Monday, May 11, 2009

Asiana or Korean Air lines? Which one to pick? What would recommend?

I am travelling to Korea at the end of the month. I have received a quote from my travel agent for both Asiana (code share with Qantas) and Korean Air. Korean is 25% cheaper than Asiana which normally provider me with a definitive answer to the question - which one to pick (schedules are very similar).

But the wonderful Madame BOOT does not want me to get onto an any aeroplane that does not have stellar safety record. From my subsequent research I came across a new site of the week - The Accident Databse lists by date, carrier or aircraft manufacture all air accidents since 1950. Not sure if this should be definitive in my selection criteria but Korean Airlines has had 11 accidents in the last 29 years whereas Asiana has only had 2. What do you think - am I being a bit to precious by picking the more expensive Asiana based on these numbers? How much of a role should air safety history play in carrier selection?

thanks to Carrie Musgrave / for the photo


Dave said...

In his book outliers, Malcolm Gadwell has an interesting theory about airline culture, specifically Asian deference to authority, and air safety.

It seems that Korean Air has now developed a working culture that makes it acceptable for a co-pilot to question a pilot's decisions, something not possible in the old culture where questioning a senior's judgment would result in loss of face. Interestingly, Korean's record has improved significantly since then.

Of course, always be thankful you aren't flying with a mainland Chinese airline. 'Now if you look out the left....'

Carl said...

Nice resource Air Disaster, used a few years ago when doing domestic US business travel.

The database shows not much of a problem since 1999 although you wouldn't feel the same flying with them in the 90's.

But in saying that I don't think preciousness or indeed even the 25% comes in when you have Madame BOOT and the BOOTIES to think about.

In resp, to air safety history & carrier selection, for me it's role and the size depends on the perception of safety of the destination &/or the availability of carriers that were on/not on my normal trusted carriers.

If flying to Indonesia I wouldn't likely -read never- go Garuda

In Africa we didn't have a choice going from Nairobi to the Mara.

Phuket Observer said...

Those accidents were years ago. Korean Air reformed. Check the dates. Read the Outliers.

Tim Hughes said...

@Dave - thanks for the pointer to the book

@Carl - the Madame is pointing me very heavily towards Asiana

@Phuket - I am getting more and more commentary that Korean has reformed. thanks for the comment