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Here's How to Enjoy Local Cuisine at 35,000 Feet

Sponsored by Korean Air

Aug 29, 2019

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Korean Air’s innovative "farm-to-flight" program features food grown on the airline’s very own farm.

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Cows roam lush pastures and chickens run free in the serene countryside, with hills and mountains creating a dramatic backdrop.

It may seem like an ordinary farm, but Jedong Ranch—on Jeju Island, just off the coast of South Korea—is far from ordinary. It’s actually a hub of innovation, where some of Korean Air’s food begins its journey to hungry passengers at 35,000 feet. The process has made Korean Air the first-ever airline to offer organic food directly from their own farm—a true farm-to-flight experience.

Where It Begins

Back in 1972, the former chairman of the airline’s parent company purchased 3,700 acres of island land that became Jedong Ranch. It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque setting than the volcanic island of Jeju, which is also home to South Korea’s highest mountain, as well as gorgeous beaches.

At the time, South Korea was in the throes of a beef shortage, so raising cattle was the first priority. The shortage subsided, but the cattle-raising continued; today, more than 2,200 grass-fed native Korean cattle (called Hanwoo) produce organic, antibiotic-free beef for Korean Air.

The cows are joined by some 6,000 free-range chickens, which produce eggs and meat for first- and business-class passengers. And inside the farm’s hydroponic greenhouses grows another delicious endeavor: red peppers (which are normally hard to find in South Korea) and cherry tomatoes; the farm produces more than 210 tons of them every year.

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And then there’s the water. The island’s volcanic geology has resulted in some of the cleanest, most delicious water anywhere. So, for 35 years, Korean Air has been pumping artesian water up from more than 1,000 feet underground, filtering it through layers of volcanic rock and bottling it for passengers as the tasty Hanjin Jeju Pure Water.

What You Can Enjoy

The fresh food is then sent to Korean Air’s catering center at Incheon Airport in Seoul; maintaining quality throughout this process is so important to the airline that it established a research center, to ensure adherence to the highest standards. Chefs then combine ingredients to create dishes based on passenger preference surveys; meals may include Western, Chinese, Japanese, or traditional Korean options. (If you can, sample the award-winning Bibimbap!) Complete your meal with top-quality wines that suit the unique characteristics of your destination.

For the best culinary experience, book first class; not only will you get to sample the amazing farm-raised beef, but if you’re on the A380, you can enjoy Korean Air’s unique Celestial Bar—a place to relax and enjoy craft cocktails.

Not Just Food

Of course, it’s not just great food you’ll find when flying Korean Air. Comfort and service are also key to the Korean Air experience, whether you’re enjoying fully flat beds in First Class and Prestige Class, or the exceptionally wide seats with 34” of legroom in Economy Class. An extensive entertainment system also helps the time fly by.

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When traveling from one of the 16 North American gateways, you’ll land at Incheon airport, where the airline’s new Terminal 2 is a stylish destination unto itself. And if you’re heading elsewhere, you’ll find it easy to navigate to your connection. (Check out these 6 itinerary ideas in Southeast Asia for inspiration.)

Round out the experience by becoming a SKYPASS frequent flier and earning enough miles to join Korean Air’s Morning Calm Club. You’ll find benefits like private lounge usage (up to four times over a two-year period) and priority baggage handling.

Learn more about all of Korean Airs programs, routes, frequencies, and partners—and book your farm-to-flight experience today.

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