Flying Guide to Korea

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Now that I’m back in the States, I thought I’d share some tips with you on flying to Korea.

1. If you’re flying in from the US, DO NOT FLY ON UNITED!!! Or any American airline for that matter. If you’re flying from somewhere in Asia and its only a 2-3 hour trip, then feel free if there are no other options available.  Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you why…

When I first came to Korea, I was kicked off my flight to SFO for no other reason that I was making a connecting flight to Korea; other passengers who were ultimately flying to other foreign countries were kicked off as well.  Sure, they gave me a free upgrade to United Economy Plus (more legroom), but I missed my connecting flight to Korea, and since the dorm was only checking in students from 9-5  and I arrived well past 5, I had to board in a somewhat ratchet hotel nearby that the woman at the Incheon International Airport (인천국제공항) information desk recommended for a night (I’m not blaming her- she probably didn’t know that the hotel was somewhat ratchet).

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Then on my flight back to the US for winter vacation (겨울방학), I was greeted with no screen in my seat on my flight from Tokyo to Chicago (my hometown is not Chicago, it’s in Maryland).

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How the flippy-flip-flip can you survival an international, trans-continental, 9+ hour flight like that WITHOUT A PERSONAL TV SCREEN AT YOUR BECK AND CALL?!!

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The Asian airlines give you a screen even if you’re in economy. Economy.  And ain’t nobody got $2,000 to pay for business or first class.  I thought this was some freak accident, but you know, I flew from San  Francisco to Seoul, in Economy Plus, without a screen.  And I flew from Tokyo to San Francisco without a screen.   So in conclusion:

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2.  Take a direct flight if possible- you won’t have to worry about your other connections if your first flight is delayed, canceled, or if you’re kicked off the flight for no reason. However, if you would like to stop somewhere, make a sufficient gap between flights to minimize headaches.

3.  If your flight is eight hours or longer, consider purchasing more legroom (applies mostly to American airlines).

4. Unless you’re rich or a member of a frequent flyer program, do everything in your power to minimize and/or avoid baggage fees.

5.  If you’re traveling to Korea for a study abroad program, pay close attention to your university dormitory’s hours and days of accepting students. If they say Friday, August 27th and Saturday, August 28th from 9am-5pm, they really mean Friday, August 27th and Saturday, August 28th from 9am-5pm.  Make your flight arrangements accordingly.

That’s all folks and happy flying!

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