Korean Air has announced its plans to supplement its current no-show penalty system due to recent chaos.
The move is in response to attempts by K-pop fans, known as Sasaeng, to meet their idols, before cancelling flights at the last minute.
Fans purchase first class tickets, visit the airport lounge to be close to the stars, before leaving the airport prior to departure and then claiming a full refund on the premium product.
In response, Korean Air will charge an additional KRW200,000 to passengers who cancel their flights after going through the departure process, for all international flights.
Korean Air currently charges no-show penalties to passengers who do not board without cancelling reservations before departure time, those who do not board after check-in or those who deplane.
A fee of KRW200,000 will be assessed as an additional penalty for each instance of a passenger who cancels their international flight after going through the departure process.
Flights departing from Hong Kong and the Philippines will be applicable after government approval.
This decision is based on the recent misappropriation of low-penalty and penalty-exempt bookings that resulted in some passengers falsely reporting for departure and then cancelling their flights after using the lounge and getting on the aircraft.
The number of such cases in Incheon International Airport in 2018 was 35 for Korean Air, amounting to hundreds if all airlines are included.
For security reasons, all passengers must disembark the aircraft and go through security checks again if some passengers voluntarily deplane.
This usually leads to unnecessary flight delays, which naturally affects the actual passengers.
Moreover, boarding cancellations and the following processes involve an unnecessary waste of manpower and expenses for both airlines and airport authorities.
Through this strengthened measure, Korean Air expects to create a sounder customer service culture, especially during the boarding process, and provide more actual passengers with opportunities to make flight reservations.