Less is more— Seoul


Monocle tours Korean Air’s A380, which marks a new milestone for the company. The interior design proves that keeping things simple is best, while business and first class put the spark back into travel.

A380, Chan Il Park, Incheon, Korean Air, Seoul

When the Airbus A380 – the largest passenger aircraft in the world – comes up in conversation, the question most often raised is how many people it can carry. In the case of Korean Air, which put its first A380 into service in June, the answer is: not all that many.

With 407 seats, as opposed to the more usual 525 in a three class configuration, Korean Air has debuted its A380 with the lowest-density configuration yet. Korean Air is now the sixth A380 operator in the world.

There are 12 first class Kosmo Suites at the front of the lower deck, and…

First class

Twelve Kosmo Suites on the lower deck are designed to be a bedroom, office, and cinema in one. Laid out four-abreast, they’re 14cm wider than business class.

Business class

There’s not a middle seat in sight in Prestige Class, which occupies the entire upper deck in a 2x2x2 layout. Legroom of 188cm allows the seat to recline fully flat.

Economy class

A humane 86cm of legroom, the most generous of any A380 operator so far, and the same entertainment system as first and business keep economy standards high. Seat upholstery comes in two shades: brown and blue.


Chan Il Park

Deputy general manager, Korean Air Marketing Development

What does the A380 represent for Korean Air from a branding perspective?
Introducing an iconic aircraft such as the A380 serves to boost Korean Air’s brand. The sheer size and quietness of this aircraft has enabled us to have the space and environment to introduce seating and amenities in a way that no other aircraft has been able to.

Korean Air’s A380 is the lowest density A380 so far. Why opt for so few seats?
These days competition is fierce and ticket cost is no longer the only factor in choosing an airline. More emphasis is placed on things such as comfort and in-flight entertainment. We’ve put our utmost efforts into all these and aim to make travel an enjoyable and glamorous experience again. Provide a strong product from the outset, coupled with superlative service and you have earned yourself a repeat customer.

What could other airlines learn from Korean Air’s design process?
Simply put, we give utmost priority to what customers really want. For a service industry company, it is a crucial formula. We carry approximately 23 million passengers a year. To satisfy our customers’ tastes, we have developed a product that can be appreciated by all, combining the best aspects of Asian and western design.

Facts & figures

Number of A380s on order: 10 (two of these are in service)

Initial long-haul A380 destinations: New York, Los Angeles, Paris

Number of flight attendants to work the Korean Air A380 (including bar staff and duty free shop attendants): 25

Date the design process for the A380 cabin began: December 2006

Increase in business class seat pitch over previous configurations: 35.56cm


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