Flying To Korea: How To Get Cheap Flights To Korea In 2024

Want to know how to get cheap flights to Korea, when to book flights to Korea, and where to find the best prices? Not sure if you can fly direct to Korea and which airline you should use? Want essential tips for flying to Korea in 2024 and what to prepare before you travel and when you arrive?

This guide to flying to Korea will help you plan and book your flight to Korea at the best possible price and make sure you know all there is to know about travelling to Korea now. Discover tips about when to book your flights, how to track prices, and get the best deal.

Also learn about the current entry rules for Korea, whether you need to apply for a K-ETA or tourist visa, and other important details about flying to Korea. Finally, discover my travel tips for travelling to Korea and what you should do at the airport to make your trip smoother.

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What’s In This Flying To Korea Guide

Korean Air Plane Flying To Korea

This guide will tell you everything there is to know about where to get cheap flights to Korea, the best times to book, and other essential info about flying to Korea.

Here’s a brief overview of what you can find in each section:

  • Rules for flying to Korea: Find out about the latest rules and regulations for flying to Korea now and the entry procedure when you land, as well as K-ETA and tourist visa requirements.
  • Best time to book flights: Discover the 6 different booking categories for booking flights to Korea and when to get the best prices depending on the time of year you travel.
  • Where to get cheap flights to Korea: Learn about two methods to book cheap flights to Korea from wherever you are and whether there is a best day to book flights.
  • Korean airlines for flights to Korea: Information about which Korean airlines fly direct to Korea from other countries and budget airlines for cheap flights to Korea.
  • Flying to Korea from different regions: Destination-specific information about flying to Korea from areas such as the USA, Europe, Australia, and Singapore.
  • Transiting through Incheon Airport: Details about how to transit through Incheon Airport, what to do for a layover, and about joining a one-day transit tour.
  • Flying to Korea travel tips: Tips about flying to Korea that will help you book cheap flights, prepare you for your arrival, and save money on your travels.

Use the links above to jump to the section you’re interested in, or keep reading to find out all there is to know about flying to Korea. If you still have questions at the end, please feel free to leave a comment.

Planning to visit Korea? These travel essentials will help you plan your trip, get the best deals, and save you time and money before and during your Korean adventure.

Visas & K-ETA: Some travellers to Korea need a Tourist Visa, but most can travel with a Korean Electronic Travel Authorisation (K-ETA). Currently 22 Countries don’t need either one.

How To Stay Connected: Pre-order a Korean Sim Card or a WiFi Router to collect on-arrival at Incheon Airport (desks open 24-hours). Alternatively, download a Korean eSIM for you travels.

Where To Stay: For Seoul, I recommend Myeongdong (convenient), Hongdae (cool culture) or Gangnam (shopping). For Busan, Haeundae (Beach) or Seomyeon (Downtown).

Incheon Airport To Seoul: Take the Airport Express (AREX) to Seoul Station or a Limo Bus across Seoul. Book an Incheon Airport Private Transfer and relax to or from the airport.

Korean Tour Operators: Tour companies that have a big presence in Korea include Klook, Trazy, Viator, and Get Your Guide. These sites offer discounted entry tickets for top attractions.

Seoul City Passes: Visit Seoul’s top attractions for free with a Discover Seoul Pass or Go City Seoul Pass. These passes are great for families and couples visiting Seoul – you can save lots.

How To Get Around: For public transport, grab a T-Money Card. Save money on Korea’s high speed trains with a Korea Rail Pass. To see more of Korea, there are many rental car options from Klook, EconomyBookings, and RentalCars.

Travel Money: Use money exchanges near Myeongdong and Hongdae subway stations for the best exchange rates. Order a Wise Card or WOWPASS to pay by card across Korea.

Flights To Korea: I use flight comparison sites such as Expedia and Skyscanner to find the best flights to Korea from any country. Air Asia is a good option for budget flights from Asia.

Travel Insurance: It is important to insure your trips to protect yourself against the unexpected. World Nomad is a specialized travel insurance provider with options for different coverage for travellers from around the world. You can also purchase cover when you are already travelling.

How To Learn Korean: The language course from 90 Day Korean or Korean Class 101 both have well-structured lessons and lots of useful resources to help you learn Korean.

Rules For Flying To Korea In 2024

Person wearing a face mask on a flight

After turbulent times for the airline industry in recent years, there were many rules imposed in regards to flying to Korea. This section will explain what you need to do before flying to Korea, as well as the rules for when you arrive.

Fortunately, many of the rules put in place were removed, but some still exist and others are permanent. Here are details about all of the rules for flying to Korea in 2024.

Korean Electronic Travel Authorisation (K-ETA)

Travellers to Korea who have a visa-free or visa-waiver travel arrangement with South Korea need to apply for a K-ETA from the official K-ETA website. Without K-ETA approval before flying to Korea, you won’t be allowed to board the plane. Complete the K-ETA as soon as possible.

Not sure if you need a K-ETA to travel to Korea? Check out this poster or read my guide to the K-ETA for more information. If you’re not from one of the countries listed below, then you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa to South Korea instead.

Current K-ETA exemptions: Travellers from the following countries are exempt from the K-ETA until December 31st, 2024:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Macao, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, US (including Guam).

Do You Need A K-ETA Poster

Tourist Visa For South Korea

For citizens of countries that aren’t part of the Korean Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme, it will be necessary to apply for a tourist visa to travel to Korea, even if you reside in a country with visa-free or visa waiver travel agreements with Korea.

In some countries, tourist visa applicants will be required to provide personal and financial information before their application is approved. Be sure to allow lots of time to apply for a tourist visa before booking flights to Korea.

Tourist visas must be applied for and approved in advance before you can fly to Korea. If your tourist visa isn’t approved, you won’t be allowed to travel to Korea.

Health Checks When Flying To Korea

From July 2023, travellers to Korea no longer need to complete the pre-departure self-check health form known as Q-Code. Instead, passengers should report any symptoms if necessary when they arrive. Temperature checks are conducted at the airport by scanners that you simply walk through.

From June 2023, the Korean government no longer requires COVID-infected travellers to self-quarantine. The guidelines from the Korean government now suggest that people self-isolate for 5 days, but that is only a suggestion and not enforced. It is up to each traveller’s discretion.

Best Time To Book Cheap Flights To Korea

Man looking at a flight departure timetable

There is no single best time to book flights to Korea for everyone, but there are 6 identified booking categories that are useful to consider when booking a flight.

These different booking categories, shown in the table below, are based on the Annual Airfare Survey by CheapAir, which analyses almost a billion flights each year.

Booking CategoriesDays In Advance
First Dibs203 to 315
Peace of Mind128 to 202
Prime Booking Window21 to 127
Push Your Luck14 to 20
Playing With Fire7 to 13
Hail Mary0 to 6
Booking categories of different times to book flights in advance.

The ‘First Dibs‘ and ‘Peace of Mind‘ categories are for travellers to Korea that want the best selection of available seats, convenient flight times, and a guaranteed flight. Prices will be about $50 and $20 higher, respectively, than the ‘Prime Booking Window’.

The ‘Prime Booking Window‘ is the best time to book a flight to Korea, which is from 21 to 127 days in advance of your planned travel date. Flights in this window are within 5% of their lowest cost, but also offer a good selection of available seats and flight times.

For travellers who want to try to get the cheapest flights to Korea, and don’t mind some risk, then booking a flight to Korea within 20 to 7 days (‘Push Your Luck‘ & ‘Playing With Fire‘) of travel is your best option. However, seating and flight times will be more restricted.

It is not recommended to book flights to Korea with less than 6 days (‘Hail Mary‘) before the scheduled flight time. These flights are on average $220 more expensive than flights booked between 21 and 127 days before departure.

Seasonal Flight Considerations

As well as the number of days before flying to Korea, the season you plan to travel will affect the price and availability of flights. Spring and autumn are the best times to travel in Korea, especially during cherry blossom season in April and autumn foliage season in October.

January and February are the cheapest months to fly to South Korea, but also the coldest. Temperatures fall below freezing during winter, going as low as -20 degrees Celsius. There are many things to do during winter in Korea, but it’s not the most popular time to visit.

High season in Korea is between June and August, however, these months are not that good for travelling as summer in Korea is very hot and humid. Rainy season in Korea runs from mid-June to late July and there can be many rainy days during this period.

If you want to book the cheapest flights to Korea, travel during winter or book your flights around 3 to 4 months in advance of your planned travel date. Also, be sure to use a good flight comparison website or flight tracker to get the best deals.

Where To Get Cheap Flights To Korea

Man looking at a computer to check flight information

There are a couple of ways to get cheap flights to Korea, both of which will involve a bit of work to find the best departure time, price, and flight duration to suit your travel needs.

The first option is to use a flight comparison site, which gives you the best flight prices to Korea at that particular moment. The second option is a flight tracker, which updates you regularly about when the cheapest flights are available for your desired route.

Flight Comparison Sites For Flights To Korea

There are many flight comparison websites, also known as flight aggregators, where you can find cheap flights to Korea. I use them every time I book flights between Korea and other countries when I travel. It takes a bit of time, but the cost savings are certainly worth it.

If you have to fly to Korea on a certain date, then flight comparison sites will show you the best flights available from the different airlines that fly to Korea. You can adjust the departure and arrival times, the flight length, the price, and select which airlines you want to fly with.

To get the best flight prices to Korea on flight comparison sites, it’s necessary to spend some time tweaking the days and times you want to travel. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can adjust which day you depart and arrive to see which option is the cheapest.

Here are four of the best flight comparison sites for booking cheap flights to Korea. I recommend you try them all and see which provides the best flights to Korea.


Skyscanner is one of the most popular flight aggregators and offers flights, hotels, and other travel bookings for all major destinations. Skyscanner shows an airline’s environmental ratings and which flights are practical or difficult based on time.

Skyscanner Flight Comparison Site


Expedia is a large US travel company that offers tours, flights, hotels, and other services around the world. You can book hotel and flights together, to save you time and effort when travelling. A good place to start your flight search.

Expedia Flight Comparison Site


WayAway is a newer flight comparison site for the modern generation, with Instagram recommendations & travel advice as well as a good selection of cheap flights. You can get cashback on bookings with their premium service.

Wayaway Flight Comparison Site


Kayak are great for people looking for cheap flights to Korea. You can see price trends for your flight to Korea to see when the best prices are available. There are also lots of budget travel options on the site that can save you more.

Kayak Flight Comparison Website

Price Differences Between Sites

Which flight comparison site is better? There are so many different possible prices that it’s impossible to say that one is better or cheaper than another. Sometimes flights will be cheaper on Skyscanner, other times they’ll be cheaper on Expedia or another site.

I searched for flights between Los Angeles and Seoul for April 1 to April 8 – a busy time of year for cherry blossom viewing. Here are the results of the flight costs from each site. As you can see, the cheapest flight was through WayAway, but the shortest was with Kayak.

Comparison SiteCheapest Flight (Flight time)
Skyscanner$852 (15h, 17m)
Expedia$876 (16h 17m)
WayAway$789 (16h 56m)
Kayak$856 (12h 55m)
Different flight prices from flight aggregator sites

When using flight aggregators, don’t always take the price you see as the final price you’ll pay. This is the lowest possible price, but you might want to change the flight time, add seat reservations, or book through a different site to the one suggested.

Flight aggregators such as Skyscanner will offer a number of different websites to book your flight through, such as or They’ll also send you to the airline’s own website with details of the flight you want to book.

Booking Tip: Choose the link to the airline’s own website. It’s often not the cheapest, but it’s safer and can work out cheaper in the long run. Other booking websites may charge fees for amending or cancelling flights that are higher than the airline will charge.

Flight Trackers For Flights To Korea

Person using a computer with two screens

The other way to find cheap flights to Korea is to track the cost of flights using a flight tracker service. There are a number of websites that will send you regular (even daily) updates about the latest cost of a certain flight that you want to take, highlighting when it’s cheapest.

The aforementioned flight aggregators – Skyscanner, Expedia, WayAway, and Kayak – allow you to track the price of flights once you’re logged into their website. These are called price alerts and they’ll send you an email or message through the app with the latest prices.

If you have time to wait for the cheapest flight prices to Korea, then flight tracker websites or price alerts can save you a lot of money. You can check the best prices day to day and book your flights when you see a price you’re happy with. The best prices come to those who wait.

Here are four of the best flight tracker sites for booking cheap flights to Korea. I recommend signing up for them all and following the prices each day. If you decide that one site constantly gives you the best prices, just follow that site for future price updates.

Google Flights

Google Flights allows you to track the cost of flights between two destinations, such as London to Seoul, and will send you a daily email showing you the cheapest or most convenient prices for that route. I’ve been using it to track flights between London and Seoul for a couple of weeks and the prices have ranged from 1,085,000 KRW to 863,000 KRW.

There is also a price chart that shows the price of flights to Korea or other destinations for the last 80 days. This is a really useful flight tracker for monitoring flights for free and judging how much you should expect to pay when you’re ready to book your flight to Korea.

Scott’s Cheap Flights

Scott’s Cheap Flights sends you cheap flights based on your selected airport, sending you the best domestic and internatinal flight deals, including mistake fares and bucket list deals. However, most of these features are reserved for the premium membership plans, which start at $49 per year. There are no deals for budget airlines, and the site insists that only the best airlines are included.


FareCompare specialises in finding the best flight deals for you and provides a wide range of alerts that go beyond just flights between two destinations. You can also select flights from your selected airport to certain regions (e.g. Asia) and based on the type of travel you want (e.g. ski destinations or beach holidays). If you’re flying to Korea, you can use FareCompare to not only track flights to Korea, but internal flights in Korea, too.


Hopper is an app that predicts the lowest price of flights and then sends you a notification to your smartphone telling you when to book for the biggest savings. The company claims the predictive algorithms and AI technology is 95% accurate when estimating flight costs up to 12 months in advance. This method is certainly easier than checking emails every day and trying to judge when the lowest price is available.

Best Day To Book Flights To Korea?

There is no certain day that is best for booking flights to Korea. It’s an often repeated travel myth that booking flights on one day will be cheaper than on another, but it’s not true.

Of course, there are times of the year, and numbers of days before booking your flight when flights to Korea will be cheaper, but not set days. In the words of one industry expert:

“While there used to be greater price variation depending on the day of the week you booked a flight, there’s less variation now due to pricing being handled algorithmically by computers,”

Steve Oliverez, CEO of

Korean Airlines For Flights To Korea

Different airlines flying to Korea at Gimpo Airport Seoul

There were over 4,700 international flights to Korea per week in 2019 with dozens of different airlines flying to Korea from around the world. Most of those airlines flew to Incheon Airport, Korea’s main airport located just outside of Seoul, as well as regional airports, such as Jeju International Airport on Jeju Island and Gimhae International Airport in Busan.

Korea has two main airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, as well as several budget airlines that fly within Korea and beyond. If you’re flying to Korea from other parts of Asia, these budget airlines can be a great way to book cheap flights to Korea.

For travellers from other parts of the world, such as from the Americas, Europe, Australia, or Africa, long-haul airlines such as Delta, Lufthansa, United, British Airways, Qantas, and other national carriers are usually the best options for flights to Korea.

In this section is information about the main Korean long-haul and budget airlines for flying to Korea. The following section will provide more information about international airlines that fly to Korea from other selected countries and regions.

Korean Long-Haul Airlines That Fly To Korea

Korea has two long-haul airlines that have been operating for decades and provide access to most of the world’s major destinations. Through partner programs and airline alliances, such as SkyTeam and Star Alliance, these airlines cover hundreds of cities around the globe.

Korean Air Tail Section With Logo

Korean Air (Est. 1969)

Ranked as the world’s 9th best airline and the best airline in Korea, Korean Air has a reputation for providing excellent customer service. The airline flew to over 150 international destinations in 2019 and had the largest number of destinations, such as the USA, Europe, China, and Japan.

Asiana Airlines Tail Section With Logo

Asiana Airlines (Est. 1988)

Asiana Airlines is Korea’s second largest long-haul airline and one that has flights to dozens of other countries around the world, including New York, London, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. Asiana Airlines is part of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance.

Please note: In 2020, Korean Air agreed to take over Asiana Airlines and is currently seeking approval from national governments around the world, with only the EU yet to approve the deal. Korean Air has suggested that it may turn long-haul Asiana flights into Korean Air flights and reserve the Asiana brand for low-cost routes in Asia.

Korean Budget Airlines That Fly To Korea

T'Way Air Planes At Korean Airport

If you’re flying to Korea from another country in East or South East Asia, then a Korean budget airline might be your best option for cheap flights to Korea. There are several reputable low-cost carriers that operate between countries in Asia and Korea, offering basic flights for a low price. Here are four of the best Korean budget airlines that fly to Korea.

Jeju Air

Jeju Air, based on Korea’s semi-tropical island south of the mainland, is Korea’s largest low-cost carrier and offers budget flights to dozens of locations across Asia. This is the best budget airline for visiting Jeju Island, which operates a visa-free travel program for people to experience Korean culture even without a tourist visa.

Jeju Air Destinations: Jeju Air operates flights between Korea and China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Russia, Saipan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Jin Air

Jin Air is Korea’s second largest budget airline and travels to 26 international destinations in Asia (and Guam). In 2019, Jin Air also offered flights to Australia and the USA. These flights are currently not operating, but may return in time. Jin Air focuses more on international customer than domestic travellers, so is used to catering to foreign travellers.

Jin Air Destinations: Jin Air operates flights between Korea and China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Air Busan

Air Busan operates mainly from Busan, Korea’s second largest city, flying out of Gimhae Airport and other airports across Korea. This airline is convenient for travelling to Korea from Japan as it is considerably closer than airlines based in Incheon, 300km away to the north.

Air Busan Destinations: Air Busan operates flights between Korea and Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Russia, Saipan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

T’Way Air

T’Way Air operates flights as far as Guam and Australia in Oceania as well as many destinations across Asia. The airline is the only Korean budget airline that flies between Seoul and Sydney and has offered flights for as low as $270 AUD one way to attract customers on this route.

T’Way Air Destinations: T’Way Air operates flights between Korea and Australia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Russia, Saipan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam

Aero K

Aero K is a budget carrier based in Cheongju, a city in central Korea that has an international airport that’s very useful for getting to places like Sejong and Daejeon. Operating since 2016, this airline has expanded to offer flights to other cities in Korea and a 3 countries close to Korea. The name of the airline is Korea spelt backwards.

Aero K Destinations: Aero K operates flights between Korea and Japan (Osaka and Tokyo), the Philippines (Clark), and Taiwan (Taipei), as well as Jeju Airport and Yangyang Airport in Korea.

Air Premia

Air Premia is a budget airline operating out of Incheon Airport. It was started in 2017 and has quickly expanded to a range of countries in Asia and further abroad, including the USA, Norway, and Turkey. The airline was founded by the ex-president of Jeju Air, which helped to give the airline quick growth in a crowded market.

Air Premia Destinations: Air Premia operates flights between Korea and Bangladesh, Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the USA, and Vietnam.

There are several other budget airlines in Korea that travel within Korea and to other destinations. These airlines typically cater to Korean customers looking to travel to Japan, Vietnam, China and other nearby destinations.

If you want to book cheap flights to Korea on one of these budget airlines, use Skyscanner to compare flight times and prices between Korea and your country of departure. This is also a good option to book an extra flight out of Korea to a second destination, such as Japan.

Flying To Korea From Different Regions

Plane flying over a map of the world

Many countries operate flights to Korea, either directly or indirectly, through dozens of different airlines. This section will focus on just the main airlines flying to Korea from certain locations, such as the USA, Australia, and Singapore. This is to give you an idea of the range of options available when planning your flight to Korea.

I used Skyscanner to check the destinations and airlines in this section. It’s really easy to search for flights to Korea, allowing you to select only direct flights, check the prices for a whole month at a time, and from any airport in the country.

Flying To Korea From The USA

Travellers from the USA can fly direct to Korea from over a dozen cities, including Dallas, Detroit, and Atlanta. Long-haul airlines that operate direct flights between Korea and the USA include Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines. Indirect flights are available from most large US cities, too.

Delta Airlines (5 routes), Asiana Airlines (5 routes), and Korean Air (10 routes) offer the widest selection of flights between Korea and the USA. American Airlines (DFW – ICN), Hawaiian Airlines (HNL – ICN), and United Airlines (SFO – ICN) only operate one flight path each between Korea and the USA.

Direct flights to Korea from the USA depart from: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Flying To Korea From Australia

Travellers from Australia can fly direct to Korea from Sydney and indirect from other cities in Australia through Sydney. The main airlines that fly to Korea from Australia are Qantas Airlines, Jetstar, T’Way Air, Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines.

Direct flights take 10-12 hours. Flights to Korea from Australia via another country, such as Indonesia, Thailand, or Singapore, can be much cheaper than flying direct. However, indirect flights can add hours to the journey time, even as much as double the direct flight time.

I compared flight times and prices between Sydney and Seoul on Skyscanner and found that indirect flights could be as much as $250 AUD cheaper and only 4-6 hours longer each way.

Flying To Korea From Singapore

Travellers from Singapore can fly direct to Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island from Singapore. Airlines that fly direct between Korea and Singapore include Scoot, Singapore Airlines, Jeju Air, T’Way Air, Asiana Airlines, and Korean Air.

Flight times to Korea from Singapore are around 6 to 7 hours and flying direct is usually the cheapest and most practical way to travel. Flights to Jeju Island from Singapore are the cheapest, followed by flights to Incheon (Seoul), and then Busan.

Currently, only Scoot offers direct flights between Jeju Island and Singapore.

Flying To Korea From Europe

Travellers from Europe can fly direct to Korea from European cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Frankfurt, Helsinki, London, Istanbul, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Vienna, and Warsaw. When I checked flight prices on Skyscanner, Budapest (from $479) had the cheapest flights, while Vienna was the most expensive (from $853)

Airlines that operate regular flights between Korea and Europe include Air France, Asiana Airlines, Finnair, KLM, Korean Air, LOT, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines. Most flights between Europe and Korea currently operate through Korean Air or Asiana Airlines as European long-haul carriers haven’t restarted routes to Korea as yet.

I’ve recently flown between Korea and the UK with Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul) and Lufthansa (via Munich) and the prices, while higher than direct flight prices in 2019, were comparatively good and the flights were only 3-4 hours longer than direct flights.

2024 Update: Korean Air is set to offer 4 more direct flights to Europe from March (Prague and Zurich) and April (Istanbul and Madrid). These will all fly direct to Incheon Airport.

Future Routes: From spring or summer 2024, Virgin Atlantic will begin operating flights directly between London and Seoul, providing more competition for Korean Air. This will increase the number of flights between England and Korea and should lower prices for direct flights, too.

Flying To Korea From Asia

There are lots of airlines that fly to Korea from across Asia, including budget airlines like Air Asia (Malaysia), Citilink, Indonesia) HK Express (Hong Kong), IndiGo (India), Jetstar Asia (Singapore), Peach (Japan), Scoot (Singapore), Spring Airlines (China), and VietJet Air (Vietnam). National airlines from countries in Asia usually offer flights to Korea, too.

Unless booking flights to Korea from other parts of Asia at busy times, such as during big holidays, it’s not necessary to book far in advance. The number of budget airlines operating in Asia means competition is high and cheap flights to Korea can be easy to come by.

However, I always recommend checking prices and booking in advance when you feel like the price is good enough so that you’re guaranteed a flight.

Transiting Through Incheon Airport In Korea

Flight connecting at an airport at sunset

Incheon Airport was the world’s 14th busiest airport in 2019, with more than 71 million people visiting the airport and 8 million travellers transiting to other destinations. It was also named as the world’s best transit airport by Skytrax for the 5th year running in 2018.

However, Korea isn’t a popular stopover location for long-haul flights as it’s not situated in a convenient location between destinations such as the USA and Europe. Most connecting flights through the airport are from low-cost carriers flying to other parts of the country.

If you have a connecting flight at Incheon Airport, you don’t need to worry about confusing transfer rules. Incheon Airport has simplified transfer rules and provides a free transfer guide to groups of more than 10 people, as well as transfer guide service desks.

Transferring on a connecting flight at Incheon Airport, even if you need to change terminals, is really easy. There are signs in multiple languages and detailed transfer routes between locations. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to visit in the transfer zone, too.

When you transit through Incheon Airport, you will be restricted to the transit lounge and areas after the security checks. You won’t be able to leave the airport without passing through customs and to do that you’ll need a valid K-ETA or tourist visa for South Korea.

Free Transit Tours At Incheon Airport

From January 2023, Incheon Airport has reintroduced free transit tours to transiting travellers who have a few hours available to travel from the airport into nearby Incheon or Seoul. These tours

Anyone with a connecting flight within 24 hours, who has valid permission to enter Korea (visa-free, visa exempt, or tourist visa), will be allowed to join the tour for free. The tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis in person, or can be booked online in advance.

You must have a valid visa or an approved K-ETA to join the transit tour regardless of reservation.

The free transit tours are available from the main registration desks in terminals 1 and 2. Travellers should arrive 30 minutes before the tour starts and waiting list members can apply for no-show tickets within 30 minutes of the tour start time.

The types of free transit tours at Incheon Airport include:

Hanbok Experience and Hangeul Crafts (Airport Tour): Experience wearing Korean traditional clothes, hanbok, learn to write in Korean, hangeul, and experience making traditional Korean crafts.

Cheongwadae (Blue House) and Tongin Market Tour: Take a trip to Seoul to see the former presidential home, the Blue House, and enjoy creating your own Korean lunch box at Tongin traditional market.

Gyeongbokgung Palace and Insadong Art Street: This cultural tour will show you two highlights from Seoul’s main tourist area, including the impressive royal palace, Gyeongbokgung, and the artistic Insadong area.

Paradise City Art-tainment: Visit the nearby entertainment complex, Paradise City, which has a range of attractions, including an art gallery, casino, club, theme park, and various cultural experiences.

Imjingak Pyeonghwa Nuri Park and Bridge of Freedom Tour: See areas associated with the Korean War near the DMZ border area between North and South Korea. Learn about Korea’s difficult modern history and see the scars of war.

Yedanpo Trail and Haneul Garden Tour: See the natural beauty of Korea’s west coast with a guided walk along a coastal nature trail and a visit to the impressive Haneul Garden. Look out over the water and you can spot some of Incheon’s many nearby islands.

Want to know what else you can do near Incheon Airport? Check out this video about things to in Incheon, which is the closest city to Incheon Airport.

Hidden charms of Incheon: 4 places to visit | South Korea | First Flight Out
Guide to exploring Incheon, South Korea

Travel Tips For Flying To Korea

Man relaxing at an airport watching a plane depart

Here are some tips to help make flying to Korea cheaper, easier, and safer. These will help you when you book flights to Korea, arrive at the airport, and start to explore Korea.

Take your time checking flights: Unless you have to fly for an emergency, you can afford to wait and invest some time finding a cheap flight to Korea that flies at a time convenient for you. Check sites like Skyscanner and Expedia and sign up for price alerts for the best price.

Plan your flight time to save money: Avoid departing or arriving at an inconvenient time, even if it’s cheaper. There is often a temptation to book a ‘red-eye flight‘ to save money, but it’s usually not worth it in the long run. You can end up spending more for an overnight stay at an airport hotel, checking in early to your hotel, and out-of-hours transportation.

Complete your K-ETA ASAP: The K-ETA is a simple process that should take 10 minutes to complete, but there are reported cases when the application is rejected or approval takes up to a week. Don’t leave it to the last minute or else you won’t be able to travel.

Book your hotels early: Travellers will need to have a hotel booking to prepare their K-ETA or tourist visa, so book these early to help you complete them. Booking early usually means getting a better price for hotel stays, too. For travellers to Seoul, I recommended booking a hotel in Hongdae or staying in Myeongdong as they’re both great locations.

Pick up a T-Money card at Incheon Airport: Travellers to Korea will definitely have an easier time travelling if they buy a T-Money card at Incheon Airport. The T-Money card is a prepaid transportation card that can be used for subways, buses, taxis, shopping, and more.

Research transportation from the airport: Incheon Airport is located on a man-made island off the coast of Incheon City in western Korea. It’s takes about an hour to get from Incheon Airport to Seoul. Plan ahead so you know which route you’ll take, when trains and buses run and the stops they make, and whether you’ll need a private taxi or not.

Bring a Wise, Revolut, or WOWPASS travel card: Avoid rip-off airport exchange fees and use a Wise, Revolut or WOWPASS travel card to withdraw cash at ATMs, pay for meals, trips, entertainment, and even hotels. These cards provide a much cheaper alternative to using your regular card in Korea. Find out more about how to use the Wise travel card in Korea and save money.

You can get lots more great travel tips in my packed South Korea Travel Guide, which has details about when to travel to Korea, where to stay, what to see, cultural & language issues, and lots more. There are more tips about flying to Korea, too.

If you have any other tips you’d like to share about flying to Korea, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. Thanks.

Flying To Korea FAQs

Finally, here’s a few FAQs about flying to Korea, in case the above information didn’t cover enough for you.

Can I fly to Korea now?

It is possible to fly to Korea from across the world now and there are currently no travel restrictions. However, travellers to Korea will need to apply for either a K-ETA or tourist visa to be able to travel to Korea and should be infection-free.

What airlines fly to Korea?

There are many airlines that fly to Korea. The two most popular airlines flying to Korea are Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, both Korean airlines. Delta Airlines also offers regular flights to Korea from the USA. International carriers such as KLM, Lufthansa, LOT, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines also offer direct flights to Korea.

What is the main airport in Korea?

The main airport in Korea is Incheon Airport, the world’s 14th busiest airport in 2019. Most travellers enter Korea through Incheon Airport and travel to Seoul or connect to another flight to a different location in Korea. Jeju International Airport is also a busy airport that handles a lot of international and domestic flights to Korea.

Should I fly to Incheon Airport or Gimpo Airport?

Most travellers to Korea will fly to Incheon Airport and transfer to Gimpo Airport for a domestic connecting flight or take public transport into Seoul and other parts of Korea. Most international flights to Korea arrive at Incheon Airport. Gimpo Airport was replaced as Seoul’s main airport in 2001.

Which Seoul airport should I fly to?

International travellers to Seoul should book a flight to Incheon Airport and then take public transport Seoul or other destinations. Domestic flights in Korea depart from either Gimpo Airport in Seoul or Incheon Airport.

Are there any direct flights to Korea?

There are many direct flights to Korea from countries around the world. Direct flights to Korea from the USA depart from 13 airports, including LAX, DFW, HNL, and SFO. Direct flights from Australia depart from Sydney and there are direct flights from European cities such as Budapest, Paris, Rome, London, and Amsterdam.

How can I find cheap flights to Korea?

The best way to find cheap flights to Korea is to use a flight comparison site like Skyscanner, Expedia, or Kayak. Flight tracker services, such as Google Flights, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and Hopper, also offer regularly updated prices to help you get the lowest price flights.

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About the author

Hi! My name is Joel, I'm the author of In My Korea and writer of this article. I've lived, worked and travelled in Korea since 2015 and want to share my insights, stories and tips to help you have the best experience during your trip to Korea.

I love learning more about Korean culture, hiking the many mountains, and visiting all the coolest places in Korea, both modern and traditional. If you want to know more about my story, check out the 'about me' section to learn why I love living in Korea.

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