Korea has World’s 14th Priciest Airfare, but Buses are Cheap

For those traveling around the ROK, you’ll be pleased to know that the bus fares are some of the least expensive in the world. Unfortunately, when flying, it’s not so good. According to a recent study released by GoEuro, Korea ranks as the 14th most expensive place to fly in the world.

While the study found that airfare in Korea, at $40.73 per 100km, was cheaper than neighboring Japan ($56.39), it was twice as much as China ($20.06) and monumentally more expensive than the United States, Spain, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia and India, who all ranked as the world’s cheapest places to fly.

Train fares here are also priced fairly high worldwide, but a combination of all three travel options –trains, planes and buses– landed Korea squarely in the middle of the price pack.

As for India, well, here’s something you don’t read everyday.

Airfares in India are so low in fact, that it is now cheaper to travel by air than to take the train. According to the GoEuro study, a 100-kilometer train journey costs $11.31 while travel by air will run you an average of $10.36 for the same distance.


  • Anonymous_Joe

    I am not surprised that Korea ranks high on a list of most expensive countries to fly domestically per 100 kilometers.

    If we break up the cost of a flight into its fixed (airport landing and departure fees, ticketing fees, baggage handling costs, fuel cost on takeoff and landing, flight labor for takeoff and landing) and marginal (fuel costs at cruising altitude, flight labor, etc.) costs components, then it’s easy to see that shorter flights cost more per average kilometer.

    Korea is such a small country, so any flight will be a short distance and at a higher per kilometer cost.

  • redwhitedude

    My family find Asiana and Korean Air a bit too pricey so they fly United into Korea.

  • redwhitedude

    Hence there is more competition from other means of transportation such as bus and rail. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of airport security and it’s not like most of the time the discrepancy in time to get to the destination is going to be a deal breaker.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Yeah, I was confused by this. Are they just looking at domestic flights? That seems silly. That would explain why the most expensive countries are small in size and the cheapest ones are large (except for Spain, sort of).

    I do love trains and it’s tough to beat Korea’s bang for the buck.

  • DC Musicfreak

    Japan, with its elaborate brand of market-rigging crony capitalism, used to rig every price so that if you were contemplating going from say Tokyo to Hiroshima, the airfare, the train fare, the bus fare and the highway tolls all were the same and very pricey. Slight savings by taking night buses. This was made possible because the regulators and the various carriers were all chummy Transport Ministry officials or former officials.