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Flying Korean Air with a Baby: A Review

So our first long-haul flight with baby has come and gone, and we’re still alive to tell the tale. Barely.

 
For 2 people who traveled around the world for a year, with basically what amounted to carry-on sized backpacks, traveling with a baby was certainly a big change. Boy, oh boy is there a lot of gear and luggage involved. And that was after we pared it down to the absolute bare minimum.

We weren’t staying in one country, and various modes of transport, including cars, trains, buses and planes had to be considered, as well as the fact that we were packing for 3 months in Europe. June in the Mediterranean can be windy, cool and rainy, and of course, summer is hot and humid, so we had to prepare for multiple seasons and climates. Talk about a headache!

So long to the days of traveling light!

So long to the days of traveling light!

When all was said and done, we ended up with 1 large suitcase, 2 backpacks (1 carry-on size), a day pack, a travel stroller, car seat and ErgoBaby carrier. Intense, but manageable. There was the “worrying-mom” side of me that wanted to pack HER diapers, and HER creams and HER everything, but sanity and lack of space won in the end. After all, we were headed to Europe, not the jungle or remote Arctic. And I was almost certain babies wore diapers and had baths in Europe too. 😉

We would pick up what we needed there.

OUR CHECK-IN PROCESS

We minimized the amount of time we would have to deal with our luggage, by checking in at Seoul’s City Air Terminal, which is fortunately just a 15 minute taxi ride away from our house. There, we were able to check-in for our flight, clear immigration and catch a direct limousine bus to Incheon airport, 70 minutes away.

We were able to check our luggage and carseat there, but had to take our stroller along with us to Incheon Terminal to check in at the Departure Gate. Still, it was a huge relief to be divested of most of our load so early in the process.

Once we arrived at Incheon, all we had to do was join the special “fast-track” security and immigration lines provided for families with children, and our check-in process was complete.

OUR EXPERIENCE IN THE AIR
Simply put, our experience on Korean Air was nothing less than amazing. Not just because our little traveler handled the whole thing like it was a walk in the park (not even crying on take-off or landing), but because the service on the flight was wonderful.

We’d reserved a bassinet when we booked our tickets, and were happy to discover that not only was the bassinet provided without any problems, Korean Air had also reserved the entire middle row for us, even though we hadn’t booked a seat for our little one. Having that bit of extra room to spread out, and walk around with Naia when we were putting her to sleep was definitely appreciated.

Within minutes of boarding the plane, a flight attendant stopped by to offer us a bag of “goodies,” which included a box of kleenex, extra wet wipes and a Pororo activity book. She also let us know that we could call on her whenever we needed anything, and that they could serve us baby food whenever we needed it. We were provided meals twice on the flight, which included special Jeju water for babies, organic apple juice and 2 jars of Heinz baby food each time.

At the time of the flight, I was still a little bit shy about breastfeeding in public (totally over THAT phobia after a month in Europe haha), so the flight attendants cleared out the galley and guarded it so that we could feed her in private, away from prying eyes.

Safe and still alive on the other side of 13 hours, in Rome

Safe and still alive on the other side of 13 hours, in Rome. We look a bit tired, right?

I’m not saying the flight wasn’t exhausting for us. It was. But overall, it was not remotely as difficult as I imagined it was going to be. We’re not even dreading the long flight back to Seoul at the end of summer.

Well, maybe just the tiniest little bit. 🙂

What’s the longest plane journey you’ve ever taken? What do you do to entertain yourself on long-haul flights?

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28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds like she (and you guys) were great troopers. It really helps to have pleasant airline employees (and space), but I’m sure your travel experience and, therefore, calmness helped a lot! Our longest flight with kids was LA to Sydney, maybe 14-15 hours if I remember correctly – and we’d already flown 5 hours from Chicago to LA. The kids did great; they all slept 8 hours and watched TV and entertained themselves nicely. Of course, they were not babies, so you still get huge kudos for doing the long haul with an infant!

    July 11, 2016
    • Haha, I wish it was because of us, but on this one, I’ve gotta give all the credit to Naia. 🙂 She was so amazing on the flight, and has been equally as amazing throughout our trip. I can’t believe how well she’s handling everything so far…today we drove for 7 hours through crazy Albanian mountains to Greece, and she didn’t cry or complain once. Couldn’t believe it, but was so grateful. But woah – 15 hours ++ is intense even for adults. I can’t wait till Naia can entertain herself on the plane like that too. 😉

      July 13, 2016
  2. the expressions on your faces make it look like it wasnt too bad at all!

    July 11, 2016
  3. Love this post! I also shared my experience awhile back on my blog as well. I love Korean Air! I fidn’t see you get the Pororo activity book. When your baby is older you’ll most likely get it and love it! It’s a magic brush-notebook where you brush the white page and all the characters and colors come out!

    July 11, 2016
    • Hey Jackie, this is the first time I’ve flown Korean Air for a long-haul, and honestly, I’m not going back. Lol…especially since we’re traveling with the little one now. They were truly just amazing and helped us so much with the flight. We did get a Pororo Activity book, but not one anywhere near as cool as the one you got…will look forward to that one!

      July 14, 2016
  4. Glad you made it! I wonder how it was the travel around Europe with a baby 🙂 The longest plane journey I had was we traveled from Amsterdam to Cebu – we had a long stop over..not to mentioned another couple hours driving after arrival to our resort 🙂

    July 11, 2016
    • Woah! Amsterdam to Cebu is a long-haul for sure. But worth it, right? Yup, we survived the flight and it wasn’t even that bad. Poor baby just had a meltdown in the hotel room for 30 minutes that night, but after that she was fine. No jet lag even. Pretty darn amazing. Us on the other hand…we’re still recovering. 😉

      July 14, 2016
  5. This is great- I love the write up and photos, and I hope your adventures as a family in Europe are wonderful!!

    July 12, 2016
    • Thanks Nadine! So far, travels have been wonderful. I so love being in Europe in the summertime!! No place I’d rather be in the world, to be honest (but you understand that feeling too, I think). 🙂

      July 14, 2016
  6. Longest one for us with Nathan were the roughly 8 hours from Helsinki to Xi’an (and back again) during both visits in the past two years. The great thing was always that Nathan was super friendly and people loved him when he was going around the aisle poking each sleeping person 😀

    July 12, 2016
    • Lol Nathan is lucky he didn’t poke a grumpy sleeper! 🙂 It makes such a big difference when the other passengers love your baby. We had so many people come to hold her, or just play with her a little bit…it really made the flight non-stressful for us.

      July 14, 2016
      • We ended always up with tons of snacks as all epople gave Nathan something which he in turn brought to us 🙂

        July 15, 2016
  7. What cute photos! I can see why everyone fell in love with your little traveller. It sounds like travelling is in her genes 😉 Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    July 13, 2016
    • She’s the sweetest thing ever, making our job very easy! So far, she seems to love being on the move…definitely born with the wanderlust gene. 🙂

      July 14, 2016
  8. I’ve wanted to try Korean Air! How do they compare with Cathay and Singapore Airlines? Naia looks so adorable in the first pic! I’m not surprised she was easy travel with. 🙂 And all of you look so happy after a really loooong flight! How do you do it?

    July 28, 2016
    • Haha, how do we do it? We count our lucky stars that we were blessed with such an amazingly easy baby. And in that pic, I think we are just so darn happy that the flight is over, we can’t believe it. 🙂 Korean Air was amazing, but for me Singapore Air is better. More entertainment selection and better food, though I think the Korean Air flight attendants were sweeter than the Singapore Air ones. Of course, I’ve never flown on Singapore with Naia before, so who knows how that would change our experience. We got a lot of special attention because of her. How’s your Seoul summer going?? See you soon!!!! 😀

      August 4, 2016
      • Seoul is hot! I feel it is hotter than last year. They’re saying there’s some kind of heat wave. 😦 It’s cooler when it rains, though. We’re completing a month tomorrow! Can you believe it? So fast! Can’t wait to meet you and Naia! 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

        August 5, 2016
  9. Whoa! That is a lot of baby amenities. Amen, Korean Air, Amen. 😀 I always fly Korean Air whenever I go to Philippines. That’s my very first airline, from Philippines to California. And all I really remember is how great the food was. I fell in love at first taste with bibimbap because of Korean Air. Ha! 😀

    September 13, 2016
    • By the way, I’m so glad bibimbaps are easily available here in Japan as there are a good number of Korean places here. I am so glad. I am so so glad. As much as I love slurping on ramen, bibimbap calls me and I always indulge. Ha! 😀

      September 13, 2016
      • Lol…you and your bibimbap! Haha. But it is pretty damn relish. It’s one of the first things we ate when we got back to Seoul. Korean Air is amazing though, definitely a convert now…especially since we have an extra little carry-on traveling with us everywhere now. 😉

        September 15, 2016
  10. craftymama #

    HI Shelly! Our little family will be going on a trip in less than 2 weeks now. We have a 10mo. old daughter and will be flying with Korean Air. Just wanna check if how old was your little one when you had this trip? Did she have enough wiggle room in the bassinet?Please and thank you!

    March 3, 2017
    • Hmm… she was about 10 months old when we returned and I think it was ok. It’s not a king sized bed but she slept alright. They say the babies should be less than 80 cm tall… that said, we just flew to Italy in klm and they have an even shorter weight restriction – 70 cm and she was still ok – even though she’s taller – I think you’ll be just fine. Hope you survive the flight!!! 😄

      March 3, 2017
  11. craftymama #

    Ha! Thank you!! This helps a lot. As I’ve been really stressing how she’s gonna sleep on the bassinet close to a television with hundreds of people around. 😀 She sleeps real well at home.I just hope she gets sleep during our trip. It’s gonna be at least 30 hrs total travel time for us. and it’s our first international trip with her. Oh boy howdy, guide me! lol

    March 8, 2017
    • Hey, we just got back from Italy on another amazing flight on Korean Air. I really don’t think you have anything to worry about, though the 30 hours is seriously intense. They will seat you in the bulkhead row, and if they’re able, block out the whole row, or at least 1 of the seats for you. The plane is set up in such a way that it’s not that easy to see other screens, and the one on the wall is small, and really high up, so it’s not a nuisance at all. This time around, they set up the bassinet for us (even though she’s 17 months old now) – but we didn’t use it, because we had 2 empty seats in-between us. We just laid her on it to sleep, and that’s exactly what she did (after a 20 minutes tantrum yikes!) for the whole flight. Also if she sleeps well at home, I’m guessing she’ll be the same on the plane. Good luck! and let me know how it goes…I’m curious if your flight with them will be as amazing as all ours have been!

      March 14, 2017

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Travel-Stained Monthly Recap: August 2016 | Travel-Stained
  2. 3 Unexpected Perks of Flying with an Infant | Travel-Stained
  3. Flying with an Infant: 6 Airlines, 6 Reviews | Travel-Stained

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