korean air 5-star covid-19 airline safety rating

Korean Air is awarded the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating


by Skytrax: London, UK

Korean Air has been Certified with the highest level 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, becoming one of just seven airlines in the world to currently achieve this top recognition.

The Skytrax COVID-19 Airline Safety Accreditation is regarded as a global benchmark for evaluating COVID-19 safe travel.

The COVID-19 Safety Audit was conducted by Skytrax in April and May 2021 and assessed all safety and hygiene protocols introduced by Korean Air during COVID-19 to enhance customer and staff safety. The COVID-19 Safety Rating evaluates front-line facilities and service to determine how effectively and consistently COVID-19 procedures are being provided, across both airport and onboard cleanliness, cleaning and disinfection procedures, standard and usage conformity of staff PPE, Covid signage and information, application of social distancing, hand sanitiser facilities, PA guidance, organisation and control of passenger flows, applying face mask usage and adapted service systems in the airport and onboard flights.

Mr Keehong Woo, President of Korean Air said: “Korean Air is proud and honored to be named a 5-star airline for Skytrax COVID-19 Safety Rating. This special category recognizes an airline’s safety, cleanliness and hygiene efforts to prevent further spread of the disease. Korean Air’s Care First program does just that. Care First has strengthened our communication with passengers as well as applied multiple layers of protection for our customers and employees. I gratefully accept this award on behalf of all our employees, many of whom are serving on the frontlines of this pandemic. Their unwavering support and loyalty are ensuring Korean Air’s success.”

Korean Air has reacted to the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing a range of measures through its Care First programme. As part of the broader commitment, KAL has cooperated with Incheon International Airport to deliver risk reduction safety protocols at all frontline customer service touchpoints.

Expansive physical distancing protocols have been introduced at queuing points for check-in, boarding, transfer and baggage reclaim, and this includes the use of fixed screens at all service counters.

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “The implementation of Korean Air’s Care First programme has enabled the airline to deliver hygiene and safety standards to the highest levels across the entire passenger experience. Korean Air is providing a most comprehensive COVID-19 safety programme to ensure the well-being of customers and employees, and the attention to detail and care consistency is a key factor to Korean Air achieving this highest COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating. Delivering this assurance to customers of a safe travel experience, is essential to restoring confidence in air travel.”

Hand hygiene facilities have been positioned at many frequently touched surfaces through the airport, and Korean Air provide individual hygiene packs with sanitiser at all frontline contact points such as check-in, the premium lounge, and boarding.

First and Business Class customers using the Prestige Lounge will find an array of enhanced distancing and one-way systems to facilitate safe movement, and capacity restrictions applied to enclosed areas such as the washrooms and showers to prevent crowding.

Korean Air has adapted the food and beverage service to ensure that most products are hermetically sealed, and contact areas such as hot and cold drink machines are subject to more frequent sanitisation.

Korean Air and Incheon International Airport have increased the frequency of cleaning for central contact points through Terminal 2, and contactless and reduced contact technologies have been applied at various stages of passenger processing.

The onboard experience has been modified to reduce contact between customers and staff, but Korean Air has been conscious to retain a robust product and service offer to deliver on its 5-Star commitments. Factors such as menus are now single use, meals are served fully covered with foil or plastic, and the service systems for some amenities have been adapted.

Customers can request hygiene products such as sanitisers, wipes, and spare face masks during long-haul flights.

Inflight cleanliness builds on Korean Air’s reputation for excellence in this field. In addition to the usual turn-by-turn disinfection procedure, cabins are also subject to certified fogging and UV sanitisation. The frequency of staff checks for cleaning washrooms and galley areas has also been enhanced.


Korean Air, a founding member of SkyTeam, is a leading international airline headquartered in Seoul. Its global hub is at Incheon International Airport (ICN) and its core businesses are passenger, cargo, aerospace, and aviation maintenance and repair. With more than 50 years of serving the world, Korean Air’s vision is to be a respected leader in the world airline community, dedicated to providing Excellence in Flight. Its commitment to airline safety, cleanliness and comfort are renowned.

The 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating confirms excellent airport processing standards that considers all practical elements of contactless technology, customer handling, and social distancing protocols for check-in, boarding, and arrival. Airline lounges meet a high standard of cleanliness procedures and consistency, with good measures in place that facilitate social distancing, and safe delivery systems for food and beverages. Onboard cleanliness and cabin presentation is at an excellent quality level and may use new techniques for UV sanitisation, and mass disinfectant treatments. The onboard service systems for catering are adapted for COVID-19 times, with reduced contact delivery and enhanced food safety measures for meal presentation.

Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989 and is based in London, United Kingdom. The World Airline Rating programme is a leading international Rating system operating since 1999, which classifies airlines by the quality of product and staff service. In 2020, Skytrax launched the COVID-19 Airline Safety Ratings, providing independent, expert evaluation and certification of airline COVID-19 hygiene and safety measures. This programme is regarded as the global benchmark for Certifying COVID-19 safe travel standards.

» Korean Air COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating

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By Skytrax

Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989, and is based in London, UK. The World Airline and Airport Star Rating programme classifies airlines and airports by the quality of product and staff service standards.

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