Will Seoul be home to the first Oneworld-branded airport lounge?

By David Flynn, February 6 2019
Will Seoul be home to the first Oneworld-branded airport lounge?

Seoul is believed to be on the shortlist of airports set to host new airport lounges for the Oneworld alliance, and could even be the first of the Oneworld-branded lounges to open later this year.

Oneworld last week announced plans to develop its own airport lounge network, with alliance CEO Rob Gurney telling Australian Business Traveller "We’ve actually got three (locations) we are pursuing, we just haven’t decided what the first one is going to be – it could be any one of those.”

However, Gurney added that the announcement of the debutante lounge would be made in early June at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

That conference is being held in Seoul – surely a very suitable location to announce the first lounge would grace the city's highly-regarded Incheon International Airport.

Seven of Oneworld's 13 member airlines have daily non-stop flights to Seoul, fitting the criteria which Gurney outlined to Australian Business Traveller: "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. So while collectivity we (as Oneworld) have a lot of flights, no single airline could justify the cost of the lounge."

Cathay Pacific shuttered its Seoul lounge at Incheon's T1 satellite arm in early 2018, redirecting travellers to the third-party Airlines Association Lounge with the intention of opening a new-look lounge in the same design as Tokyo/Haneda and Singapore T4 when its flights were relocated to the main Terminal 1.

However, a spokesman for Cathay Pacific this week told Australian Business Traveller "we are reviewing the permanent lounge proposition in Terminal 1 due to the airline terminal moves that have been required by Incheon Airport Authority."

A spokesman for Oneworld declined to comment on the proposition of a Oneworld lounge for Seoul.

Read more: Oneworld to open its own network of airport lounges from 2019


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 43

That would be good to have OneWorld lounge in Incheon T1 main building. T1 CX lounge is not convenient since you cannot go back to main building. T2 is primarily for KE which is in another league.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1021

8 oneworld members fly to ICN (AA, BA, CX, JL, MH, AY, QR, S7). Are they all in the same terminal?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2017

Total posts 6

Yes, all the OneWorld airlines depart from T1. This is an great idea. Qantas also have a daily code-share flight with Asiana so it's actually 9 airlines. I travel to Seoul every month from Melbourne and use either the Qantas/Asiana codeshare or Cathay Pacific. At the moment Asiana (very kindly) let me use their business lounge which also serves British Airways and Qatar passengers. As mentioned, Cathay Pacific and American now direct customers to an Airlines Association lounge that is very basic. JAL and Malaysian airlines have an arrangement with Korean Air for passengers to use their lounge. A combined OneWorld lounge would make excellent sense for Incheon.

16 Sep 2019

Total posts 2

Once all the remaining sky team airlines move to terminal 2 there will be a need for a one world lounge definitely because then the Korean air lounge will likely be shut down.

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