As a frequent traveler I go through many lounges in a year and often fail to appreciate the incredible privilege it is to rest, eat and shower before hopping on the next flight. And every now and then I come across a lounge that makes me take a step back and appreciate the grandeur or a lounge that is so bad, it makes me question its very existence. Unfortunately, the Korean Air Lounge – Prestige Class  in Seoul falls in the later category.

Korean Air Lounge – Prestige Class

This was my first at Incheon International and I was not prepared for the hot mess that the check-in and the security situation was. Both places had massive line ups and took forever to clear. So when I finally made it past security, walked into the first lounge in sight.

The KAL Lounge – Prestige class is located in the main terminal, right across the security check and can be accessed by Korean Air Elite, Sky Priority members and even Priority Pass (not always a good sign).

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I went up an escalator to the check-in area. Unfortunately, more line ups, but the staff was very efficient and friendly.

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Even the lounge checkin had line ups

Upon check-in I was directed to the lounge on the right of the welcome desk. I am not sure if the one on the left was any different, maybe they were splitting the crowd based on capacity in each section?

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Korean Air Airbus A380 model airplane, at the entrance of the lounge

This is literally what I walked into, a crowd sitting in chairs all facing one direction, so close to each other that I thought I had boarded a flight looking for my middle seat!

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I was dumbfounded at the arrangement of these chairs. Not only was there no elbow room, in most cases you had the privilege of staring at a stranger at arms length.

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Moving on, the food. When seating is that legendary, you hope food can save the day. It didn’t. The pattern of disappointment was getting obvious. Most of the food was laid out in open containers and had either dried up or just didn’t look appetizing enough. Cup noodles were the best thing on offer.

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Not sure what it was. I shudder at the thought of calling it a pizza.

 

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Two kinds of fried rice, veg and pork. Or was it beef? Labels would have helped, but at this point..why bother.

 

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Chicken in oil. Not the KFC kind..

 

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Cup noodles with mystery ingredients. Best food option on hand. Serious.

 

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Coffee station

Alcohol is really the answer to all problems. And why pour it yourself if a machine can do it for you 🙂 A brilliant pour at that! This was genuinely the highlight of the “lounge”. I may have used this beer pouring contraption a few times past normal. I really wanted something good to happen since entering this lounge, this was it.

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The best feature of the lounge

 

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In case you forgot, I got my drink and came back to this view. All 5 times. or was it 6? Wasn’t counting.

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I was happy to finish my drinks, take pictures and leave. I exited the lounge only to realize now I had to walk a few miles, take a train, walk some more on non-operational walking escalators, a second set of security and then the flight. What?!! Isn’t Incheon supposed to be the best in the world for something?

Take Away

This post does not qualify as a review, its more a rant of how bad things were. I was expecting to be blown away by amazing Incheon, except, it left me never wanting to come back to the airport. Mind you, this is no reflection of the city or the people, I had an exceptional stay in the city. Maybe I should have better researched my lounge options and not simply walked into the first one I saw. If you plan to be in Incheon International anytime soon, be prepared for long line ups at check-in, security and every other place. As for lounges, hopefully you have one less to worry about after reading this post. Korean Air Lounge – Prestige class should be reclassified as a waiting hall or simply a hall with better chairs, two inches apart.