Saturday, 18 April 2015

My Joyride on Jin Air's Boeing 737-800 on GMP-CJU route

Welcome to my 75th Airline Trip Report!




Adding new airlines to my flight logbook is very satisfying. Among all the carriers, Jin Air has to be the 2nd most frustrating airline (Asiana is first) to make my booking, thanks to the website which has only Korean language for its domestic sector and also a need to install a 3rd party software in order to make my payment. This might change in the near future though. So finally, I managed to tick this airline off my wish list and fly on both Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 777-200ER. You can catch this airline's Boeing 777 report over here.

Sit back, relax, enjoy a cup of coffee or beer, whichever makes your comfortable and enjoy my trip report with this subsidiary of Korean Air.


Introduction

Both Asiana and Korean Air were forced to make moves to counter the Low Cost Carriers, by introducing Air Busan and Jin Air, they would gain some more shares in the domestic market especially at these 3 airports, Busan, Jeju and Gimpo. 

On the day I flew on Korean Air's Boeing 777-200ER (trip report), I bought my Jin Air's ticket at the airport counter near the check-in counters. The staff wasn't able to speak much English and after a slightly frustrating time discussing with her on which flights and date of departure, it was finally done. Among the dates on my schedule, only 21st March, Saturday was available and the price was comparable to Korean Air and Asiana's airfares. I didn't care at that moment, I knew I have to go for it. I told the staff to go ahead and make the booking. Passed my credit card to her and it was done within minutes. As Jin Air has no 'manage my booking' option, I could not check my itinerary online, so would have to wait for check-in to do select my seat. 

For those who are curious about flying on the airline's domestic routes. There are currently 2: Gimpo to Jeju return and Jeju to Busan return. 



At that point, I didn't know LJ330 was operated by Boeing 777. So I did a search on the Flightradar24 and luckily for me, the wide-body was scheduled to operate on my flight, so that was worth the money. 

On the day of departure

It was my 3rd time heading to Gimpo airport on this trip, I guess some of the airport staff would have recognised me. Not a surprise if they do! I heard from a friend that a few of them read my trip reports, so if you are one of them, feel free to say a hello if you do recognise me. 

I got up at 7 in the morning, took the train from DongMaeMun Station to Seoul Station and changed for the Arex train to Gimpo Airport. Do take note that the express train only goes to Incheon Airport, so if you hope onto that one, you have to take another train from Incheon to Gimpo by Arex, so check carefully which you airport you are flying out from. 

Here are some photos of my stay. Do note that I am not advertising for this guest house, just sharing some photos of this comfortable place.

Single bedroom


The reception 




The entrance of the guesthouse, you have to key in a 4 digit code in order to enter.



I reached the airport at around 0830, went to do my check in. The staff's English was good and I got my boarding pass done within minutes. Only thing is she got me a window seat at the back of the aircraft, I only discovered that when I got to my seat. Apparently row 59 is the last row on Jin Air's Boeing 737-800. 

As usual, majority of the flights were heading for Jeju. Weather was good that day so I expected no problem. Apart from Asiana (domestic), I have flown with every other airlines on CJU-GMP route. 



I like Jin Air's corporate livery, its refreshing compared to others.


My boarding pass. Receipts like this are only used on domestic flights.


I was very curious about the loading of other flights, while looking at the screen.


Gate 4 means a bus ride to the aircraft. 


An Asiana Aircraft took off while this beautiful 'Queen of the Skies' Boeing 747-400 was almost ready for departure. No prize for guessing where, Jeju of course! 


Beautiful, isn't she? 


Getting ready for departure. I was probably the only exciting passenger who couldn't wait to board the aircraft.


While waiting for the aircraft, I noticed there wasn't any other Jin Air aircraft at the tarmac and checking my flightradar24 application, only HL7743 (the airline's Boeing 777) was heading back to Gimpo, so was that my aircraft? 

Apparently not, when I saw a Boeing 737-800 landed ahead of the 777 and my guess was right, that turned out to be my ride to Gimpo. 

This aircraft, HL7557 like HL8261 (Jeju's Boeing 737-800) doesn't have ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast) system on the aircraft which is why Flightradar24 is not able to track it.


Flight route: GMP-CJU

Miles: 280 


The bus took us to our aircraft registered as HL7557, it was my first sight of her. The airline has a couple of Boeing 737-800s with winglets, but I was glad to fly one without it. The Boeing 737-800 is originally without the winglets. 



         My ride: HL7557



My 75th airline
Airline: Jin Air
Date: 20th March 2015
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 
Registration: HL7557
Ex-Korean Air Aircraft 
Delivered on: April 2012
Configuration: Y183
Line number: 562
Engines: 2 X CFM56 
Flight: LJ307
Route: GMP-CJU
Seat no: 59F 
Gate: 4 
Load: 100%
Boarding: 0946 (By bus)
Departure time: 1000
Engines started: 1012
Take off: 1025 
FL: 280
Schedule arrival: 1055
Actual arrival: 1113
Flight duration: 50 mins 
Departure runway: 18L
Arrival runway: 25 

I was greeted by the Jin Air's girls who were wearing polo shirt and jeans. Unlike the photos I saw on the internet, they were not wearing caps. Simply very casual wear which I have no problem with, as long as they treat us well, their outfit doesn't bother me at all. I walked all the way in and it turned out that my seat at the last, not a fan of the last row since it can't recline but doesn't matter for a short flight. 


Here are some photos of the cabin 

The excitement of boarding an aircraft! At this moment, after stepping into the aircraft, I have created my own history - completing flying on all South Korean Carriers. 



The seats look familar? Jin Air retained Korean Air's cabin interior, mix blue and brown seats. 


Its always good to board the aircraft early, putting your stuff in the overhead cabinet and settling down first before your seat mates arrive. 

Do take note that none of Jin Air's Boeing 737-800 for now (April 2015) has Boeing Sky Interior on its fleet of Boeing 737-800. The youngest is around 9 years old.


I like the combination of blue and brown seats. 




The dreaded windowless seat! Can you spot it?



I feel for the passenger sitting here especially the young passengers, can feel their frustration.



Almost there! While snapping some photos, I was looking at the numbers. I wonder why the airline doesn't start with row number 1. 



There it is, my seat for this flight! 


A short flight for this, you don't need a lot of stuff to stock up. This is the cabin crew's work space.


Passengers were flowing in slowly due to some of them getting their stuff up the overhead bin.



There is  no IFE system equipped on this aircraft, so for flights to Bangkok (5 hours), you have to use your own devices. (Tablets or other entertainment devices)


Photo taken from my seat.


As you can see the last row doesn't allow you to recline. Do take note when you book your seat. 


The legroom space is tight, nothing new about this. Its acceptable for a 50 minutes flight, but not more than 2 hours. 



Everyone on board, overhead bins were closed, we were all set to go. 


I have no idea what does that mean, but I guess that's advertising. 


The Korean crew were all smiles especially when I took some photos on board. They knew I was an aviation enthusiast. :) 


My poor leg keeps hitting the metal part. 



In-flight experience

I believe some of the crew used to fly with its parent airline, Korean Air. They looked experienced and were professional through out this short flight. 

I was greeted by them who spoke in Korean language to me which I had to guess, telling me to walk all the way to the end and turn left. I did just that, followed the crowd in front of me and I was there within a minute. 

Once there, there was another crew standing near the rear greeted me and ask me to mind my head with a smile! ( I don't get such service back home). Took a few photos and squeezed myself into the small space which I paid for happily a few days ago. 

Once everyone was on board, door was closed. Safety demonstration took place and since this aircraft wasn't equipped with overhead screen, it was done manually by the cabin crew. Engines were started and we were on our way to the runway 14 for a quick take-off to Jeju. 

My seat partner, a Korean Male wasn't feeling comfortable in the middle seat and I understand why. So for flying with Low Cost Carriers on international route, I wouldn't mind paying for legroom space, that makes a difference in comfort depending on the duration of the flight.

Just like the other flight, a complimentary drink was served. I chose Orange Juice on this flight.



The rest of the flight was uneventful. Once the aircraft started descending, the crew came around to prepare for arrival and it was done in a professional manner, and the rest of the flight was uneventful. 

The Captain spoke a few words to us in good English and the local language, he informed us due to the flight connection from other flights, this flight was delayed to wait for them. My guess is Jin Air's flights on domestic routes are mainly for connecting passengers on international routes. 

What's inside the seat pocket?








Here are some window shot photos 

From take-off to landing 








3rd time in a week, departing from the same runway! I was starting to get used to it. 


Rolling down the runway, enjoying the acceleration of the Boeing 737.



Off we went, enjoying the view of Hazy Seoul! 






We reached the cruising flight level very quickly, seat belt sign was turned off for most part of the flight.




Flight in smooth weather, our aircraft started descending while flying across the sea.



After a few turns, we were on final approach to Jeju, an airport that I am quite familiar with.


Touched down and we were at the gate after a few minutes of taxiing. 



HL7717, the aircraft that took me to Busan the day before! 


The Queen of the Skies getting ready for her flight back to Seoul Gimpo.


China Spring Airlines Airbus A320 was at the international section of the airport.



Beautiful Boeing 747-400, agree?


We arrived at the gate, parking beside Korean Air's Boeing 737-900.


Video of the landing at Jeju Airport


My rating: 


Website: 3/10 (No English language for booking domestic flight and also 3rd party software issue)
Jin Air customer officer: 6/10
Check-in service at Gimpo: 7/10
Gimpo Airport Experience: 7/10
In-flight experience: 7/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
Cabin interior: 9/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 4/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Overall rating: 69/100


Conclusion

I am glad to have finally flown on this airline, even on a short domestic flight. I did consider trying out this airline on BKK-ICN or HKG-ICN, but the expensive airfare and to be squeezed in a narrow-body for more than 3 hours wasn't appealing to me. It still remains a mystery why the airline doesn't include English for its domestic flight booking, I suppose like I mentioned earlier, these flights are catered for connecting passengers and locals since there are plenty of other choices to fly to Jeju or from Jeju to Busan and vice versa. The crew on board were like any other Korean crew from other airlines, professional and friendly and this airline's uniform makes a difference. Jeans and Polo Shirt reminds me of Air Asia somehow, but what's important is the airline delivers what it suppose to do. The Boeing 737-800 is currently flying on international routes, as for the Boeing 777-200ER, future announcements were be made when the 2nd and 3rd airframe enter the fleet. 

Hope you find this report useful. Click here for Jin Air's Boeing 777 trip report.

Cheers,
Charles Ryan Teo



2 comments:

  1. Hello!! I enjoyed reading your review! I actually purchased a Jin airlines ticket from Incheon to Narita just a few weeks ago. (my friend and I will travel together just for a few days). I must tell this is my first time traveling to korea and Japan! and.. since I have a low budget I decided to buy my tickets at Jin airlines (which I didn´t have any problem at paying with my credit card at all). I just got even more excited for traveling when I read your review.. not just because of the airline review, it´s also because I can feel by reading it that you love traveling and you know, it´s contagious.
    Be sure I´ll read your blog more often !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Syzc1993,

      Hope you enjoy your Jin Airlines flights. Have fun in Korea and Japan, one of the best places to visit in Asia!

      Cheers,
      Charles

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