By Chase Hagl
Air Premia Announces Direct Flights to U.S.
Air Premia — a South Korean startup carrier — is set to begin service to the United States for the first time beginning on Oct. 29. The budget carrier has had its eyes set on American soil for some time, registering with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) in July 2021, but holding off due to the negative effects on demand caused by the pandemic.
Air Premia is South Korea’s first hybrid carrier — offering full service at the cost of a low-cost airline.
With the launch of commercial service on August 11, 2021, the airline was berthed during the COVID-19 health crisis and struggled to find its feet as its primary purpose is to provide service to medium and long-haul routes within the United States, Europe and Oceania. The carrier was forced to postpone any international flying and shifted its focus to domestic flying within South Korea to stay afloat.
With a bounce-back in demand, the airline will begin flying to Los Angeles International Airport from its Seoul, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport hub five times weekly.
With a scheduled block time of 10 hours and 50 minutes, Flight YP101, originating from Seoul, will take off at 13:20 and land in Los Angeles at 08:20. Customers will have the choice to fly on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Heading back west to Seoul from Los Angeles, Flight YP102 will depart at 10:50 and arrive the following day at 16:20, for a total block time of 13 hours and 30 minutes.
Air Premia will utilize its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on the new route. Passengers will have their choice between a Premium Economy Class seat and a Regular Economy Class seat.
Upon check-in Premium Economy Class guests will have a dedicated check-in counter as well as priority baggage handling, allowing for a quicker check-in process. Once onboard the aircraft, guests will be seated in a seat that utilizes 42 inches of pitch for additional comfort as well as a 13-inch touch screen with access to inflight entertainment.
Economy Class consists of seats consisting of 31-35 inches of pitch with a 12-inch touch screen.
The carrier currently operates a fleet of only two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners leased through Air Lease Corporation. However, the carrier has plans to quickly expand its fleet.
At a recent press conference CEO Yoo Myung-sub said, “By 2025, we plan to secure a total of 10 Dreamliners and aggressively increase long-distance routes. It will become an airline that travelers are satisfied with and come back to again.”
The hybrid concept of offering full-service at the cost of a budget carrier has proven to be difficult, however, the airline believes it found a gap in the market through the use of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. They believe the low-cost due to lower fuel burn of the Dreamliner will be a key to the airline’s success.
The low-cost carrier will provide direct competition to South Korea’s largest flag carrier, Korean Air, as well as Asiana Airlines and Philippine Airlines, which provides 2X-weekly outbound flights from Seoul, South Korea to Los Angeles, originating in Manila, Philippines.
In addition to its new US route, Air Premia currently provides service to Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.