Review: Oneworld Lounge at Seoul Incheon Airport

Oneworld Lounge ICN Sitze

One of the most important advantages of having a frequent flyer tier is lounge access. As a Star Alliance Gold member, you have access to (almost) all Star Alliance lounges, while as a Oneworld Sapphire member, you can visit Oneworld Business Lounges and so on.

The lounges are usually operated by individual airlines, either because they have their hub there (e.g. Iberia in Madrid), or because the airport is so important that the investment is still worthwhile (e.g. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in New York).

Lately, there has been an increasing trend in the opening of lounges that are not specific to a single airline. The Star Alliance now has Star Alliance Lounges in Los Angeles, Paris, Buenos Aires, and so on, while there are SkyTeam Lounges in Vancouver, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, and other locations.

At the end of January, the Oneworld alliance also opened its first Oneworld Lounge. This is located at Incheon Airport (ICN). The location choice follows the usual pattern: a major airport served by numerous alliance members. Whether the offering can also be convincing, we have looked at ourselves a few weeks after the opening.

On February 22nd, an Oneworld Lounge was also opened in Amsterdam. Things are moving quickly now.

Security Check & Location

The lounge is located within the security area, meaning that security and passport control must be cleared first. I only mention this here because the situation at Terminal 1 of Seoul-Incheon is an absolute disaster. I arrived at the airport at 8:48 PM, dropped off my luggage five minutes later, and then needed about an hour to clear security and passport control. There is no priority line for business classes passengers or status holders.

Security Schlange Seoul ICN
The end of the queue is not even in sight on the horizon

Once you have cleared the security and passport control, the lounge is located near Gate 28. It shares an entrance with the Korean Air Lounge and both are quickly accessible via an escalator:

Oneworld Lounge ICN Rolltreppe 1
Escalator to the lounges of Korean Air and Oneworld


The access rules follow the regular regulations of global Oneworld lounges. There are two exceptions for guests traveling with Cathay Pacific, Qantas, or Jetstar. Access is granted to:

  • Frequent flyers with Oneworld Sapphire/Emerald status in conjunction with a Oneworld flight (+ 1 guest)
  • Guests with a first class ticket of the Oneworld alliance (+ 1 guest)
  • Guests with a business class ticket of the Oneworld alliance (without a guest)
  • Cathay Silver members in conjunction with a Cathay flight (source)
  • Qantas Club members in conjunction with a Qantas or Jetstar flight (source)
Oneworld Lounge ICN Eingang


The futuristic lighting of the entrance gives off a spaceship-like ambiance. For those interested, there is the option to securely store their carry-on luggage just after the entrance.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Schliessfaecher
There is no shortage of lockers (please excuse the blurry photo).

The entire lounge is essentially one large space, but it is divided into different sections. Covering 555 square meters, it can accommodate around 150 passengers. However, this maximum capacity is likely to be rarely fully utilized.

Right at the entrance is the bar, where cocktails are mixed and alcohol is ordered and served.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Richtung Eingang
On the right, you’ll find the bar with several bar stools, while on the left, there is a dedicated work table.

Surrounding the bar are various seating options that can be used for working, dining, or even a quick nap. For example, there are sofas with small tables, armchairs, high bar stools with tables, and various other seating arrangements. I found it fascinating how diverse all the seating options were. Moreover, they all look like they are straight out of a designer furniture shop.

For working, the primary option seems to be the following counter:

Oneworld Lounge ICN Sitze Tisch

However, the associated chairs are not particularly comfortable. I got the impression that design takes precedence over function here, although this applies to many lounges worldwide. Perhaps the operators do not intend for individuals to sit and work at the same spot for several hours.

To the right of the entrance, there are two lockable individual chambers. These are primarily suited for phone calls and meetings during which one prefers not to be disturbed. However, with a spacious desk and power outlet, they are also suitable for longer periods of work. During my visit, one of the two rooms was occupied.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Einzelkabine

Meetings could theoretically also be held in the lounge. This is evidenced by the small meeting room with space for five people and a large television. In my case, it was open for walk-ins, but it seems one could also book a time slot in advance.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Konferenzraum

Deeper into the lounge, there is a buffet offering cold and hot dishes as well as a selection of beverages. This is followed by a small dining area. Guests can sit anywhere in the lounge with their food and drinks and are not limited to this small space.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Esstisch

For those who enjoy watching the airfield, there is a half-circle of sofas providing a comfortable vantage point. During the day, the lounge is undoubtedly well-lit through its floor-to-ceiling windows. In winter, the sun sets early and the atmospehere is a bit dim, but at least there is still the view of the airplanes.

In the rear section of the lounge, there is a privacy screen designed to create a slightly quieter area. Behind it, you’ll find:

  • Private nooks with armchairs and tables
  • Somewhat peculiar but quite comfortable hybrids of armchairs and loungers (seen on the left in the picture)
  • Three green armchairs

Thanks to the peculiar wall decoration, this area had a distinctly futuristic feel. The design team must have had fun with this.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Sitze 2

Visually, the entire lounge appeared very well-executed to me. The decor is reminiscent of the lounge and onboard products of Finnair, with a mix of futuristic elements. It makes sense, considering the Finns are one of the seven Oneworld airlines that fly to this airport.

Food & Beverage

Personally, I primarily visit airport lounges for two reasons: to eat and to work. (It’s great to be able to combine both when writing reviews).

After an initial orientation, the next focus was on the buffet. At first glance, especially given the size of the lounge, it looks quite substantial. There is a small salad bar, along with a selection of four hot dishes and three soups:

Oneworld Lounge ICN Buffet
The buffet looks quite good at first glance.

In terms of the variety, there isn’t much to gripe about. Unfortunately, the food itself was rather underwhelming. The mushroom soup had developed a thick skin, showcasing how long it had been sitting out. The lasagna lacked flavor, the chicken wings seemed to be typical frozen food, and the sole was more reminiscent of soles you’d find at the bottom of your shoes rather than at the bottom of a lake.

The best option was the salad. Desserts are practically non-existent. One can only take a few dry cookies; cakes or similar items are completely absent.

Overall, there is still plenty of room for improvement with the food. It resembles more of a mediocre Priority Pass lounge rather than an airline or alliance lounge. This is likely due (in part) to the fact that the lounge is operated by Swissport. I usually enjoy dining in the lounge to avoid having to do so on the plane – but here, it was the opposite. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident in Korea and Japan.

The beverage selection is better. Cocktails are readily mixed at the manned bar:

Oneworld Lounge ICN Bar cocktails
There are 8 different cocktails available at the bar

Since I don’t drink, I only tried the soft drinks and juices available in a refrigerator at the buffet. Additionally, there are various types of beer available. A selection of spirits (unrefrigerated) awaits next to it:


When I visited the lounge in the evening, there were only a handful of other guests besides me. The three staff members (if I counted correctly) didn’t have much to do. As a result, empty plates and glasses were cleared away promptly.

All the staff members I encountered were very polite. Anything less would be surprising in Korea.


The lounge has two showers (near the toilets) for guests to freshen up before their flight. To use one, guests must first obtain a key and towels from the reception. In my case, there was no waiting time, as the lounge was almost empty.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Handtuch
Towels and a hairdryer are provided along with the key to the shower cubicle

The shower cubicle is quite spacious and is equipped with a toilet as well. However, the placement of the shower gel is not entirely practical – they seem to have forgotten installing shelf inside the shower cubicle. As a result, the shower gel, shampoo, etc. is placed above the toilet, so you have to take them and then place them on the floor somewhere. Ideally, one remembers to do this in time.

Oneworld Lounge ICN Dusche

Additionally, it seems that a few hairs from the previous user were overlooked during the cleaning. This doesn’t speak well for cleanliness, but such mistakes can happen.


The lounge is equipped with numerous power outlets, which, as is common in Korea, are compatible with European plugs. In addition, there are USB Type A & C ports for charging mobile devices. In this respect, the lounge is well-equipped.

The lounge offers great Wi-Fi, with download speeds reaching over 200 Mbit/s.

Oneworld Lounge Seoul-Incheon
  • Comfort & Amenities
  • Food & Beverage
  • Service
  • Extras

The Oneworld Lounge in Seoul is by no means a bad lounge, but it’s also not exceptional. Its strengths lie primarily in the modern, appealing design and, at least during my visit, the low occupancy.

Apart from that, it’s a fairly typical airport lounge. There is especially room for improvement in the catering department: the selection is not bad, but even the breakfast at the Toyoko Inn (a Japanese budget hotel chain) was of better quality.

I’m curious to see how the second Oneworld Lounge in Amsterdam does, but my expectations are now somewhat tempered..

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Comment (1)

  1. Nicolas says:

    Thank you, Peer.
    A very instructive review.

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