Review: Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (East)

Introduction: A Wandering Seoul
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 747-8 Business Class Hong Kong To Seoul (First Class Seat)
Park Hyatt Seoul Park Suite Twin
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (East)
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 (West)
Korean Air 777 Business Class Seoul to Hong Kong


While we had a great time in Seoul (which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post, though obviously I don’t specialise in maximising my time in cities – yet), it was time to get home on our 7:45 PM flight. We got to the airport at 4:30 PM – we weren’t actually intending to get to the airport so early, but we’d spent the morning at Alpacaworld and got back to civilisation earlier than expected.

Korean Air Terminal 2 Seoul Incheon

Seeing some Korean Air signage colours we headed towards the left side of the airport terminal, but after walking a fair distance we came across a sign saying that premium check-in was all the way on the very right of the check-in hall, by aisle A. I would’ve appreciated more signage indicating where to check in, and didn’t appreciate that Korean Air’s check-in at their hub airport for premium passengers and economy passengers were at opposite ends of the check-in hall. This would be a nuisance especially for families and groups traveling across different cabin classes (can you imagine how much trouble an unprepared large tour group would have if some of their members were flying in business class/had frequent flyer status?).

Anyway, Korean Air “encloses” their premium check-in desk for first and business class passengers.

Korean Air Premium Check-In Terminal 2 Incheon

While the premium check-in area is a nice effort to make the experience feel more exclusive, I find it rather pointless, as it’s literally just another check-in aisle. Despite having the entire aisle solely dedicated to Korean Air business class and Morning Calm members, there was a 10-ish minute long queue just to check in. I don’t remember the last time I’ve had to wait so long when checking in to fly business class from an airline’s hub airport – not even the last time I flew Korean Air!

Korean Air Premium Check-In Terminal 2 Incheon

On the plus side, first class passengers get a separate check-in lounge, which is a nice plus.

Korean Air First Class Check-In Incheon Terminal 2

During the check-in process I tried to ask for a first class seat, given that Korean Air had released their first class seats to those flying in business class (since no one had booked first class on our flight). The agent checking us in simply said “no” without giving a reason, though she called once to double check and was nice without being patronising about it, which I appreciated.

Since we were at the airport so early, we decided to roam around the outside area of the airport. As far as I know, Incheon Airport’s Terminal 2 has a separate area with a bunch of restaurants, including a Shake Shack. My parents wanted to eat at Burger Lab, so my sister and I messed around with a rather cute robot that I believe was supposed to be interactive, but was probably having an off day. (It served as a mobile guide to the airport’s features.)

Cool Robot At Incheon Terminal 2

Getting through security was annoying, not because it was painful by any means, but because of the rude and apathetic staff. I won’t rehash it in this post, so if you’d like to know more about my frustrations with Incheon Terminal 2, check out this separate post that I wrote after my visit.

While I’m not a huge fan of the terminal as such (the photographed sign in the below picture is one of the sparse signs around the terminal), I can’t deny that the terminal’s architecture is really nice and airy.

 Airside Incheon Terminal 2

There’s a single walkway past immigration where all the duty-free shops are located, though the terminal does open up a bit towards both sides. Still, though, since all the duty-free shops are in the same long, thin space, that particular area did feel crowded a lot of the time.

 Airside Incheon Terminal 2

The check-in agents instructed us to use the Korean Air lounge on the west side of the airport, by gate 249. I wanted to check out both lounges, so figured I’d check out the one closer to my gate later, so I headed to gate 253, where the Korean Air East lounge was located. While we were flying out of gate 252, there’s quite a bit of space between gates 252 and 253, so our gate ended up being closer to the West lounge despite it being adjacent to gate 249.

I made my way up a set of escalators that led to the airport’s eastern Korean Air lounge.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Entrance

You’ll have access if you’re flying business class on a Korean Air or SkyTeam airline, or have SkyTeam elite status. You also have access if you’re flying economy class as a Morning Calm Premium or Million Miler Club member, Korean Air’s own most elite frequent flyer programmes (if you’re flying first or business class, you have access to a dedicated “Miler Club” lounge, which seems much nicer).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Entrance

On the other side of the entrance was a window, where I spotted a brand new Korean Air 787.

Korean Air Boeing 787 Incheon Airport

The lounge itself was quite small for a hub lounge, and consisted of a large room with a few separate nooks. It’s worth noting that this is the smaller of Korean Air’s two lounges at the airport, though. Still, it was very, very crowded.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2

While I did like the lighting in the lounge and there was a rather large variety of seating, I still found the space to be rather uninspiring, and it wasn’t a very pleasant place to sit and spend some time.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2

Scattered around the lounge were some chairs with zero privacy (the design team of Korean Air’s newest business class product clearly didn’t drop by the lounge as well, since these seats were neither cosy nor comfortable).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Seating

Then by the wall was some bar seating, complete with (non-universal) power ports. If there’s one thing that I found a remarkable improvement over Korean Air’s old lounge at Terminal 1, this lounge had no shortage of functional power ports, which business travelers will appreciate if their devices are low on juice.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Seating

There were a few private partitioned cubicles with sofas facing four separate ways, though they were mostly taken.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Pod Seating

The middle of the lounge basically consisted of communal bar-esque seating surrounding a circular table, enclosed by some bench seating. Neither was particularly comfortable, though at least there wasn’t a shortage of power ports there either.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Communal Seating

By the ends of the lounge and scattered throughout the middle were some slightly more comfortable armchairs (for the record, it took me quite a while to find a few in a row that weren’t already taken).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Seating

I decided to check out the food spread. Unfortunately, it also was nothing to write home about, and was definitely subpar for a hub business class lounge.

There were some sandwiches on ice (?).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Food Spread

There was also a small salad spread to choose from.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Food Spread – Salad

On a separate table there were some pastries and a couple of cheeses.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Food Spread – Pastries and Cheese

By the side of the food spread was a small hot food selection, though all of the items looked soggy, like there’d been there for a long time. While I didn’t manage to get a picture with all the compartments open (due to how crowded the buffet area was), selections included dim sum and a noodle dish of sorts.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Food Spread – Hot Items

There was also juice, as well as a coffee machine (no barista coffee here!).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Food Spread – Drinks and Coffee

For beer drinkers, there was also beer on tap (which I didn’t take advantage of, not because I don’t drink, but I was well hydrated at the time).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Food Spread – Beer

There was also a separate bar, which I was excited about. Unfortunately, the sole purpose of the bartender was to pour selected alcoholic drinks from bottles. This isn’t a bar where you can order mocktails or ask for the bartender’s favourite mixed drink (though you can probably mix drinks at your own excretion if you wish).

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Bar

On the plus side, I did like how sleek the bar looked.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Bar

There was also a separate TV nook by the entrance, which I can appreciate, since the last thing a crowded lounge needs is an extra unnecessary sound source. This area consisted of ten rather comfortable armchairs, and was occupied.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 TV Room

There was also a “relax area” near the back of the lounge, which would be my chosen spot to relax if I had to spend a few hours in this lounge. I didn’t manage to get a picture of the entire relax area, though it was situated behind polarised glass, so the area had a nice degree of privacy. There were multiple chairs to choose from – including a few massage chairs, and a recliner with an ottoman (similar to what I had in my room at the Park Hyatt). While still mostly occupied, this area was much quieter and didn’t seem to attract as much attention as the lounge’s other features.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Relax Pod

While I wasn’t planning to take a shower until I got to the West lounge, I decided to check the shower rooms out, so asked the shower attendant for one. When I cleared my throat after I entered the shower area, a shower attendant came out and gave me a free shower room – there was no wait.

I actually thought the shower room was modern and very well appointed. It featured a Japanese style toilet, a sink with a large surface for vanity, and I appreciated that a comb and dental kit was offered on top of the towels that were prepared. There was also a separate cupboard for storage, which I also enjoyed.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Shower Room

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Shower Room

The water pressure was good, but not excellent.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Shower Room

If I had one complaint, I’d prefer if the toiletries weren’t wall-mounted, since you have no idea where the toiletries are from, and how long the toiletries have been in their containers for.

Korean Air Prestige Lounge East Incheon T2 Shower Toiletries

Service here was matronly but not unpleasant (I barely interacted with them apart from getting my boarding pass scanned), and WiFi was fast enough and easy to connect to.

After checking out the shower room, I wandered over to the West lounge so I could check it out. I figured I could relax there, since it was bigger.

Bottom Line: Korean Air Terminal 2 Prestige Lounge East

On the plus side, Korean Air’s new business class lounges are nicely decorated, at least compared to the old one at Terminal 1. This lounge was overly crowded, had a lackluster food selection, and wasn’t innovative in the least (if you’re going to have a bar, at least have some sort of a drinks menu on offer, instead of just pouring beverages out of bottles), but the relax area and the showers were nice. I was hoping the bigger West lounge would be nicer, though it wasn’t.

Some of the aspects of flying Korean Air business class are above average, while others are somewhat below average. In terms of hub airport lounges, Korean Air completely dropped the ball. This doesn’t rank into the top 20 lounges I’ve visited, let alone the top five.

Have you visited Incheon’s new Terminal 2? If you have, have you been to Korean Air’s new lounges? Did you enjoy either more than I did?

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