The man, a US citizen of Pakistani descent, has the same name as that of a suspect on the US government's no-fly list. He was allowed to reboard the flight with other passengers when it was determined he was not the suspect in question and the flight continued to San Francisco.
The flight left South Korea's Incheon International Airport at 6:15 p.m. Sunday and had completed most of the journey to San Francisco when it was ordered back. It landed at Japan's Narita Airport early on Monday.
The man and his family had boarded a Korean Air flight in Bangkok before arriving in South Korea for the flight to San Francisco.
The no-fly list identifies individuals who have known or suspected links to terrorism or who have been otherwise identified as a threat to aviation.