Review: Korean Air Check-In Los Angeles Airport

Korean Air operates out of Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and I arrived at Korean Air’s check-in counter at roughly 5PM for my 6:40PM departure.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

The check-in area was surprisingly deserted, and I was promptly helped at the first class counter.

Korean Air check-in LAX

Korean Air first class check-in LAX

Korean Air first class check-in LAX

Interestingly they asked to see the credit card I used to make the purchase, which is the first time in a while I’ve been asked for that. The agent asked me to sign the form.

Korean Air credit card authorization form

I was informed that boarding would begin at 6:10PM, and told that I would have access to the Korean Air first class lounge past security. Given that I received an escort service through security on my last two flights out of Tom Bradley International Terminal (on Air France and China Southern) I asked if Korean offered such a service, though apparently they don’t.

Fortunately the security queue was short, and I was through in about 10 minutes.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX airside

The new Tom Bradley International Terminal is gorgeous, as I’ve covered before. It’s one of the few terminals in the US that can actually compete with terminals in Asia, in my opinion.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

I took the escalator up to the Korean Air Lounge, where I was promptly admitted to the first class section, which is located to the right.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX escalator to lounge

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX walkway to Korean Air lounge

Korean Air lounge LAX

I reviewed the Korean Air First Class Lounge several weeks ago before flying China Southern first class from Los Angeles to Guangzhou, so won’t rehash it here. Basically it’s an okay first class lounge, certainly nothing special, so I intentionally didn’t arrive too early.

Korean Air first class lounge LAX

At around 6PM I left the lounge and decided to head to the departure gate, which was gate 134, located at the far end of the terminal.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

At roughly 6:10PM boarding began with first class, and on I went on what I was expecting would be the best first class product available between the US and South America.

Korean Air departure gate LAX

Korean Air departure gate LAX

Korean Air departure gate LAX

Korean Air 777 taking me to Sao Paulo

Filed Under: Korean Air, Travel
  1. Wait…what if you didn’t have the credit card with you? What if you had made the purchase a long time ago and subsequently canceled the card?

    Also, the cards I use internationally are NOT the ones I usually use to make large purchases at home, so I wouldn’t have had the card with me….

  2. @ Conway — You’ll just want to make sure you have the card with you. Even if you cancel it you can still physically keep the card, so it’s just something to be aware of in this case.

  3. I recently booked an OpenSkies flight from EWR-ORY, and the website emphasized several times that I must bring the credit card I used for the booking with me to the airport. I was kind of surprised by this, and wonder if they will actually ask to see it. We’ll see!

  4. you may want to remove the pix with your last 4 of cc – hackers can get all kinds of info with that combined with your email!

  5. “Interestingly they asked to see the credit card I used to make the purchase, which is the first time in a while I’ve been asked for that. ”

    Korean ALWAYS asks for the card used to pay the taxes and for you to sign at check-in when redeeming their own miles for travel on their own aircraft.

    It’s so very 1990s.

  6. Ben/Gary —

    what about United? I have an award trip coming up in July and I’m not sure I have the card with me anymore. It’s LAX-SYD.

  7. what if you lose that credit card? what if you lose it on your way to the airport and don’t even have time to call?

  8. @ Lantean — Then theoretically you’ll be denied boarding. I mean, maybe if you can pull up a statement or something they would be okay with it, but it is a requirement.

  9. FYI, SQ’s site/tickets also mention that they may require to see a credit card used to pay fees & taxes on award tickets but it hasn’t happened yet to us.

    Not sure about KE, but I think SQ lets you submit some sort of a form beforehand to avoid that though.

  10. @ryan Too late! I’ve transferred all Lucky’s miles to my accounts. And btw–I’ll soon have a travel blog! 😉

  11. If you don’t have the credit card they might ask for a new card for the taxes. The charges on the old card will (should) be cancelled. You’ll be allowed to board so long as there’s some new card you can use.

    Spare a thought for those on revenue tickets who are caught out by this requirement on some airlines… It’s one thing to whip out a card and pay for $200 or so in taxes; quite another to be told the airline wants you to pay $1500 again for your discount economy fare back to China!

  12. Had a similar thing with TG. My family were travelling to Thailand and had bought domestic tickets separate to our intl award tix. I visited the TG office for my mum’s booking as i’d put her ticket on my CC and we were travelling separately, but an issue arose for my sister and her family’s tickets. The card they’d used they decided they wouldn’t need on the trip and TG wanted to see it at checkin. Eventually they agreed they’d allow just seeing a pic and were able to get my mother to get the card from my sister’s apartment and eventually get a neighbour to send us a pic of it while at the airport and she couldn’t figure out how to use her iphone. She used every last minute of that checkin time!

  13. SQ has a fraud detection tool that considers various characteristics of each passenger’s booking, as well as their CC details, and makes an assessment of the risk level. Based on certain characteristics associated with a reservation, a passengers may be flagged and required to present the CC used to make the reservation when checking in at the airport.

    On one occasion, I had booked flights almost 4 months in advance & had then changed my CC before travelling. Apparently, the fraud detection tool flagged my booking because, on checking in, I was asked for my CC. I explained that I had changed my CC and was issued my boarding pass but directed to another SQ counter to complete a Form to the effect that I did not now possess the CC used when making the reservation.

    I did wonder what, if anything, would happen if I didn’t complete the Form but decided it was an unnecessary risk. As a reasonably regular SQ passenger over the previous 5+ years, I wondered also what it was about that booking/CC combination that had triggered the fraud detection tool.

  14. FYI: I have also heard that Qatar Airways require to see the credit card used when you purchased the ticket, upon check in.

  15. It’s a liability thing for CCs. Some airlines see a high amount of CC fraud… and once you’re out of the country, there’s not much tha they can do about it. So if you book directly through the airline they want to see the CC.

    If you book with an OTA then they don’t care anymore because the OTA assumes the liability.

  16. Interesting….so if I book an award flight on KE through Delta using SkyPesos (skymiles)…will KE want to see the credit card I used with Delta to pay the taxes?

  17. I bought a KE biz ticket and flew LAX-ICN a couple of weeks ago. They asked to see my card at check-in but due to the Target breach, Chase cancelled my card I used to pay for the ticket. I didn’t have the original card at check in, but showed the replacement card. The agent gave me the same form as Lucky got to fill out and just used the new card. No problems after that.

  18. @ Conway – No they won’t as it was booked by DL. However there are certain routes that DL does ask for CC, which you can bring to any DL ticket counter before the flight to verify with ID.

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