Introduction: Journey To Kazakhstan
Review: Korean Air First Class 747-8 Vancouver To Incheon
Review: Nest Hotel Incheon Airport
Review: Asiana Business Class Lounge Incheon Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 767 Incheon To Almaty
Review: Ritz-Carlton Almaty
Review: Air Astana Lounge Almaty Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class A321 Almaty To Astana
Review: Marriott Astana
Review: Air Astana Lounge Astana Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 757 Astana To London
Review: Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5
Review: United Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: United First Class 777 London To Los Angeles
I arrived at Incheon Airport at around 10AM, a little under three hours before my 12:55PM flight to Almaty. Upon entering the main check-in hall I checked the monitor to see where Air Astana’s check-in counters were located.
Their counters were in row “D,” and I was a bit surprised to see that check-in wasn’t open yet — Air Astana’s check-in only opens at 10:15AM, or 2hr40min before the flight’s departure. As you might expect, there was already quite a queue.
Within about 20 minutes of arriving I was checked in, and issued a boarding pass and an invitation to the Asiana lounge, which Air Astana uses for their premium passengers at Incheon Airport.
After check-in I headed to the security and immigration checkpoint. In the past I’ve found wait times at Incheon Airport to be highly variable, and unfortunately there’s not a premium queue either. Fortunately this time around the wait was short, and I was through within about 10 minutes.
Then I found myself in the main part of the terminal. Incheon Airport is often regarded as one of the two best airports in the world (along with Singapore Changi). While Incheon is a solid airport, personally I think it’s a bit overrated. The airport is consistently crowded, and the architecture and design are nothing special.
My flight was departing from gate 114, which is in the satellite terminal. This required taking the train. After I passed through security I turned left and followed the signage towards gates 101-132, and then took the escalator down to the train.
Five minutes later I found myself in the satellite terminal, which looked a whole lot like the main terminal.
At the top of the escalator I took a right turn, and then on the left followed the signage towards the Asiana lounge.
At the top of the escalator there was the Korean Air lounge to the left and then Asiana lounge to the right.
I’ve reviewed the Korean Air lounge in the satellite terminal before, so was curious to see how the Asiana lounge compared. I should note that both airlines have bigger lounges in the main terminal, so these are just their secondary lounges, largely contracted out to other airlines. For what it’s worth, the Asiana lounge is also accessible to Priority Pass members.
Upon presenting my lounge invitation I was invited to turn right into the business class lounge (there was also a first class section to the left).
My first impression was very positive, as the lounge was significantly nicer than the Korean Air lounge across the way.
The lounge featured several types of sitting areas. There was a traditional lounging area with rows of seats facing one another.
Then there was an area with a row of seats facing a TV that was playing CNN International.
Along the side of the lounge was an area that looked a bit like a library based on the bookshelves, with several types of seating options.
Then there were other types of seating scattered throughout the rest of the lounge. The lounge was well designed in the sense that they used partitions to create a sense of privacy between zones, which I appreciate.
Across from the entrance to the lounge was a business center with several workstations.
Next to that was the lounge’s dining area, which featured lots of dining tables and a self serve buffet.
The food selection wasn’t great, though it was better than the selection in the Korean Air lounge, in my opinion. I could be mistaken, but I believe there’s a better food selection in Asiana’s lounge in the main terminal.
There was a basic make-your-own salad bar.
Then there was toast, croissants, and rolls.
There were also pretzels, chips, nuts, and cookies with a few types of dip.
Then there were finger sandwiches.
There were also a couple of hot dishes, soup, and instant noodles.
Then there was a fridge with soft drinks, juice, and water. I’m not sure if I missed it, but I didn’t notice any alcohol (then again, I also wasn’t looking for it specifically).
The lounge also had a few massage chairs, which are an amenity I always love, as much as they repulse me as a germaphobe.
Back near the entrance was a selection of magazines and newspapers.
I spent a bit over an hour in the lounge getting caught up on work, and then at around noon decided to head to the gate for boarding. Upon descending down the escalator I turned right and headed towards gate 114.
The departure gate was just a short walk from the lounge. As I arrived at the gate I spotted the beautiful Air Astana 767. While 767s typically aren’t the most gorgeous planes, Air Astana’s 767s are among the newest in the world, and they look pretty snazzy, between the paint scheme and the winglets.
While boarding was scheduled to start at 12:15PM, it ended up only starting at around 12:20PM. The gate area had a fascinating mix of people, and I was surprised by how orderly the boarding process was. When boarding was announced there wasn’t the usual mad rush to the gate, but rather people stayed seated.
Fortunately I managed to be among the first to board, so I could snap some pictures of the cabin. I was excited at this point!
Asiana Lounge Incheon Airport bottom line
The Asiana lounge was perfectly fine, and significantly nicer than the Korean Air lounge next door. In both cases, I believe the airlines’ lounges in the main terminal are nicer, as most flights out of the satellite terminal are operated by partner airlines, so they don’t try quite as hard.
I wouldn’t arrive at the airport early to visit this lounge, but if you have time to kill, it’s nicer than the terminal. I always try to arrive at Incheon Airport early, given the highly variable security and immigration lines, and the lack of premium services.