It’s out with the blue and in with the new. Korean Air revealed an updated cabin design for its Airbus A321neo fleet. While past Korean narrowbody aircraft have featured interiors geared towards short-haul flying with cradle recliner seats in Prestige (business) Class, the Seoul-based airline has revealed a more long-haul focused interior on its upcoming Airbus A321neo, complete with a brand new design style. This is likely its last major product enhancement for the company before finalizing its long awaited acquisition of Asiana Airlines.
The airline recently took delivery of its first of thirty aircraft, registered as HL8505. It is currently operating familiarization flights between Seoul’s main airports at Incheon and Gimpo and Jeju Island to the south.
The company has since removed the webpage revealing specifications for the aircraft; PaxEx.Aero does not expect they will change and is leaving this reporting live.
Flat beds flying on Korean’s new A321neo
Prestige Class looks to feature a nicely customized variant of the Collins Aerospace Diamond full flat seat, a big deviation from the cradle recliner seats feature on all other Korean narrowbody aircraft. Eight seats across two rows matches other Korean narrowbodies such as the recently reintroduced 737 MAX 8, but affords much more space and comfort to each passenger.
Each Prestige Class seat features 63” inches of pitch and 19” of width, a large 17” SAFRAN RAVE entertainment monitor, along with a tablet holder built in to the tray table.
Passengers can access wireless phone charging in the armrest, plus AC and USB power ports. The dark fabric and thermoplastics with gold trim used by Korean is a radical departure from the classic light blue and white plastics motif used on all other aircraft in service today.
A long-haul twist for economy class
Economy Class on the new Korean A321neo features more modest improvements compared to existing aircraft, though the new color palette also makes an appearance down back. The 174 seats will feature pitch ranging from 31” to 32”, 17.8” width, 13.3” entertainment monitors, AC and USB power. Unlike prestige class, however, they will not have wireless charging. The economy class cabin also dropped the carrier’s typical dark blue fabric, introducing a more colorful fabric design.
Korean chose Airbus‘s XL Overhead bins, offering significantly more space for carry-on bags than prior generations of aircraft.
Also notable in the cabin layout is the positioning of lavatories at the rear. Korean chose to place them in front of the exit, rather than the Space-Flex option embedded in the rear galley space. Many airlines laud the Space-Flex design for offering an accessible lav on board, even in a single-aisle aircraft. Korean notes one of the rear lavs as accessible, even without taking away the galley space (and shrinking them aggressively). Along with the lie-flat seats in business class, this implies that the aircraft are eventually expected to serve longer routes.
As with the 737 MAX 8, Korean’s A321neo are being delivered with satcom radomes, though no mention of in-flight Wi-Fi has been made on the airline’s fleet details page. Korean was set to launch connectivity before the MAX was grounded, but that detail has been scrubbed from the site since the aircraft was reintroduced and no mention is made on the A321neo details page.
Commercial service is expected to begin for Korean’s A321neo on December 1, flying four times daily the the ever-busy Seoul to Jeju route. Korean also introduced its A220-300 on this route. This is the only market currently filed for the type through March and the end of the IATA winter season. It is also loaded on schedules for various destinations in Japan starting in next winter’s schedule. What it will fly during the summer remains unknown. Similarly, which longer routes it might operate are not yet published.
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