Review: Korean Air A321neo Economy Class from Seoul Incheon to Tokyo Narita

The last flight of my quick avgeek trip to South Korea took me from Seoul Incheon back to Tokyo Narita onboard a Korean Air Airbus A321neo.

Continue reading this review to see what the short-haul economy class flight was like.

Korean Air A321neo Economy Class
Korean Air A321neo economy class.

Check-in, Lounge & Boarding at Seoul Incheon Airport

After arriving at Seoul Gimpo from Jeju on Asiana’s last passenger 767 and spending some time with a friend around the airport, I made my way to Incheon Airport.

Since I already checked in online beforehand and was traveling with carry-on luggage only, I went straight to security. As seems to be typical, there was a fairly long queue, so it wasn’t until over 20 minutes later that I found myself airside. Unlike the security check, immigration was a breeze.

Seoul Incheon Airport
Christmas decorations in the check-in hall (even in January).
Seoul Incheon Airport

With boarding scheduled to start at 6:15PM, just over 30 minutes after I got airside, I did not have time to do lounge hopping as I initially planned. Instead, I stopped by Lounge L, a Priority Pass lounge that was on the way to my departure gate 238, for a few minutes.

The lounge was nothing to write home about but allowed me to grab a quick bite to eat.

Lounge L Seoul Incheon Buffet
Lounge L.

I left the lounge around 6PM and arrived at the departure gate about ten minutes later.

Boarding started earlier than planned and with no one else in the Sky Priority lane, I was the first passenger to board. The next passenger didn’t get on the aircraft until four or five minutes later.

Seoul Incheon Airport
Gate 238.
Korean Air A321neo
Korean Air A321neo.

Korean Air A321neo Cabin & Seat

Korean Air’s A321neos are equipped with 182 seats including eight in business (Prestige) class and 174 in economy class. While operating similar flights, the A321neo seats in both economy and business class were considerably better equipped than their 737 MAX 8 counterparts.

In business class, the aircraft had two 2-2 rows of full-flat seats. The seats were not only equipped with the obligatory power outlet and USB charging port but also with wireless charging.

Korean Air A321neo Business Class
Business class seats.

In economy class, the seats were in the typical 3-3 layout.

There were individual air vents on the overhead panels and each seat was equipped with a large, high-resolution personal screen. Each seat was also equipped with a fully adjustable headrest and a coat hook.

The legroom was good too. While there was an in-flight entertainment system box between the window and the middle seat, it was compact enough not to cause any discomfort.

Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Cabin
Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Cabin
Each seat was equipped with a screen.
Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Overhead Panel
Overhead panel.
Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Legroom

Zooming in on the seat, there were more charging options than one could possibly need.

Each seat was equipped with a USB-A charging port under its screen. Additionally, there were two universal power outlets and two USB-C ports per row of three seats.

Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Seat
Space under the seat in front.

The tray table was quite small and could not be folded in half but it did its job.

Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Power Outlet and USB
Power outlet and USB-C port.

Korean Air Flight 705 Departure

Upon boarding, earphones were handed out at the aircraft door.

Later on, once everyone was onboard (the load was quite light with only about 65% to 70% of the seats taken), immigration and customs forms for Japan were handed out, followed by earphones once again.

Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Tray Table
Tray table.
Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Earphones
Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Seat Pocket
Contents of the seat pocket.

At 6:45PM, the captain welcomed us onboard and mentioned that we would be flying for an hour and 55 minutes.

A K-pop-themed safety video followed. Unlike the one with an AI-generated model on the 737 MAX, this one was harder to understand. The two videos provided a good contrast between how some videos arguably focus on marketing rather than effectively conveying the message about safety and others just deliver a straightforward message about safety.

Korean Air A321neo Safety Video
More K-pop…
Korean Air A321neo Safety Video
…than safety?

We pushed back at 6:58PM – 13 minutes behind schedule – and started taxiing toward our departure runway ten minutes later.

At 7:17PM, we took off.

Korean Air A321neo Economy Class Cabin
Ready for departure.
Korean Air A321neo Take-Off

Korean Air Short-Haul Economy Class Dinner

Seatbelt signs were switched about five minutes after take-off and at that point, the cabin lights were turned back on too.

Shortly after that, the meal service started. My row was served about fifteen minutes after the seatbelt signs were switched off.

There were no options to choose from. Instead, everyone was served a box with a hot main (tomato beef stew), almond and sweet potato salad, a piece of pineapple, and a packaged bread roll. Additionally, drinks were offered; I opted for a cup of orange juice.

While the meal was nothing to write home about (I preferred the one served on my 2AM flight to Seoul earlier that day), there is no denying the fact that even being served a hot meal on a two-hour flight is nice to see these days.

Korean Air Economy Class Dinner
Korean Air Economy Class Dinner
More than enough for a two-hour flight.

Korean Air A321neo In-Flight Entertainment System

The in-flight entertainment system was where the Korean Air A321neo really shined. It was the most modern one I had a chance to experience in economy class so far. The selection of content was good too.

Among other things, there were dozens of movies new and old along with quite a few TV shows. As is often the case, though, there were only a couple of episodes of most of the TV shows. Additionally, there was a selection of music.

Korean Air A321neo In-Flight Entertainment Movies
Korean Air A321neo In-Flight Entertainment TV Shows
TV shows.
Korean Air A321neo In-Flight Entertainment Music

Of course, there was a fully customizable in-flight map too.

Korean Air A321neo In-Flight Entertainment Map

In addition to the content being available through the personal screen, it was also available for streaming to personal devices through the onboard wi-fi network.

What made the in-flight entertainment stand out, though, was its Bluetooth connectivity allowing passengers to:

  • Connect their phone to the seat and use the phone as a touchpad to control the in-flight entertainment system and to control turn on/off the reading light and call the flight attendant buttons
  • Connect their wireless earphones to use with the in-flight entertainment system

Korean Air A321neo Wi-Fi

Korean Air A321neo In-Flight Entertainment Bluetooth
Bluetooth connectivity.

Korean Air A321neo Onboard Wi-Fi

Technically, the Korean Air A321neo I was flying on was equipped with onboard wi-fi.

That said, internet connectivity was not available during the flight even though an announcement was made at the beginning of the flight that it would. A similar thing also happened on my flight from Tokyo to Seoul.

Arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport

Other than a duty free sales run and a brief turbulence, the rest of the flight was fairly uneventful.

That said, at some point, I started wondering why the cabin felt quite bright even though the cabin lights were turned off. At that point, I realized that everyone’s reading lights were on. I have no idea why that was the case, but I was able to turn mine off by pressing the reading light switch without any issues.

Korean Air A321neo Cabin
At some point, all of the reading lights were switched on.

At 8:41PM, the pilots asked the cabin crew to prepare for landing and exactly 20 minutes later, we landed on Tokyo Narita’s runway 16L.

We came to a full stop at our Terminal 1 arrival gate at 9:15PM, 10 minutes behind schedule. From there, it took another five minutes until I was able to disembark and start making my way home after a tiring but very enjoyable trip.

Korean Air Seoul - Narita
Almost there.
Korean Air Seoul - Narita
We parked next to a ZIPAIR 787.
Korean Air Seoul - Narita
“Thank you for flying with us.”

Korean Air A321neo Summary

The Korean Air A321neo flight from Seoul to Tokyo was about as good as it gets in economy class on a short, two-hour flight.

Not only did Korean Air serve a hot meal but the aircraft was also equipped with all the bells and whistles that would have made it an acceptable environment even on a long-haul flight. There were personal screens, plenty of charging options, and even the ability to pair one’s wireless earphones with the in-flight entertainment system.

Other than the fact that the meal was not as enjoyable as the one on my flight to Seoul, there is nothing negative I can say about that flight. Even that is really a personal preference issue than an issue with Korean Air per se.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How Can I Help You?