Crew Scheduling Supervisors take on South Korea on a trip centered around local cuisine and culture
With the launch of a new direct flight from MSP to Seoul, South Korea, the timing was perfect for two Crew Scheduling Supervisors to make the trek to Asia. From where to go, what to eat, and where to stay, Casey Rusco dishes helpful travel tips to make the most of your Korean adventure.
What was your destination and why did you choose it?
Seoul, South Korea. My fellow Crew Scheduling Supervisor, James Parmenter, lived in Seoul as an English teacher in 2010. He wanted to see his old stompin’ grounds, and I got a personal tour guide. The trip was solidified upon learning of the new Delta direct MSP-ICN route.
What route did you take to get there?
We left MSP a few days before the direct route started and ended up taking a ZED on Korean Air out of ORD. However, we were able to get the last two Delta One Suites on the return leg direct to MSP!
Where did you stay while you were there?
We stayed at the Hamilton Hotel in the neighborhood of Itaewon. The hotel was beautiful and only around 85 USD/night. There are plenty of extremely affordable hotel options; this hotel would’ve been $400/night in NYC, for example. Itaewon is known for its rowdy nightlife, and it is about as diverse as Korea gets as well. It has many foreign embassies, and until recently, had the U.S. military base nearby. This makes it an easy neighborhood to navigate without speaking any Korean. It’s pretty centralized as well, and it is a good starting point for day trips around the city.
What was your favorite memory or activity?
Food tends to dominate most of my adventures! I would say the Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) was a highlight for me. One of Seoul’s most popular Samgyetang resturants, Tosokchon Samgyetang, is a short walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace in the city’s center. A day strolling the palace grounds followed by a delicious meal was delightful. If you visit the palace, you are welcome to rent traditional Korean clothing to make it truly authentic.
Do you have any helpful tips you’d like to share?
Seoul is absolutely massive; each neighborhood is the size of a fairly large city itself. James lived for a year in Seoul and still had parts of the city he had never seen before. Each neighborhood is usually known for something special —whether it’s a sprawling fish-market, high-end fashion, exciting nightlife, or beautiful temples, there is something for everyone. Do yourself a favor by doing a little research before heading there.
I was really impressed by the efficiency, cleanliness, and user-friendly public transportation. Although I had a guide, I think I could have acclimated fairly quickly. I would recommend learning some basic Korean such as “yes/no” and “please/thank you.” Koreans will be very accommodating when they can if you find yourself needing a little help with directions or ordering food.