Reviews

Review: Korean Air business class Prestige Lounge West, Seoul Incheon T2

Overall Rating

By Brandon Loo, July 15 2019
Korean Air business class Prestige Lounge West, Seoul Incheon T2
Country

South Korea

City

Seoul

Airport

Seoul Incheon

Alliance

SkyTeam

Airline

Korean Air

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • A large space with a modern, functional design
  • Dining area with a broad selection of food and a tended bar
The Bad
  • Much busier than the smaller 'East' Prestige Lounge
  • Limited selection of drinks and hot food
The Unexpected
  • Relaxation rooms, massage chairs and fast WiFi
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

As part of Korean Air's move to Seoul Incheon Airport's Terminal 2 in 2018, the airline took the opportunity to open a swathe of new lounges, with the 400-seat Prestige Lounge West the largest of them all.

Australian Business Traveller takes you through what is now Korean Air's flagship international business class lounge at its home hub airport, to see how it fares for business travellers on a busy weekday.

Location & Impressions

After clearing security and entering the centre of Terminal 2, head right and look for the escalators going up to 4F, and specifically the KAL Prestige Lounge West.

Keep walking along the upper concourse and you'll see the entrance on the right-hand side, near gate 249.

Immediately after the reception, there are secure lockers for your bags and coats.

Moving through, you'll find the lounge is essentially one large room, split into distinct zones by wooden panelling.

Walking around counter-clockwise, there's a wide and generally under-utilised TV room...

... a hallway to the bathrooms and shower areas...

... then the dining area, complete with a tended bar...

... before finishing off in the far end of the lounge, which has more general seating, a female-only bathroom and nursing room, and a relaxation area beyond the blue glass.

Access

  • Business class passengers of Korean Air and its SkyTeam alliance partners Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, KLM and XiamenAir on flights from Terminal 2, along with former SkyTeam member China Southern by special arrangement.
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus frequent flyers travelling with any of the SkyTeam airlines above (China Southern excluded).
  • China Southern Sky Pearl Club Gold members prior to China Southern flights only.
  • Korean Air Morning Calm Premium Club and Million Miler Club members travelling in economy.*
  • Korean Air Morning Calm Club members using one of their four lounge access passes per membership cycle.
  • Other Korean Air Skypass members who purchase a Korean Air Lounge Award for 4,000 Skypass miles per visit.

*Million Miler Club and Morning Calm Premium Club passengers travelling in Korean Air's Prestige Class (business) cabin can instead access the higher-tier Miler Club Lounge instead.

Dining

Our mid-morning visit saw lunch being rolled out. Each option is repeated on either side of the counter, which cuts down on queuing.

Hot food options were predictably all Asian dishes, such as fried rice, and tangsuyuk – that's Korean sweet and sour crispy pork.

Chilled options included sandwiches and salads...

... all of which made for a perfectly acceptable light lunch.

Peckish passengers can also avail of the instant noodles, which you cook yourself with the hot water.

The bar nearby has just three spirits on offer, although one of them is the relatively upmarket Rémy Martin XO cognac.

Wine drinkers have a choice of a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon or an Australian NSW Chardonnay. 

Beer is on tap at the bar too, or for something more interactive, try the beer dispensers in the main dining area.

Disappointingly, water is provided in wasteful airline-sized packs rather than from filtered water taps.

Three Coca-Cola varieties and some juices are self-serve...

... as are coffees from a machine, and standard Lipton teas.

Work

The main hallway leading to the lounge has some working desks, offering views into the terminal...

... while these solo chairs provide plenty of privacy and even have wireless charging built into the armrests (look for the white light, circled in red).

If you're sitting in the lounge proper, universal plugs can be found practically everywhere, such as in between seats...

... or in the circular 'centrepieces' in different areas of the lounge, which also have AC and USB power.

If you can work silently without disrupting others (such as taking phone calls or typing away loudly), then some of the relaxation areas described below might also be suitable for productivity, away from the noise of the main lounge.

As expected in most major airports, WiFi in this lounge was quite fast at 60 Mbps down and 71 Mbps up – more than sufficient for most business uses.

Relax

Behind the blue glass at the end of the lounge (pictured above) is a relaxation room: one of those spaces equally perfect for unwinding or working quietly.

There are individual cubicles with a small table and lamp...

... or for something more indulgent, sink into one of these massage chairs.

Finally, there are two 'family rooms' near the buffet area, which provide a semi-private space to watch TV and relax. Just note that people outside can still easily see into the room when the lights are on.

When the lights are off, these rooms are practically invisible from the main lounge. Look for a wall of glass with a touch-panel for opening the sliding door.

The bathrooms are elegant and modern with touches such as electronic toilets, and the shower rooms are pre-stocked with the usual towels and amenities:

... and the showers themselves have a rainfall head and separate removable head, along with basic shampoo and body wash dispensers (but no conditioner).

Overall, this is a relatively solid business class lounge that should fulfil the needs of most business travellers without too being exceptional, although the selection of food and beverages could be expanded to better-reflect the lounge's position as Korean Air's flagship international business class lounge in its home hub.

It did get quite busy around lunchtime, though not uncomfortably crowded. In comparison, the nearby Prestige Lounge East, which is half the size of this one, was considerably quieter around the same time and still had all the same food, beverage and amenities found in the Prestige Lounge West.

If your gate is in the 250s or higher, the Prestige Lounge East might be a better option for you instead.

Brandon Loo travelled to Seoul at his own expense using frequent flyer points.

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.

jeppetto367

jeppetto367

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 22

I've been in the old KAL Incheon Lounge and also the KAL Busan Lounge and both have previously had Remy XO too. Seems like a weird addition next to Jack Daniels when they only serve 3 spirits but I'm definitely not complaining!

cooper81

cooper81

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 149

CX aside - why do the hub lounges of asian carriers seem to be so 'meh'?

I don't profess to have flown every asian carrier out there but there seems to be such a disconnect between the generally high level of product and F&B onboard and their lounges on the ground. Even at their hubs.

I recently flew Asiana and was really shocked at just how bad their lounges were at ICN. The food offerings in the KE lounge reviewed here look amazing compared to the Asiana lounges which were basically square overcrowded rooms with rows of seats and some sandwiches and pot noodles. And this was at their ICN hub!

JAL and ANA both offer pretty basic J lounges (and the JL First class lounge at HND and NRT is nothing to write home about). I've visited China Eastern and Southerns hub lounges neither of which are great. Thai's are pretty poor at BKK (I always head straight to EVA Air's lounge there). MH's KUL lounge has definitely improved but still not amazing. Even the Cinderella of airlines, SQ, offers mediocre J class lounges in SIN.

The only airline asian airline that really stands out for me is CX who's lounges both in HKG and internationally are among the best on offer in the airports they serve. I've never visited EVA Airs in TPE but their lounge in BKK is excellent.

I've never understood why most asian airlines don't even really seem to try with their lounges. Maybe it's an area their home markets aren't that interested in? I don't know.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 39

It's probably a lot to do with how it woos it frequent flyer and other premium travellers.

A common trait of the (particularly the North Asian) lounges tends to be the noodle cups, which although are fine, point to cutting as fresh produce puts more cost onto running the lounges. I think why some of the lounges are a bit lack luster is that North Asian airlines try to keep the costs down a bit more compared to their counterparts.

RAVIKUMAR

RAVIKUMAR

Etihad - Etihad Guest

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 1

Korean Air lounge at T2 incheon airport is totally lousy and too much crowded. The atmosphere is like buffet restaurant nothing more than that. Food are typical Korean only. Zero choice for Vegetarian food. I am million miller in Korean air but still I use Martina Lounge just opposite of KE business class lounge.

Really terrible environment in side lounge.

But what can we expect, from orthodox closed society for foreigners.


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