Category: Korea

I was once stuck at Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)

Stuck at Incheon International Airport (ICN) in Seoul, South Korea? Don’t fret. You are in the world’s best airport for some consecutive years, anyway.

Since 2005, it has been rated the best airport worldwide in each year. It is also rated as the world’s cleanest airport and the world’s best international transit airport by Skytrax.

Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)

I love looking at flight boards. It is intimidating, exciting, spine tingling, surreal, and awe-inspiring all at the same time!
I love looking at flight boards. It is intimidating, exciting, spine tingling, surreal, and awe-inspiring all at the same time!

ICN Gangnam

The airport has a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, ice skating rink, a casino, indoor gardens and a Museum of Korean Culture. Airport authorities claim that average departure and arrival takes only 19 minutes (60 minutes world-wide industry average) and 12 minutes (45 minutes) respectively, significantly lower than the rest of the world, making it one of the fastest airports in the world for immigration and customs processing. Its duty-free shopping mall has been rated the world’s best for three years in a row in 2013 by Business Traveller. Incheon International Airport also claims that it has only a 0.0001% baggage mishandling rate.

So what do you do? I don’t know about you. 😉 I suggest that you just roam around the airport and just anticipate to discover cool stuff and neat things, especially if you have half a day to wait, like I did. Continue reading

Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) Stopover & Free Hotel Stay on an Asiana Flight

Last year, I went on a trip from Manila to San Francisco and back via Korean Air, a 4-star airline, just so I could take advantage of the free Seoul transit tour provided for by Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN). I scored this trip when Korean Air had an online promotion – I purchased the ticket for USD $1,080. See my article regarding this here.

This year I went on the same route, this time via Asiana Air, a 5-star airline. I got the ticket for USD $897 – I didn’t know at first that the Asiana Air website has year round promo fares and I just found out about it after scouring the web and comparing fares. Such a great deal, I must say! The cheapest I know of for this route.

Anyway, I was planning to register for another free transit tour with ICN airport when I called Asiana to confirm my reservation. Since my Seoul stopover is 12 hours, the agent asked me if I wanted a free transit tour or hotel accommodation provided for free by Asiana. I didn’t know at that time that Asiana has its own free transit tour, although ICN airport already has its own.

Of course I had to try Asiana’s freebies this time, however, the dilemma is, if I wanted the free transit tour or the hotel accommodation. For those of you who are wondering if you can have both, the answer is no. You can only choose one, as confirmed by the Asiana phone agent with a cute Korean accent. I asked what we will be doing if I choose the free tour – the agent replied it is the same as the tour provided for by the airport, only this time the food and temple entrance fees are for free. Continue reading

Visiting Seoul with a Free Transit Tour

I was at it again, planning my next trip to the USA to take that much awaited vacation. I was keen on buying a Delta round trip flight from Manila to San Francisco using my miles however things suddenly changed when Delta changed its SkyMiles policy over a short period of time which led to me needing more miles to get that ticket. To cut the story short, I had to just buy a ticket from another airline since I felt really mad at Delta and I thought that Delta didn’t deserve my loyalty anyway.

After researching online, I knew I had to take a Korean Air flight because it gives me the opportunity to take advantage of a free transit tour in Seoul, South Korea when we stop over for the second leg of my journey to USA. Incheon Airport is the hub of Korean Air, hence, all Korean Air flights stop over at this world class airport wherever your destination is. And since some may have a longer than normal stop over, it’s a cool thing that Incheon International Airport (ICN) thought of a way to allow passengers have a more productive stop over by allowing them to join a FREE tour organized daily by the airport management in partnership with a local travel agency.

The tour already includes bus rides to popular destinations all the way back to the airport and the group you are in will be accompanied by a knowledgeable and very friendly tour guide. You just have to pay around USD $13 for the entrance fees at temples and the authentic Korean food your group will be sharing whilst in the city. Yeah you still have to pay, but what is 13 dollars, right? Still cheap since it already includes those that I’ve mentioned. Not to mention the bus ride and the tour guide service which is already provided free of charge. What I liked about it as well is that you get the chance to meet people from all over the world and you get to share your stories over a hot meal.

Update (June 29, 2015): I recently went on the same route but this time with Asiana Airlines, a 5-star airline. It is interesting to know that Asiana has its own free transit tour / hotel stay for its own passengers, apart from what the ICN airport already offers. You may read more on my latest article here

How to Take Advantage of this Transit Tour: Continue reading