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Korean Air is one of my favorite airlines and reward programs. They offer excellent redemptions to different destinations in both economy and premium cabins and they are a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. They also have some great hard products, including first class suites (Kosmo Suites 2.0) and a in-flight bar and lounge aboard their A380.
Unfortunately, Korean Air will not be servicing direct flights to Houston (IAH) as of October 13, 2017. The airline currently operates flights three times a week by a Boeing 777 on the following schedule:
- KE29: Incheon (ICN) 9:20AM -> Houston (IAH) 8:25AM
- KE30: Houston (IAH) 10:40AM ->to Incheon (ICN) 3:50PM (+1)
This route began in 2014 and was just one of the many routes that Korean Air flies to the US (they offer more service to US cities than any Asian airline, according to OMAAT). One major issue with this route is that IAH is a United hub so Star Alliance partners have a much easier time attracting passengers with connecting flights. Since Korean Air is part of the SkyTeam Alliance this creates issues since there are fewer connecting passengers and thus less passengers overall.
I was very close to booking this flight for 2018 a few months ago, so I’m very glad that I decided to depart from LAX instead. I’ve learned that when booking routes far out in advance, it’s sometimes better to book from hubs since those are less likely to pulled or changed by the time your trip comes around.
I hate seeing Houston lose such a great airline but they’ve still got other solid options for direct flights to Asia like ANA and EVA Air which both have superb products. Air China and United (which flies to Tokyo) are two other options.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.