Incheon – Los Angeles – Incheon on United Airlines

When I first brought my son to the United States, we used Korean Airlines. I only paid 10% of his fare since he was only five months old. On our second trip, we also took Korean Airlines and paid 75% since he’s already 3 years old. Last year, when we traveled for the third time I also paid 75% but we took United Airlines.

United Airlines: Incheon-SFO route

I got our tickets from a travel agent recommended by my credit card company. I got an additional 5% discount and was able to pay by credit card. I would not want to pay any other way since I was going for the points for using the card. Before I got my tickets, I was thinking of taking Korean Airlines but found out that United is about 300,000 won cheaper. Of course, I had to research about other people’s experiences since I’ve read so much negative things about American airlines.
Flying on Korean Airlines is pleasant. I can’t say anything negative about their service. The flight attendants are gorgeous and I like calling them even if it was just for a glass of water. The “bibimbap” on Korean Air is yummy and they never skimp on anything. They also have toys for kids (cars, stuffed airplane, flight diary, coloring books and crayons) to keep the latter entertained. Sometimes, the flight attendants themselves would entertain the kids or will even take them to the cockpit ;p
Anyway, flying United Airlines isn’t as bad as what I’ve read online. The flight attendants aren’t as young as the ones on Korean Airlines, but they’re attentive and seemed sincere. I didn’t dare ask for water though since I saw that other passengers would get up and get their own water. The FAs are quite strict with the seatbelts, though. One time, the seatbelt sign was on but a man stood up to go to the restroom. An FA saw him and ask that he be seated. He tried to explain that he was going to the johns but the FA was firm!
The UA flight to San Francisco (we took a connecting flight to LA) was full. Too bad, two Korean kids were seated behind us and they fought and screamed and kicked our seats. They were loud and they behaved really badly that my son complained to their mom and told the kids (elementary schoolers) not to kick and to be quiet. Whew! My son usually couldn’t sit for a long time but he did when we were up in the air.
Anyway, I didn’t like the seating configuration 3-4-3. My son wanted a window seat so I had to sit in the middle. The leg space was a bit cramped so it was quite difficult getting out when I had to go to the lavatory. On our flight back to Korea, I reserved the two seatings at the back.
The food served at UA was okay. On the flight to LA, we had two meals – a beef dinner which was served two hours after take-off and a breakfast sandwich (English muffins with eggs) served an hour before our landing. On the flight back to Korea, we had lunch (beef again) an hour after take-off and fried noodles an hour before the landing. On both flights, snacks were also served – bananas, cookies and nuts. They made several rounds for drinks, though. I remember asking for ginger ale about three times during our flight back to Korea.
Unlike with Korean Airlines, they didn’t have toys for kids. However, I really enjoyed their in-flight entertainment. They continuously showed movies and tv shows – including Friends!
The gates at Incheon Airport to board United Airlines is at the extension so we had to take the shuttle train. I really liked that ;p
All in all, our United Airlines flight was pleasant. The return flight to Korea was at 11 o’clock in the morning in San Francisco. We got to SFO the previous day so I got to tour the city even for just half a day and I’m glad that we did. San Francisco is just unforgettable and I would love to go back there.
Would I take United Airlines again? With its low price, I would. It isn’t as bad as other people say, but I’m not really very picky. I just wish they have a lavatory exclusively for women’s use like in Korean Airlines. Oh, they also didn’t have the travel set – toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and eye mask. I’m okay with that – since I brought the ones my husband has collected from his travels. The only thing I wasn’t really okay with was the baggage allowance – they only allowed one 25 kilo bag per passenger for check-in. The consolation was they allowed us to have two carry-ons.


  1. Singapore airlines is also good we used SA When my son is Only 4 mos old they had meals for infants and they do give bibs 😉 for kids the meal is also okay ( nkita ko lng sa katabi kong bata) hehehe they always have chocolate in every meal for kids as dessert …can’t remember the food already since it was 4 yrs ago ..we ask for bassinet for my baby so im not sure how much they charge for my baby’s ticket ..also they are giving stuffs like toothpaste,toothbrush,towel in one pack oh and also disposable slippers as I remember ..the staff gives snacks After meals.. btw it was kr-sf Cal flight and sf-kr

  2. No and no. I will never fly United again via Korea…USA. My plane had no video screen in front of me, the food was overly salty and the service just bleh. I’m not made of money and so go with Singapore airline as the next best choice. So much better!

    1. My bro-in-law said Singapore is the best and that’s what he takes whenever he travels. Too bad, it’s too expensive for me ;p

  3. Personally, I’m not fond of United, and, yes, I prefer young pretty airline attendants. You won’t find those on US-flagged international flights. BUT…you know why that is? Because of equal rights and opportunity in the workplace. The “good” international flights on US carriers go to the senior attendants…who have put in the most time and have the most experience. Although it isn’t nice for my eyes, it certainly is the right way to treat the airline employees. You mentioned that the United service didn’t include travel packs with toothpaste, etc, or toys for the kids. That is right! Think of it this way…Those frills on Korean Airlines would cost you ….the W300,000 you saved by flying United. No business provides anything without passing the cost to the consumer, in some way 🙂 What do you think happens to those pretty KAL/Asiana attendants after they turn 30?

  4. I tried a number of US airlines -American Airlines, United, Delta, Southwest, Alaska and so on. Any US airline can not compete with KAL or Asiana in overall services. KAL and Asiana occupy top-notch with big margin.
    Years ago I made a travel around the world as a backpacker for 6 months, starting from Los Angeles through Europe, Africa, Middle East, Israel , Southeast Asia to Seoul and back to Los Angeles and for 6 months again a travel to Latin American countries from Mexico to Chile. And a travel to Caribbean island and Alaska.
    So I could try a number of international airlines. I would dare to say that KAL or Asiana services were overwhelmingly superior to those of other airlines. A big and distinctive difference between Korean airlines and other airlines was flight attendants’ service.
    I could observe that they got a good education. Education always makes a difference.
    One day I met a pretty Filipino attendant in KAL or Asiana’s US to Seoul route. She commanded quite good Korean and had a well-educated pleasant manners. I realized again that education always made a difference regardless of nationality or race.

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