Korean Air Is Launching Flights To Boston

Boston Logan Airport continues to be on a roll when it comes to their expansion.

Korean Air has just announced that they’ll be launching 5x weekly flights between Boston and Seoul Incheon as of April 12, 2019. The new flight will operate with the following schedule:

KE89 Incheon to Boston departing 9:30AM arriving 10:30AM [Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun]
KE90 Boston to Incheon departing 1:30PM arriving 4:50PM (+1 day) [Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun]

This flight will cover a distance of 6,800+ miles in each direction, and will be operated by a Boeing 787-9. This is Korean Air’s smallest plane capable of operating ultra longhaul flights.

Korean Air’s 787-9s feature a total of 271 seats, including six first class seats, 18 business class seats, and 247 economy seats.

What’s especially interesting is that Korean Air has exactly the same seats in first and business class. Both cabins have Apex Suites, which I consider to be some of the world’s best business class seats, though obviously they’re not as ideal for first class.

The seats are in a 2-2-2 configuration, so first class has one row, while business class has three rows.

Boston represents Korean Air’s 11th US gateway, after Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington.

This expansion is probably largely possible thanks to the new joint venture between Delta and Korean Air. With the two airlines working together to align schedules and fares across the Pacific, it makes it possible for them to launch new routes in order to enable one-stop service to destinations around the world.

Boston has attracted so many new airlines lately, and it’s especially impressive that this will be their seventh destination to Asia. The airport already has flights to Beijing and Shanghai (on Hainan Airlines), Hong Kong (on Cathay Pacific), Tokyo Narita (on Japan Airlines), Doha (on Qatar Airways), and Dubai (on Emirates).

As of the time of this story the new flights aren’t yet bookable, though I’m sure they’ll be loaded soon.

Korean Air SkyPass is an excellent frequent flyer program, and they’re usually good about making first and business class award seats available. SkyPass is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so there are lots of opportunities to earn miles that can be redeemed for these flights.

What do you make of Korean Air’s new route to Boston?

Comments

  1. DL seems to do a lot better when it comes to working with JV partners than the others. LHR PIT on BA will probably be an ugly route and i’m sure AA would have preferred that plane go elsewhere in the US. I’m excited to see how this goes for KE

  2. @Mark – Really? DL was sooo childish that they wouldn’t even speak to KE for years and had them in their bottom partner list. AF/KL came from NW. DL is awful with partners.

  3. I would really like to see ANA or another Asian *A carrier come to BOS. Hopefully, this will hasten that.

  4. @Micah for political reasons Tel Aviv and Israel is generally considered to be part of Europe not Asia, even if geographically they are not.

  5. Isn’t Sichuan Airlines also starting Boston-Chengdu flights this December? So it would be 8th Asian Destination, right?

  6. The return flight seems poorly timed. It will just miss the last bank of departing flights to most of SE Asia, including to CGK, SIN, KUL. A schedule as such would be open up so many more connection possibilities:

    KE89 Incheon to Boston departing 8:30AM arriving 9:30AM
    KE90 Boston to Incheon departing 10:35AM arriving 1:55PM (+1 day)

  7. Finally an Asian airline at BOS that can feed passengers through DL’s focus city there. Now hoping for CI to start BOS-TPE or MU for BOS-PVG

    I’m sure the others have help from B6

  8. @WP
    and I thought DL158’s 10:30 am departure from ICN was poorly timed; this one is a new low for me.

  9. @Mark,

    Apples and oranges, BA and AA have a profit-sharing joint venture across the Atlantic and the model has always been that BA goes for extensive non-stop coverage (they fly to nearly two dozen US cities) while AA supplements their service to their own gateway hubs and handles connecting traffic, so PIT service fits in quite well. In fact BA and AA only recently re-balanced service with BA reducing frequencies to some AA hubs (and AA taking these over) to free up aircraft for new services like PIT.

    KE has done a great job of quickly introducing service to DL hubs after they stated talking again but it’s a very different model.

  10. Korean Air’s new Terminal 2 at ICN is beautiful and connections are easy. No need to go through immigration and the security checkpoint dwarfs the ones in T1 and the concourse. T2 opened just in time for the PyeongChang Olympics. Korean Air has two greatly improved Prestige Class lounges in addition to a Morning Calm and First Class lounge. There are three Priority Pass lounges currently including a Matina Lounge in the Transit Hotel as in T1.

  11. About 25 years ago, old man Cho’s kids went to school in Boston, and KE started the route there.
    Then, it stopped when the kids graduated.
    Now the route starts again just in time for the grand kids to start school there.

  12. P.S. FYI, The First class seats on the 787-9 pictured in the post look identical to those on the KE A330. I had seat 1A from ICN to SGN on the A330. The seat was awful. Never book first class (paid or award) on the KE A330 or it seems on the 787-9.

  13. @John
    Yes totally agree with you. I flew a similar flight, SGN to ICN earlier this year in KE first on a A330 with the apex seats and had a window seat. Highly overrated as a business class seat and a joke for a first class. Very narrow seats with no storage. And not as private as people think when someone is sitting right next to you despite the privacy wall. I didn’t mind that much because this was only a 5 hour flight that was part of a connection to my main long-haul flight to the US on KE First on their 777~ (777 seats on First were great though). But never book these seats as “first class” for long haul international flights (e.g. 10+ hours) on their 787 which I know KE has started to use on some of their flights to the US from ICN.

  14. Has anyone ever flown business class with them between HK and Seoul or Shenzen and Seoul? How is their A330? Is their 777-200 better or is their 777-300 better in business class? My assumption is that they use the SkyTeam Lounge in HK? What about Shenzhen? China Southern Lounge? I have read that their lounge in Seoul is nothing to be impressed by? Runs out of food quite frequently? Thx.

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