Plane Ride to Ulsan

I rode on airplanes more than a hundred times, mostly to visit Ulsan to meet my family. Typically, the ride goes on like this.

The Fountain

Upon arriving at Gimpo International Airport, there's a water fountain next to the entrance. I always ignore this because the subway and/or limousine bus does not arrive with much ample time to spare.

Ticket Counter

Rather, I hurry to get my plane tickets at the counter. I prefer to ride on Korean Air, not Asiana Airlines pictured above, by the way. Asiana's labour union had been on strike for three weeks now. The banner hung above the counters show that they're sorry for the inconvenience, but I don't believe the union thinks the same way - their wallet is probably far more important than their customers.

The Pond

Anyway, a floor above the ticket counter reveals the passage to the security clearance as well as a shopping/dining district. Also, you get to see some miniature attraction such as this small pond. This one's unavoidable unlike the fountain - it's in the path to the security clearance. It looks far better, too.

Entrance to Clearance

Here's the entrance to the security clearance area that must be passed before boarding a flight. You'll notice a bulk of Asiana Airlines flights (code AAR) are marked red in cancellation. Even their Ulsan flights were cancelled.

Gate 5

Passing the security clearance is a bit time consuming for me because I carry a lot of things around. I've gotten used to the hassle, though. After the clearance comes the departure gates. These days Ulsan flights seem to get a lot of 'direct' tube connection to the airplane instead of riding on a bus to get to the airplane parked somewhere else. This is the airplane that I rode on this day.

JAL Flight

Affirming that Gimpo International Airport really is international, an airplane operated by Japan Airlines (JAL) was taxing on the runway outside. Gimpo had originally relegated all of its international flights to Incheon International Airport when it was built, but it now has flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, an airport that also primarily serves domestic flights.

Electronic Boarding Check

To get on the airplane, you have to get your ticket checked at the boarding gate. The ticket used to have a magnetic band, but nowadays it's just a piece of paper with 2D barcode printed on it. You get the barcode scanned by a terminal as seen above, which confirms your seating location on the screen.

Going In

A brief walk down the boarding tube gets you to the door to the airplane. There's a cart with newspapers on the right, and the flight attendants check your ticket once more. This is a security measure that was added after a guy successfully boarded a flight without a ticket by somehow bypassing the boarding gate entirely.

Waiting for Passengers

I was lucky this day and got a front-row seat right behind the business class seats. There was an attendant waiting in front of the door for more passengers who were arriving late due to the connecting flight.

Wall Street Journal

Usually, I read Wall Street Journal during the flight. I don't care so much about the economic news, but the special sections in weekend editions are quite fun to read. Since I had an aisle seat this day I couldn't take any aerial photos of the outside.


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