Not many visitors to Seoul, South Korea would have the privilege to visit the Korean Air Aviation Facility. It is NOT a public attraction and it is a secured facility that allows no visitors without valid business reasons to enter. Those who enter on business visits are limited to the meeting rooms and offices.
We on the other hand, strolled around the facility like a boss, took pictures, played ‘cabin crew’, experienced some emergency mock-up situations and went close up with some of the Boeing planes in the hanger!
Korean Air, with a fleet of 148 aircrafts is one of the world’s top 20 airlines and operates more than 400 flights per day to 121 cities in 41 countries.
I have flown Korean Air twice so far – once back in 2010 when I went for a conference in COEX (and subsequently to Boryeong Mud Festival for some muddy fun on Daecheon Beach) and now again on this recent Asian On Air program.
Both return flights were on the economy class, uneventful (a good thing) and I found the service to be very warm and professional. I wish I can say more about the food, but it was decent at best. What I really do like are the Korean Air uniforms, especially the colours and the scarf. That, and the purple blanket that kept me warm during the 6 hours flight. 🙂
Too bad I didn’t get a full body shot and this lady’s uniform was covered by her apron. Anyhow just google it up if you haven’t seen the uniform before.
Below: Landing at Incheon Airport. Nothing beats that feeling within me when I feel the bump of the plane’s wheels making contact with LAND. The sign that I HAVE ARRIVED. SAFELY. LOL!
But seriously, it marks the beginning of another ADVENTURE! 😀
In 2011, Business Traveler named Korean Air the best Asian airline for the 5th consecutive year, while Global Traveler awarded Korean Air with best airline in northern Asia and best airport staff/gate agent. More on Korean Air’s programs, routes, frequencies and partners is available at www.koreanair.com. For now let’s talk about our day at the Korean Air Aviation Facility!
Our tour that sunny day began with a short brief followed by a walk to the one of the best part of the facility – the hanger.
The hanger is huge. To me it was a mechanic shop except that this is for the planes. If you don’t already know, hangars are used (in general) for protection from the weather, maintenance, repair, manufacture, assembly and storage of aircraft.
We didn’t exactly see any assembling or disassembling in action and we were not supposed to go running around disrupting the engineers at work anyways so the walk in the hanger was like a nice afternoon stroll. A staff from Korean Air lead the tour and I was too awed to ask any “smart” questions.
Besides, my knowledge of aviation is almost zero so it’s wiser not to ask anything stupid.
Can I fly this?? 😀
Big mighty beast. Do you how much this cost?
Here I am with a “mini” version!
A happy group shot to mark “We were here!”.
Next on the itinerary is the Operations Control Centre.
Our pretty guide for the operations control centre.
Korean Air flights worldwide are tracked and monitored here. This is just the screen, but the action is at each cubicle within this office where each personnel uses state of the art Flight Planning, Satellite communications, Tracking software and systems to do the job. It is a 24/7 operations and they are on watch for aircraft mechanical problems, severe weathers, necessary diversions of routes and communications within the airspace.
All of these ensures airplanes fly from departure points to planned destinations safely with great precision and expertise.
It was an amazing experience and though we didn’t get to meddle with any function boards or electronic controls, the screen was mesmerizing enough. Could you figure out the arrows, codes and symbols? 🙂
Next is the Flight Simulator which well, wasn’t exactly a simulator. It is actually a flight training device. What it does is it offers the form, fit, feel and function of a Full Flight Simulator without the motion.
It’s ok for me since I have been on an actual Flight Simulator back in Air Asia Academy so I wasn’t too disappointed. Anyhow I took the opportunity to fiddle with a few buttons and imagine myself in the cockpit of a plane.
Then we moved on to the Korean Air Training Centre. This is where the cabin crew are trained and the facilities here emulates the potential situations of their jobs.
Here are the key areas that we will be experiencing and touring for that day.
First was the emergency mock up. We sat in a “plane” and experienced the evacuation in the event of fire or hazardous situation. I’m sure frequent flyers are familiar with this; buckle up your seatbelts, how to put on the safety vest and the oxygen masks.
How do I look? I think I’m not playing the part of a distressed traveler here since I’m so calm! 😀
Fire escape routine.
The 2nd one was the door trainers. These demonstrates how to open the emergency doors on an aircraft in the event of emergency.
A few of us had the chance to try out so it was quite an interactive session.
Then it was the Evacuation Trainers. We were taught to safely evacuate the plane during an emergency. As you can see it was pretty fun because for one, it is NOT an actual emergency, and two, it is like playtime for us! 😀
I personally tried the evacuation over water as it was more challenging.
Yes this is the swimming pool area for water landing situations.
It was quite high and I just love the adrenaline! Can you spot me?
But it was easy really, just sit down and push yourself off and slide down with your hands out in front of you (so you won’t tend to hold on something) to avoid abrasion.
We visited the Emergency Equipment Room too and a few of us got to try activating the life jacket. Apparently each life jacket can only be used once and it is expensive so there were only 2 that were used for our demonstration on that day.
I didn’t try this one exercise so perhaps another time.
Last but not least is the Fire Fighting Room. I’m not too sure how this works as I excused myself to the washroom at this point.
All in all this Korean Air Aviation Facility Tour was an eye-opening experience which I cherished dearly. Like I mentioned before, these facilities are not open to the public and it is a privilege that Korean Air has personally arranged for our visit here and taken the effort and time to walk us through the facility.
As you can see from my story above, much care and preparation were taken to ensure we had a good and educational tour. Thank you so much Korean Air!
Oh, you know what I really want to do? I want to visit the Catering department! Yes it will always be about food for me! 😀
More on Korean Air’s programs, routes, frequencies and partners is available at www.koreanair.com
*This wonderful experience was a part of our Asian On Air itinerary during our media familiarization trip organized by KTO Malaysia and Korean Air in October 2013.
Stay tuned as I’ll update more on my trip over the next few weeks!
For other travel adventures, please swing by my travel page –> https://www.rebeccasaw.com/travel/!