinations where KE is abandoning its First class from June 2019...

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    3. They are abandoning it on Zurich route too and 26 other destinations.

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    4. False. ZRH will still have First Class, except during winter schedule while sharing it with ZAG.

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  6. Croatia keeps winning!

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    1. I meant generally :) The second in the World at the moment is "keeps WINNING", in my opinion. Which is definitely not the case with OU :(

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  7. Good thing about the Korean Airline is that they have direct flights to Zagreb all the year not just seasonal flights. Seoul is a great city too.You can go and buy some brand new Samsung Galaxy for a decent prize compared to Europe.

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