Korean Air’s First US Boeing 747-8 Destination Will Be San Francisco

Filed Under: Korean Air

While I’m an airline and aircraft cabin enthusiast, I’m also an airplane enthusiast. Which means I’m excited to see different types of planes for a variety of reasons.

The 747 has long been one of my favorite planes in the world, though the Boeing 747-400 is quickly being retired across the world, as it’s a bit of a gas guzzler and thanks to improvements in technology, there are much smaller and more fuel efficient long range aircraft. The 747 received a bit of extra life when the Boeing 747-8 was announced, which is a stretched version of the plane.


The catch is that sales have been a bit of a flop, at least when it comes to the passenger version of the plane (it has done quite well selling as a cargo aircraft). The only airlines which have taken delivery of the 747-8 are Lufthansa, Korean Air, and Air China.

Korean Air will begin flying the 747-8 to Frankfurt as of early September, which will be the airline’s first 747-8 route. And now Korean Air has announced their first US destination for the 747-8.

Via airlineroute.net, Korean Air will launch 747-8 flights between Seoul Incheon and San Francisco as of November 1, 2015:

  • Between November 1 and December 2, 2015, flights between Seoul and San Francisco will be operated 4x weekly by a Boeing 747-8
  • Starting December 3, 2015, flights between Seoul and San Francisco will be operated daily by a Boeing 747-8

The flight operates with the following schedule:

KE23 Seoul Incheon to San Francisco departing 4:10PM arriving 9:35AM
KE24 San Francisco to Seoul Incheon departing 11:35AM arriving 5:30PM (+1 day)

The Boeing 747-8 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER presently flying between the airports.


Keep in mind that the 747-8 will also feature Korean Air’s new first class product. Which, admittedly, is only a slight upgrade over the old product — it basically seems to be the old first class product with the addition of a door.


As a 747-8 enthusiast of sorts, I’m really excited to see Korean Air finally fly the 747-8 to the US. Keep in mind that it’s quite easy to redeem Korean Air SkyPass miles for first class. It seems like Korean Air is making three first class award seats available on most flights between Seoul Incheon and San Francisco. And that award would set you back 80,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles each way.


Bottom line

San Francisco is an interesting route choice, given that it’s one of Korean Air’s once daily destinations. I guess it makes sense, given that the route probably has more demand than the 777-300ER could serve, while it doesn’t have enough demand for a second daily flight.

I can’t wait to give Korean Air’s 747-8 — and in particular new first class product — a try!


  1. Unfortunately I couldn’t try this plane, mostly because I don’t fly LH. I would love to fly this plane on other airlines but I’m afraid there won’t be many which orders this aircraft since the A380 is better in all aspects. The 747 is the Queen of the skies, no doubt about it but based on the present numbers it’s a huge failure. I hope that other airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Emirates will order at least a few of these in the future but I’m afraid they won’t 🙁

    Anyway I hope that at least one oneworld member will order a few so I could try it.
    Lucky is the 747-8 comparable to the A380 in terms of noise, space and ride quality?

  2. Acredito que o Boeing 747-8 é uma boa pedida para países que os aeroportos não comportam um A380, como no Brasil.

  3. I read yesterday Chase is showing “temporarily unavailable” when trying to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to KE Skypass. Do you know whether this is a glitch or perhaps more serious?

  4. I have a KE award ICN-LAX in F for next April on the A380, but was excited to hear this news and looked into changing to fly home to SFO (my home airport). But unfortunately, the 747-8i is only loaded into the schedule until March 26. Then it becomes a 777-200ER. Any idea if this is just a temporary thing?

  5. I’m trying to book a trip for my girlfriend and me. Any updated workarounds for using Chase UR to book Korean Air awards for non-spouse/non-family?

  6. you missed the chance to link to the SPG Amex, with SPG having recently added Korean as a transfer partner.

  7. There’s some pretty good Tuesday-Thursday availability in business on Delta. 70,000 one-way isn’t bad, especially considering you’ll get their new business cubicle AND you get to fly a 747-8… They haven’t updated the aircraft yet (no surprise there), but I’m tempted to book anyway.

  8. To me the 747 is still the classic trans-Atlantic/trans-Pacific plane. Not sure how the old ‘gal stacks up to the new kids, but it’s still the pinnacle of aircraft design, next to Concorde.

    The A380, while roomy, is being used more as a sardine tin than flying palace for most Pax. The 777/787, meh.

  9. Ben – does this plane have the bar and lounge that the KE A380s have?
    What would I lose if I spent my only stash of miles for 1 oneway if I did a first class on this and not on their A380 from LAX?

  10. I am booked in Prestige Class in Feb using Delta Skypesos. I cannot wait to read a trip report of this aircraft prior to my trip.

  11. Having flown both the A380 and the Boing 747-8 in both Business Class and Economy, I would say the 747-8 is, by far, the better and more comfortable airliner. The A380 seemed, to my wife and I, scale-less and soul-less. We felt “lost” on the A380, and much more comfortable on the 747-8; no contest!

  12. Update on my previous comment: KE just updated their schedule for spring 2016 and the 747-8i is now loaded into the schedule. I switched my flight to SFO (no change fees on KE awards) and barring any equipment changes, will fly home in the new Kosmo Suite 2.0!

  13. Hi Lucky, just wondering how some will fly first class of one of these, I believe they do both JFK and SFO now, and widely open for UR points. Kosmo Suite 2.0 looks very attractive~

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