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Review: Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge (West) at Seoul Incheon Airport [Oct 19]

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This is the final review of my amazing First Class Etihad trip that took me through Stockholm, Abu Dhabi and Seoul. My final stop before heading back to London via Abu Dhabi was the Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge at Seoul Incheon Airport.

The Facts

Eligibility: Flying Asiana or Star Alliance in Business Class, or (like Etihad) a codeshare partner in First or Business Class. Asiana Airlines Club Diamond / Star Alliance Gold, Priority Pass holders (for full eligibility info go here)

Location: Near Gate 43, Seoul Incheon Airport, Terminal 1

Opening Hours: 06:00 – 00:30

Services: Self-service bar, self-service hot and cold buffet, semi-private rest chairs, massage chairs, wifi, showers, luggage storage.

The Experience

The lounge as it is filling up – it got busier than this!

The lounge is located up the escalators near gate 43. You have the reception in the middle, with the lounge itself off to the left, with a block of toilets and showers. The lounge is pretty big, with lots of different seating, but it was constantly full and people were struggling to find a spot to sit at times. The decor is pretty bland, but at least doesn’t feel like a cafeteria.

Bar and Drinks

5/10

Self-service bar area and group seating.

All drinks are self-service, no sitting at the bar for me! There were juice and coffee at one end and alcohol at the other end of the lounge. The selection isn’t amazing, typically lower-end brand name spirits, but also not the worst I’ve seen. There was juice, tea and coffee, canned fizzy drinks, two red wines, two white wines, Tanquery gin, Bacardi rum, Jose Cuervo tequila, Smirnoff vodka, Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker Black, Remy Martin and Kahula.

The extent of the drinks selection. Beer also available from self-service draught.

But the best bit was the beer (dispensing it at least). You get a glass, pop it on the stand and it fills from the bottom of the cup. I was mesmerised! Unfortunately, the beer, aptly named Max, tasted pretty bad and was kinda warm.

Dining

5/10

Dining is also self-service with a limited, but sufficient amount of food on offer. Again, underwhelming, but not the absolute worst I’ve seen.

The hot options were the best bet, with the likes of sweet & sour chicken, noodles and pasta on offer. I had a plate and well…it filled a hole. If I hadn’t have been starving I probably wouldn’t have finished it. Don’t save yourself for the food here. If you don’t want to eat on the plane, I recommend a big meal before getting to the airport.

The cold options looked very sad…and random. Some odd bits of salad, questionable looking sandwiches.

I think all I need to say to sum up the food is that the most popular food item with the guests was the instant noodles!

Showers & Spa

4/10

There is no spa at the lounge, but there are showers. I didn’t use these and they were not well signposted, nor referenced at reception. It looked like just a cubicle that you let yourself into.

Facilities

5/10

There wasn’t much in the way of facilities. No real space to do work and most people were sat in armchairs with computers balancing on their laps. There are no separate rooms to go to, so everyone is in the same one big space. One facility that is available is luggage storage.

Solo seating area. As you can see, this was most peoples’ best/only option for working.

The only option for privacy are the semi-private booths. Most had a lounging style chair that people were using to sleep. Two had massage chairs that you are allowed to use for 30 minutes max (on an honesty basis). I managed to get one and there was literally a woman waiting behind me for the whole 30 minutes until I was done. She evidently REALLY wanted that massage.

The chair was pretty great though. Definitely my favourite part of the lounge (minus scary staring woman).

The Conclusion

The Asiana Business Lounge is…fine. But considering Incheon is Asiana’s flagship airport, it is then severely disappointing. I found it crowded, underwhelming and bland (the decor and the food). It doesn’t compare at all the British Airways’ Business Lounges at Heathrow and certainly nowhere near in the league of United Polaris lounges. Spend an hour here, but don’t expect any type of pre-departure ‘experience’, you are doing well just to get a seat.

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