It has been a freezing December in Korea and a month has passed since I last flew. I am not a fan of winter cold so I decide to plan to travel somewhere warmer for the new year. As most southeast Asian countries were still closed due to the pandemic, my best option was to visit Thailand.
Two years ago, I took the last bus in and out of Thailand on the day Covid19 was declared a global pandemic. And since then, I was not able to visit Thailand due to strict quarantine rules. Those requirements, now being eased significantly, I only had to book a one night stay at SHA+ hotels, a COVID19 test, and a Thailand pass.
Considering the time taken to get my Thailand pass approved, I checked for award seat availabilities two weeks ahead of my departure. Despite the search, there were only 3 airlines operating directly to Bangkok: Korean Air, Asiana, and Thai Airways.
Korean Air and Thai Airways had both economy and business class award availabilities while Asiana had none. In the end, I’ve decided to spend 32,500 Korean Air SKYPASS miles to redeem one way trip to Thailand in Prestige Class. Later that day, I redeemed extra 32,500 miles to book the return as well.
Korean Air Prestige Class Check-In:
Getting to the airport from the heart of Seoul may take some time. So I decided to head off early and arrived at Incheon Airport about 5 hours before departure.
Korean Air has a separate Premium Check-In area located in the “A” zone at Incheon Airport Terminal 2. The check-in area is accessible to Korean Air’s First and Prestige Class customers, Skyteam Elite Plus members, and passengers traveling in business class with Skyteam member airlines departing out of Terminal 2.
The Check-in line was empty and formalities were completed swiftly as there were no departing flights between midday and early afternoon. Right after getting my boarding pass, I spent some time exploring the airport terminal and met a friend to shoot a Youtube video having a discussion about airline services during Covid19.
Getting to Korean Air Miler Club Lounge:
Miler Club Lounge is located just by the corner of Terminal 2’s west wing. After clearing security and immigration, walk to the right-hand side of the terminal towards gate 248. You will be able to see a sign by the escalator on the corner saying “First Class and Miler Club Lounge.”
Once you use the escalator to go up, you will find the two lounges located side by side.
Getting to Korean Air Miler Club Lounge Operational Hours:
Korean Air’s Miler Club Lounge currently operates from 4 am to 10 pm. Since the lounge is not operating 24 hours, I do not recommend an overnight layover unless you are okay staying at an overpriced transit lounge.
The “Walkerhill” Transit hotel costs around $60 for 6 hours of day use(08:00 ~ 20:00) and $100 for 12 hours of overnight use(20:00 ~ 08:00).
|KAL Miler Club Lounge||Upstairs opposite Gate 248 (4F)||04:00 ~ 22:00|
Korean Air Miler Club Lounge Entry Requirements:
As of December 2021, the entry to Korean Air Miler Club Lounge is exclusive as follows:
- First Class passenger
- SKYPASS Million Miler Club member traveling on Korean Air Prestige Class
- SKYPASS Morning Calm Premium Club member traveling on Korean Air Prestige Class
- SkyTeam member airlines’ First Class Passengers
There is a separate First Class Lounge dedicated to Korean Air’s first class customers however it is currently inoperational. Also, the Miler Club Lounge is not accessible for Skyteam Elite Plus holders traveling business class from other airlines.
Korean Air Miler Club Lounge Layout and Seating:
The Miler Club Lounge is smaller than Prestige Class lounges but larger than the First Class lounge. Yet, given that there are quite a number of SKYPASS Morning Calm Premium and Million Miler holders, the lounge never gets crowded even at peak hours.
The lounge is divided into different sections with plenty of solo seats to individual pods. There are common areas, a TV area, a hidden room “Relaxation Roon” with semi-private pods, a room with several day beds that is on a first come first serve basis, a dining area, and a VIP room. If you notice, the lounge has a similar color tone to American Airlines Admirals Club.
With most of the seats enclosed by walls and partitions, it generally feels private and quiet without noises bothering you that much. If you have a chance to visit the lounge, do not forget to check out this “secret” room accessible through the unmarked door between the dining area and literature rack!
For those who need to store their luggage and head for duty-free shopping, the locker room is located on the right side just by the entrance to the lounge.
Korean Air Miler Club Lounge Dining:
Due to the size of the lounge, the buffet area is relatively small and buffet choices were weak. There were only 3 main options for dining. The lounge’s buffet, like others, is catered by Grand Hyatt Incheon hotel’s kitchen.
The differences I can point out between the Prestige Class lounge were the presentation of the buffet and it had my favorite: Häagen-Dazs ice-creams. Aside from these two, most of the dining was similar.
Opposite the buffet, a bar, a beer dispenser, a coffee machine, and a fridge for beverages are stationed. For non-alcoholic beverages, there were mineral and sparkling waters, juices, soft drinks, and milk. For alcoholic drinks, I will explain further in the next section.
Korean Air Miler Club Lounge Bar:
At the bar, wines, beers and spirits are available. If you are interested in traditional liquors, you can taste the “Moonbaesool” which had a clear taste. On my visit, due to Covid19, the beer dispenser was not in operation. Instead, beers were stored at the chiller right next to the dispenser.
Unlike Perrier-Jouët Champagne, which is served on board Korean Air, it is disappointing for the lounge to have a Bottega Venetian Gold Prosecco.
Being used as both Korean Air’s top-tier elites and First Class passengers, I find the alcoholic beverage options quite unsatisfying with only three options for wine, a prosecco, and five options for spirits.
Korean Air Miler Club Lounge Restroom and Shower Facilities:
Restrooms and showers are both located after a long greyish hallway just as you enter the lounge. There are four separate shower rooms available without reservations due to the fact that the lounge never gets overcrowded. Basic toiletries and shower amenities are equipped inside the showers.
Just to mention, there is only one shower room in the First Class lounge so there is always a long queue. If you wouldn’t mind the “luxury”, I would recommend you to use the showers at Miler Club Lounge.
Korean Air Miler Club Lounge is one of the best lounges at Incheon Airport I have visited. Although the lounge is only accessible for Korean Air SKYPASS top-tier members traveling on Prestige Class and above, if you happen to travel on Korean Air First Class, you are able to visit the lounge and have a look.
While most of the lounge experience was satisfying, the only drawback was the dining. Surely, it was fresh and delicious but the menus were too simple and limited for First Class guests to enjoy. As for me, I only liked the Häagen-Dazs out of all the dining options.
Korean Air is slowly restoring its Covid19 cost-cutting plan back to normal. As all the lounges are predicted to open by this summer, I hope they will improve the dining services to differentiate the Miler Club from Prestige Class Lounges.