Korea Expat BLog

KTX Bullet Train Executive First Class vs Regular Normal Economy Price Hike Difference Compare


Oh I love riding the Maglev from ShangHai Airport accessing a disney-ride into the most cosmopolitan city in China, more than the Capital of BeiJing,
and was the first to try KTX from the Port City of Busan or Pusan on its maiden voyage .

it surely is the most price as well as time-conscious, for

  • Gimpo Airport servicing central Seoul is an hour away by taxi,
  • and GimHae Airport servicing central Busan is 30 minutes via the short, old highway
  • fight time is approximately 50 minutes but add stand-by and waiting time
  • airfair used to be roughly W70,000 and now lowered to W60,000 with 5% discount on the first morning flight

out of which : the single-row seats on First Class ( correct Korean translation is Special Room) was a bargain
for you can do much business in the way of computing on your laptop or notebook on the way .

with regular rides between Seoul and Busan, my last visit was in April 2012 and now in June I find First Class tickets hiked-up, while airfare has declined 0o0 so now :

  • KTX First Class is W70,000
  • airfare is W60,000 and discount further with recent Air Busan conjuction with BEXCO events in Busan
  • KTX regular adult ticket W50,000

but take-into-account airlines offer mileage and KTX has its own membership card :

  • entrance to KTX membership lounge, advertise grandly but actually a single-or-two lady attended room with a few internet-connected-computers and self-service coffee, all FREE
  • each ticket purchase adds membership points to be used later
  • further discount if you reserve, purchase on-Line and print your ticket at an automated machine at the train station
  • from 2011, now you can save your virtual ticket in your iPhone apps 😉

[ KTX Train Carriages ] are ordered so that carriage #1 in the first carriage pointing North, no-matter which direction the train is heading .
so, on a South-bound train the most rear carrage would be carriage #1

[ KTX Ticket Seat Levels ]

  1. Movie Class takes up half a carriage of the most front carriage, priced in-between Regular and First Class,
  2. First Class ( Special Room in Korean) takes the front second to fifth carriage in the direction the train is traveling,
  3. Regular Class ( General Seat in Korean) is reserved in advance, while
  4. Waiting Class does NOT have designated seats

the major disadvantage of regular class is that in each carriage : half of the seats are facing North while the other half South .
in contrast : ALL seats in First Class and movie carriage is turned to face the direction the train is heading .

KTX first class priviledges :

  • FREE small water bottle from dispenser locate between carriages but the one between 4th and 5th carriage sometimes disabled for many from Regular Class carriages further back, come up front to take it -_-
  • FREE Wi-Fi where as Regular has to pay extra, but is still a joke well into mid-2012 (does not work even as of February 2017, so you have to count on cellular data)
  • FREE internet accessible computer between in a small booth comparable to the toilet booth, between carriages (this seem to have been gone by 2016)
  • foremost front AND rear rows are slightly-discounted due to opening door noise,
  • seats arranged in three columns in each row as compared to four in Regular Class, where seats in single row give more privacy separated by corridor



*all price approximate and relative as they change
and on the Seoul-Busan Route : First Class Carriage 5 Seat 12A on North-bound, and 1A on South-bound seats are my designated seats
while Sue always prefers the movie carriage even to sleep !?

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