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QANTAS: Now flies direct to South Korea

QANTAS: Now flies direct to South Korea

As of yesterday (10 December 2022) Qantas now flies for 11 hours between Sydney and Seoul four times a week with and Airbus A330 over the southern hemisphere summer period, dropping to 3 times per week between May and October.

The last time Qantas flew to Seoul was about 15 years ago, in 2008. Part of the Qantas Group, low-cost airline Jetstar also commenced flights on this route 3 days per week. That gives low-cost, full service and business options to travellers

a group of people in clothing standing in front of an airplane


The new route is being subsidised by the New South Wales government in an effort for more economic ties with South Korea. That’s probably why the route is out of Sydney rather than Melbourne or Brisbane. Maybe those state governments weren’t prepared to cough up the cash. Qantas is an expert at auctioning off previously not-for-sale benefits to the highest bidder. It did it with its corporate base, already present in Sydney, by threatening to move it to either Melbourne or Brisbane. NSW paid up through its NSW Government’s Aviation Attraction fund, and it stayed in Sydney. In this respect, CEO Alan Joyce is a corporate/political genius.

On the other hand, NSW knows an extra dollar for the state coffers when it sees it:

“In the year ended December 2019, NSW welcomed approximately 196,200 visitors from South Korea, accounting for $558 million in visitor expenditure and putting it in our top five markets.”

NSW Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin

Qantas’ Sydney-Seoul schedule

RouteFlightDep TimeArr TimeDaysAircraft
SYD-ICNQF 8709351820Tues, Thurs, Sat, SunA330-300
ICN-SYDQF 8819500815+1Tues, Thurs, Sat, SunA330-300
Table data provided by Qantas

Jetstar’s Sydney-Seoul schedule

Flight # Frequency From To Depart Arrive 
JQ47 Wed, Fri, Sun SydneySeoul12:00 20:15 
JQ48 Wed, Fri, Sun SeoulSydney 21:55 10:15 +1day 
Table data provided by Jetstar

So, across the Qantas Group, you can fly to and from Seoul and Sydney 6 days a week – every day except Monday.


No surprise here, flights are expensive – starting around AU $2,500 return on Qantas and a couple hundred less for Jetstar in Economy. For Jetstar, it should be noted that if you are travelling extremely light and don’t want to eat or drink or choose your seat, you can get that cost down to closer to AU $1,200 return depending on the day, and you will be travelling on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, compared to an A330 on Qantas.

For Business Class – on Jetstar, the starting price is shy of AU $3,000, and for Qantas, the price starts at a little over AU $4,500 and heads towards AU $6,500 return, according to Google Flights for departures in the next few months.

Check out the prices on Korean Air and Asiana (soon to merge), as depending on the dates, these could offer a cheaper alternative and arguably more comfort.

The Qantas A330

And here, from way back in January 2015, is a Qantas video of the conversion with the new business class of the A330 to give you an idea of the cabin you might expect if you choose one of these Sydney to Seoul flights.

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Seoul and Korea are definitely on my list of countries to experience. But at these prices, that trip might have to wait a while.

And in a nice touch, Qantas has introduced several Korean-inspired menu items for the Sydney/Seoul route, including Beef bulgogi (BBQ Beef), vegetarian bibimbap (Rice, vegetables, kimchi and tofu) and Banchan (small plates plus rice).

Is Korea on your list?

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