Review: Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class from Seoul Incheon to Shizuoka

To get back to Japan from Seoul after our Christmas trip to Europe, we flew with Jeju Air from Seoul Incheon to Shizuoka. Since the last (and first) time I flew on Jeju Air was over five yeas ago on a domestic flight, I was looking forward to this flight.

Continue reading this review to see what the economy class flight from Seoul Incheon to Shizuoka was like.

Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class
Jeju Air 737-800 economy class.

Check-in & Boarding at Seoul Incheon Airport

We arrived in Seoul from Budapest on a LOT 787-9.

After picking up our baggage and going through immigration (we couldn’t do an airside transfer since we were traveling on two separate tickets that didn’t allow us to check baggage through), we went straight to Jeju Air’s check-in counters. Both LOT and Jeju Air use Terminal 1 at Incheon Airport.

While I tried to check us in using one of the many self-check-in kiosks, I wasn’t able to do so, likely because we were traveling with an infant.

Air Astana 767
Air Astana 767 seen during our transit in Seoul.
Jeju Air Self Check-in
Self check-in.

As such, we had to wait about 15 minutes for our turn at the staffed desk. Once it was our turn, everything was smooth.

The friendly agent printed our boarding passes, checked our baggage in, and tagged my daughter’s stroller, which we later handed over at the aircraft’s door.

Jeu Air Check-in Counters Incheon
Check-in counters.
Jeju Air Check-in Counters Seoul
No gochujang paste in carry-on.

We still had some time after check-in and were hungry so we went to the terminal’s food court and had a quick bite to eat.

Then, we got in a fairly long security check queue. What we did not notice, though, was that there was a priority queue for those traveling with small children among others. Luckily, one of the airport staff members noticed us in the regular queue and directed us to the priority queue.

Thanks to that, we were through security and immigration in fifteen or twenty minutes whereas the regular queue would probably have taken well over half an hour.

Seoul Incheon Airport Lunch
Seoul Incheon Airport Security Check
Security check line.

Airside, we mostly spent our time in the airport’s playgrounds with our daughter.

First, we went to the one near gate 41 as that was where our flight was supposed to be departing from. Then, we went to the one near gate 45 as that was the gate our flight’s departure got changed to. It was a nice coincidence that the playgrounds happened to be right next to the two gates.

I also did some plane spotting through the windows. It was especially nice to see Asiana Airlines’ sole passenger 747 departing bound for Osaka. Flying on the aircraft to Narita last spring was an amazing experience.

Seoul Incheon Airport
Seoul Incheon Jeju Gate 45
Gate 45.
Jeju Air Gate at Seoul Incheon
Gate 45’s waiting area.
Cathay Pacific 777 at Seoul Incheon
Cathay Pacific 777.

Boarding started at 3:35PM with Jeju Air’s Silver+, Gold, and VIP members (interestingly, despite being a low-cost airline, Jeju Air has a frequent flyer program with statuses offering a few different perks).

That said, with there being no such members, the rest of the passengers was invited to board shortly after.

Jeju Air 737 at Seoul Incheon
Almost ready to go.
Boarding Jeju Air Flight to Shizuoka

Jeju Air 737-800 Cabin & Seat

Jeju Air operates a fleet of nearly 40 737-800s and a couple of 737-8s (with more of the MAX variant on order). When doing some research about the airline, I was surprised to learn that some of its 737-800s are equipped with proper business class seats in a 2-2 layout. These are deployed on specific routes like Seoul to Tokyo Narita and Saipan.

Our flight to Shizuoka was operated by a 737-800 registered HL8087. The aircraft was originally delivered to Ryanair in 2009 and then joined Jeju Air’s fleet in 2016. It is in an all-economy class configuration with 189 seats in a 3-3 layout.

Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class Seats
Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class Seats
…and from the back.

The seats were simple and functional without any of the bells and whistles like charging ports that Jeju Air’s full-service competitors offer. The legroom was on the tighter side but that is understandable given that Jeju Air is a low-cost airline.

One thing worth noting is that the overhead panels were equipped with individual air vents.

Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class Seat Legroom
Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class Seat Overhead Panel
Overhead panel.

Jeju Air Flight 1282 Departure

Just after 4PM, an announcement was made saying we would be slightly delayed as we were waiting for a missing passenger. Presumably, that passenger missed their flight as the doors were closed less than ten minutes later with no one having boarded.

Still, by the time the doors were closed, the aircraft was almost full. Based on the immigration queue in Shizuoka, about a fifth of the passengers were Japanese with the rest being mostly South Koreans.

A minute later, one of the flight attendants welcomed us onboard and mentioned our flight time would be an hour and 30 minutes. Then, the crew did a manual safety demonstration.

Jeju Air 737-800 Economy Class Window View
Waiting for push back.

About fifteen minutes after our 4:05PM scheduled departure time, the cockpit crew notified us that we would be delayed by another 25 minutes or so.

Ultimately, we ended up being pushed back just over 40 minutes after our scheduled departure time, at 4:44PM. From there we taxied to runway 34R and took off at 5:03PM.

While climbing out, we were offered a great view of five Korean Air A380s.

Jeju Air Departure from Seoul Incheon
Etihad Airways 787
Etihad Airways 787 seen while we were making our way to the departure runway.
Jeju Air Departure from Seoul Incheon
Runway 34R.
Jeju Air Take-Off from Seoul
Seconds after take-off.
Korean Air A380 Seoul Incheon
Five Korean Air A380s and then some.

Jeju Air International In-Flight Service

Seatbelt signs were switched off about five minutes after take-off.

Around that time, the beautiful sunset – as opposed to the gloomy weather on the ground in Seoul – made it impossible not to look outside the window.

Jeju Air 737 Take-off Sunset
Beautiful sunset.

A couple of minutes after the signs were switched off, the cabin crew distributed immigration and customs forms.

Then, duty free sales were done.

Lastly, about 20 minutes after take-off, Air Cafe – Jeju Air’s buy-on-board service – started. While water was free of charge, both my wife and I decided to have a can of Chilsung Cider. Priced at $3 or 300 yen, paying in yen was a good deal.

Jeju Air Buy-on-Board Chilsung Cider
Chilsung cider.

A good variety of other drinks and snacks was available as well.

What I found even more interesting was the selection of Jeju Air-branded items including some nice toys. While ultimately I didn’t buy any such item, I was definitely tempted to get something.

Shortly after the Air Cafe service was finished, the cabin lights were dimmed for the rest of the evening flight.

Jeju Air Buy-on-Board
Jeju Air Buy-on-Board
Jeju Air Buy-on-Board

Jeju Air In-Flight Entertainment and Onboard Wi-Fi

Jeju Air offers no in-flight entertainment system or wi-fi on its aircraft. There was no in-flight magazine in the seat pocket either (there were a safety card, a waste bag, a duty-free sales catalog, and the Air Cafe menu).

That said, the views out of the window were the best in-flight entertainment I could imagine.

The sunset was beautiful and so were the views of Kyoto and Osaka we got to enjoy as we were overflying the city. Based on the flight path, I imagine those seated in left-hand side seats could enjoy a similar view of Nagoya a few minutes later.

Jeju Air Seat Pocket Contents
Contents of the seat pocket.
Sunset Onboard Jeju Air
Just before darkness set in.
Kyoto and Osaka
Kyoto and Osaka.

Arrival at Shizuoka Airport

The seatbelt signs were switched back on at 6:26PM – about ten minutes before landing.

We then landed on Shizuoka Airport’s runway 30 at 6:37PM. Three minutes later – and 40 minutes after our scheduled arrival time of 6:00PM – we came to a full stop at one of the airport’s two boarding bridges available for international flights.

After going through immigration, collecting our baggage, and going through customs, the information center staff called us a taxi and we made our way to my wife’s parents house.

Jeju Air Landing in Shizuoka
Approaching Shizuoka Airport.

Jeju Air 737-800 Summary

The thing that stood out the most was that while Jeju Air is a low-cost airline, it still offers a free checked baggage allowance. Other than that, the flight was fairly uneventful. That is except for the great window views.

In either case, if you need to get to or from Seoul to a destination that Jeju Air serves and it happens to offer favorable price/schedule, then I can only recommend booking the flight.

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