In this two-part report, we’ll guide ourselves through the process of taking a flight from the Domestic Terminal of Seoul’s Gimpo Airport (GMP). Today’s instalment (Part 1) covers everything that takes place in the landside – i.e., publicly accessible – area of the terminal, from check-in to just before final security.
Note: The information and pictures presented here are drawn from my own experience of using the Domestic Terminal of Gimpo Airport on 24 January 2020. Details may change at any moment and without prior notice.
The remaining phases of the departure experience – from security up to boarding – will be covered in Part 2.
Airport name (English) : Gimpo International Airport
Airport name (Korean) : 김포국제공항 (Gimpo Gukje Gonghang)
IATA code : GMP
ICAO code : RKSS
Country : Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Major city served : Seoul
Routes served : Domestic and international
Runways : Two
Terminals : Two, one domestic and one international (note: this report covers the domestic terminal only)
Passenger traffic : 25,448,416 (2019)
Links : Official Website / Wikipedia
After the bulk of Seoul’s international air traffic was transferred to the then-newly built Incheon International Airport (IATA code: ICN) in 2001, Gimpo Airport was relegated to handling local routes. A limited number of international flights still operate at GMP (all short regional services within East Asia), but the vast majority of passengers who depart from here are travelling to domestic destinations.
THE DEPARTURE EXPERIENCE (Part 1)
Step 1: Travel to the airport
For more information on travelling to/from GMP, please refer to the Public Transport page on the airport’s official website.
GMP’s underground railway station is served by Lines 5 and 9 of the Seoul Metro, as well as by the Airport Railroad line.
The station is also the eastern terminus of the new Gimpo Goldline, which runs west into the neighbouring city of Gimpo.
After getting off the train (whichever line you use), walk to the central passageway and follow the signs leading to the Domestic Terminal. Be warned: there’s a fair bit of distance to cover between here and the terminal building.
Go up the escalator and you’ll soon find yourself in 1F of GMP’s Domestic Terminal building.
Note that it’s also possible to reach GMP by bus, which will save you a bit of walking as the stops are right outside the terminal (on level 1F). The Public Transport page of the official website has detailed information on bus routes.
If you’re travelling in a private car, have yourself driven up the elevated access road in front of the domestic terminal and get off at 2F – right where the check-in counters are located.
It’s also possible to walk to the airport if you’re staying close by … although there’s really just one option for lodging in GMP’s immediate environs. To my knowledge, the only hotel within reasonable walking distance of the airport’s two terminals – and the only one with a sheltered pedestrian connection to either – is the Lotte City Hotel Gimpo Airport (click on the link to read my review of that establishment).
There are alternative accommodations available in the wider neighbourhood, though anything outside the airport complex will probably turn your stroll into a hike.
Step 2: Check in for your flight
From 1F, make your way up to 2F where the Domestic Terminal’s check-in counters are located.
Now if your conveyance dropped you off at 2F itself, all you need to do is walk straight inside through one of the entrances on that level.
Unless you’ve already checked in online (and have no luggage to hand over), you’ll want to zero in on the counters serving your airline. The following sign shows the counter assignments as they were on the day I used the terminal (24 January 2020) – needless to say, this is subject to change without notice.
The available check-in options and procedures will vary depending on your airline. For this report, I’ll describe my own experience checking in for a domestic flight operated by Korean Air (IATA code: KE).
To save time at the counter, I kicked off the process by using one of the terminal’s self check-in kiosks.
I simply tapped on the icon for my airline (Korean Air) and followed the on-screen instructions. For details, please refer to the step-by-step procedure on KE’s official website. (There’s also an online check-in option available for KE flights, and other carriers will have their own versions of the same.)
Boarding pass in hand, I approached the KE counters in order to check in my luggage.
As a Prestige Class (Business Class) passenger, I queued up at KE’s special Sky Priority lane. Alternatively, I could have used one of the bag drop counters since I already had a boarding pass from the self check-in kiosk.
Want to make life a little easier for the check-in agent? Follow the posted instructions for correctly positioning your luggage on the conveyor. 🙂
After completing all check-in formalities, the counter agent will ask you to wait nearby for a few minutes whilst your checked luggage undergoes security screening (out of sight on the conveyor). If the stated time passes without you being summoned, that means the scanners haven’t picked up anything suspicious in your bag – and you’re free to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Proceed to outbound security
Follow the signs and head up to Departures on level 3F.
If you’re feeling peckish, you might consider heading up another level to the SKY 31 GIMPO restaurant zone on 4F.
For my part, with passenger volume increasing by the hour – due mainly to the extended Seollal (Lunar New Year) holidays – prudence dictated that I immediately join the long queue leading to the security checkpoint.
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