Review: Korean Air Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport

Filed Under: Korean Air, Travel

After a pleasant night at the Hilton Narita Airport I took the 7AM shuttle to the airport. I hadn’t looked outside all night, so was quite shocked when I walked outside to find that it was a winter wonderland of sorts.

View from Hilton Narita Airport

The bus pulled up to terminal one at around 7:20AM, and I headed straight for the security checkpoint. In Guangzhou the previous day I had been issued my boarding passes all the way to Los Angeles, so there was no need for me to check-in again (or so I thought).

Narita Airport Terminal 1 exterior

Narita Airport Terminal 1 check-in

Narita Airport Terminal 1 check-in

I walked by the Korean Air check-in counter only to find massive queues, so I was happy to be able to skip them.

Korean Air check-in Tokyo Narita Airport

Korean Air check-in Tokyo Narita Airport

Narita Airport departures board

As it turns out the security checkpoints in this portion of the terminal don’t open till 7:30AM, so I had to wait about five minutes before the checkpoint opened.

Narita Airport SkyTeam security checkpoint

On the plus side there was a Sky Priority security queue, which I was permitted to use.

Narita Airport SkyTeam security checkpoint

Don’t you just freaking love Japan? I was standing at the security checkpoint at 7:28AM and there wasn’t a single security agent in sight. But go figure at 7:29AM a couple dozen security officers leisurely march up to the checkpoints, and at 7:30AM sharp they opened.

Unfortunately the fact that I had Korean Air boarding passes printed on China Southern cardstock caused a damn near airport evacuation, based on the response from the security agent manning the line. She called over her supervisor, and then her supervisor walked away with my passport and boarding pass to go to the Korean Air transit desk and confirm that I had a legitimate boarding pass. She returned a bit over five minutes later and advised me that I could pass through, but would need to go to the transit desk after clearing security.

The security check itself was quick and friendly, and there were no queues at the immigration checkpoint either.

Narita Airport Terminal 1 airside

Narita Airport Terminal 1 airside

I (naively) assumed that they would be able to reprint my boarding passes in the lounge, so headed to the Korean Air Lounge, which is located right by gate 26. Once inside the lounge the agent looked at my boarding passes very concerned, and advised me I had to go to the transit desk to get them reprinted. So I did that.

That took about 10 minutes, and was a bit of an ordeal since the agent didn’t seem to have any “red” Korean Air first class cardstock. So she dug through a drawer for about five minutes before finally finding the cardstock and issuing me the boarding pass.

Korean Air transit desk Narita Airport

Once back at the lounge my boarding pass was still meticulously inspected, though eventually I was admitted.

Korean Air Lounge entrance Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge signage Narita Airport

The Korean Air lounge is on the small side compared to the other lounges at Narita Airport, though wasn’t full at all when I was there.

It’s a single large room with a good amount of seating, though it wasn’t especially comfortable and did feel very IKEA-esque.

Korean Air Lounge Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge Narita Airport

There was a first class section partitioned off from the rest of the lounge. The only benefit of it were the leather chairs, which were a bit more comfortable than most of the other furniture.

Korean Air Lounge first class section Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge first class section Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge first class section Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge first class section Narita Airport

Sadly the food spread was pretty lame. It was similar to most other lounges at Narita, except it lacked a noodle and curry bar.

Korean Air Lounge buffet Narita Airport

In terms of snacks there were packaged croissants and sandwiches, snack mix, instant noodles, etc. Really not much to speak of.

Korean Air Lounge buffet Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge buffet Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge buffet Narita Airport

In terms of beverages, the lounge had a beer, soda, and coffee machine, as well as a fridge with bottled drinks.

Korean Air Lounge beer machine Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge coffee and soda machine Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge fridge Narita Airport

Korean Air Lounge alcohol Narita Airport

The last meal I had was on China Southern from Guangzhou to Tokyo at around noon the previous day, so I was quite hungry at this point!

In terms of the view from the lounge, it faced the tarmac without any runway views, unfortunately.

Korean Air Lounge view Narita Airport

Anyway, at around 9:30AM I headed to the departure gate for my flight to Seoul Incheon, gate 15.

It was maybe a 10 minute walk away, and as usual I quite enjoyed looking at the variety of traffic parked at gates along the way, including Vietnam Airlines, Alitalia, etc.

Walkway to gate Narita Airport

Alitalia 777 Narita Airport

Vietnam Airlines planes Narita Airport

Vietnam Airlines A330 Narita Airport

At 9:40AM boarding was called, starting with first and business class. I couldn’t help but notice the amount of snow built up on our 777, which I figured would lead to a deicing delay.

Korean Air 777 Narita Airport

Gate 15 Narita Airport

Gate 15 Narita Airport

Gate 15 Narita Airport

So physically the Korean Air Lounge looks nice enough, but it lacks the three things that make Japanese airline lounges awesome — massage chairs, noodle bars, and curry! Unfortunately, this was not one of the best airport lounges in the world, by far.

For another perspective on the lounge, check out this video review by Modhop:


  1. Maybe it is a Korean thing with the boarding passes, because Asiana does the same thing in ICN that you experienced in NRT.

    I had Cathay do something similar in SFO for their flight issued on Alaska boarding stock, but they reissued it at their lounge without difficulty.

  2. @ sean — Hmm, while I know the Star Alliance and OneWorld lounges at Narita like the back of my hand, wasn’t really familiar with SkyTeam offerings. I knew there was a SkyClub, but looks like there’s also an Air France lounge?

  3. You should have checked out the Delta Sky Club at Narita while you were there. It’s huge and one of the best clubs in their system, IMHO. Try it out the next time you are flying SkyTeam.

  4. Lucky, this post makes me miss living in Japan so much. I always ran into some random issue while flying back and forth to the US through Narita. Gotta love the Japanese, very thorough people.

  5. Liked the observation about the meticulous check of your boarding card after just having it reprinted. You just can’t be too careful about preventing lounge crashers.

    Random thought: When you being living in hotels full-time, will every day provide us anecdotes, like one continuous trip report? One can only hope! 😉

  6. The DL SC has slightly better food options and choice between two hot soups.

    Still not up to the standards of the other lounges, but slightly better than the KE lounge.

    SC has really nice showers, but considering you spent the night in the Hilton it doesn’t matter :p

  7. I’ve had similar boarding pass issues with Asiana and Singapore Airlines at LAX, ICN, KIX, and SIN. Fortunately places like ICN tend to have ticket counters right outside the lounge, but it does seem that these lounges don’t handle boarding pass printing

  8. Perhaps security/check-in/lounge people get confused whenever an usual situation is encountered?

    It took me a minute to convince a lounge attendant to let me into OS Business Lounge in DME because she’d never seen an OS boarding pass on SQ stock (was flying IAH-DME-VIE with first leg on SQ).

    In her defense though, it’s remarkable how many people don’t know lounge rules — while I was in the lounge, she probably turned away a dozen or so people.

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