At airports where it doesn’t maintain its own lounges – including the Seoul area’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) – Cathay Pacific (CX) contracts the services of other operators to make the experience comfortable for its premium passengers. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing global health emergency, flight suspensions by both CX and its partner lounge operator Asiana Airlines (OZ) have led to the temporary closure of the facility described in today’s report. For now, let’s take a peek inside this lounge and see what we can look forward to once it’s ready to reopen its doors.
Welcome to the Asiana Business Class Lounge (West).
Note: The information and pictures presented here are drawn from my own experience of using the lounge on 28 January 2020. Operating hours, admission criteria, lounge facilities/services and other details may change at any time without prior notice.
As mentioned in this post, the Asiana Business Class Lounge (West) is closed until further notice due to the ongoing global health emergency. It is very likely that some aspects of the lounge experience will change after it reopens, considering the pandemic’s long-term impact on travel habits and disease control standards.
First, let’s manage expectations. My visit to the Asiana West facility was somewhat abbreviated, and I didn’t gather enough pictures or first-hand information to craft a full Lounge Report with. That explains the “Mini-” qualifier in this post’s title and the (relative) brevity of the review that follows.
I also need to stress that as of this writing, the Asiana West lounge is temporarily closed (as are the Asiana Central and Asiana First Class lounges at ICN). Only the Asiana East lounge is currently operating, with reduced hours. Refer to the airline’s lounge information page for updates.
Right, let’s carry on.
The place: Korea’s sprawling Incheon International Airport (IATA code: ICN), located about 48 kilometres west of central Seoul.
Narrowing things down a bit, we find ourselves within the cavernous halls of ICN’s massive Terminal 1.
And the halls of this building are cavernous indeed, with more places to eat, shop, gawk, play, rest, or wait in than the average passenger can hope to visit in the course of a typical transit.
ICN is probably a lot quieter these days, with the current global emergency – and Korea’s very strict quarantine regulations – making most non-essential air travel through here either difficult or impossible. But as I waited for my outbound flight towards the end of January 2020, Terminal 1 looked as busy as ever…
…which made me all the more thankful for the lounge invitation I’d received at check-in.
Near Gate 42, I turned into a side corridor with escalators and a lift at the end. I went up to the level above and walked a few metres until I reached the lounge entrance.
Let’s head inside.
There’s a good variety of seating options available, with power points conveniently fitted all over the lounge.
I noticed that most of the lounge patrons had elected to sit near the main buffet further back. I, on the other hand, wanted a bit of peaceful isolation and chose one of the semi-private cubicles overlooking the departures floor. A little farther from the food, but closer to the well-stocked beverage counter (which also had a light buffet of its own).
Quiet, concealed … and socially distanced.
Medical concerns aside, it’s the sort of setting that this introverted solo traveller will pay good money for. (Which I’ve done, as it was a business class ticket that got me in here.)
Overall assessment: a modern, well-maintained, aesthetically pleasing lounge with semi-private seating options and offering a decent range of complimentary food/beverages. I’d go back in a heartbeat.