Since opening in 2003, ICN has always been ranked as one of the best airports in the world. That there are eight Priority Pass lounges at ICN Terminal 1 and Concourse A reinforces its high ranking in my view. The three Priority Pass lounges in Terminal 2 will be covered separately.
Note: Effective January 1, 2018, Priority Pass members can access Asiana business-class lounges at ICN only when flying Asiana.
Several credit cards, including Citi Prestige and American Express Platinum, provide Priority Pass membership that includes free access to the Priority Pass worldwide network of over 1,000 lounges. Priority Pass memberships can also be purchased by visiting its website. With nearly six hours between flights, I decided to use my free lounge access for an early morning lounge crawl.
The ICN Main Terminal has five Priority Pass lounges: one Asiana Business Class lounge, two Matina Lounges and two Sky Hub Lounges. The Korean Air Prestige Class Lounge in the Main Terminal is not a Priority Pass lounge, thank God. That lounge gets crowded enough as is.
Concourse A has three Priority Pass lounges: one Asiana Business Class lounge, one Sky Hub lounge, and one KAL/SkyTeam lounge. Other posts about the lounge crawl and flight from ICN to Detroit, MI in Delta’s fantastic Delta One 747 upper deck:
And here is a post about the best business class seat on Korean Air, the 777-300 Prestige Suite.
Terminal 1, Main Terminal
Asiana Business Class Lounge
All of the ICN Priority Pass lounges are above average for Priority Pass. The Asiana business-class lounges are the best of the bunch. The Asiana business-class lounge in the Main Terminal is located across from Gate 28.
Seating and decor are comparable to a first class lounge. The lounge also has great showers and comfy massage chairs. Hours are 05:00 – 00:00 daily.
In the morning, a chef prepares waffles.
Asiana lounges also have the highest of high-tech toilets.
This is the nicest Priority Pass lounge in the Main Terminal. I recently reviewed this lounge in greater detail. If this is Asiana’s idea of a business-class lounge, one day I must see its first-class lounge at ICN!
Update: After a flight in first class on an Asiana A380 from JFK in late summer 2018, I spent a few hours in the Asiana First Class Lounge at ICN. As stated in that review, other than a better buffet and always being uncrowded, there is little difference between Asiana’s first- and business-class lounges. Actually, I like the decor of the business-class lounges more.
Asiana’s business-class lounges are a great advertisement for the airline. Unless Asiana was having a problem with overcrowding (something I’ve never seen here), it may be a mistake to now require flying Asiana to get Priority Pass access. I’ve never flown Asiana, but the quality of its ICN lounges makes me want to fly them sometime. I don’t think I would have the same desire without visiting an Asiana lounge. Also, the opening of the beautiful and efficient ICN Terminal 2, which is used exclusively by Korean Air and a few Skyteam partners, puts Asiana at a competitive disadvantage.
The new lounges for me on this crawl in the Main Terminal were the Matina and Sky Hub lounges.
Matina Lounge – West Wing
This lounge is located on the fourth floor opposite Gate 43. Hours are 0700-21:00 daily.
While the Asiana business lounges have superior decor and facilities, the Matina lounge and Sky Hub lounges have a wider food selection.
The breakfast display was pretty impressive for Priority Pass compared to Asiana and Korean Air business lounges.
In addition to a good buffet, the Matina Lounge offers wifi, newspapers, fax, showers, and alcohol. The fax and shower facilities are subject to a fee.
Matina Lounge – East Wing
The Matina Lounge in the East Wing of the Main Terminal is located on the 4th floor opposite Gate 11.
This lounge has the same hours, services and food and beverages as the the West Wing Matina Lounge. The Matina Lounges are essentially lobby lounges for the transit hotel.
Sky Hub Lounge East and West Wings
The Sky Hub Lounges are also located on the 4th floor at ICN Terminal 1 Main Terminal. The West Wing lounge is located next to the transfer counter opposite Gate 42. The East Wing lounge is located by the transit counter across from Gate 11. Those without Priority Pass may access the Sky Hub lounges for a reasonable $35 charge.
Curiously, the Sky Hub Lounges are open from 07:00 to 21:30 and 22:00 to 06:00. Perhaps short closures help to enforce the five-hour time limit for staying in the lounge.
Sky Hub Lounges in the Main Terminal have good food and beverage options. It was easy to create a full and satisfying breakfast from the selection of continental breakfast items and breakfast entrees.
Alcohol was available for the crawl but with a limited selection.
Seating is comfortable and plentiful.
One can have a great lounge crawl with Priority Pass in Terminal 1 Main Terminal at ICN. Of the five lounges, the Asiana Business Lounge has by far the best look and facilities as well as agents who can help with flights for those flying Asiana. The waffles at Asiana’s morning waffle station are delicious, but there is not much in the way of desirable breakfast entrees other than that. The Sky Hub and Matina Lounges have better food. My recommendation, for those with limited time, is to visit one of the Sky Hub Lounges for food and then spend the remaining time enjoying the comfort and elegance of the Asiana Lounge. After January 1, 2018 in Terminal 1, unless flying Asiana, Priority Pass members should visit a Sky Hub lounge.
Have you ever tried a Priority Pass lounge crawl? I think Bangkok (BKK) would be a challenge. There are 13 Priority Pass Lounges on the international concourses.