By Alexis Yap
LONG layovers are almost never a comfortable experience especially for budget travelers like myself but this is especially not true at the airport voted best in the world for several consecutive years.
In my last trip to the United States with Asiana Airlines, my ticket came with a choice of a complimentary city tour or a hotel room outside of the airport along with my eight-hour layover at Incheon. I chose the room for a chance to shower and walk around the neighborhood before my long-haul flight to LAX.
But this time around, since my 6-hour layover did not qualify for any of those two choices, I needed to find a way to make my transit at Incheon International Airport worthwhile and productive. Because I had some urgent writing to finish, I needed to find a peaceful and comfortable place to work. That wasn’t hard to find because almost the entire fourth floor of the sprawling airport was dedicated to the free use of all transit passengers at Incheon.
Oh it was beautiful, with rest areas that were comfortable, spaces where passengers can fully lay down, sit comfortably on a lazy boy, or have a few drinks and grub by the bar. There’s even a play area for the kids, a communal reading nook, and an educational nature exhibit within a zen-like environment.
I sat at the spacious dining area and made it my work station for a couple of hours. I was able to accomplish my work in peace because the place was not crowded. I got to get up and and walk around whenever I needed to stretch without worrying about my laptop and bags. I even got to check out the nature exhibit and sit in peace and quiet in one of the art installations.
I had 4 more hours to kill before my flight to LA, so I decided to spend some time at the Sky Hub Lounge for only $24 with a maximum stay of three hours. Assorted drinks were available at the lounge along with a variety of food and snacks that can be enjoyed in a cozy and comfortable environment.
Their bibimbap bar was the best with a wide selection of ingredients to choose from. There’s orridge, noodles, soup, chicken, and even some delicious bulgogi… There were communal tables, individual lounge seats with side tables, and bar seating overlooking the terminal gates and passengers walking by. I stayed for a couple of hours pacing myself at the buffet while getting some work done as well.
An hour before my flight, I stopped by the shower area for a quick one free of charge. It was right outside Sky Hub Lounge and transit passengers get to use it for free, just show your boarding pass at the reception. Free use of towels and complimentary toothbrush, soap and shampoo were all part of the package. There were no lockers at the shower area but each of their shower rooms equipped with toilet are spacious enough to accommodate you and your luggage. Just be mindful of the 30-minute time limit especially when there might be others waiting in line.
I was ready for my long haul flight soon as I stepped out of the shower. Next time though, I’ll make sure to bring a complete set of fresh clothes with me to maximize the experience.
Thanks to Incheon International Airport’s well-equipped transit passenger lounge, my six-hour wait was a breeze. It was convenient and productive. For those who are keen, massage and hotel rooms are available within the same area for an additional fee. But for those on a budget, many amenities are offered with compliments of the airport and especially for the use of transit passengers.
So next time you find yourselves at Incheon International Airport, no need to worry about long lay overs. Just head on to the fourth floor, by the Duty Free area and enjoy your time at the lounge, compliments of the house.