Flights to South Korea - flight hacks for Korean destinations
Flights to Seoul. Book plane tickets to Icheon Airport (ICN) online.

South Korea is open to international tourism

South Korea is open to all travelers, quarantine-free. However, all travelers are required to take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and isolate in their accommodation until they receive a negative test result. Quarantine may be required for passengers who test positive.

Visa-free and visa-waiver programs are temporarily suspended and replaced by the K-ETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorization) system. You can check your visa requirement based on the nationality of your passport.

Transiting Korea is possible if the connecting flight is within 24 hours and you remain in the transit area of the airport.



Arriving in Seoul

  • If you are flying to Seoul from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportIncheon International Airport ICN or Gimpo International Airport GMP.

    Located on Yeongjong Island, approximately 48 kilometers west of the city center, Incheon Airport is the larger of the two airports and serves as the main international gateway to Seoul. After landing, follow the signs to the immigration checkpoint, then proceed to the baggage claim area to collect your luggage. The quickest way to get to the city center is to take the AREX Express Train that runs between Incheon Airport and Seoul Station (travel time approximately 40 minutes, cost around KRW 9,500 / USD 7 / AUD 10). Alternatively, you can take a Limousine Airport Bus that serves various city areas, including landmark hotels and subway stations (fares starting from KRW 15,000 / USD 12 / AUD 17). Taxis are also available, but they can be more expensive, with fares from KRW 60,000 (USD 50 / AUD 70) to AUD 100,000 (USD 80 / AUD 110).

    Gimpo Airport is located approximately 16 kilometers to the west of the city center and primarily serves domestic flights and some international destinations within Asia. To reach Seoul's central business district, you can take the subway, which is the quickest and most budget-friendly option, with fares starting from KRW 1,350 (USD 1 / AUD 1.5). Alternatively and depending on your final destination, you can take a limousine bus or a taxi
    .

    These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into Seoul. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce – with decreased airfare as a result.
  • Once in Seoul, take advantage of frequent intercity flights operated by domestic airlines such as Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, T'way Air, Aero K, Air Seoul, and Fly Gangwon. Those in-country carriers typically offer lower fares, operate from smaller airports located closer to city centers (you save on ground transportation), and provide flexible schedules – with a wide range of departure times.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Seoul can be easily reached with regional low-cost carriers (LCCs) by the likes of AirAsia, Bamboo Airways, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar, Scoot, Tigerair Taiwan, VietJet Air, and Zipair. If you have a layover in Seoul and plan to fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries, these budget airlines are an excellent way to save money. However, the “no-frills” carrier may not provide free checked baggage allowance, complimentary food, in-flight entertainment systems, and fast customer support. You may not even get to choose your seats, unless you pay extra.

Airports of Seoul

Best airports to fly into Seoul: Seoul Airport (ICN) and Gimpo Airport (GMP)
Seoul has two international airports – Incheon International Airport ICN, located on Yeongjong Island, approximately 48 kilometers west of the city center (serves as the main international gateway to Seoul), and Gimpo International Airport GMP, located much closer to the city center, about 16 kilometers to the west, near the Han River (serves primarily domestic flights and some international destinations within Asia).
Things to know before flying to Seoul
Airlines flying to SeoulAeroflot, Aeromexico, AirAsia X, Air Astana, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air Italia, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas, Austrian Airlines, Bamboo Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Egypt Air, El Al Israel Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, Finnair, Flynas, Garuda Indonesia, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jetstar, Hawaiian Airlines, KLM, LOT, Korean Air, Lao Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Mongolian Airlines, Myanmar Airways, Peach Aviation, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, S7 Airlines, Scoot, Sichuan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Sky Angkor, Saudia, SriLankan Airlines, Thai Airways, Tigerair Taiwan, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Uzbekistan Airlines, VietJet Air, Aerolíneas Vietnamitas, Zipair
Korean airlinesKorean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, T'way Air, Aero K, Air Seoul, Air Premia, Fly Gangwon, Hi Air
Main airports in SeoulIncheon International Airport (ICN)
Gimpo International Airport (GMP)
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €650 – €900 (from Europe)
✈ $900 – $1200 (from USA)
Flight hacks 40% — 80% off regular fare
Airline discountsDiscounted airline tickets to Seoul (student/family/seniors/military)

Low-cost flights from Seoul

Stay ahead of the game. Fly to popular destinations at a fraction of the regular fare.

Use Korean budget airlines

It can be time-consuming and uncomfortable to travel on buses or trains in South Korea. Opt for domestic air travel instead, as it is usually cheap, easy, and convenient.

Most domestic flight routes from Seoul are reasonably priced and short. For example, to go from Seoul to Busan in the southern part of the country takes about 1 hour on a non-stop flight, at the cost of around 70,000 Korean won (~50 USD or ~75 AUD).

The cheapest flights can be found on Korean budget airlines – Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, and T’way Air. Most of these budget airlines fly out from Seoul using Gimpo International Airport GMP, and some depart from Incheon International Airport ICN.

The cheapest time to fly to Seoul

South Korea’s weather makes it a year-round travel destination, but you should be aware of the 4 very different seasons. Winters from late November to early March are seriously cold (with temperatures reaching below freezing at times) – especially in the northern area of the country, where Seoul is located. However, travelers who are willing to endure the weather can reap financial benefits: November to March is the cheapest time to fly to Seoul as with fewer tourists visiting the city, airlines tend to offer discounted airfares.

The Korean summer is rather hot and humid and is accompanied by a few sometimes quite dangerous typhoons. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons – days are cool, rain-free, and sunny. Most tourists visit Seoul from April to May and from September to October – these peak months are also by far the most expensive to fly, so it’s wise to book the flights well in advance.

AREX is the cheapest airport transport

The Airport Railroad (AREX) Express Train is a quick and convenient way to travel between Seoul Station and Incheon International Airport.

It takes only 43 minutes to travel nonstop from Terminal 1, and 51 minutes from Terminal 2 to Seoul Station, located right in the heart of the capital. The ticket cost 9,500 won (~7 USD) for adults and 7,500 won (~5.50 USD) for children.

Know your time zone

When checking flights and airport transfer times, ensure you know the local time zones. The departure/arrival times on your plane ticket and boarding pass are based on the time zone of the departure/arrival airport – this also applies to the connecting (layover) airports.

South Korea has only one time zone – Korea Standard Time (KST), which is UTC+9. As a result, clocks in Seoul are 9 hours ahead of London and 14 hours ahead of New York. KST does not have an associated daylight saving time.

Next tips

Flights to Seoul from United States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Seoul. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Seoul, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop. There are plenty of direct flights from the US/Canada to Seoul via Hawaiian Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. The flying time is between 11 and 14 hours. Ticket prices start at $500 one-way for the shortest route from Honolulu to Seoul.
  • Seoul is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Seoul with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • The best airlines to fly to Seoul from the US and Canada are: Air Canada, American Airlines, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.

US and Canada to Seoul.
Ticket prices in May 2024.

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There is no Uber nor Grab in Seoul

Uber launched in Seoul in 2013, however, due to regulations and the taxi industry’s resistance, it was forced to leave in 2019. Grab never entered the market.

However, getting around in Seoul is pretty convenient thanks to Kakao T which works similarly to Uber or Grab. It lets you call a taxi through the app and automatically pays the fare when your ride ends with the payment information you provide in the app. Only registered drivers with a special taxi license can offer a ride, according to local law.

Download the Kakao T app for Android or iOS before arriving in Seoul.

Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and others).

When it comes to Twitter there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: “@KoreanAir_KE”). The social media team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

Avoid currency exchange kiosks at airports

Airports are infamous for making an exuberant amount of money from their currency exchanges due to the extremely high margins, and Seoul airports are no exception. Airport kiosks usually charge higher fees which are sometimes hidden within the poorer exchange rates they offer – their business is based on charging extra for being a convenient, last-minute option.

Plan ahead and exchange some money for the Korean won at home.

Duty-free rules

South Korea is serious about the duty-free concession. There is a limit for bringing in certain items. Alcoholic beverages for personal consumption – such as wine, spirits or beer – cannot exceed 1 bottle (maximum 1 liter) per person aged 19 and over, and you can carry only 200 cigarettes. The total market value of all other articles must be under $800. Anything above those limits must be declared at the Seoul airport.

Next tips

Flights to Seoul from UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries in Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Seoul — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. Direct flights from Europe to Seoul are about 9.5-12 hours long. Only some of the largest European hubs have a nonstop connection to the South Korea's capital city - among them are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Istanbul, London, Milan, Munich, Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw. Those flights arrive at Incheon International Airport and are operated by Korean Air, Air France, Finnair, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines.
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Seoul include Air France, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Emirates, Finnair, KLM, LOT, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Seoul from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Leverage frequent promotions from European budget carriers like RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to reach a major hub; from there, take a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination, potentially saving hundreds of euros.
  • These major European airports are excellent departure points for trips to Seoul: London LHR and Manchester MAN in the United Kingdom, Frankfurt FRA and Munich MUC in Germany, Paris CDG and Nice NCE in France, Amsterdam AMS in the Netherlands, Madrid MAD and Barcelona BCN in Spain, Rome FCO and Milano MXP in Italy, Brussels BRU in Belgium, Copenhagen OSL in Denmark, Oslo OSL in Norway, Stockholm ARN in Sweden, Zurich ZRH in Switzerland, Lisbon LIS in Portugal, Vienna VIE in Austria, Warsaw WAW in Poland, Prague PRG in the Czech Republic, and Dublin DUB in Ireland.

Europe to Seoul.Flight schedule and ticket prices.

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Last-minute flights to Seoul. The real cost of convenience.

Last-minute flights are often touted as a great way to save money, but the reality is far from it. Booking last-minute flights to Seoul almost always never works out. The convenience of being able to book a flight on the fly is a dangerous game of chance, and you will most likely end up paying significantly higher than booking in advance.

Last-minute flight cost spike
Late booking penalty: The flight prices rise as departure draws near. Last-minute flights are almost always more expensive than booking in advance.

The common perception may be that airlines decrease ticket prices to fill empty seats as the departure date approaches. However, the truth is that airfares depend on demand. Based on years of research and current customer data, the airlines know what people are willing to pay for specific flights and dates. They are also well aware that people are willing to pay a premium for flights they need to take immediately. To make the most money, the airline will sell its cheapest fares first and then increase the prices right before the flight to take advantage of business travelers and others who are willing to pay the premium price for late booking.

Occasionally, airlines can put some seats on sale to fill the remaining seats, but these are for unusual times and unpopular places. Popular destinations and dates around peak travel times tend to sell out quickly.

Planning ahead is key to securing a good deal on your flight. Last-minute flight deals are hard to come by, so as soon as you have a tentative travel timeline, book your flight. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to save money. If you are looking for a good deal, the best time to book your flight to Seoul is 2-8 months before the takeoff.

Looking for the best deals for Seoul? Check different departure airports.

Airlines often have varying prices for flights to Seoul from different airports – even if they are in close proximity to one another. So don’t limit yourself to just your nearest airport. The neighboring cities may have lower-priced flights that include a layover at Seoul, or may even have direct flights that are more budget-friendly.

For example, if you’re looking to fly from Paris to Seoul, it may be worth checking prices for flights departing from London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or Rome. Yes, you may have to fly a few hundred kilometers to these hubs, but domestic low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, or WizzAir will happily take you there for less than €100.

Book flights from many departure airports
By entering more than one departure city in the flight search engine (at the top of this page), you can quickly find the airport with the cheapest flights to your destination

The same goes for long-haul flights to Seoul from anywhere in the world. By broadening your search to include neighboring airports, you may discover lower-priced options that can save you hundreds of euros!

Domestic flights from Seoul

Most domestic routes in South Korea are operated by local carriers. When traveling to popular tourist destinations such as Busan, Jeju, Gangneung, Daegu, Gyeongju, Tongyeong from Seoul and Gimpo Airports, you’ll likely fly with one of these domestic airlines: Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, T'way Air, Aero K, Air Seoul, and Fly Gangwon.

This is often the best transportation method, providing speed, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. Local airlines often offer multiple daily flights to key destinations, providing flexibility in scheduling and competitive pricing. They also serve smaller regional airports, enabling access to a wider range of Korean destinations.

“Hot seats” on long-haul flights

Those days seat selection is considered an optional, extra paid service – seats with extra legroom (front and exit rows) are usually priced higher. However, if you’re about to take a long-haul flight to Seoul, those “hot seats” are worth considering – expect to pay $50-$100, which is much less than upgrading to Premium Economy.

If you want to choose your seats, do this early (ideally during the booking) for a more extensive selection of available options.

Booking hot seats (preffered seats with extra legroom) on plane
Choosing a hot seat during the flight booking process is usually worth it. For a reasonable price, you will get more room to stretch your legs, as well as a wider seat pitch.

Booking group flights to Seoul

Flights are cheaper when purchased in bulk rather than as individual tickets. Booking group flights to Seoul can be a cost-effective option for a school trip, family reunion, or corporate group traveling to a conference.

To qualify for the special group rate, the group must usually have at least 10 passengers. Discounts depend on the airline, group size, and travel dates, and typically range from 5% to 20% off the regular airfare.

Airlines and flight search websites typically limit automatic group bookings to 10 passengers. This limit reflects the complexity of managing larger groups, which require personalized service and more time to coordinate. To get the price quote for your group, you’ll need to contact the airline or a travel agent directly.

If you’re open to different airlines or want more personalized service, a travel agent may be a better choice. Travel agents may have access to discounted group rates to Seoul and can help with logistics and scheduling.

Flights to Seoul from Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, and other major hubs in Asia

  • Seoul's strategic location makes it one of the most important transportation hubs in Asia. Travelers can easily reach Seoul from a variety of popular cities such as Bali DPS, Bangkok BKK, Beijing PEK, Colombo CMB, Hanoi HAN, Hong Kong HKG, Jakarta CGK, Kathmandu KTM, Manila MNL, New Delhi DEL, Kuala Lumpur KUL, Singapore SIN, Shangai PVG, and Taipei TPE.
  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Seoul look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Seoul will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting South Korea and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet, and VietJet Air. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.
  • Most major Asian airports have convenient and frequent flights to Seoul — including Changi (Singapore), Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong (China), Incheon (Seoul, South Korea), Indira Gandhi (New Delhi, India), KLIA (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Soekarno–Hatta (Jakarta, Indonesia), Ninoy Aquino (Manila, Philippines), Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok, Thailand), Taoyuan (Taipei, Taiwan), and others.

Seoul from major Asian airports.Flight prices in May 2024.

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Proof of onward travel – a simple hack

Travelers who go on long trips often don’t have a set itinerary and fly on one-way tickets. The problem? For many APAC countries, proof of onward travel is a legal requirement. If you arrive at the airport without an onward ticket (from South Korea to another country), you’ll either be forced to buy one online or forbidden from boarding the plane altogether.

The cheapest solution? Renting an onward ticket! Use the websites such as OneWayFly or OnwardTicket to get a flight reservation for a limited amount of time (usually 2 to 14 days). They work by actually booking you on a real flight out of South Korea and giving you a confirmable flight reservation with a PNR (Passenger Name Record) under your name. After the time limit, your spot on the flight is automatically canceled. Such “temporary tickets” tend to cost anywhere from $10 to $20.

Confirmed flight ticket reservation
Proof of onward travel: confirmed flight ticket reservation (source: OnwardTicket)

Fly now, pay later

Book Now Pay Later (BNPL) plans for flights have become a popular trend in the travel industry, allowing travelers to book flights and pay in installments. Among the airlines that offer this option are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines. They partner with external financial companies to offer their loan services on the checkout page.

The BNPL plans come with varying terms and fees. Some may be interest-free but have fees for late-payments and require forced autoplay on your bank account, while others may have high annual percentage rates (up to 30-40% APR).

When considering BNPL financing for your flight to Seoul, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the pros and cons, and thoroughly review the terms and conditions.