Korea wasn't specifically in our plans for this trip, we initially went there just because Korean Air had the right deal for us, so we found ourselves with a little bit of time in a place that we knew nothing about. However, it really was only a little bit of time, because our flight from Brisbane arrived in the late afternoon, and our flight to London departed at 1pm on the next day, so we needed to be at the airport by mid-morning to get checked in.
Incheon Airport is a relatively new airport; it opened in 2001, and it's pretty sensationally styled. In keeping with much of the new Korea, it's an ultra-modernist retro design and looks like a Star Wars set or something from the Jetsons.
Flying from Brisbane, Australia, to London, UK, is a long journey, with about 23 hours in the air. While we were well looked after by Korean Air, and there were plenty of marvellous things to see out of the windows of the aeroplane, it's nice to get out and get a good night's sleep halfway through the journey so that you're in a bit better condition at the end destination.
As we were just doing a one-night stopover in Korea with little free time, I hadn’t gone to the trouble of finding out much about the country (there was plenty else to do before leaving!) While I knew that Korea had been producing industrial products for some decades, I didn’t know if we were we were going into a largely agrarian country or one that is highly industrially developed.
One of the amazing aspects of flying in an aeroplane is the great view that you usually get to see out of the windows. To me, this is an appealing aspect of flying, and I usually try to get a window seat so that I can experience it. There are a few reasons why this doesn’t always work out; but there is one reason that, as far as I know, only occurs on Korean Air flights.
The most direct route from Brisbane, Australia, to London, UK, is a great circle route that passes a few hundred kilometres west of the Korean peninsula, and then passes into the Arctic Circle and over Mongolia. We pretty much flew this route with Korean Air, not because it is the most direct route but because it kept us away from the Middle East (which has since proved to be a good thing to avoid, even if we did land only fifty kilometres from North Korea instead), and because Korean Air gave us a nice stopover in Seoul, to break up the long journey.