With a short layover and the delay in finding a docking space for our arriving airplane, it meant I have less time to explore the lounge and Incheon isn’t exactly the smallest of airports. In summer, the airport is filled with Asian tourists and the duty free shops and food courts around the airports are all packed with people. In fact it resembles a market more than an airport with all the noise.
Both Asiana and Korean Air has their lounges in the main spine that holds the ‘fingers’ where the gates are located at. That meant quite a walk to the lounge from our arrival. A large signboard to KAL Lounge with the classic baby blue colour of the airline is not difficult to spot though. After spotting the entrance, guests take an escalator up to the reception desk.
Being a common lounge for Korean Air and Sky Team Elite Plus members, the reception can get quite crowded at times. Beside the reception counter there is a flatscreen TV showcasing the time and current condition for flights and a model of Korean Air’s A380.
One of the features in the lounge I like is the luggage lockers with guests being able to set their own numbered combination. The locker space allows for the fitment of hand luggages too. Thus far, most Japanese and Korean lounges I visited have such a facility and I only hope they are picked up by more lounges as it makes it easier for guests to get food or just to relax in the lounge.
There are seating space on either side of the reception counter. Most lounge guests, I assume, would turn left where there are more private seating for 2 people. These seating space have tall partitions making it easier to hold conversations in.
A wall partition separates this space with the buffet counter. The partition also holds several magazines and newspapers. Though like many foreign airline lounges, there are not much English magazines on offer, but they have a good selection of foreign newspapers aside from the Korean dailies.
The buffet counter has a variety of food that are edible but no better or worse than say Air Canada’s Maple Leaf or Lufthansa’s Senator lounge. There are a couple of hot food like fried rice that seems to be having an identity crisis as it was termed to be vegetable fried rice with pork ham.
There is fortunately sauteed beancurd or tofu for vegetarians.
Along with a chicken stew for the rest of the passengers.
If one is looking for a lighter meal or snack, there are always mini-sandwiches, a salad bar, some soup choices and assorted pastries.
As one of the main producer and consumer of instant noodles, they do have cup noodles with hot water dispensers which occupies a significant space on the buffet counter just beside the espresso machine.
At the end of the buffet counter there are several dining tables though I find them to be a bit small in respect to the rest of the lounge. Even though this space was empty, I figured they wanted lounge guests to dine by their seats during meal time. As a note, I visited the lounge in the afternoon, before dinner time. The space also felt a lot like a high school cafeteria, and not something that befits a ‘Prestige Class’ lounge, especially with Korea getting significance for being a ‘design’ nation.
There is a more open lounge space across from the dining area with more chairs in this section.
Moving across to the other end of the lounge where guests turn right from the reception desk, guests could find restrooms and shower room. The restrooms are pretty nice since they are individual rooms with a washbasin. It was like the restrooms in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal albeit lacking in the premium amenities.
This section of the lounge also features a large common seating area. All the seats faces the tarmac with small side tables in between seats. This space definitely felt the most crowded and noisy, and quite undesirable as a lounge since it felt like being in the main departure gates. While the lounge has windows overlooking the tarmac, the decor made it dark and it feels ‘cold’.
The size of the KAL lounge in Seoul Incheon was a good size though they did have a note in the reception desk they might turn away guests at peak hours. Thus this lounge might be inadequate considering it is their main hub. However the complete range of amenities from a functioning and adequately fast wifi to a nice secured luggage storage lockers and a clean restroom area makes it a good space for a few hours of layover. But I might just have my meals elsewhere since the airport has a better variety on offer. To sum up, KAL Lounge in Seoul Incheon was somewhat unappealing compared to the wealth of shops, eateries and things to do in the airport itself.