Korean Air lounges are located in regions through the world and are often referred to as the “KAL Lounge.” You’ve probably seen one or two of them even if you haven’t ever flown Korean Air, or even been through Seoul Incheon airport, for that matter.
However, interestingly, these lounges are only available in Korea, Japan, and the U.S., at the following airports
- Korea: Seoul (Incheon, Gimpo), Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Jeju
- Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo (Narita)
- America: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu
I find this to be a bit interesting considering how many long-haul markets Korean Air serves abroad. In Europe, for example, they fly to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow, many of which are SkyTeam hubs.
That being said, if you are transiting through Seoul Incheon airport, it is important to note that there are two Korean Air lounges: one is called the KAL Prestige Class Lounge, while the other is called the KAL Concourse Lounge.
It is important to note this difference because one is nominally superior to the other. James has done a review of the KAL Concourse Lounge, which is a better lounge than the KAL Prestige Class Lounge, for reasons I’ll list below.
James highlights the important information below on the accessibility to the satellite lounge vs. the concourse lounge:
The Korean Air Lounge Concourse A is located airside on the fourth floor of the satellite terminal, adjacent to gate 116. The lounge is open to premium cabin passengers and SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on Korean Air and SkyTeam partner airlines; premium cabin passengers on Air China, Etihad, JAL and others; and Priority Pass, Loungebuddy and Dragonpass members traveling on any airline. Priority Pass, Loungebuddy, and Dragonpass members are limited to two guests per card. The lounge is open from 6:30 AM to 11:30 PM daily.
Strangely, per the SkyTeam lounge website for Seoul Incheon airport, passengers flying on any of the SkyTeam member airlines that operate into Seoul, including Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, KLM, Korean Air and Xiamen Air, can use either lounge. The only exception, however, is China Eastern, which is limited to the KAL Prestige Class lounge, for whatever reason.
At any rate, the KAL Prestige Class lounge is located on the main terminal at Incheon, near Gate 11. It is open from 4 AM until Midnight, whereas the KAL Concourse Lounge is the satellite lounge and is open during more restricted hours (relatively speaking) from 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM.
This is the final installment in my trip report series from my Yoga retreat in Bali, which I took in early August 2017.
Trip Report Series:
- Self-Connecting to an International Flight: Lessons Learned
- Review: Singapore Airlines Economy Class, San Francisco – Singapore (via Hong Kong)
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge, Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok Airport
- Review: Free Singapore Stopover Tour, Changi Airport
- Review: Tigerair (now Scoot), Singapore to Denpasar, Bali
- Review: Premier Lounge, Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport
- Review: EVA Air “Hello Kitty” Economy Class, Denpasar, Bali to Taipei
- Review: China Airlines Lounge, Taipei Taoyuan International Airport
- Review: China Airlines Business Class, Taipei to Seoul Incheon Airport
- Review: Korean Air KAL Prestige Lounge, Seoul Incheon Airport
After transiting in from China Airlines, the immigration formalities at Incheon airport went by very quickly and I was surprised by how quiet the airport was. This was my second time flying out of Incheon, and my experience as a transit passenger was far superior to my prior experience as an origin-and-destination passenger. My previous visit to Seoul Incheon in January 2015 was marred by the long security lines and huge crowds taking the trains from the main terminal to terminal A. Check-in had been handled by China Airlines at Taipei Taoyuan airport, and my bags were checked all the way through San Francisco.
I had about 4.5 hours to kill at Incheon, and I figured it would be most prudent for me to try and maximize my ground time by doing work in the lounge. My flight to SFO was going to be departing from gate 12, so it made little sense to travel to the A concourse.
I took the elevator up to the lounge and proceeded to check-in. First impressions of the space and architecture were very positive, as I thought everything was very open and airy.
From here, I proceeded to the main area. Once again, the area looked exceptionally open and afforded great views of the tarmac, apron, and runways.
The layout, however, was awful. The seating is crammed all in one major area and it seemed claustrophobic without even being all that busy. Though there were plenty of open seats, the style hardly seemed better than a waiting room at the terminal.
The food and beverage area was quarantined to one side, but the selections were scant. Noticeably, the bar area only had three types of liquors available for self-serve.
The food items were just as bad. There was some cheese, salad and then 1 or 2 hot dish items. Per usual, there was a “meatball” dish (seriously, what is up with all the crappy lounges in Asia having meatballs?) and some hot rice.