Incheon Airport’s New Terminal 2: WOW!

Filed Under: Travel

Historically Seoul Incheon Airport has been rated as one of the world’s best airports. Personally I’ve always thought the airport was overrated. It’s not a bad airport, but rather I’ve always just found it to be a perfectly fine airport. The airport was sterile and generally well designed, though I’ve consistently found there to be really long wait times at security and immigration.

At the beginning of this year Incheon Airport Terminal 2 finally opened, which is the airport’s newest terminal. It’s great to see the number of new terminals that are opening around the world right now, as it can greatly impact the overall passenger experience. For example, Muscat Airport recently got a beautiful new terminal, and Istanbul is getting a new airport later this year.

I had the chance to travel through Incheon Airport Terminal 2 for the first time earlier this week, so what did I make of it? Well, I no longer think the airport is overrated.

Incheon’s Terminal 2 is gorgeous, easily one of the most impressive anywhere in the world. The terminal is spacious, has lots of shopping, and even has a couple of gardens. In terms of grand architecture, I think this might just be the most impressive terminal out there.

There was live music when I was there, which was pretty cool. The terminal also has free Wi-Fi that you can instantly connect to — you don’t even have to agree to any terms.

Oh, and while Korean Air has some of the worst lounges in the world for a quality airline, the new Korean Air First Class Lounge Terminal 2 at least isn’t bad. It’s not to international first class standards, but it’s at least nicely furnished, which is more than I can say about any other Korean Air Lounge I’ve visited.

I’ll have a more in-depth review of the terminal and the lounge, but suffice to say that I’m very impressed by Incheon Terminal 2. Previously I found Incheon Airport to be drab, while the new terminal is really, really well done.

Has anyone visited Incheon Terminal 2? What did you think of the terminal?

  1. Love the use of green space, it looks very nicely done. Would you say it’s the nicest airport in Asia now?

    Changi tries to have a lot of plants but the entire airport is way too stuffy and smells bad due to the carpeting.

  2. I visited ICN T2 dozens of times since it opened, and meh, it’s just another airport terminal.
    Not much to get excited about.

  3. Nice! I hope it will also help to ease the overcrowding of ICN terminal 1, which has become really really annoying.

  4. the pictures looks so dim, gray and depressing…is it because the camera or the terminal design couldn’t allow more sunlight in?

  5. Sounds great since I’m visiting next week. Flew through T1 last time and thought it was meh, so I didn’t have high hopes, but this is changing that…

  6. Went through going in and out of Vietnam. Very bright and airy feeling. My true test will be in November when I have a really tight connection on the way to Bali.

  7. Itā€™s definitely better than T1. The T2 Korean Air First Class Lounge seems to have improved as well. Besides the buffet they now offer made to order options via roving servers carrying iPads. Strangely, they have just one, single person bathroom for men and women (ie one for each) and one man/woman single person shower room. This can lead to long waits. The lounge also initially refused me entry when I arrived in first class and was continuing in business class while wait listing for first class and my wife was already in first class for both segments. I asked for a supervisor and he overruled the front desk and even made a call to confirm me in first class for the second leg.

  8. I have always thought that you would appreciate the T2. Now it is confirmed. Also, the overcrowding of T1 is not much of an issue.

  9. There’s also free lounge – resting area for transferring passengers. However, I think there’s only 1 or 2 places that has prices in KRW, every other shop has prices in dollars and “duty free” is awfully expensive. Comparing to T1, it’s poor. Nice space, but forget about cheap shopping, unless you want a mug from Starbucks.

  10. While the green space looks nice, I still agree with your prior stance, this airport is VASTLY overrated.

    Asiana Air is also an AWFUL airline. Flew them ICN-LAX, and their biz class product is a disgrace, with atrocious food, ridiculous rules, and obnoxious flight attendants. Could have flushed my points down the toilet, would have gotten more pleasure out of them.


  11. New terminal is gorgeous and I really liked the new F lounge. Maybe a bit small and not quite as nice as others but had some great amenities. The shower room is probably my favorite anywhere. And very private spaces, I liked it.

  12. @ Icarus — Yay! MEX is a great connecting point, but the current airport is a disaster.

  13. Terminal 2 is great. loved it, but that “first class” lounge is horrible. I didn’t like it at all. The staff was good, but the lounge was dull and boring.

  14. I was there in February transiting SIN-ICN-IAD in F on KE. the connection was easy, and the terminal seemed nice enough. Overall it was a smooth experience. I’d recommend a transfer through there. Easy enough.

  15. I agree with Robin, the two home airlines are so underwhelming that I wouldn’t be in any rush to fly them and experience the new terminal.
    Does the new terminal have swarms of mainland Chinese squatting over piles of duty free purchases, unwrapping everything and leaving the packaging strewn around? It was so bad when I was last there a few months ago that they had screened off areas for them to go about their frantic business , and the rubbish was piled up high.

  16. Guangzhou just opened their brand new Terminal 2 recently, hope you can review it some day!

  17. Speaking of Incheon, Incheon Airport Company just won the bid to manage and run Kuwait Airways’ new Terminal 4 (T4), a terminal that opened last week on an official basis with first flight slated for 8/8 (in a month’s time). KU’s twitter and Instagram should have a video promo of T4.

  18. Thanks for the quick review, it does seems that they are trying to copy the design of Changi which is good, why try something different if there is already an existing formula that works.

    As for the KE lounges, seems that KE is still stuborn in improving them, as from the sound of things, if the F lounge did not wow you, most probably the J lounge would be the same boring bare bones lounge like what normally KE lounges are famous for.

    Looking forward to the complete review.


  19. I too was blown away when i passed thru in April.
    A truly beautiful terminal, nicely laid out.

    Shopping is typically Korean airport style, which is to mean, not meant for the hoi poloi.

  20. I first went there back in February for the Olympics when it was brand new and I was certainly impressed but still preferred Changi. Perhaps my expectations were higher given it’s a chance to be the best airport terminal in Asia (it opened right before Pyeongchang 2018.)

    The KE F lounge is great but the Prestige lounge was so-so and way overcrowded. I wish they could have taken notes from the old terminal to make the experience for J pax a lot better.

  21. @Lucky: Totally agree I love the design and architecture of T2. However certain things are quite ridiculous given it’s a new terminal:

    KE Business class lounges are really subpar. No windows and views of the tarmac, just windows towards the airport main concourse. Food, beverage always the same and borderline inedible in the Business Class lounge. Not enough shower rooms – when all showers are taken the attendant has no waiting list system or buzzer, etc, and lounge in general is often crowded…. They have a choice of …. 2 bottles of wine (one red, one white), cheap australian wines, no champagne nor any premium drinks… Ridiculous for what’s supposed to be KE’s new flagship Business lounge.

    Finally, as T2 was designed natively to host only Skyteam “premium” airlines, isn’t it a shame that they don’t even have a Skypriority security / immigration line for revenue / premium passengers? Right now it’s new and lines at security / immigration are quite short, but what in 10 or 15 years when pax traffic keeps increasing?

  22. I spent several hours early morning waiting for my next flight in T2 back in March. Gorgeous and spacious everywhere, even the restrooms were huge!

  23. The terminal is nice (but still no Changi) and the Korean First class lounge may be great but as Daniel and Joey mention, the Korean Prestige lounge(s) is/are terrible in so many ways and very disappointing given the niceness of the terminal. The Prestige lounges in T1 were much better.

  24. I agree the surroundings are. top class but we arrived at 9.30 pm and had a four hour layover. Everywhere apart from a couple of coffee shops was closing by then so think a daytime experience would be very different.

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