This summer, South Korea’s Korean Air is removing its First Class seats on 27 international routes starting June 1.
Citing low demand for the highest cabin class, the move to remove First Class from a good portion of its route network will leave 35 international routes where travelers can avail the highest premium seats. Currently, Korean Air doesn’t offer First Class on short-distance flights to cities in Japan, China, and select Southeast Asian countries.
However, Korean Air has stated it will continue to offer First Class seats on major routes such as to Beijing, Osaka, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta and Hanoi.
"We decided to apply two class seat options for flights to tourism destinations where there was low demand for first class. We will do our best to minimize the inconvenience of first-class passengers and maintain quality service for prestige-class passengers," said a Korean Air official in a report on the Korea Herald.
It has been widely speculated that the removal of First Class on routes where it sees low demand for the seats would improve the airline’s efficiency, reduce costs, and maximize profits.