Quick Hit: Korean Air New T2 First Class Lounge and ICN Terminal 2 Impressions

by Stephen

Greetings from Japan! I am fresh off my Korean Air first class itinerary from New York to Seoul to Tokyo, during which I was able to experience the newly opened Seoul Incheon Terminal 2 and Korean Air’s new first class lounge. While I’ll have a full trip report coming and despite the fact that I’m long overdue on publishing the conclusion to my trip to the Persian Gulf, I wanted to quickly cover T2 and the new KE first lounge.

Opened just over two weeks ago and timed to coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, ICN’s Terminal 2 is a gorgeous, modern, and well thought-out piece of architecture. Very reminiscent of and no doubt inspired by Singapore Changi, the terminal has plenty of indoor greenery and majestic, looming trees. Breathtakingly high ceilings and plenty of glass give the terminal a refreshingly open and calm feel. The clear signage, meticulously rational design, and typical Asian efficiency make ICN T2 a new contender for one of the best terminals in the world. Travelers passing through T2 will be swimming in a sea of teal, as the new terminal is occupied primarily by Korean Air, along with its SkyTeam partners AirFrance/KLM and Delta. While these carriers have migrated over, all other carriers remain in T1.

During my quick-ish layover, I had a chance to stop in the new Korean Air first class lounge. In contrast to Terminal 1, Terminal 2’s lounges were designed to reduce crowding, with dedicated lounges for each premium cabin as well as a separate lounge for its elites. The cozy new first class lounge is exclusively for international first class passengers, with seating for only about 30 people. Meanwhile, business class passengers and SkyTeam elites have access to two separate business class lounges, one with a capacity of about 200 people, the second with a capacity of 400. Finally, a “Miler Club” lounge, adjacent to the first class lounge, is exclusively for Korean Air Million Miler Club members.

I’ll have a full review of the first class lounge at a later time, but in short, the new lounge is a significant step up from the aggressively mediocre offerings of the first class lounge in T1. Because of the limited number of people flying Korean Air first, the lounge is fairly small, with the main area consisting of one large space with a small dining area and a seating area. The floor to ceiling white marble in the lounge’s hallways exudes a refined, elegant aesthetic.

The food selection was a bit underwhelming for an international first class lounge and the alcohol selection, as with the previous lounge, was very disappointing. The quality of the food, however, was quite good. A few a la carte options are available as well, but I didn’t have enough time to sample any of those.

There is a single shower room available on a first-come, first-served basis. I was able to use it, and found the space and the shower itself to be very nice.

Next to the shower room, a separate single restroom for each gender is available as well.

The main seating area is comprised of dozens of private lounge chairs varyingly grouped alone and by twos, with one section of four seats together.

Finally, there is an enclosed “quiet room” with a massage chair. Exhausted from our flight, my friend promptly plopped down in the chair and said it was exactly what he needed to relax.

I’ll have a more comprehensive review at a later time, but all in all, the lounge is a definite upgrade from the previous first class lounge, though the food and alcohol selection do leave a bit to be desired. Finally, for veterans of the KE first class experience who may be wondering if one of the best features of the T1 first class lounge is still available in the new lounge, I am happy to report that the custom metal luggage tag printer was indeed moved over to the new lounge.

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