How Korean Domestic Flight Online Booking can be Frustrating

This post is exceptional. Not because I’m such a great writer, but mainly because it is written before completion of my journey.

before “this” happens, get ready for online purchase culture shock (not from Niki)!

ONLINE BOOKING CULTURE SHOCK

Too often does media remind us to book online in advance to get less price. But do they often remind us that it is not always as easy as it sounds? An online booking from Seoul Gimpo Airport to Jeju Island that should not take more than 10 minutes became days until a couple of weeks. This is my first time to ask God for a Korean boyfriend to help me.

I’ve learned my lesson. It requires a greater effort for a foreigner like me to book a Korean domestic flight online and why I met a lot of dead ends when I deal with it:

1. Jeju Air

FYI, certain Korean airline websites only work properly with Internet Explorer, including Jeju Air, especially you need to download ActiveX to authorize credit card payment security, which is not compatible with Mozilla and Google Chrome. Using Explorer, don’t forget to disable pop-up blocker and sign up for membership before transaction. Checking schedules is doable with Chrome and Mozilla, but not the payment process. But it wasn’t the worst part.

The system couldn’t approve my registration by showing a pop-up reminder, “Please confirm the address is correct”. Filling up correct address, postcode, state, city and country accordingly didn’t work out. Modifying one to another to fit the system didn’t do any better. In a nutshell, there’s no way to sign up.

No registration, no transaction. Next.

2. Jin Air

When Skyscanner redirected me to Jin Air, offering amazingly cheap $65 return ticket, it’s screwed. The site is only valid for international flights. It doesn’t fly to and from Seoul Gimpo, but from Seoul Incheon to other countries. The only destination departing from Jeju Island is Shanghai. So why on earth did Skyscanner mention Jin Air on my search if it actually doesn’t exist? Next.

3. T’way Air

if only i knew what it means
image credit: http://www.twayair.com/

The site is all in Korean. Google translate converted it into English, but the schedule didn’t show up after choosing my destination and the date. It remained the same after I retried. I give up. However, I accidentally found an article called How to Purchase Tickets from T’way Airlines to Jeju Island while I was writing this post. Suppose you are willing to book online and learn some Korean simultaneously, it’s your chance. Okay, not now. Next.

3. Eastarjet

The good news is no registration required and the site is compatible for all search engines. Nonetheless, another problem occurred. After completing passenger’s info, the pop-up notification in Korean appeared. Not knowing what it means and being unable to cut and paste the message for translation, I don’t know what went wrong. Besides, I couldn’t fill up my mobile number properly since it only fits for 12 digits. Mine has 13 (including country code).

After several attempts that didn’t work? Next.

4. Asiana Airlines

Claiming that Explorer is able to maximize the site’s appearance and Chrome users need to verify their credit cards issued overseas by clicking the notification “Click here for online verification” (that actually cannot be clicked), it’s nonsense for foreigners. It merely accepts credit cards issued in Korea and no option for those applied overseas. Next.

5. Korean Air

The airline is my last choice since the rate is approximately $100 more expensive than the others. Nevertheless, for an alternative and the sake of this post, it’s worth to try (without entering my credit card number). Just like Jeju Air, open with Explorer, install ActiveX, register and disable pop-up blocker before transaction. Pretty old-fashioned for the nation’s largest airline company. Be aware of several pop-up notifications in Korean. Click OK to response, and click cancel for some pop-ups with 2 options. The system is compatible for credit card payments issued in Korea and overseas. A great option if no other sites work in my computer. But at first, next.

6. Air Busan

I said to myself that Air Busan would be my last attempt, otherwise I’ll get back to Korean Air or get one from the airport. My effort eventually paid off. It works with all search engines and it approves payment with both local and foreign credit cards! Remember to register, fill all the columns no matter how unnecessary it seems, specifically in contact address section, and make sure that there’s no spacing between first and middle name. It’s also a bit strange that it doesn’t ask your travelling partner’s ID, but no need to sweat it (I hope).

I was extremely panic when my line was suddenly cut off in the middle of the payment process, yet still succeeded in the end. Next? Eureka!

THE SYSTEM OR THE COMPUTER?

One more strange thing. I experienced in one of the airlines (I forget) mentioned above that I failed to proceed my purchase because my name and my partner’s don’t sound like Jet Li or Park Ji-Sung. The system does not recognize western names like Kristen Steward or Robert Pattinson (may be K Stew or R-Patz work?).

I have no information whether Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese and many other foreign residents have problems with Korean flight bookings. In my case, is it about the system or my computer? Yet so far, I’ve never had any troubles with European online bookings.

How about you? Have you had similar problems, may be apart from Korean airlines? How do you cope with them?

70 comments

  1. I get it believe me. I book lots of flights a year and if you ever need any help let me know. From one blogger to another you rock woman!

    Like

  2. Maria susanto says:

    Booking domestic airline on line sometimes need a PHd.
    The same as booking visa application on line, when you can not ask anyone when there are doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Megawaty says:

    I really stuck with booking Jeju air. When I inserted my foreign credit card number, it just said that the we need to authenticate it first. It come with a blank pop up window and error message. Anybody can help me please?

    Like

  4. GalOnTrip says:

    i don’t know much about the authentication thing. but if i were you, i search different airlines instead. i faced many kinds of trouble while booking, as mentioned in my post. my suggestion is choose air busan instead (check point no.6). i already did it and it worked. it’s cheap too, seoul-jeju return for $70. if not, try korean air (but it’s quite expensive).

    Like

    • lin says:

      Im facing the same prob with jeju air and i tried air busan several times but i got this error “Network error while connecting to issuer.pls contact ur card issuer”. The case is i hv no prob with my credit card. Might be a prob with airlines server? T’way is a no for me.i cant read hangul.Asiana Air and Korean Air way too xpensive for me.No flite avail for me by Easterjet. Aigoooo..im crying blood here.really need to book flite tix to jeju~~~ T_T

      Like

      • GalOnTrip says:

        thanks for stumbling upon. i don’t know the origin of your credit card, but some sites do not accept credit card from certain country. it happened when i book a flight with transavia air to budapest and finally i borrowed my aunt’s card for payment.
        i hope it’s just purely a network problem and next time you try it’s gonna work again.
        but if shit happens again, i think i’d rather book from korean air though it’s more expensive. sometimes last minute booking on the spot cost you a lot anyway, and it’s annoying when you have a tight schedule.
        however, if you don’t mind with challenge and have unfixed schedule, you can try to book in airline counters in the airport. mostly they depart from Gimpo.
        i never have problems with air busan and wish i could give a better solution. i really hope my answer is helpful.
        i know, it’s frustrating for foreigners to book local korean flights :<

        Like

  5. Alid Abdul says:

    Facing the same problem but finally after struggling for hours I made it. Yeahhh ^___^

    Like

  6. LS Tan says:

    Both Jeju and Busan Air give me the same message ” 323: network Error while connecting to Issuer. ( Please contact your card issuer.)”. But my card issuer said there is no problem with my card and suggest that I call the airline. So I am where I started from, the dead end.

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      so sorry to hear that. may be something has changed with the website. i have no idea actually why it happened and never experienced it before. may be i was lucky at that time.
      perhaps one day i should test it.
      everything went right when i wrote the article.
      if i were in your situation, most probably i would try korean air though it’s more expensive (hope it works).
      or i would gamble and just go straight to the airline counter in the airport as soon as i arrive in seoul.
      good to know that it doesn’t go well all the time.
      most probably my reply is not as helpful as it should be, but i hope you have a good luck on that.

      Like

    • Ann says:

      Hi there, you might have flown to Jeju already but just to share, I tried Air Busan today and I got the error notification “302: Invalid card number or card issuer is not enrolled in Cardholder Authentication Service (Please check the card number you have typed)” so I click “ok” and I haven’t manage to rechecked my card number, but the “E-ticket passenger Itinerary & receipt’ and “E-ticket online receipt” appeared. I called my card issuer and was informed that the transaction was made. So I’m hoping that there won’t be any problem with my ticket on the flying dates.

      Like

      • lindamegawaty says:

        Hi Ann, I experienced the same case like you previously and no problem on the flying dates as we have had the e ticket. You can re-check the status of your flight by logging in to the airbusan website using your user id. You can also pre-select your flight seat without any additional charge. Have a nice flight.

        Like

  7. GalOnTrip says:

    good point. logging in the site with user ID tells everything about the status. i forgot mentioning that. for me, as long as i receive booking confirmation on email, it should be all right. glad to hear that it’s finally settled

    Like

  8. I tried booking eastar jet korea and spent the whole night attempting and got into a lot more problems. I had the same problem where a korean prompt appears, i managed to copy the warning message and google translated it as “Residents passenger number is not in the correct format.”. This happens if you fill in the “Resident Registration Number” so you should leave it blank. I managed to reach the payment page. There is only credit card option with AMEX or Diners Club so i borrowed my brothers AMEX and keyed in the numbers and what i got is another error prompt saying “Properties Not Found[24578] : [24578]Other:The Registration Number length is incorrect. It is 10 and must be between 7 and 7 inclusive.” I tried 4 times and received message from the bank saying KRW284,000 was charged 4 times. So I went off to tell the bank that it was a mistake and left the site. Eastar airlines should fix this or maybe I could offer them my services but nah I am on holiday now

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      Whoa…..I’m so sorry to hear your story. I never use eastar, dunno that it could happen. I really hope that you’ll get the solution and things will work out all right

      Like

  9. Karmen Ly says:

    After many failed attempts, I went with your advice and tried to book with Air Busan, only to find that the website only has 5 country of residence to choose from (Japan, Korean, China, USA and Taiwan)… Looks like I’m just going to have to wait ’til I get to Seoul before booking!

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      sorry for the very late reply. may be you need to become a member first. that’s what i did. cause my country is not listed either.
      i hope you’ve got the solution already and have a great holiday!

      Like

  10. J L says:

    I login to air busan as a non-member. I managed to purchase flight to jeju, check status, receive confirmation email too. Is there any differences as to login as a member and a non-member? Would I be wary of any unexpected outcome? *paranoid*!!!!

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      thx for stumbling upon. for many local korean flights, there were many times where they suggest me to become a member.
      last time i didn’t succeed to book a flight without being a member. may be the site has changed a bit, i dunno.
      but if did succeed w/o being a member, then it’s good. i guess being a member is just a matter of checking updates, get some points
      and special offers. something you don’t always need unless you’re a frequent flyer.
      receiving an email confirmation is already a good sign that everything’s all right w/ your booking.
      so have a great flight!

      Like

  11. wustlumdnj says:

    Thanks for this article, I’m trying to book Seoul to Jeju and having problems with multiple airlines so far…each time I tried to buy my flight on Asiana airlines it didn’t go through and the next time I tried there was one less ticket available…until I tried enough times that there were no more tickets available for the flight – I actually filled the flight with unbooked un-paid-for reservations…ridiculous. Called them and they said payment didn’t go through, went to internet payment department and they said sorry flight is booked. I knew there was an eastar jet flight at comparable cost so I had Asiana book my return only.
    Eastar Jet website is now failing me, and unlike Asiana they don’t seem to have English phone service..it’s comical. I guess I’m waiting another 18 hours until I’m awake and Asiana’s internet booking office is open, and buying a slightly more expensive flight into Jeju

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      it was indeed so much trouble with korean local flight bookings for foreigners. i almost booked asiana, but finally found air busan and got much cheaper. well, i’m glad you made it after all the troubles happened to you.
      have a great trip to jeju!

      Like

  12. Sakura says:

    I encounter this problem when trying to book the flight from Busan to Jeju using Air Busan.

    I am from Malaysia, so my first name is consist of two words and my last name consists of three words which exactly as in my passport.

    Regardless being a member or not, the system do not allow me to input my full name but it should be same as passport.

    Any idea how to encounter it?

    It is supposed to be partner with Air Asia but I do not get any benefit as unable to buy the ticket.

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      I experienced something similar. Regarding the name, i think they’re not ready for more spaces for putting more letters. I was worried at the beginning. But i finally gave a shot. I prioritize my last name over my first and middle name. So when the letters don’t fit, just put your last name and initials. When i checked in at gimpo, it went well and no questions asked. They just simply accepted it though it’s not exacly as written in my passport! Hopefully you get the same luck as mine. I think it should be all right. Thanks for sharing and viewing my blog! Have a great trip!

      Like

  13. sso1128 says:

    When I was trying to book my flight to Korea from Seattle, I literally had the hardest time booking a flight because of the many aforementioned issues. I even called Korean air to walk me through the process and it still didn’t work… After hours of frustration I finally figured out that the problem was because I was on Chrome. (?!?!?!?!?!!?)

    I’m experiencing something similar as we speak, trying to book a simple festival ticket. Horrible usability, and too many unnecessary verifications.. This is extremely inefficient and non user-friendly and I’m shocked that a country boasting high-technology can’t even get their website navigation straight. For starters, they can ditch IE for the love of god…

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      I had so much trouble as well with this high-tech country with low-tech online bookings for foreigners. It’s funny that the only search engine that works is internet explorer, nothing else. I guess we experienced something similar. Very frustrating!! Thanks for sharing and viewing my article!

      Like

  14. bunsongpayat says:

    I am booking a domestic flight from Gimpo to Jeju via Eastar Jet, but as I am being directed to the payment part, the site requires me to install something that I don’t even understand because the installation process is written in special characters. And then I attempted to just click whatever there is to click but the installation just automatically stops out of nowhere. Would you know how to “overcome” this very complicated and difficult booking problem with Eastar Jet?

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      To be honest, if i were you, i would change my booking to another airline. I experienced some weird stuff during the booking with eastar jet as well. Just try air busan or korean air or asiana. May be they cost more, but better than having too much trouble with no results. Hope it helps! Have a great trip

      Like

  15. Mon says:

    Hello, were you able to book the ticket on air busan? I tried to book a ticket and wrote my name. The website won’t proceed because it can’t recognise my name (even though my name is already english?)

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      I was able to book air busan easily last year. My name is also written in english, though i’m not european nor american. Suppose your name doesn’t fit in the blank space because it’s too long (as i experienced the same thing), you can emphasize your last name, and put your first and middle name with initials only. I did it and when i checked in at gimpo, it worked. They don’t mind though my name is not really as written in my passport. But honestly, i didn’t experience what happened to you. At least they still recognise my name.
      What you could do, perhaps, book through korean air as the web is more user friendly. That’s what i think. But it costs you more than air busan. Still, better than not being able to do it at all. I hope it helps

      Like

  16. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thanks for
    providing this info.

    Like

  17. Aleth says:

    I’ve tried several options too but to make it short, if you are booking for Jeju air, the correct email address is cyberdesk@ymail.com not jejusaid.net as what it says on their webpage. Emailing them is just like asking for their help that you cannot do it online…check the flight number you want to take and timing, how many passengers..then they say they will give you the confirmation number and how you will pay.

    But what I just did is I called them instead while I am still here in the US, their contact number is 82-1599-1500 then for service in English press number 2 not 10 as what I heard is 10😊 it should be number 2, and to make it faster, list down the flight number you want and timing…I hope it helps…

    Like

  18. KK Lim says:

    I spend 2 very very frustrated days trying to book a flight from Seoul to Jeju. Now at least i know i’m not the only one. What do you think of the chances to get the ticket directly from the Gimpo Airport counter ? Thks

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      there’s always a possibility to do so. whether you’ll get the higher price, may be lower bcause of last minute rate? u never know. but it could be a fun adventure if you have a lot of time and no fixed plan

      Like

  19. […] ist das kein Einzelfall. Jemand hatte in diesem englischsprachigen Blogpost viele koreanische Airlines genauso erfolglos […]

    Like

  20. JessL says:

    Hi gal,
    Thx, What an interesting article u shared, i had a good laugh…
    Next, im worry as i’ll be sourcing the gimpo-jeju return on Thurs with my peer for coming Apr 14th trip…i felt very panic after reading all the stories. God blessed

    Like

  21. […] Anyways, I then googled payment easterjet, hoping to find someone that broke through the code (ok, it’s in Hangul). This lead me to come across this site: https://galontrip.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/how-korean-domestic-flight-online-booking-can-be-frustrat… […]

    Like

  22. Andy says:

    Hi!
    I got the same trouble with the Eastar website, and I realised that the fix for it is to use Internet Explorer! The download prompt kept coming up on Chrome, but I just breezed through on IE. Just posting in case someone meets the same problem!
    Cheers!

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      Kudos to us then, at least finally we both solve the problem. A happy ending…. Thx for visiting!

      Like

    • Claire says:

      Hi Andy,
      How did you make your payment? When i’m at the checkout page, there is only korean credit card selection. I am wondering if you managed to book with a foreign cc?

      Cheers!

      Like

  23. Jen says:

    I am a newbie and I need to book local flight to Jeju…finger cross !! I tried to see the fare seemed so far so good. I have not come into the payment section yet. But I will take all information on board and wish me luck !!!

    Jen

    Like

  24. Mohamad Azmi Abu Bakar says:

    Hi there, I faced same problem to book the flight from Gimpo to Jeju and from Jeju to Busan… try several days several time, ended up i managed to book most with Korean Air via Internet Explorer as i failed to book using Chrome (of course with more money to pay)

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      It apparently never works with chrome and i don’t know why. Korean air is the most expensive of all, but more reliable and user friendly. Glad that you’ve made it , though. I was lucky with air busan and got a very good deal from it.

      Like

  25. Igor Nestpasperdu says:

    Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH! I’ve been screaming at my computer for weeks, trying to figure out the best way to get to Jejy, and just facing obstacle after obstacle. You just mad my day! 😀

    Like

  26. Nhà Sâu says:

    Hi, i’ve just booked a tik from Gimpo to Jeju via Easterjet, but i have a problem that my name in the booking without my middle name. as when i key, there is no space between first and middle name so i decided to put my last and first name only. anyone has the same prob and experience like that? do they care about full name? i’ve contacted with their customer service but not hope getting their response.
    Thanks guys.

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      i remember having the similar problem. i just put my first and last name, without middle name, and when i checked in at gimpo airport, they didn’t mind and everything went okay. i hope it’s still like that until now

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Nhà Sâu says:

    great, thank you so much. you made my day! wish you New year filled with wonderful adventures ahead.

    Like

  28. […] ist das kein Einzelfall. Jemand hatte in diesem englischsprachigen Blogpost viele koreanische Airlines genauso erfolglos […]

    Like

  29. Elaine says:

    Hi everyone,
    Just booked a flight from Korea to Tokyo on Jin air. Was super frustrating because after entering all my information in, it wouldn’t let me process the order. Tried at least 5 times and ended up losing the better priced tickets.

    Finally, my boyfriend found out that during checkout, you need to unclick “Verified by Visa.”
    You’ll see under the “Payer Authentication (Optional)” column that it’s already defaulted. However, you’ll need to change it to NONE for the card to go through.

    Hope this saves other people from the frustration! 🙂

    Like

  30. Beata says:

    Busan has not flights Seoul Jeju, T’way we could not do it, do you have any idea how to solve the problem?:)

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      if i were you, i would just get it from korean air, as it’s the most user-friendly site for purchasing korean domestic flight tickets. nothing’s odd about the site, although it costs more than other budget airlines that gives a lot of foreigners hard times. hope it helps and have a great trip!

      Like

      • Beata says:

        hi we checked other airlines and the dates were bookes out.

        Like

      • GalOnTrip says:

        I don’t know your chosen flight date. But I just checked Air Busan from Seoul to Jeju for this month and it’s still available under “domestic flight” option. Or perhaps your chosen date is on high season? If all flights are fully booked, probably it’s simply not available at the moment. I heard that you actually can go by bus from Seoul (but I haven’t done that before) then take a ferry, but it’s just too far and too long. I don’t know any other options, unfortunately.

        Like

      • Beata says:

        Hi, we checked Asian airlines again we seats were available again! We are flying from Seoul on 25.06.17 to Jeju. Thank you for your help!

        Like

  31. Hi 🙂 I am having troubles when trying to register as a member in Air Busan. My problem it’s that my phone number it’s wrong apparently… it says exactly “Last digit of mobile number” I had to translate it with google though because it’s in Korean. Is there any trick to pass that ?

    Like

    • GalOnTrip says:

      hi rodrigo, somehow i can’t find where “last digit of mobile number” is written. apparently, what i just saw was the contact number section asking for a complete phone number. so i really don’t know how to solve that. when i registered some years ago, that didn’t happen to me, as long as i remember. hmm… perhaps something has changed with the registration process recently…

      Like

  32. eriF_Odin says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for your blog… apparently Jin Air also required Internet Explorer to book their tickets! We almost gave up on booking with Jin until we saw this blog!!

    Like

  33. Jo Leo says:

    Thank you very much for your sharing. After 4 years since after what you have written. They still make no improvement. I spent the whole night trying to make payment, getting authorised code yet still they decline my payment. I give up reserving. May have to call Asiana airlines direct. The price between Korea air and Asiana is almost double. Is really ridiculous:(

    Like

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    Like

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