Lounge Review: Asiana First Class Lounge(s) ICN

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Lounge Review: Asiana First Class Lounge(s) ICN

Upon arrival at ICN we made our way to the Singapore First class check-in desks. It sounds bad to say it, but honestly when you’re flying in a premium cabin and you have your own “dedicated” check-in desk, you almost want there to be a big line at the main desks to make you feel like that desk means anything. You know? Anyway, our experience wasn’t like that. We showed up to the first class check in for Singapore airlines to a pretty much empty check-in area.

First and Business Class check in

First and Business Class check in

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The absolutely empty check in area

After what was obviously a very quick check in, Kev and I headed to security. This is where we may have made a mistake. We are fairly positive there is a premium line of some sort as there are at many international airports, however, we couldn’t find it. We ended up waiting in a decent sized security line, but ended up getting pretty lucky at the passport control because they opened up a new lane that we got to the front of. Anyway, complete first world problems, we were through everything in 20-30 minutes. Now it was time to buy some gifts for Jaime and Katie and then check out the lounges!

Our options for lounges in this airport were plentiful. Here they were:

  • (2) Asiana First and Business Class Lounges (Star Alliance partner of SQ)
  • Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge (Flying first class on SQ)
  • Korean Air KAL Lounge (Priority Pass lounge access with Amex Platinum)
  • (2) MATINA Lounges (Priority Pass lounge access with Amex Platinum)
  • Sky Hub Lounge West (Priority Pass lounge access with Amex Platinum)

Having previously read fellow blogger’s sites, we knew that there were two Asiana First Class Lounges in the two different terminals of ICN. We had also read that these lounges were significantly different from one another, but that they would overall be the best options of the ones listed above (pretty much because they were first class lounges). We figured we had some time, and we might as well try both of the Asiana first class lounges so we could compare them!

The Seoul Incheon Airport technically has one “terminal”, but it’s pretty much two terminals. Now, there is only one security check in the main “passenger” terminal, but you have to take a train to Concourse A where we were flying out of (and it is solely for international travel – although 80% of the flights are probably international anyway).

You can see the Asiana lounges depicted on the map.

First up was the Asiana First Class Lounge in the passenger (main) terminal.

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We walked across the bridge over the main concourse into the lounge!

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Upon checkin we told them we were just there to take some photos and that we were going to be spending the majority of our time in the other lounge in Concourse A (as it was very close to our departure gate). They nodded and smiled and somewhat understood what we were saying. Scanned our boarding passes and we were off!

The main hallway

The main hallway

This lounge was very, very nice. It almost felt like being in a country club. A little dark with wood finishes everywhere.

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One part that was someone disappointing was the tarmac views. The views didn’t boast much, and with the screen protector over the windows (to block the sun?) it was tough to really see out/get pictures.

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Private tv/entertainment areas

The food selection wasn’t anything to write home about, but we were there for 5 minutes, so I can’t give an accurate description. We did see they had a lot of nice booze and some sushi, but we figured we’d try the food in the other lounge that we were actually going to spend some time in.

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While not having a massage service like some of the international first class lounges (such as the JAL First Class lounge we wrote about in NRT), it had a relaxation room with massage chairs. I think there were two different relaxation rooms with about 5 or 6 chairs total.

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There were also about 3 or 4 large shower rooms/bathrooms. Would be a great place to refresh after a long flight and international connection.

Shower room

Shower room/Bathroom

Shower

Shower

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View from the back of the lounge (near the food/bar, relaxation and shower rooms) to the from of the lounge. Windows to the tarmac are on the left.

As I said earlier, this lounge looked very nice, and had some good amenities. The decorating was top notch, but the amenities left more to be desired. There was no complimentary massage or restaurant unlike some of the competitors. Overall, it’d be a great place to spend a few hours in – no complaints here! Now, off to the other Asiana First Class lounge in Concourse A!

We got off the train in Concourse A and walked around a bit of the upper level seeing where all the lounges were. I can’t speak for all of the “passenger” terminal, but most of the Concourse A lounges were co-located on the 4th floor. The Singapore, KAL, Cathay Pacific, and Asiana lounges were all right next to each other (and I believe even some of the contract lounges). After a quick loop, we found the Asiana First lounge and headed on in!

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Concourse A first class lounge entrance

This is where we hit our first small hurdle. Apparently you are only allowed access to one of the first class lounges. When we arrived, they had said we could not enter because we had already been to the other lounge. We thought this was very strange and couldn’t figure out why they would care which one we were in or how many times. Obviously, we didn’t know these rules, or we wouldn’t have lounge-hopped. And although it was most likely the language barrier, we weren’t told any of that by the other lounge agents previously, even after we told them our plan of hitting the other lounge as well…

After explaining to them that we literally just walked in and took pictures of the other lounge and were there for only 5 minutes or so, they reluctantly let us in! We thanked them and made our way in!

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There was one main door entrance, but the first class lounge was on the left and the business class side was on the right. We never made it over to the business class side.

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Main seating area

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Cool chandelier

This lounge was decidedly worse than the first one. It had similar amenities (massage chairs, showers, food, etc.), but it was much much smaller and not decorated nearly as well.

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Food spread

Drink selection

Drink selection

One part of the lounge that was significantly better than the first was the tarmac views. Kevin and I got some loungers along the window, grabbed some champagne and just soaked it all in.

Tarmac views ICN

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Kev doing his NCAA Tournament bracket, as we’d be in the air when the games started that Thursday

Like I said before, and I really want to emphasize, this lounge had similar features. But everything just seemed a little worse.

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Tiny massage room

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Much smaller shower room

I think it all stemmed from the lounge just being about a third the size of the other one – maybe even smaller than that. Here are some key differences:

  • The massage room was TINY. I could barely stand in there and close the door at the same time.
  • The shower rooms were still ample size, just smaller. Not a big issue in my book.
  • The ceilings were MUCH lower in the second lounge. I think that played a big part and just didn’t make the lounge seem as big or inviting
  • The lounge fixtures were nice, just plain. In the first lounge it felt like you could have been in a million dollar library, with mahogany and oak wood everywhere. It had a grand piano and an overall fancy feel. The second lounge was nice, just pretty plain.

Overall, all the “problems” I’ve thrown out here are completely first world problems, but if you’re going to objectively compare events/destinations/experiences, I think it’s important to tell it how it is.

Next up is our Singapore Airlines First Class flight to San Francisco!

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