Not long ago Korean Air received its first Airbus A380 and at it’s launch last week it was causing something of a sensation. When each airline receives its A380, it’s exactly the same – how the interior is designed is up to each individual airline. The Emirates A380 for instance has a totally different layout to the Lufthansa A380. Each class will be designed differently, with different seats and a different layout.
So in Seoul last week everyone was very excited to see what the South Korean national carrier had done to theirs.
It was already well known that it was going to feature the world’s first flying mini duty-free shop. Korea is crazy for duty-free; indeed there are entire malls in Seoul where you need to have an international trip planned in order to make a purchase, which you then can’t pick up until you’re safely inside the airport and headed out of the country with the goods. And these malls and special duty-free store levels are gorgeous places where big brands create their own mini luxury environments, so why not translate this success to something that fits on a plane?
After all, Seoul’s Incheon Airport was the first airport in the world to get a Louis Vuitton duty-free shop, and as far as we know, it remains the only one.
Although each of Korean Air’s 10 A380s will lose 13 seats to the compact shop, what it will sell in advertising and product placement space plus general retail sales will no-doubt make up for that. There won’t be any tobacco in them, but the airplane shops will be ready to fill your perfume, fine jewelry, watch, alcohol and likely tech accessory needs.
Passengers onboard Korean Air’s A380s will be invited to leave their seats and visit the shop. First Class first, followed by business and then coach.
So, in addition to that, there’s also a full-fledged in-flight lounge featuring sofas, TV, cocktails – pretty much everything you could ask for. And naturally, it’ll only be open to those flying in Business and First Class, but the price of those seats also secures you early access to the duty-free shop and onboard bar.
Korean Air’s first A380 begins flying on June 17, between Seoul-Incheon and Tokyo-Narita, before adding more routes later in the year, including to the USA and Europe. Check out their official site here.
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