Executive Traveller exclusive
Executive Traveller can confirm the Oneworld airline alliance will open its first Oneworld-branded lounge at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport.
Oneworld is aiming for an official ribbon-cutting in January 2024, although the lounge could open slightly earlier for lounge-worthy travellers, should everything come together in time. A Oneworld spokesperson said the group “will provide more information in due course.”
The Oneworld Seoul lounge is located at Terminal 1, which hosts flights by seven of the group’s 13 member airlines:
- American Airlines, to/from Dallas Forth Worth
- Cathay Pacific, to/from Hong Kong
- Finnair, to/from Helsinki
- Malaysia Airlines to/from Kuala Lumpur
- Qantas, to/from Sydney
- Qatar Airways, to/from Doha
- SriLankan Airlines, to/from Colombo
The Oneworld lounge at Seoul will welcome the following travellers on those flights:
- first class and business class passengers
- frequent flyers with Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status
Seoul was on the shortlist for the ‘first wave’ of Oneworld-branded and backed lounges which the alliance initially announced in 2019.
“The idea is that we develop these where no single airline has a massive presence, but we have multiple airlines flying into the same airport, maybe with daily flights,” then-CEO Rob Gurney told Executive Traveller at the time.
“So while collectivity we (as Oneworld) have a lot of flights, no single airline could justify the cost of the lounge.”
The Oneworld lounge at Seoul Incheon is being built on the 4th floor of T1, near Gate 28, in space previously allocated to Jeju Air, which pulled down the shutters on its own clubhouse-style ‘JJ Lounge’ after the pandemic hit in 2020.
The Jeju Air lounge adopted a very relaxed and open design with elements to mimic a living room, dining room and kitchen, playroom and even a ‘yard’.
When first opened, a Jeju Air press release cited the lounge aa being 550m2 in size, with seating for 140 passengers – putting it about half the size of British Airways’ Singapore lounge, for comparison.
That would certainly be a squeeze during peak travel times, with so many Oneworld airlines departing from Seoul T1.
However, a more creative layout could boost the passenger capacity, and it’s not known if the Oneworld project may also have annexed adjacent space at T1 to expand the new lounge’s overall footprint.
Oneworld’s rivals Star Alliance and SkyTeam have each established their own lounge network to complement the lounges of individual member airlines.
Star Alliance has its own lounges at Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Rome.
SkyTeam has its own lounges at Dubai, Istanbul, Santiago, São Paulo, Sydney and Vancouver.
Oneworld now counts 13 airlines as full members, with Oman Air set to become the 14th when the Muscat-based carrier joins the group in 2024.